What’s The Merry Harriers like?
This 16th Century inn is located in the picturesque village of Hambledon, at the foot of the Surrey Hills. It is renowned for its quirky shepherds huts and herd of llamas, which guests can go out trekking with. The pub is owned by Peter and Lana de Savary, who run several hotels both in the UK and abroad.
How dog-friendly is The Merry Harriers?
It’s fantastic. All pooches staying overnight are treated to a Doggy Welcome Pack, which consists of a bed, bowls, treats, toy and poo bags. Dogs are also allowed throughout the main pub and there are lots of treats and water bowls dotted around. There’s even a outdoor dog wash, in case your four-legged friend gets a bit muddy while out walking.
Your dog doesn’t have to miss out when you go for a pub meal, either – they can order their own. Doggy Dinners normally consist of chicken, rice, peas and gravy but when we visited, the kitchen had run out of chicken so it was substituted with sausages. Ernie and Stan didn’t seem to mind, though! There’s an additional charge of £15 per pet per night.
Tell me more about The Merry Harriers
There are three types of accommodation at the pub, ranging from inn and garden rooms to quirky shepherds huts. We stayed in one of the five colourful huts just across from the pub – ours was the sage green one. They are all spaced out around a fish pond and have lovely views over the surrounding fields. But once you’ve shut the stable door behind you, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from the Shaker-style interior – and the more you admire it, the more clever design features you find!
Traditionally, you would expect a shepherds hut to house little more than a bed, but that’s really not the case at The Merry Harriers. Here, the luxurious huts are positively Tardis-like and come with their own kitchenettes, shower rooms, wood-burning stoves and underfloor heating. They even have their own patios and fire pits, so are perfect if you want to glamp with all the comforts of home.
As soon as you walk through the door, you’ll be drawn to the rustic wooden bed. This faces the window to make the most of those wonderful views. Storage nooks and USB charging points are built in to the headboard, which also acts as a room divider. There’s even enough space for a table and chairs and a compact kitchen with fridge, sink, Smeg kettle and coffee machine.
The welcome pack is impressive, too. As well as tea, coffee and milk, guests will find a bottle of wine and lots of lovely things to snack on, such as chocolate, nuts and crisps. There’s also a bottle of gin produced at a distillery just down the road – which is sadly empty, but it encourages you to visit and get one for yourself.
There are lots of stylish touches dotted around – like a heart-shaped neon lamp – and nods to the resident llamas on everything from the ornaments to the cushions. And while the huts have all the mod-cons, such as a flatscreen TV and WiFi, guests can hark back to simpler times and enjoy a game of chess, thanks to the board provided.
Across from the kitchenette is the wood burner, which has more storage tucked behind it. And beyond that is the surprisingly spacious bathroom. The enormous shower cubicle is a real treat and the Gilchrist & Soames toiletries and soft white robes are a nice touch. It was far too warm to wear them when we visited in the summer but I imagine if you stayed during the winter months, it would be great to get the fire going and really cosy up.
What’s the food like at The Merry Harriers?
Upmarket pub grub. When we visited, on a Sunday, there were a few different roasts on offer as well as favourites like sausage and mash and fish and chips. I opted for the veggie burger, which was served with a big pot of salsa and perfectly-cooked chips. There was a great range of desserts to choose from too, such as sticky toffee pudding and lemon and lime cheesecake. On Sunday evenings, the kitchen only opens to residents so dining feels quite exclusive.
Breakfast is also well worth getting out of bed for. And if you’re planning a long walk, you can pre-order a picnic hamper from £25 per person. These include a selection of sandwiches, local cheese, some sweet and savoury treats and sparkling wine.
Are there resident dogs at The Merry Harriers?
Yes, you’ll probably bump into Labrador Jake. And although they are not dogs, you can always hang out with the herd of llamas – including Ernie’s namesake, Ernesto!
Where are the best dog walks near The Merry Harriers?
The pub is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so there are some great walks from the front door. There’s a public footpath right opposite the pub and another that runs down the side. But to really make the most of the local area, check out the booklet of walks in your room. These range from a 1.5-mile circular walk through Hydon’s Ball and Heath to a 14-mile hike through the Surrey Hills. Helpfully, the walks all have a toughness rating. To see the walking guide, click here.
It also details the 2.7-mile route that the signature llama treks typically take. The Merry Harriers offers several different llama experiences, from £89 per adult. And if your dog is friendly, they are welcome to come along too. Be sure to inform the pub in advance, however.
If you’re happy to travel a little further afield, the Winkworth Arboretum is just a short drive away. Dogs on lead are welcome at the 95-acre attraction all year round. Alternatively, Frensham Little Pond is a great place to enjoy a stroll. Dogs must be kept on lead from March to September, when birds are nesting, but are otherwise free to roam.
What Ernie and Stan loved about The Merry Harriers
The Doggy Welcome Pack, having their own special dinner, the sausage for breakfast
What I loved about The Merry Harriers
The hut’s stylish interior, the laid-back vibe, the friendly young staff
How to book The Merry Harriers
Overnight stays start from £120, including breakfast. For more information or to book, call 01428 682883 or visit The Merry Harriers website.