What’s on offer in the village of Hurstbourne Tarrant

George and Dragon © Matt Humphrey 2014 www.matthumphreyimages.com

George and Dragon © Matt Humphrey 2014 www.matthumphreyimages.com - Credit: Archant

Nestled within the stunning Bourne Valley countryside, Hurstbourne Tarrant is a chocolate box Hampshire village with plenty going on. Claire Pitcher paid a visit

Grabbing a bite

There’s always a welcoming real fire at the George and Dragon pub, and throughout the year they serve up some great food. Even better, it is sourced in Hampshire where possible, like their cheese from Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers. Book online at www.georgeanddragon.com or call 01264 736277. For something a little lighter, there’s The Tea Cosy tearoom in The Dene. They offer an array of 24 different teas to quench your thirst, complete with china cup and tea cosy. Plus they serve Italian coffee, homemade cakes and light lunches. There’s also a lovely spot to eat outside. Take note though, they are not open Mondays and Tuesdays. See more at www.theteacosyhurstbourne.com or call 01264 736644. Last but not least, for a special treat, book a table at Esseborne Manor Hotel, off the A343 towards Newbury. The award-winning Courtyard Restaurant has a wonderful fine dining menu and in the summer, you can sit out on the terrace and admire the wonderful views. Call 01264 736444 for reservations and view the menu at www.esseborne-manor.co.uk.

Village voice

Owning a teashop has always been a dream of mine,” says Jenni Danks, proprietor of The Tea Cosy and Post Office in Hurstbourne Tarrant. “I’ve been brought up with a family who believe a good cup of tea can solve anything!”

When a vacant unit became available Jenni could see her dream finally becoming a reality: “With three children I struggled to find somewhere to meet people without leaving the village, and wanted to provide a place that people could meet or just come for some company.”

Over the last two years The Tea Cosy has grown in popularity beyond all expectations with people of all generations sat around a pot of tea and cake reminiscing and catching up. “Our homemade cakes are phenomenally popular and we have been told our coffee is the best for miles,” she says proudly.

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Jenni has a very varied customer base, ranging from the local community to passers by and residents of surrounding villages. “We’ve even had people visit from as far as Oxford come, just for our cake!”

The Danks family love living in Hurstbourne Tarrant: “It’s a beautiful village to live and raise children in. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - a slice of England to be proud of. My husband and his family were born and grew up here and I moved to the village about nine years ago. The village school where our children go is the kind dreams are made of, and the local pub offers superb food with a lovely country feel. There is always something happening and the community is a happy and welcoming one.”

Village souvenir

If you’re looking for a gift or a unique accessory for your home, then pop into The Tea Cosy. There’s everything from placemats to pencil cases. Plus, you can always purchase a slice or two of homemade cake. Not far from the village is Bourne Valley Pick Your Own. On the road to St Mary Bourne, call by for a punnet or two of strawberries or a bag of delicious potatoes. In the farm shop you can pick up some Hampshire honey and a variety of homemade jams.

Literary link

Ibthorpe House dates back to the middle of the 18th century and has long been associated with Jane Austen. It is said she visited for the first time as a guest at her sister Mary’s wedding, to the house’s owner Mr Lloyd. She frequently came back to visit the couple.

Did you know?

The ‘Tarrant’ part of the village’s unusual name can be traced way back to 1226, when it was given to the Cistercian Tarrant nunnery. The nunnery might be gone, but the name stuck.

Getting there

The A343 runs through the village, which starts in Newbury and continues through Andover and on to Salisbury. The village is six miles from the A303 and A34. There’s no train station in Hurstbourne Tarrant - Andover or Whitchurch are the closest and both have lines into London. The Stagecoach Route 7 bus stops in the village between Andover and Newbury and the Cango bus runs in and around the Andover villages.

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