Merry Harriers ‘Be a Ginfluencer’ review

PUBLISHED: 10:13 16 December 2020 | UPDATED: 10:08 21 December 2020

Vann Lane Gin is one of the tipples made at The Village Spirit Collective in Hambledon

Vann Lane Gin is one of the tipples made at The Village Spirit Collective in Hambledon

Archant

The Peter de Savary-owned inn has teamed up with local businesses to offer an array of experience breaks in the Surrey countryside

There are five shepherd's huts at The Merry Harriers in Hambledon.There are five shepherd's huts at The Merry Harriers in Hambledon.

If there has ever been a time to experience what’s on your doorstep it’s been this year. And with travel abroad still a little uncertain for the foreseeable future, the search is on for more innovative ways to spend time off in the UK.

Merry Harriers in Hambledon may well seem like many traditional Surrey country pubs but the team there, led by general manager Jake Andreou, are continually coming up with new quirky ways to expand their visitor experience.

The inn was taken over by de Savary Properties in 2017 and immediately became known for its Llama trekking safaris. There had always been traditional Inn rooms situated upstairs but since then six garden rooms and a quintet of Shepherds Huts has also been added to the offering.

While the llamas were a fantastic distraction during our stay, we were there for the Overnight Ginfluencer Experience, one of a number of packages launched this year in conjunction with other small local businesses.

Rebecca making her own gin blend at The Village Spirit Collective distillery. Image: Alexandra VennRebecca making her own gin blend at The Village Spirit Collective distillery. Image: Alexandra Venn

The package includes a tour of The Village Spirit Collective distillery situated at the adjacent Old Coal Yard (a small hub of creative businesses which also includes Cherfold Flowers, Froyle Tiles and a host of other places you can do workshops) and the opportunity to create your own gin by exploring and blending individually distilled botanicals.

Owner Ian Cox is a fantastic supporter of small businesses and his passion for gin-making is infectious. The experience starts with a G&T (of course) made from either his Vann Lane Gin or Haslemere Gin before the smelling and sampling of 20 or so botanical-infused gins begins.

The idea is that you score the botanicals based on preference and then, with the help of a gin tasting wheel and Ian’s expertise, create your own mix, which is then blended with a base gin to create your bespoke style. Mine included hints of rose, orange and ginger.

Llama treks are one of the other activities offered at the Merry HarriersLlama treks are one of the other activities offered at the Merry Harriers

READ MORE: What it’s like to stay at The Mitre Hampton Court

Support for local business continues back at the Merry Harriers where – if you’ve not already consumed too much gin – there are a selection of local ales and wines on offer, such as Milford-based wine merchants Hawkns Bros’ own-brand sparkling wine, made in conjunction with Greyfriars Vineyard.

The dinner menu is vast with plenty of country pub favourites that still manage to retain a local vibe - Surrey beef is used in the crispy beef salad and Farncombe sausages for the bangers and mash are just some examples of how they use local fare.

The Shepherd Huts provide the perfect place to retreat to after a hearty meal, even in the colder months of the year. You can snuggle up by the indoor log burner or next to the outdoor firepit and, of course, there’s the gin concoction made earlier on in the day at hand to help warm the cockles.

Need to know

The Overnight Ginfluencer Experience at Merry Harriers includes an overnight stay in a luxury Shepherds Hut, full English breakfast including continental buffet, two-course dinner plus a Ginfluencer Experience at The Village Spirit Collective. Prices start from £270 per couple. Other new packages include The Merry Bikation experience, which includes a cycle tour in the surrounding countryside with Surrey Hills Cycle and costs from £330 for a two-night stay and an award-winning doggy getaway, which includes all sorts of treats for your pup.

For more information and to book call 01428 682883 or visit merryharriers.com

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Latest from the Surrey