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The Bird In Hand Country Inn 3.5

Knowl Hill, Wokingham, Berkshire

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Charming country inn dating back to the 14th century
  • Atmospheric bar with inglenook fireplace and real ales
  • Easy access to M4 and half an hour from West London
  • Suites have original period features and roll-top tubs
  • Homey rooms with electric kettles and flat-screen TVs
  • Cooked buffet breakfast included in rate
  • Large car park with free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Wi-Fi can be slow
  • Some rooms are poorly soundproofed
  • Little of interest in immediate area
  • Not all rooms have air-conditioning

Bottom Line

The 22-room Bird In Hand Country Inn is an upper-mid-range property located a half hour's drive from London. Although there's little to explore in the immediate area, its Berkshire location also means easy access to tourist spots such as Windsor and Henley-on-Thames for guests that have their own cars. The main draw is the property's wonderful snug and ancient bar, complete with log fire and a great selection of real ales. A cooked buffet breakfast is included in the rate. While Standard Rooms are just that, newer Superior Rooms and Suites -- with their lovely period features -- are certainly worth the extra outlay. All rooms have electric kettles, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. 

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Scene

Upper-mid-range country inn dating back to 14th century with modern add-ons

The Bird in Hand Country Inn has a large parking lot that fronts the property. The low-rise facade of the building itself is pleasantly "Olde England" with black timber struts, ivy-clad red brick, and mullioned stained-glass windows. Although parts of the building date back to the 14th century, the entrance is a bit disappointing and modern, as is the scruffy and lackluster reception area. The charming period character does kick in in the wonderfully cozy bar where bowed wooden beams, centuries-old carved oak paneling, and inglenook log fireplace combine to recreate a genuine ancient inn ambience. Much of the rest of the hotel is a blend of old and new, with modern add-ons and contemporary trappings, while a rear garden provides a pleasant spot to unwind overlooking a swathe of grassland. Overall this is a peaceful property that attracts both business guests during the week and leisure travelers on the weekends, though the location is on the isolated side. 

Location

Off a main road in the Berkshire countryside half an hour from West London

This inn is located set back from a relatively busy road just outside of the small Berkshire town of Kiln Green in the southeast of England. Being largely just fields and golf courses, there's not a great deal to explore in the surrounding area though for those with a car the position means easy access to West London in just over half an hour via the nearby M4. It's also convenient for visiting tourist spots just as historic Windsor or picturesque Henley-on-Thames -- both around 20 minutes' drive away. There is little local public transport, however, with the nearest train station about 10 minutes away by cab. 

Rooms

Homey, cozy rooms; suites feature lovely period features and roll-top tubs

The inn has 22 rooms in all, most of which are decorated in simple, unfussy styling with modern furnishings, carpeted floors, and patterned wallpaper. Standard amenities are also pretty straightforward, offering free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and electric kettles -- higher-end rooms also have iPod docks and air-conditioning units. Two Suites and five Superior Rooms opened in 2012 in the original section of the property and feature more attractive contemporary design (in the rooms) or lovely period features (in the suites). Bathrooms in all the rooms are clean and very well maintained -- the Suites also include roll-top tubs, separate showers, and bathrobes and slippers. Rooms without air-conditioning can get stuffy in the warmer months while lack of soundproofing means some rooms are prone to noise. While Wi-Fi is free, the signal can be weak. 

Features

Snug and atmospheric bar with real ales and inglenook fireplace plus full English breakfast

A full English breakfast is served buffet-style each morning in the hotel's restaurant and is always included in the room rate. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and provides a range of options including barbecue, children's menus, and Sunday lunch menus -- all made in-house made using locally sourced ingredients when possible. The wonderfully atmospheric bar serves a range of real and local ales as well as bar food that can be enjoyed around a roaring log fire or on the outside terrace overlooking the garden. On-site parking and Wi-Fi are also available free of charge (though Internet can be slow at times). 

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Address

Bath Road, Knowl Hill, Maidenhead RG10 9UP, United Kingdom

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