Today’s version of this inviting red brick building is a happy mix of old and new, with friendly staff keen that both locals and visitors enjoy themselves. On a corner in the centre of Kingsclere, it has been a hostelry since the 15th-century when royalty galloped into town and, it’s said, billeted their stable boys here. Now families and dog-lovers, country and business folk, gather in the different spaces of the bar: cosy with exposed brick and inglenook fire; casual with benches and wood block floor and rather smarter with blue velvet club chairs. And dine in the attractive beamed dining room with its booths and private spaces for parties, where pastel colours complement the red brick. Food is local where possible and menus follow the seasons, imaginatively. Wines are well-chosen; Sipsmith gin/vodka is the house brand. Those staying have a generous drawing room to retreat to with drinks and trendy grey cushion-backed sofas, a chess board, books and games. Bedrooms, not huge, are comfortably stylish and underfloor–heated, with white linen and throws in pretty blues, mauves and greens. Bathrooms are great, too.