The Greyhound on the Test offers the best of English foodie prestige and rustic outdoor adventure — Photo courtesy of The Greyhound on the Test
It's an age-old observation that London is less like a single city than a net of interconnected villages. West and East London might as well be their own separate counties, and Muswell Hill feels more like Salisbury than nearby Camden.
Pair that with London's impressively connected transport system, and your visit to London could take you further afield than you'd imagined. Hop on a train, and by the time you've finished your Pret coffee, you could be in any of the neighboring countryside towns that dot along the southwest toward the coast.
And if you're going to the edges of Greater London, there's no better way to immerse yourself in the solitude and serenity of England than a stay at a pub-side inn. One of these gems is The Greyhound on the Test.
The Test is a best-kept secret for fishing and strolling — Photo courtesy of Arianna Reiche
The Greyhound on the Test captures that medieval atmosphere that is uniquely captivating to us New Worlders; it takes time to remember that the sloping ceilings and exposed wooden beams aren't, in fact, stage pieces, but beautifully maintained, functional bits of a centuries-old establishment.
Seven rooms sit above the pub itself, and you shouldn't be wary of picking up hotel room keys from a bar. Upstairs is a light-paletted, lushly carpeted communal space more reminiscent of a stately home than a public house.
Hunter wellies line one wall, an invitation for guests while walking along the river, and there's an honesty bar (Pay what you think a gin and tonic's worth. Don't make off with straws like a bandit.) stationed outside the rooms. The pub itself downplays its own prestige; blink and you might miss the Michelin stamp on the door.
On offer are the kind of traditional English dishes that would refuel a shooting team after a long weekend: roasted guinea fowl with pancetta, apricot stuffing, spinach and hazelnut and Welsh rarebit. Their wine list is extensive and largely French.
On warm summer days, go for a glass of Bellfontaine Sauvignon Blanc in the back garden, or opt for a bottle of Chateau Vincent by the roaring fire when the days get short and frosty.
Forget everything you know about London "pub food." The Greyhound's Chef Chris Heather comes from a long string of Michelin Star restaurants and brings indulgent artistry to his menu.
And while a country jaunt might be endlessly appealing to some, you don't need to go far afield to get the pub-side inn experience. The Grazing Goat, The Church Street Hotel and The Rookery all capture the feel of secluded pub accommodation (but you can hop into a black cab at street level).