The Crown


In 1994, Hugh Grant found fame alongside Andie MacDowell in the ever so slightly posh film Four Weddings and a Funeral. The setting for the couple's first night together was this 17th-century coaching inn.

Back then, their suite attracted guests in search of romance, but now the floral bedspread and heavy four-poster have gone, as design guru Ilsa Crawford has been refreshing the maze of centuries-old rooms.

Her style is simple, even plain. Large Welsh blankets are a substitute for pictures, soft greys and white dominate, Roberts radios, rocking chairs, sheepskin throws.

The Crown takes pride of place in the centre of this old market town in the Chiltern Hills, an area offering strolls along Buckinghamshire's river valleys and beech woods.

The creaky, candle-lit charm of the hostelry speaks for itself. The comforts of a cosy 24-hour bar and simple restaurant were what olden-day travellers would have prized on the rough track that passed for the road to London.

On chunky wooden tables with farmhouse-style Ercol chairs, the restaurant serves cuts of steak as well as a couple of vegetarian dishes and fish; sides are extra.

The most sought-after accommodation is in the spacious courtyard rooms. The converted outbuildings have recently become roomy suites - high oak-beamed ceilings, under-floor heating, and an iPod dock housed in traditional-looking wood.

It's a blending of old and new, a mix that works.

Rates: Doubles from £139

Tel: 01494 721541

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