It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

Like it or not, once Bonfire Night is behind us, and John Lewis releases its Christmas ad, the festivities are just around the corner….

If you’re still in denial, ignore this post and come back to it when December dawns. But for those who like to plan ahead, here’s a breakdown of what’s going on over the season.

Christmas Fayre:

Tuesday 5th December, 4.30pm – 8pm. Come and browse festive gifts, arts and crafts, and enjoy free mulled Grumpy Frog cider.

Christmas parties:

We have a party menu for 1st – 23rd December. It’s a set price of £26.50 for three courses, or there’s a two course option at lunch time for £22.50. All diners eat the same choice, ordered in advance. While this is a great option for large gatherings, there is no minimum or maximum size party.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Christmas lunch for non-residents is fully booked, but we still have rooms available (two nights minimum stay), with lunch included in the price.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at midday onwards is always a convivial gathering of locals and residents alike.

New Year

We still have a few tables available for dinner and dancing. £55 / head, canapes, main course, dessert, glass of fizz, and a DJ from 9.30pm. Carriages 1pm.

Rooms still available (two nights minimum stay), with dinner included in the price.

Essential opening / closing, eating / drinking times:

December 24th – Christmas Eve

Bar: 11am – 11pm; Food: 12-3pm / 6-9.30pm

December 25th – Christmas Day

Bar: Midday – 7pm; Food: bookings and residents only

December 26th – Boxing Day

Bar: Midday – 10.30pm; Food: Midday – 7.45pm

December 31st – New Year’s Eve

Bar: 11am – 1pm; Food: Midday – 2.30pm, dinner 7pm, bookings and residents only

January 1st – New Year’s Day

Bar: Midday – 10.30pm; Food: Midday – 7.45pm

We shall be closed 2nd and 3rd January with normal service resuming Thursday 4th January.

We look forward to seeing you over the festive season.

The Howard Arms Team



It’s show time!

The Bank Holiday weekend is approaching, and we’re looking forward to it!

On Sunday 27th August Matt Bates will be providing live music from 3.30 – 5.30pm – in the garden if the weather allows.  And on Monday 28th, it’s the annual Ilmington Show, always a big event in the village.

It starts at 1pm, so there’s plenty of time for lunch or a drink or two at the pub before heading down to the playing fields on the Mickleton Road.

A full afternoon of entertainment includes dog agility display, duck herding, classic car parade, puppet show, bouncy castle, face-painting and lots more, including of course displays of flowers, fruit and veg in the show marquee. Our very own Romy has been given the responsibility (and enviable job!) of judging the drinks category at the show. There are exciting rumours that there will be a flypast by an aircraft from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Don’t leave your dogs at home. This year you can enter your woof into one or more of six categories in the dog show – The Lovely Ladies (Bitches), The Handsome Hounds (Dogs), Young Handler, Best Groomed Pair (owner and dog), Cutest Cross Breed and Waggiest Tail. It’s £1 per entry, and there are loads of great prizes.

Refreshments include a pig roast, barbecue, ice cream stall, tea, coffee and cake, and we are running the Pimms and Prosecco Bar. The pub’s open all day, and we’re serving food from midday until 7.45pm.

Entrance prices for the Show: Adults, £3; Children, £2; children under five get in free, and there’s no car park charge.

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Howard Arms Team



“Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.”

That lovely quote is from Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the Irish satirist, playwright and poet.

Many of our guests choose The Howard Arms as their base for exploring the wonderful historical gardens that are to be found nearby.

Within a few miles of the pub are the world-famous arts and crafts gardens of Hidcote and its 17th Century house; and Kiftsgate Court Gardens, the creation of three generations of women gardeners and home of the spectacular Kiftsgate rose which is in flower as we write!

Slightly further afield, but still within a short drive are Sezincote’s exotic Rajasthan-styled gardens; Bourton House Garden, an award-winning three acre garden surrounding a fine 18th century manor house; the grand 16th century country house, Charlecote Park, surrounded by its own deer park; Coughton Court that stands in 25 acres of beautiful gardens and grounds; and the wonderful gardens of Upton House.

It’s entirely possible to spend a whole day at any one of these venues; but the short distances between these fabulous pieces of horticultural history mean that those with limited time can see two or three within a single day. All are set within beautiful Warwickshire or Gloucestershire countryside, and there are many picturesque local walks in the surrounding area.

The Howard Arms is a fabulous home from home to return to for dinner and a comfortable night after a day spent enjoying the delights of our local gardens. Choose one of our eight rooms, all luxury, all different, all full of comfort and character. Our garden-loving guests really are spoilt for choice!

The Howard Arms Team

Ride Scorpion 2017, 6th May 2017

We’re so pleased to be hosting Ride Scorpion 2017, a charity cycle ride in aid of SMA (Spinal Muscular Atophy).

This is an opportunity to get a team together to enjoy a Saturday in the saddle, helping to raise money to fund vital research into a cure and treatments for this progressive, neuromuscular condition. The SMA Trust funds over 75% of UK charity-funded research and is entirely dependent on voluntary donations.

There’s a 66 mile circular route offering stunning views of three counties and challenging you with steep hills and winding roads. The 20 mile circular route gives you the chance to see beautiful villages and countryside, with less hills to contend with.

Both rides start and finish at The Howard Arms. Everyone will get a huge welcome with refreshments and entertainment for both cyclists and supporters.

You’ll find all the details here.

Or contact them direct on 01789 801155 / e-mail

We hope you’ll join us on the 6th May.

The Howard Arms Team



Cheltenham Week Special

Cheltenham Festival week is always a highlight of our year, mostly as an after-racing venue for celebrating and continuing the high spirits of a day at the races.

This year, we’ve come up with a cunning plan for those of you who don’t have a hot ticket. We’re installing a TV and a big lunch table in the Snug, and inviting parties of between six and ten people to have a day at the virtual races.

Create your own atmosphere with all the live action streamed to the comfort of your exclusive lunch table. Enjoy a welcome glass of fizz and a three-course lunch from our special Cheltenham Week menu:

First courses:
– Soup of the day
– Game terrine, beetroot salad, red onion jam, rye toast
– Spiced lamb kofta kebab, red pepper salsa, tzatziki, herb pitta bread

Main courses:
– Pan-fried calves liver, mash, tomato & mushroom, smoked bacon gravy
– Stew of the day, new potatoes, seasonal vegetables
– Beer battered haddock & chips, peas, tartare

– Choose from the a la carte menu, or
– Selection of British cheeses served with celery, biscuits, chutney and quince jelly

The price per person is £20.

We can only accommodate one party on each of the Festival days, so sprint to the phone and call us on 01608 682226 to secure your private box.

  • Tuesday 14th March – Champion Day
  • Wednesday 15th March – Ladies Day
  • Thursday 16th March – St Patrick’s Day (BOOKED)
  • Friday 17th March – Gold Cup Day

The Howard Arms Team

Dates for your diary

Our first Pie Night of the year was a roaring success, so we’ve got two more for your diaries – Tuesday 28th February, and Tuesday 28th March. Booking in advance recommended, £10 per person for a choice of pie accompanied by a choice of Timothy Taylor draught pints.

Monday evenings are your date with a lovely succulent half pound sirloin steak with peppercorn sauce, roast vine tomatoes, mushrooms and chips, and a bottle of house wine. £50 for two.

If you’re feeling like a mid-week pick-me-up, come and have a cocktail with us on a Wednesday evening. We try a new one each week!

Weekends start early at the Howard, with half price Prosecco and Joseph Perrier Champagne, 5.30-7pm on Thursdays.

So if you need a reason to come and see us, other than just a warm welcome and great food and drink, look no further!

We hope to see you soon.

The Howard Arms team

Two for one this winter

Our two nights for the price of one* winter offer is a perfect way to add a little cheer to the dark days of January and February. Work up an appetite climbing the hills, explore some of the local sights, or settle down by the fire and do a whole lot of nothing!

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing break, some seriously good food, or a bit of a party, we’ll look after you from hearty award-winning breakfast to luxurious bedrooms, and everything in between. We have eight bedrooms, each with a different character and feel. You can choose yours here (Old Beam Room is pictured above).

All our rooms have en suite bathroom with bath and shower (except The Old Beam Room which has shower only); duck feather and down duvet and pillows; flat screen smart TV; percolator with fresh coffee; tea, and gingerbread; WIFI; and toiletries by Templespa.

To take advantage of this offer, please book directly with us by telephoning 01608 682226 or emailing

* Applicable Sundays to Thursdays dependent on availability. Double-occupancy required and guests must dine in on one evening to receive the discount. 

We hope to see you this winter

The Howard Arms team





Reasons to be cheerful…

We can’t do anything about the weather, but we’re going to do our best to bring some cheer to the long dark days of January.

Starting this week, Wednesday night is cocktail night. We start the season with a take on the Cosmopolitan, The Howard Cosmo, longer and fruitier, but wonderfully pink, involving a satisfying blend of vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and lime juice. Ring your friends to make a date and let the party start.

We’re also reviving Steak Night – bringing you succulent half pound sirloins with a choice of peppercorn sauce or garlic and parsley butter, roast vine tomatoes, mushrooms and chips; and a bottle of house wine. At £50 for two people, this must be a good reason to give the cook a night off. Every Monday from 23rd January.

Tuesday 24th January is your date with a pie and a pint. Choose Steak and Timothy Taylor Ale pie, or fish pie, and a choice of two Timothy Taylor draught pints. Booking in advance recommended, £10 per person.

Finally, a quick reminder that Valentine’s Day will be upon us in less than a month, and we’re already getting bookings, so if you’d like to join us, please book soon!

We hope to see you soon

The Howard Arms Team

Christmas at the Howard Arms

We look forward to seeing you over the Christmas season. Here’s a full breakdown of opening hours, some of which vary from usual arrangements.

Our Christmas menu is available throughout December, in addition to all the usual favourites.

December 24th – Christmas Eve

Food: 12-3pm / 6-9.30pm

Bar: 11am – 11pm

December 25th – Christmas Day

Food: bookings only

Bar: Midday – 6pm

December 26th – Boxing Day

Food: Midday – 7.45pm

Bar: 11am – 11pm

December 27th – Tuesday

Food: Midday – 3pm / 6pm – 9.30pm

Bar: 11am – 10.30pm

December 28th – Wednesday

Food: Midday – 3pm / 6pm – 9.30pm

Bar: 11am – 11pm

December 31st- New Years Eve

Food: Midday – 3pm / Dinner – bookings only

Bar: 11am – late (DJ from 9.30pm)

January 1st- New Years Day

Food: Midday – 7.45pm

Bar: 11am – 10.30pm

January 2nd- Monday

Food: Midday – 3pm / 6pm – 9.30pm

Bar: 11am – 11pm

We shall be closed from Tuesday 3rd January, reopening Friday 6th from 5pm for drinks only. Full opening hours shall resume Saturday 7th January.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas.

The Howard Arms Team

A Christmas jumper isn’t just for Christmas

Friday December 16th is Christmas jumper day at the Howard Arms – please come and show us yours. We will be deciding whose is the best – although there’s a general understanding that when it comes to Christmas jumpers, bad is good! The prize for the best (or should we say the worst) is a weekday lunch for two – well worth looking ridiculous for we think.

So dig out your best effort, start creating one now, beg, borrow or steal one from your kids, and come and join us on Friday 16th at any time of day. Christmas Jumper Day is a Save the Children initiative, so there will be collecting tins available for anyone wishing to make a donation.

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th.

The Howard Arms Team




Weekday Walkers’ Special


Nestled beneath the Cotswold Escarpment, we are so lucky to be located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The walks around Ilmington are beautiful and varied, taking in the village itself with its Norman church and Manor House, and the local countryside with far-reaching spectacular views from Larkstoke Hill.

We have put together directions for four favourite walking routes that start and end, conveniently (!) at our 400-year-old pub. They range from 2.5 miles to 6 miles, and we also have directions for a 1.2km ‘Walk on Wheels’, devised by the Cotswold Voluntary Wardens, accessible for wheel chair and buggy users, that winds its way through the village lanes and illustrates Ilmington’s apple heritage.

If you’d like to find more walks in the area, a lovely guide book ’20 Walks in Shipston Country’, produced by our local charity Shipston Home Nursing, is available at the pub for £6. Those wanting a good map should head for OS Explorer 205, Map of Stratford-upon-Avon & Evesham.

We wouldn’t of course expect you to take all this exercise without sustenance! Our Weekday Walkers’ Special includes a lovely bowl of our homemade soup of the day, choice of sandwich, shortbread to take away, and a big welcome to you and any canine companions you might have who are welcome to join you in the bar and the garden. We’ll send you off with your water bottles refilled, your flasks recharged with tea or coffee, some shortbread for you, and a handful of dog biscuits for hungry woofs. Our Weekday Walkers’ Special is available Monday to Friday for £9.50.

Lunch is served between noon and 2.30pm, but we’re open 11am to 11pm on weekdays, so there’s always somewhere to warm up or cool down, and refresh yourself with hot and cold drinks before you set off, and on your return.

Do give us a call to book on 01608 682226, or if you find yourself in the area, take a chance and drop in.

We look forward to welcoming you.

The Howard Arms Team


A spiced-up Christmas Fair

This is the best kind of shopping. You can browse festive gifts, arts and crafts, while enjoying locally brewed mulled cider from Grumpy Frog.

The following talented locals will be selling their beautiful arts and crafts:

Sally Cahill – Campden Couture
Judith Layhe-Cook – Aromatic distiller and soap maker
Holly Suzanne Clifford – delicate and detailed wearable art
Jan Fryer – individually made brooches, earrings and necklaces
Kate Plackett – The Art Parlour
Jane Allan – paper angels
Taste of the Country – fab food
Claire Sharratt – beautiful cushions
Nikki Coupland – stunning ceramics
Celia Currey – mosaic mirrors

Grumpy Frog’s new mulled flavours will be available for tasting – Ginger Frog, Fruity Frog and Hopped Frog. A shopping experience with added spice – it’s shaping up to be an unmissable event.

4.30pm – 7pm, Tuesday 29th November. We look forward to seeing you here.

The Howard Arms Team

Two for one this autumn

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Two for one this autumn

Our two nights for the price of one* autumn offer is surely too good to miss! Recharge your batteries before the festivities, explore the countryside, get ahead with your Christmas shopping in nearby Broadway or Stratford upon Avon, or work up an appetite climbing the local hills. Or settle down by the fire and do a whole lot of nothing!

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing break, some seriously good food, or a bit of a party, we’ll look after you from hearty award-winning breakfast to luxurious bedrooms, and everything in between. (Don’t just take our word for it – we are very proud that Visit England have just awarded our lovely pub five stars).

To take advantage of this offer, please book directly with us by telephoning 01608 682226 or emailing

* Applicable Sundays to Thursdays dependent on availability. Double-occupancy required and guests must dine in on one evening to receive the discount. 

 We hope to see you this autumn

The Howard Arms team


Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween

The Howard Arms looks forward to welcoming young witches, ghosts, goblins, skeletons, and wizards to a devilish Halloween gathering on Monday 31st October. There will be a spooky mix of snacks and drinks from 3.30pm till 5.30pm, so put the homework on the fire and come on down!

We’re filling the snug with a (haunted) bouncy castle, and there’s face painting, apple bobbing, and a prize for the most cleverly carved pumpkin, and the best costume. Now’s the time to delve into the dressing up box to see what you can find.

Parents very welcome at the bar – what better excuse for an early drink on an equinoxial Monday night? (Feel free to dig out your own zombie mask, or come as you are!)

No booking required, all the kids’ stuff is on us, and we look forward to seeing you for some frighteningly good fun.

The Howard Arms team.