UK Staycation: Weekend Wanderings at The Pointer at Brill

Located in the twee village of Brill, in the Buckinghamshire countryside, The Pointer Brill is a gastropub-come-restaurant with a butchers next door and four newly refurbished rooms across the road. The pub is winning every accolade possible at the moment, after being awarded Hotel of the Year by The Sunday Times and then Michelin Pub of the Year for 2018.

Opened in 2012 by partners David and Fiona Howden, The Pointer is focused around real homegrown produce. The owners also have a 250-acre farm in the next village, and alongside the Butcher’s and the four new bedrooms, they’ve really taken ‘keeping it local’ to the next level.

The Pointer is a country pub with rooms in the beautiful Buckinghamshire village of Brill. Open daily from 8am, they serve hearty and honest British pub food, with a menu driven by the seasons. Dogs, children and muddy boots are all welcome. The village pub is the perfect spot to meet friends for morning coffee, a lazy lunch, homemade bar snacks or an evening meal.

And they serve a variety of cask ales and a cocktail list derived entirely from British-distilled spirits. Their wine list offers a glass and bottle for every occasion. And if you fancy making a night of it? Choose from one of their eight beautiful en-suite bedrooms to retreat to at the end of the day.

The Pointer Brill

The village is famous itself, both as the inspiration for J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth village of Bree, supposedly based on this Buckinghamshire village, and legend has it that the Great Train Robbery was planned at The Pointer, before it became what it is today – and that it’s where the stolen money was divided up, too. The village is lovely with rolling hills, another pub down the road, and Brill Windmill.

The Pointer is a country pub with rooms in the pretty Buckinghamshire village of Brill. Open daily from 8am, we serve hearty and honest British pub food – cooked to order and to an exceptionally high standard.

We love working with fresh, local and seasonal produce, so much so that every morsel we serve can be tracked from farm to table. Their meat and poultry all come from British farmers, their eggs are free range, and their fish is sourced sustainably from suppliers approved by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Their fruit and vegetables are supplied from British farms wherever possible.

Here you can look forward to seasonal specials like slow-cooked shoulder of local lamb with crushed minted potatoes, and pumpkin risotto with crispy sage and quince jelly – not forgetting old favourites like The Pointer Burger and new additions such as The Pointer Ploughman’s. Steak lovers will be delighted to discover their Butcher’s Block specials board, which is updated throughout the day with the best cuts of beef we have on offer. There is plenty of choice for vegetarians and vegans, and their children’s menu is just the ticket for hungry little tummies. 

Once inside The Pointer, it feels like home. And after we’d checked in at the bar, the lady took us across to our room in the building opposite.

The Pointer Brill

The 18th-century Victorian terrace across the road from The Pointer comprises of four traditional yet modern bedrooms. Ours was on the ground floor, with large king-size bed, light and airey windows that were letting in lots of light, and a gorgeous bathroom at the back with freestanding bathtub and walk-in-shower.

The room was lovely, painted in shades of grey and white, with traditional patchwork style cushions, soft sheepskin rugs and wooden features throughout the room, adding a rustic touch. You also notice the dog-themed art hanging around the place, including not only pointers but also staffies and cocker spaniels.

Once we’d settled in, we headed out in to the village for a quick walk before dinner.

Then, once we had freshened up, we headed back across the road to the pub. The restaurant is in a converted barn past the open kitchen, with a vaulted ceiling, garlanded beams and exposed stone. It is a room which could feel really cold and empty, due to the high ceilings, but in fact felt cosy and had a great atmosphere.

The Pointer Brill

As we sat down they bought us our drinks and a paper bag of sourdough with beef-dripping butter (posh Marmite). This is a lovely surprise, as was the pre-starter of ham hock terrine and hake arancini.

Food is prepared by Sebastian Bielecki, the Polish head chef, and served by an array of wonderful staff. A lot of the produce from the Howdens’ farm features on the menu, including lamb, beef, chicken liver and asparagus — as do snacks such as Scotch eggs and hummus.

My starter of Beetroot and Pear Salad with Goat’s Curd was stunning, leaving a super-fresh feeling on my tastebuds, whilst Theo opted for the Confit Organic Salmon with Pearl Barley and Watercress Petro. The salmon was delicate whilst the pesto added a nutty texture to the dish.

For mains I opted for the Slow Roast Pointer Farm Middle White Suckling Pig, with Parsnips, Kale, Haricot Beans and Scrumpy Sauce, which is reared on the pub’s farm and was incredible, full of flavour and the pork was next-level. Theo went for the Grilled Pointer Farm Longhorn Beef Rib Eye Steak, with Chips, Garlic Mushrooms and a striking Bearnaise Sauce. The Ribeye was full of flavour, with good marbling and one of the best he’s ever had, apparently! We didn’t go for it, but there was a Longhorn Beef Wellington on the menu for two people, and it looked divine!

Then to finish we shared the Caramel & Hazelnut Parfait with Chocolate and Nougat, which Theo ate most of, as I couldn’t technically have dairy.

The Pointer Brill

We tried more of their wonderful produce at breakfast, including middle white sausages, eggs, bacon and black pudding. There is a sidetable of cold items, such as yoghurt, fruits, croissants, homemade bread and jams, and bloody mary mix.

And if you don’t fancy dining, the butchers next door, open on specific days, stocks a delightful array of Scotch eggs, charcuterie, cuts of lamb, steaks, chutneys, horseradish sauces, ales, and pork pies, with most produce coming from the farm owned by The Howdens.

With its oak beams, rustic decor and cosy fireside nooks, the newly-refurbished bar is the perfect place to meet friends for morning coffee, a lazy lunch or a family Sunday roast.

A spectacular night’s sleep awaits you at The Pointer, should you wish to make a night or a weekend of it. The eight en-suite bedrooms boast comfort, luxury and character in equal measure, and a fabulous Pointer breakfast is included.

I had a wonderful visit to Brill and The Pointer, and despite only being 30 miles from home, I felt like I had escaped. I returned home feeling relaxed, at ease and ready for another mad week at work! I’d like to dedicate this post to Theo’s family dog Marley who died last year. WE MISS YOU MARLEY!


The Pointer, 27 Church St, Brill, Bucks HP18 9RT –

*I was invited to visit The Pointer at Brill, but as always opinions are my own.


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Sophie X

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