I’d never been to Maulden until a couple of weeks ago. The pretty Bedfordshire village sits about half-way between Bedford and Luton on the A6, and ten minutes from Center Parcs Woburn Forest (which we’ve been to a lot), so I must have passed it a million times. But despite having lived down the road all my life, I’d never actually made the five-minute detour in the direction of Ampthill.
That all changed when we paid a visit to The George Inn – a restored 16th-century pub on the edge of the village. As we pulled in to the car park late on Saturday afternoon, we were surprised how many families were out in the garden, and the same applied inside. As I swung open the huge glass door, the whole place buzzed with families chatting over dinner and friends clustered in groups around the bar – it was far from the sleepy village pub I’d imagined.
I spotted the bar and set off in the direction of a fancy G&T – a silent pool gin flavoured with orange and lavender. The barman explained The George also has its very own outdoor gin bar with more than 45 varieties, alongside an al fresco kitchen and all-season garden that can be hired out – along with the private dining room – for special events.
As General Manager, Lewis, explained later over dinner, it was all part of the pub’s grand re-opening back in August 2016. Closed for five years, The George finally re-opened its doors to reveal rustic-chic interiors worthy of a design magazine, as well as a cracking new menu. I had the warm heritage carrot and goats’ cheese salad, which sounds weird but was delicious, and the slow roast rolled pork belly, which arrived on a fluffy bed of colcannon mash topped with a more-than-decent slab of crackling. The food was served so quickly we actually asked for a break before dessert, and Justin, who served us, told us to just give him a wave when we were ready.
The George Inn’s new boutique bedrooms
With such a relaxed feel and buzzy atmosphere, it’s easy to see why The George has become so popular since it re-opened. And to mark a year in business, the pub’s owners added seven boutique bedrooms to its long list of reasons to visit. They’re a matter of footsteps from the pub, in a barn overlooked by the pretty facade of St Mary’s Maulden church in the distance.
We stayed in room 7, the only king room (the rest are all doubles), which has a gorgeous wooden four-poster bed. All the rooms are a quirky mixture of reclaimed timber furniture, bold, flocked wallpaper and furry blankets and fluffy bedding courtesy of The Fine Cotton Company. Plus, room 7’s shower room was small but perfectly formed – a picture-perfect mix of white metro tiles and copper accessories that had Instagram written all over it.
Love a good bathroom when I’m away from home👌🏻Review of our stay @thegeorgemaulden about to go live on the blog – a cracking pub, al fresco gin bar and seven brand new boutique bedrooms within stumbling distance. I think you can probably guess this one gets a 👍from me. #ukpubs #britishpub #villagepub #maulden #bedford #pubswithrooms #bathroomenvy
Off-the-shelf hotel rooms these most definitely aren’t – every room is different, and ours felt more like a home-from-home (albeit a far tidier and more stylish version). Extra touches come in the form of espresso machines in every room, and little postboxes where you can get a continental breakfast delivered if you’re staying Sunday to Thursday. Lucky Friday and Saturday guests get a cooked breakfast over in the pub.
Judging by the quality of the furnishings, I expected the cost for a room to be pretty high and was pleasantly surprised to see ours would have cost £100 for one person including breakfast, or £110 for two people including breakfast. The other rooms start from £90, which makes The George a great option if you’re in the area for a visit to Center Parcs with the family and want to extend it a bit – rooms 1 and 7 have space for a travel cot, or a children’s bed for kids up to the age of 10.
On the other hand, The George – thanks to its new rooms – makes the perfect place for a romantic mini-break if you’re local to Maulden. You can have dinner and drinks, stumble back to your room and still be back home early enough in the morning to collect the kids before they’ve had their Cornflakes. Trust me – I’m speaking from experience.
The George Inn is at 6 George St, Maulden, Bedford MK45 2DF. It’s surrounded by Maulden Wood and about half way along the Greensand Ridge Walk. For special offers and events, take a look at the website or call 01525 841 559.
Huge thanks to The George for hosting us in return for a review – we absolutely love your pub.