Historic hotel near the Chilterns, England
Description from the accommodation owner
Historic hotel near the Chilterns, England: the story of this holiday company
The Kings Arms first entered history books in the 18th century, but was most famous for being frequented by Berkhamsted-born author Graham Greene, who wrote about Berkhamsted in one of his more prominent works, 'The Ministry of Fear':
" …this time he was in the main street of a small country town where he had sometimes, when a boy stayed with an elder sister of his mothers. He was standing outside the inn yard of the King’s Arms, and up the yard he could see the lit windows of the barn in which dances were held on Saturday nights.”
In celebration of Greene's literary connection with the Kings Arms, each of the individually-decorated en-suite rooms is named after a character from his novels or his personal life. The function room is also named The Greene Room, and the Kings Arms is actively involved in the International Graham Greene Festival every year.
As a major staging post for travellers westwards towards Windsor, as well as to the North and South. The King’s Arms became the principal inn of the town with a capacity to stable up to forty horses. It was also said to be the backdrop to a bit of debauchery from the King of France, who reputedly used to sleep with the Landlord's daughter, Polly Page.
Having faded into the background over the years as a tired hotel, Oakman Inns & Restaurants has restored life into the Kings Arms, which has returned to its prominent position in Berkhamsted High Street at the forefront of the community.
Responsible tourism: Historic hotel near the Chilterns, England
The Kings Arms is a historic building dating back to the 18th century, as a former coaching inn on one of the main routes to and from London. Through the restoration and £1.5m investment, new life has been breathed into this formerly tired place, once again reaffirming its position as a central meeting place in the heart of the town.
Sympathetically restored, it has retained all its traditional features, such as the wooden beams, the double facade fireplace and the bedrooms at the front of the hotel, which are full of character and original features such as fireplaces and wooden beams. As the Kings Arms is a listed building, great care was taken in the design and extension to respect this and to conform to guidelines.
The Kings Arms also took part in the Tring & Berkhamsted Cycle Campaign, which involved Bikefest - a festival promoting sustainable modes of transport such as walking or biking. the Kings Arms rewarded people who had walked or cycled with a complimentary soft drink.
Due to its town centre location, the Kings Arms is superbly positioned for access from public transport, and we actively encourage visitors to travel to the Kings Arms by utilising public transport and thereby protecting the environment from unnecessary traffic.
As with any business, there are rigorous waste management policies which we abide by, as well as recycling campaigns and energy consumption management.
All of our coffees and teas are Fair Trade, and we also promoted this during Fair Trade fortnight. We use only 100% British meat in our dishes, supplied by Aubrey Allen which have won Ethical Meat Supplier of the Year three times.
The Kings Arms is intrinsically embedded in the community. It has restored the centre of the town, providing a meeting place for people to relax, eat and drink in comfort, with food and drink available all day every day to all.
It is one of the main sponsors in Berkhamsted, sponsoring the Jubilee weekend, the Christmas festival, a football team, two mainstream music festivals, a school building, an Olympics school event, and a large number of smaller organisations and events. It also donates a significant amount of money to charity, raising a cheque for over £1,000 for Help for Heroes, pledging to donate 25p per signature dish to local charity Iain Rennie hospice, and donates a large number of vouchers to schools, charities and local events for fundraising raffles and auctions.
The Kings Arms also organises its own events raising money for charity and for organisations, including live music nights, murder mystery dinners and fashion shows. This often involves much collaboration with local businesses and partnerships with companies, fortifying the business networking effort and working relationships with the Berkhamsted community.
We provide information on our website and in brochures available throughout the venue which details information on the history of The Kings Arms Hotel and its place in Berkhamsted heritage, as well as the surrounding area which can be enjoyed locally.
Berkhamsted is situated in the heart of the Chiltern Hills, a recognised Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and there is a wealth of glorious landscape to discover and enjoy, right on the doorstep of the Kings Arms.
There is information readily available about the surrounding National Trust areas, most notably Ashridge Forest which is accessible within walking distance of the town. Ashridge Estate is 2,000 hectares of woodlands, commons and chalkland, supporting a rich variety of wildlife and offering splendid walks through outstanding scenery, the focal point of which is the Bridgewater Monument, erected in 1832 to the Duke of Bridgewater. At the other end, the Chiltern Hills high point, Ivinghoe Beacon, also marks the start/finish of the famous and ancient Ridgeway trail.
Berkhamsted is also known historically for Berkhamsted Castle, one of the oldest Motte and Bailey castles in England. When Duke William of Normandy won the battle of Hastings in 1066 and arrived in Berkhamsted, he was crowned king in Berkhamsted on Christmas Day, The original construction was made of timber, but was reconstructed, besieged, restored, and eventually left to age. It is now under the care of English Heritage and is a landmark of the town.
There are links on the website to the historic Berkhamsted castle, as well as information on Grand Union Canal which runs directly through Berkhamsted. This offers Grand Union Canal cruises, lovely low level walks through Chilterns countryside, and also forms part of the Chilterns Cycleway which follows through Berkhamsted and heads towards the Gade Valley.
All information is shared with customers and visitors, as we feel the importance placed on the local landscape of Berkhamsted and the surrounding Chilterns is a primary part of its conservation and tourism effort.