UK hotel review: The Pig In The Wall hotel in the heart of medieval Southampton is big on charm

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Nestled in the medieval walls of Southampton – and in the shadow of giant cruise liners in the city docks – The Pig In The Wall hotel offers a welcoming retreat in the heart of a busy city less than half an hour from the New Forest.

The smallest in the group’s ‘litter’ of eight hotels has just 12 rooms, a treat-packed deli for light bites and a delightful lounge that wouldn’t be out of place in any country house hotel many times its size.

The attraction of this hideaway lies in its simplicity, the quality of service and the quirky touches in its shabby chic rooms.

The Pig In The Wall, pictured above, is nestled in the medieval walls of Southampton

The Pig In The Wall, pictured above, is nestled in the medieval walls of Southampton

Country house feel: The Pig In The Wall hotel is the smallest in the group’s ‘litter’ of eight hotels. Pictured is the cosy lounge

Country house feel: The Pig In The Wall hotel is the smallest in the group’s ‘litter’ of eight hotels. Pictured is the cosy lounge

These come in three sizes: snug (built in the eaves), comfy and spacious. Ours was mid-size with a rustic, old-fashioned cosiness that we looked forward to coming back to after exploring the city.

Individual touches included the Roberts radio, Bakelite phone and a well-stocked minibar plus a generous walk-in shower stocked with goat’s milk soap.

Among our fellow guests were those overnighting before a trip over to the Isle of Wight, and much further afield – on those cruise ships. 

The individual touches in the rooms include a Bakelite phone and a well-stocked minibar

The individual touches in the rooms include a Bakelite phone and a well-stocked minibar

'There’s a comfortable quirkiness about The Pig In The Wall,' says Adrian. Pictured is the bathroom in one of the guest rooms

‘There’s a comfortable quirkiness about The Pig In The Wall,’ says Adrian. Pictured is the bathroom in one of the guest rooms

The 'shabby chic' rooms are priced from £170. Adrian approves of the old-fashioned cosiness of his room and he enjoys the 'generous walk-in shower'

The ‘shabby chic’ rooms are priced from £170. Adrian approves of the old-fashioned cosiness of his room and he enjoys the ‘generous walk-in shower’

A short walk alongside the city walls on Western Esplanade takes you to the Westquay shopping complex, home to a vast cinema and restaurants. 

The huge Showcase cinema building looms over the historic quarter like a giant ship and this modern-day monument wouldn’t look out of place in Shanghai.

Further on lies Southampton’s SeaCity Museum with a permanent Titanic exhibition, unmissable for any visitor to the city.

The Pig In The Wall sits in the shadow of giant cruise liners in the city docks, pictured above

The Pig In The Wall sits in the shadow of giant cruise liners in the city docks, pictured above

The hotel is a short walk from the Westquay shopping complex and Showcase cinema. Adrian says that the cinema 'looms over the historic quarter like a giant ship'

The hotel is a short walk from the Westquay shopping complex and Showcase cinema. Adrian says that the cinema ‘looms over the historic quarter like a giant ship’

Southampton’s SeaCity Museum, pictured, with its permanent Titanic exhibition, is 'unmissable' for any visitor to the city

Southampton’s SeaCity Museum, pictured, with its permanent Titanic exhibition, is ‘unmissable’ for any visitor to the city

You’ll find statues by Rodin and Antony Gormley inside Southampton’s art gallery and library, pictured

You’ll find statues by Rodin and Antony Gormley inside Southampton’s art gallery and library, pictured 

It illustrates brilliantly how entwined the city was with the doomed liner and tells the moving stories of some of those crew from Southampton who were caught up in the disaster in April 1912. 

More than three-quarters of the crew – 715 men and women – joined the ship from homes across the city. Only 175 returned.

Just around the corner from the museum is an Art Deco building that’s home to Southampton’s art gallery and library. It’s a limited exhibition but you’ll find statues by Rodin and Antony Gormley inside.

The hotel's lounge is a mix of vintage wooden tables and low comfy sofas with coffee tables, Adrian reveals

The hotel’s lounge is a mix of vintage wooden tables and low comfy sofas with coffee tables, Adrian reveals 

At breakfast, guests are charged £10pp on top of the room rate for the continental version with a selection of cereals, yogurt, ham, cheese, eggs and pastries

At breakfast, guests are charged £10pp on top of the room rate for the continental version with a selection of cereals, yogurt, ham, cheese, eggs and pastries

Southampton, which last year was long-listed in its bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2025, is also home to the Mayflower Theatre, the biggest on the South Coast.

Back at The Pig, it’s time to get our snouts in the trough. All meals are taken in the lounge – at a mix of vintage wooden tables and low comfy sofas with coffee tables – as there is no separate restaurant.

At dinner, starters, from £8, include pork pies and thyme sausage rolls or quiche of the day. Smoked pork belly (yes, there’s a theme!) with roasted squash and parsley dressing comes in at £15, as does a delicious cottage pie and curly kale. Service has a family feel to it and the friendly staff, known as piglets, are knowledgeable about what’s being served.

At breakfast, guests are charged £10pp on top of the room rate for the continental version with a selection of cereals, yogurt, ham, cheese, eggs and pastries – or £14 for the Piggy Pan cooked breakfast.

There’s a comfortable quirkiness about The Pig In The Wall, and this little piggy certainly went home feeling content.

TRAVEL FACTS 

The Pig In The Wall, Southampton. Rooms are priced from £170 (thepighotel.com). 

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