At the Chapel

Bruton, Bristol, Bath & Somerset, United Kingdom Book from

Reviewed by Liz Simpson
Restored chapel in pretty Bruton with classy comforts, great food and a relaxed vibe
We’d already planned a lazy weekend lunch at the Chapel, after hearing about it through friends. It sounded great: a restored medieval chapel, with unpretentious food and a laid-back atmosphere. Then they opened 8 gorgeous rooms, too, so we went for the night - and we loved it. The hub of this charming Somerset town, the Chapel buzzes with bonhomie. You enter through heavy wooden doors and feel awed by the building; ahead are 2 enormous windows, a soaring high ceiling, suspended bauble lighting and tall church candles; underneath are wooden tables with calfskin chairs. It is an immaculate restoration - the sense of history is palpable but the look is contemporary, with exquisite furniture handmade by owner Ahmed. His partner Catherine hosts the show, former owner of London’s Cafe Med chain so well versed in stylish hospitality, and super friendly, as are her staff.

Every table was full - a mix of families, couples and friends - and every plate of food looked fresh and delicious. We peeked in the open kitchen, admired the vast wood-fired oven in the on-site bakery, then wandered down to the Clubroom and sunny terrace where priceless original art lined the walls - Tracey Emins and a Turner Prize winner (Martin Creed) lent by a local collector. Everything looked fabulous yet nothing felt intimidating. And when we returned in 2015, we loved it even more.


  • The 8 rooms, made to hole up in. Original stained-glass windows, White Company linens and robes, and enormous TVs with a hard drive of movies. Plus breakfasts in bed
  • The food: we loved our chargrilled chicken, super-fresh salads and wood-fired pizzas
  • The price range, which offers something for everyone. There's a cheap room and inexpensive dining options, something in between, or you can splurge on the fabulous Attic Suite and champagne cocktails
  • Bruton, with its ancient houses and modern vibe. Just 2 hours from London and well placed for Stourhead, Longleat and Frome
  • Thoughtful extras: fresh milk and chilled glasses in your fridge, Ren toiletries, Hunter wellies to borrow, and a welcome glass of Prosecco for booking through i-escape


  • Breakfast is home-baked croissants left outside your door (+ homemade jam in your fridge). It allows you to be lazy, but if you’d prefer a cooked option, you’ll need to pay extra
  • Some feel the service is too relaxed
  • Underfloor heating in the bathroom made our bedroom very hot at night

Best time to go

At the Chapel is open all year (except Christmas Day), and makes a lovely getaway whatever the season. Summer is gorgeous for lazy drinks on the terrace, and it's a cosy bolthole in the colder seasons.

Our top tips

  • Ask if there are any events planned for the month you want to stay; At the Chapel hosts regular art exhibitions, events and courses
  • As you leave, buy a few goodies from the delectable on-site bakery - we took away delicious quiches and gooey brownies
  • Great for...

    Great Outdoors
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Hotel
    • 8
    • Café/restaurant and bar (open daily)
    • All ages welcome
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service
    • Hard drive of in-room movies


    On our first visit, we were lucky enough to stay in the fabulous Attic Suite. An enormous space with eaved ceilings, weathered wood beams and lots of light, it felt like an apartment, with a bedroom, bathroom and living area. The kingsize bed was superbly comfortable, piled high with pillows, and you could lie in bed and look out to the National Trust’s Dovecote building on the opposite hill. Then you could wallow in the double-ended bathtub and try all the Ren toiletries (there’s a walk-in shower, too). And then you could wrap up in a White Company robe and pad out to the living area, where a long leather sofa and vast TV await. Should you want to escape the world, you could order up pizza and watch one of the hard-drive movies. Each room features an artist, with a couple of their works and a coffee-table book to read about them. Ours was Louise Bourgeois and it was amazing to be surrounded by her renowned works.

    Room 2 was our next favourite (a Medium); high-ceilinged with a stunning 17th-century Lancet window and a vast bathroom with a tub and walk-in shower. Room 3 (a Medium) had glorious views over the 12th-century Saxon town rooftops. Room 4 (a Small) was a cosy retreat with eaved ceilings, a mullioned window, and all the contemporary comforts of the larger rooms, so it’s great value. We didn't get to see Room 1 (a Medium), but have no doubt it's beautiful.

    On our 2015 visit, we saw the 3 newest rooms, all of which have showers and baths. Room 6 has an enormous bathroom window with south-facing views of the 12th-century church; Room 7 has ground-floor access (so is suitable for those with mobility issues) and can be made up as a twin (both Mediums). We stayed in Room 8 (a Large) on the lowest level, with a cool moss-green chaise longue, big calfskin rug, and a private garden terrace. It was a total treat.

    Features include:

    • Bathrobes
    • Central heating
    • Coffee tea making
    • Cots Available
    • Hairdryer
    • Hard drive with movie library
    • Hot water bottle
    • Ipod dock
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Radio
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet


    A café/restaurant before it was a hotel, At the Chapel’s food is excellent, down to earth and reasonably priced. Most of it is locally reared and sourced (fish from Lyme Bay, salad leaves from Charles Dowding’s biodynamic farm) or made on-site in the bakery, which features an enormous wood-fired oven made from restored cellar bricks.

    For lunch we chose salads: juicy figs with creamy mozzarella and rocket, and flavoursome beetroot, goat’s cheese and walnuts. Served with homemade bread and accompanied by delicious chilled rosé, they were perfect for a summer’s day. For dinner, we couldn't resist pizzas from the wood-fired oven, accompanied by fragrant Charles Dowding leaves and a rich Rioja.

    On our 2015 visit, we were genuinely wowed by salt hake brandade with a poached egg for starters, and Castlemead chargrilled chicken with roasted butternut squash and fennel for main. Our chocolate and beetroot cake was a bit bland but the lemon and mint sorbet was excellent.

    Breakfast is giant croissants from the on-site bakery, which are left in a bag outside your bedroom; homemade strawberry jam and Somerset butter await in your fridge. Check out isn't until 12pm, so they make for a perfect lie-in and lazy morning. If you’re left hungry (we weren't), head downstairs and order Somerset ham with fried eggs or a Sandridge Farm bacon sandwich on sourdough.

    Features include:

    • Bar
    • Children meals
    • Coffee tea making
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Organic produce
    • Restaurant
    • Restaurants nearby
    • Room service
    • Vegetarian menu


    • Stroll around Bruton, and explore its delis, antique stores, quirky shops, museum and beautiful architecture. The National Trust's famous Dovecote is on a hill opposite

    • Visit contemporary art space Hauser & Wirth on the edge of town. Younger sibling to the Hauser & Wirth galleries in Zurich and New York, it's being widely touted as the art world's next big thing

    • Nearby Frome is gorgeous, a small market town with great cafés, historic architecture and a surprising abundance of vintage boutiques. It hosts an excellent artisan market on the first Sunday of every month

    • Go walking. Many footpaths weave their way through Bruton and the surrounding countryside, including the Leyland Trail and Macmillan Way; Bruton makes a perfect centre

    • Stourhead's stunning garden is not to be missed; this 18th-century landscaped garden reflects the seasons like no other and is full of mock-Roman temples and hidden grottos - perfect picnic (and proposal!) spots

    • About 5 miles to the southwest of Bruton is Cadbury Castle, the reputed site of Camelot; to the northwest is pretty Glastonbury, the fabled Avalon, which would suggest that that King Arthur may have visited the town at some time in the 5th or 6th century. Make a pilgrimage up Glastonbury Tor, a grassy mound topped by the remains of the medieval church of St Michael

    • Spend the day at Longleat Safari Park (30 minutes' drive) where there are animals to meet, games to play and mazes to get lost in - not to mention an enormous house to explore

    • At certain times of year, the nearby town of Shepton Mallet plays host to one of the largest antiques and flea markets in the country. With stalls selling anything from tea sets and books to kitchen units and chairs, it’s a thrifter’s paradise

    • Head to Wincanton for a day at the races

    • Beautiful Bath is within day-tripping distance - we love its boutique shops, buzzy street market scene and the famous Roman Baths

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Horse racing
    • Museums / galleries
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Shopping / markets
    • Swimming
    • Wildlife


    This is a welcoming place for families, although it's probably best suited to couples. There's a children's menu on Sundays, plus the à la carte menu has options kids will like, including pizza and ice cream. There are colouring books and board games in the café/restaurant, and it has a buzzy, informal atmosphere. Alternatively, you can sit older kids in front of a movie in your room, order them up a pizza, and pop downstairs for an adult meal! Baby monitors will reach.

    Best for:

    All ages

    Family friendly accommodation:

    All rooms can fit a baby cot. The Attic Suite is best for larger families as it is massive with a double sofabed in the living area plus space for a baby cot. It has a bath and a walk-in shower

    Baby equipment:

    • Baby cots
    • Highchairs

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    • Sunday children's menu offering mini roasts, burgers, fish fingers and pasta
    • Pizza, burgers and ice cream on the à la carte menu

    Kids Activities on site:

    • Family films
    • Board games and colouring books

    Kids Activities nearby:

    • Longleat safari park
    • Mill on the Brue – a children's activity centre
    • Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet
    • River Brue


    • Shops: 1 minute
    Kid Friendly:

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