By Imogen Cox, Digital Marketing Executive

Few places look more festive than North Somerset at Christmastime. The county’s historic inns are warmed by roaring fires, smart towns like Bruton look magical with their twinkly lights and Christmas trees in windows, and cute-as-a-button villages make for picturesque walks in the countryside. So, to feel the festive spirit, Imogen from our marketing team couldn’t resist a quick visit.

Stop 1: Durslade Farmhouse

We started off our festive break with a visit to Durslade Farmhouse in Bruton. What a privilege to have this six-bedroom house to ourselves! It’s set on the site of Hauser & Wirth, the world-famous art gallery that put this little Somerset town on the map. As we arrived, we were met with glistening Christmas lights, trees, and decorations mixed in with the sculptures in the central courtyard.

We had booked in for a roast at Roth Bar & Grill, the gallery’s restaurant, literally opposite the farmhouse. It was a feast of Durslade beef striploin and lamb shoulder, bloody marys, red wine, sticky toffee pudding & a cheesebard. We certainly started off the trip as we meant to go on! Suitably full, we ambled over to the house to take a look around. Hugo, who showed us in, was keen not to stick around for too long, as he said half of the magic is exploring the house for yourself.

We were met with a generous hamper of goodies from the farmshop: a loaf of sourdough, milk, eggs, butter, strawberry jam, mince pies and a bottle of sparkling rose. The house was just as quirky as I had imagined, and having six bedrooms to choose from meant we took our time sussing the place out. Each bedroom has oodles of character and quirks, but we opted for Niki & Jackie’s Bedroom – the secret attic room set in the eaves of the house – because it was light and refreshingly different from the rest of the property. This room spanned the entire top floor, with a cosy bedroom, a seating area and a bathroom with a gorgeous tub. I must give a shoutout to the amazing Albamhor toiletries, too.

Being the middle of winter, it got cold and dark out very early, so we were a little worried the house would be draughty. How wrong we were! It was beautifully warm and cosy throughout our stay. But I must confess, with it just being the two of us, the light from the art installations, all of the empty rooms, and the creaky doors and floors did make me feel a tiny bit scared at moments!

We played board games, cooked meals with produce from the farmshop, went on country walks, explored the gallery and gardens, and watched Christmas films with a roaring fire and a glass of wine. Heaven. I thought the kitchen was very well stocked, and I felt very relaxed and comfortable here. Despite the size of the farmhouse, it has a very homely feel. I can imagine a big group of family or friends loving it here. It could be the perfect house for a big celebration or reunion. I also thought it would be a brilliant setting for a murder mystery party or similar.

Farmhouse rental from GBP 500

Stop 2: At The Chapel

Before heading to our next destination, we called in at The Three Horseshoes for lunch, a newcomer on the prestigious Somerset foodie circuit. The menu was heavily inspired by the London owners’ other restaurant, St John – pig head pie, mince on toast and crispy pig skin, just to name a few bar snacks. Right up my street, but not for everyone. The pub has 5 gorgeous rooms above, which are soon to join i-escape – watch this space!

Our next destination was on the main high street in Bruton, At The Chapel. We parked in their handy car park (no hope of parking in Bruton otherwise). I checked out all rooms, which were lovely if a little sparse (I like rooms with more colour and quirk). Their newest addition, room 9, is quite differently styled with more modern decor: some art on the walls, patterned throws and cushions, beams painted black. My favourite was garden room 8, which had a private terrace where you could have breakfast served. We stayed in room 3, one of two Premium rooms, with large chapel windows, huge beds dressed in gorgeous linens, and marble bathrooms with freestanding baths & walk-in showers. The bath was amazing, I could’ve happily stayed in there all evening.

We had a nice supper here in the old chapel hall, where installations hang from the ceiling. We began with some sharing plates: focaccia with herb butter, arancini, smoked trout with celeriac remoulade, and a pate with sourdough. Then we shared their Christmas special pizza which had porchetta, chestnuts and cranberry sauce on a white base, with a delicious kale salad and some fries on the side. The restaurant had a nice buzz to it, despite it being a Tuesday evening.

In the morning we were met with fresh croissants outside our bedroom door – we had these in bed with a coffee, which was lovely. I popped downstairs afterwards (for yet more coffee) and saw a few ladies leaving a yoga class from the downstairs events space. I wish I had known about this – maybe next time. Later we nipped over the road for lunch at The Old Pharmacy, which is a tiny but rather lovely restaurant, where we shared soup and a sandwich, and then headed on our way to our final stop.

Rooms from GBP 83

Stop 3: The Lord Poulett Arms

En route to our final destination, we made a quick stop at The Newt, which I highly recommend. It’s a country estate with gorgeous gardens and a farmshop that will make you drool – we sipped on warm spiced cider here and felt fuzzy and festive. Then it was over to the very quaint Hinton St. George, the first gaslit village in the UK. We were lucky enough to be staying in the only pub in the village, The Lord Poulett Armswhich has gained a lot of great press recently.

We were in room 1, a Medium bedroom at the front of the building, with a kingsized bed, ensuite loo, and slipper bath in the bedroom. There were Bramley products galore, from the usual toiletries to bath salts and shaving kits. We were also met with a bag of homemade shortbread and ginger biscuits. The room was perfectly cosy, comfortable and very stylishly decorated.

We went for a quick walk around the village, which warmed my Christmas cockles – every beautiful thatched cottage had an ornate wreath and a lovely tree, and I felt like I was in a real-life scene from The Holiday! We then stopped in for a pint at the bar, which was filled with locals and their four-legged friends.

After a pre-dinner soak in our lovely bathtub, we headed down to eat. Dinner lived up to expectations – they have quite a reputation for their food. I had a seabass ceviche with pickled peppers and tiger’s milk, followed by a pan-roasted cod dish with brown shrimp and caper butter, lemon puree and crispy potato. My boyfriend had a scotch egg with celeriac remoulade and sriracha mayonnaise, followed by a seasonal ballotine of turkey with cranberry sauce, potato terrine and parsnip puree. We finished things off with a deep-fried Lopen apple pie with cinnamon toast ice cream, and another cheeseboard.. a very special one with local West Country cheeses and Lord Poulett house digestives. Delicious!

They had a majestic Christmas tree and several fireplaces around, which kept our festive feels alight. We slept very well, possibly weighed down by all that food! In the morning, breakfast was a continental offering, with a bloody mary station which I thought would be rude not to sample! Then came a menu of hot items from the kitchen – I recommend the full English, which included a yummy pork and marmalade sausage. Full again, we headed off on our way, having been looked after spectacularly. I’d love to return.

Rooms from GBP 120