“Laid-back country-house hotel nestled in the Mendip Hills just outside Bath, with quirky rooms, a deer park and fabulous organic food”
The 29 rooms are split between the main building and the Coach House (you might hear some restaurant noise in the former, but other than that there's little difference), plus 2 secluded hideaways (set in individual stone buildings) in the kitchen garden. All feature the same eclectic mix - antique desks and chairs, chunky wooden floors made from reclaimed French railway carriages, botanical prints on the walls, and comfy beds topped with luxurious linens. Bathrooms have monsoon showers and Bramley products, and you also get Nespresso machines, retro Roberts radios and minibars (here called 'larders') packed with goodies (from fudge to Orchard Pig cider and Champagne).
Even the smallest Snug Rooms are just about big enough to swing a pig, but if you’re staying for more than a night or 2 it’s worth upgrading to a slightly larger Comfy Room (the only rooms which can be set up as twins; some also interconnect). If you want a bath, you’ll have to splash out on one of the Comfy Luxe Rooms, which have freestanding roll-top tubs in the bedroom or bathroom. We stayed in one of these and loved the four-poster bed, the sink-into sofa, the fern-frond motif dotting the walls, and the tastefully tiled ensuite in black, brown and grey. Big Comfy Luxe Rooms are similar but have even more space.
For those wanting maximum privacy, The Apple Store and The Hide are a great choice. Spread over 2 floors, they have a cosy bedroom (with wood-burner) on the ground floor, and a bathroom with a shower and roll-top tub above. They also have terraces with a couple of chairs. The former has views of the garden, while the latter looks out over the deer park.
The restaurant is in a renovated Victorian greenhouse, or you can also dine out on the terrace when the weather allows. We loved the décor - mismatched tables adorned with pots of fresh herbs and flowers, bone-handled cutlery, wooden crates and old garden paraphernalia dotting the walls and floor - but it’s the food that really steals the show. The menu changes daily and is dictated by whatever the kitchen gardener and forager unearth each morning. There's always plenty of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit, and what can’t be grown on site is sourced only from producers within a 25-mile radius.
Predictably, pork features strongly, but by no means overwhelmingly. We had a selection of ‘Piggy Bits’ to accompany our pre-dinner G&Ts (the honey and chilli pork-belly pieces were particularly divine), before moving on to delicate home-smoked salmon in a Somerset cider dressing and a fresh garden-mint and spring-vegetable soup. For mains we devoured a huge chargrilled 35-day-aged sirloin of ruby red beef with hand-cut chips and béarnaise sauce, and an oven-roasted rump of English lamb with charred leek and braised cabbage. With little space left for dessert, we opted for a light selection of 3 sorbets - strawberry, blackberry and yoghurt. It was all washed down with a crisp Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from the extensive wine list.
For lunches and lighter snacks you can order pizza or flatbread fresh from the wood-fired oven, and the bar is open throughout the day for drinks.
Breakfast isn’t included in the rates but is well worth the additional cost. There are 3 options - an expansive buffet with all sorts of pastries, cereals and juices (you can even boil a freshly laid egg), a full list of cooked dishes, and a selection of lighter à la carte choices. All are delicious, so don’t worry if you can’t face the Full English: you’re still in for a treat.
Children of all ages are welcome, and they’ll love romping around the grounds and meeting the resident pigs, deer and chickens. There’s plenty to amuse kids nearby too, including child-friendly museums in Bath and Bristol.
Most Comfy Luxe and Big Comfy Luxe Rooms can accommodate an extra bed or baby cot, and some Comfy Rooms interconnect.
Staff can provide details of a local babysitting agency.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
The 'Piglet' kids' menu features the likes of sausage and mash, free-range chicken and chips and apple jelly and ice cream, all made from the same locally sourced goodies as the main menu.