“Stunningly refurbished historic inn that’s breathed new life into a handsome village in the rural heart of the Somerset Levels”
For those who want a relaxed rural break in the Somerset Levels, it’s a perfect base. Downstairs it's an easygoing haven of wood floors, leather chairs, local ales and an open fire. Upstairs, the quirky rooms are exactly what you'd want: stylish and calming yet unfussy and practical. Walls are painted in soft neutrals or stony grey, and natural fabrics are offset with splashes of colour from cushions or pictures, and intriguing pieces of furniture skilfully foraged from eBay and auction rooms. But the heart of this place is the kitchen, led by Tom Blake from River Cottage. His gutsy country cooking, with its scrupulously sourced ingredients, has really put The Swan on the map. The result is a genuine community hub with a loyal local clientele and lashings of atmosphere - a rare thing indeed.
- Great West Country food: Tom cures his own hams and bacon, fresh fish is delivered daily from Brixham, ciders and ales are locally produced
- The gorgeous rooms are more hotel than pub: claw-foot bathtubs, Bramley toiletries and each uniquely decorated
- Cycling through the flat Somerset Levels, hiking in the Mendip Hills and watching incredible murmurations of starlings: this is a beautifully peaceful part of England
- Fantastic value. All booked up? Try their nearby sister properties The White Hart Somerton and Timbrells Yard
- When we last visited we thought some of the rooms were looking a little tired
- The Medium and Small Rooms have bathtubs only (rather than showers)
- This is a busy and popular pub, so don’t expect total silence in the rooms; Large and Loft Rooms are the quietest
- The food is a little pricey, but it's delicious and you're paying for the expertise of a former River Cottage chef
- On subsequent visits, we have found service to be patchy at times
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Pub with rooms
- Restaurant and bar (open daily)
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
If a claw-foot bathtub in your bedroom and a rain shower in your bathroom floats your boat, book one of the Large Rooms (at the front, but triple-glazed) or the charming Loft Room, tucked away at the top of a private staircase. We loved Large Room 3 with its French-grey walls, white shutters and pretty scatter cushions, but the Loft Room's delicate wallpaper and original exposed beams really stole our hearts.
At the back of the building, the smaller, cheaper Medium and Small Rooms all share sleek white tongue-and-groove panelling, creating a clean, minimalist feel. This is punctuated with vibrant bursts of colour - perhaps hummingbird wallpaper or 60s mirrors and film posters - and beautiful desks built by a local joiner using sustainable oak from the Longleat Estate. Bathrooms are stylish but simple, with deep bathtubs and underfloor-heated tiles.
All rooms have fuchsia-pink hairdryers, tea/coffee-making facilities, a flat-screen TV/DVD player and top-notch toiletries by Bramley, a local company. Beds throughout are comfy and kingsize, complete with crisp white Egyptian linens and headboards in deep-buttoned velvets or wool.
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Ipod dock
- Iron (on request)
- Satellite TV
Whet your appetite with a local ale, cider or apple juice at The Swan’s handsome oak bar, and prepare yourself for a top-quality meal in the welcoming restaurant. Head Chef Tom heralds from the River Cottage kitchen and takes a lot of inspiration from his time there. Rare-breed pork from the village butcher features strongly on the menu.
We really liked the beef carpaccio, and the spiced belly of Gloucester Old Spot, but found the venison with juniper and bay a little tough. The excellent meat options are complemented by fresh fish from Brixham - delicious whiting with capers and Jerusalem artichokes - and a veggie option, such as bubble and squeak with fried duck egg and pumpkin purée. Desserts are decadent: dark chocolate trifle with boozy cherries.
A simple but delicious organic breakfast is served on mismatched vintage china: bacon sandwiches (cured by Tom himself), smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, and Brown Cow yoghurt with fruit and granola. Bread is homemade, as are jams.
Should you wish to eat elsewhere, good places include Michelin-starred gastropub The Pony & Trap near Chew Magna, The Ethicurean at Wrington, The Old Spot in nearby Wells or the café at the Brown & Forrest Smokery in Hambridge.
- Children's meals
- Coffee / tea making
- Organic produce
- Restaurants nearby
- Vegetarian menu
- Once an island, the lively village of Wedmore has a lovely 15th-century church plus many clothes and food shops to peruse
- Hike the Mendip Hills to the north. Or walk and cycle around the blissfully flat Somerset Levels with their unique marsh and ditch systems. In winter, the Levels are famous for birdlife, including murmurations of starlings
- Admire the limestone drama of the Cheddar Gorge, 5km north, and abseil down its cliffs if you dare. Then visit its vast caves, or see famous Cheddar cheese being made by the gorge’s last remaining cheesemaker
- Enjoy a tipple at Wilkins, a cider farm near Mudgley, south of Wedmore, or do tastings at the Somerset Distillery at Burrow Hill, famous for its award-winning cider brandy; both are served at The Swan
- Admire the stunning medieval cathedral in Wells, England’s smallest ‘city’. Take in its Bishop’s Palace, cobbled streets and historic market place. Check for special concerts in the cathedral, or there’s evensong daily
- Make a pilgrimage up Glastonbury Tor, a grassy mound topped by the remains of the medieval church of St Michael. The town itself is reputed to be the birthplace of Christianity - don’t miss its ruined abbey
- If the weather's good, stroll around one of the many gardens in the area, including Lytes Cary Manor, former home of medieval herbalist Henry Lyte, or Barrington Court
- Staff can arrange abseiling, horse riding, golf, hot-air ballooning, kitesurfing and clay pigeon shooting; just ask
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Cider tasting
- Historical sites
- Horse riding
- Hot air ballooning
- Museums / galleries
- Plantlife / flora
- Shopping / markets
Families will enjoy the relaxed country pub atmosphere and there's acres of surrounding countryside for letting off steam. Baby cots are available free of charge for babies and toddlers up to 2 years of age; extra beds can be arranged for an extra cost for children up to 12 years old.
Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)
Family friendly accommodation:
Large Rooms can hold a baby cot or an extra bed (for children under 12); the Loft Room has space for a baby cot only. Small and Medium Rooms are not suitable for extra beds and baby cots
Babysitting is on offer by arrangement
Children can pick from their own menu (pasta, sausages, steak, sandwiches) or chose smaller versions of dishes on the main menu
Kids Activities nearby:
- Wedmore has a public playground
- Cheddar gorge and caves
- Go karting
- Longleat (approx. 1-hour away)
- Puxton Park (30 minutes away)
- Doctor / Hospital: Wedmore (5 minutes)
The Swan is set in the handsome village of Wedmore, in the rural Somerset Levels, southwest England.
Bristol (27km) and Exeter (90km) are the nearest airports. Both have good links from other cities within the UK and Europe, but if you're coming from further afield you'll probably arrive at London Heathrow (227km).
Bringing a car is the easiest option; The Swan is 45 minutes' drive south of Bristol and around 2.5 hours from London Heathrow. See our car rental recommendations.
Bristol and Bridgwater are both around 26km away, and have good links from Exeter, London Paddington and other UK cities - see Seat 61 for more details. London Heathrow is linked to London Paddington by the high-speed Heathrow Express rail line.
Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Bristol Airport 27.0 km BRS
- Exeter Airport 90.0 km EXT
- Beach 15.0 km
- Shops 0.5 km
- Restaurant 0.5 km