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The Barrington Boar, Ilminster, Somerset
This fine restaurant-with-rooms is housed in a picturesque pub in a Ham stone village typical of those in laidback South Somerset. Though it is not far from a handful of beautiful stately homes, the inn's own chocolate box appearance does not extend to its four bedrooms, somewhat disappointingly, which are located in a former skittle alley and are more modern in style. This is primarily a place to eat though and the chef has gained experience in Michelin-starred restaurants in London. Service from the husband-and-wife team is highly polished and the restaurant is guaranteed to have a buzz about it, as it is proving popular. The four rooms are comfortable boltholes in which to put your feet up and switch off.
Nearby National Trust-owned Barrington Court, although empty, is gorgeous. Artisans work in the outbuildings and visitors can walk past flower beds, through fertile orchards.
There are plenty of local walks, while both Taunton and Yeovil are both 25 minutes by car.
By car: 1 hour 15 minutes from Bristol, under 3 hours from London and 4 hours from Manchester. Free parking on-site.
By train: direct trains to Taunton from Bristol Temple Meads (1 hour) and London Paddington (2 hours). The hotel is around a 25-minute drive from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The hotel suits foodies and walkers who arrive by car, with a view to exploring their rural surroundings. We loved that this was somewhere that served serious food yet the people making it were down-to-earth and amiable.
Service & Facilities
Victoria, one of the owners, made a real effort to chat to all of her guests - be they regulars at the bar or first-time diners.
- Free parking
- Free Wi-Fi
One of the rooms - all of which are on the ground floor - is dog-friendly and local walks are well documented.
The rooms are all fairly similar in size and décor. Comfy king-size beds provided a great night's rest on super-smooth sheets.
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, Nespresso machine, treats from the kitchen, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
Even the nibbles were of a superior quality, with a devilishly smooth and smoky cod roe dip going down especially well. The plaice accompanied by a huge courgette flower that was stuffed with prawn and sitting in a crab sauce, with parsley farfalle, was delicious.
The Barrington Boar: Modern British cuisine, locally sourced ingredients, seasonal menus. Open for lunch, Thu-Sun and dinner, Wed-Sat. Lunch set menu from £25.