Escape the daily grind and enjoy cracking food, cosy dining rooms and the best of village life at our pick of stellar Somerset dining pubs
The Talbot Inn, Mells
Just 20 minutes from Bath, The Talbot Inn (pictured top) is a traditional coaching inn with oodles of style. For town and city dwellers in need of a rural escape, this is the ideal spot.
Situated in the picturesque village of Mells, it’s both a proper pub serving local ales and a relaxed restaurant delivering unpretentious, but above par, bar food. Meat and game are sourced from local farms and fresh leaves picked direct from The Talbot kitchen garden.
Roaring fires blaze during the winter months, while in the summer guests can head outside to the beautiful cobbled courtyard garden to soak up some vitamin D.
Overnight guests at this Somerset pub can choose from eight gorgeous bedrooms. Each room is tastefully decorated and comfort maximised with Siberian goose-down bedding and Egyptian cotton sheets.
The Cotley Inn, near Chard
Located in the Cotley Estate at the foot of the Blackdown Hills, The Cotley Inn gets first dibs on the estate’s delicious produce which means the food is as fresh and sustainable as it can be. Ruby Red Devon cattle, pigs from the next-door paddock and birds from the local shoot feature on the field-to-fork menu, which marries fine dining with traditional pub grub.
Locals gather here in the summer to enjoy beers on the sun-dappled south-facing terrace. The surrounding area is a walker’s paradise, so you can clock up a few miles on the pedometer before tucking into a scrumptious lunch and a glass of wine from Dalwood Vineyard, located just a few miles down the road.
Inside is rustic and charming with open fires and mismatched wooden tables and chairs. Later this year diners will be able to rest their weary heads (and full bellies) here too, thanks to the opening of rooms for bed and breakfast.
The Swan, Wedmore
Food takes centre stage at this handsome Georgian inn in the bustling village of Wedmore in the Somerset Levels. Exec chef Tom Blake previously headed up the kitchen at River Cottage, so the menu is brimming with creatively executed, country pub fare using the finest local ingredients. Dishes like Orchard Farm pork belly, morcilla and potato croquette, and flat iron chicken, roast squash, celeriac and ‘nduja butter satiate hearty appetites.
There’s plenty to see and do in the local area. Britain’s smallest city, Wells, is just eight miles away and its spectacular cathedral makes for a great photo opp. Or head to the fabulously hippy town of Glastonbury and climb the Tor for breathtaking views across the Somerset Levels.
If you’re stopping overnight, The Swan at Wedmore has seven bedrooms, each individually furnished in an elegant French country style. Guests in the bigger rooms can luxuriate for hours in a roll-top cast-iron bath before heading downstairs for a sumptuous supper.
Candlelight Inn, near Chard
Cosy up at this recently refurbished 17th century inn nestled in the heart of the Blackdown Hills. The dog-friendly venue is open for lunch and dinner, and celebrates the best of British cooking in a line-up of seasonally inspired dishes.
Hungry day-trippers should plump for the set lunch menu which offers exceptional value and delicious fodder such as goat’s cheese mousse with glazed figs to start, and roast chicken, candied beetroots, pickled rhubarb and sautéed potatoes for mains.
Evening diners can choose from pub classics or more inventive dishes like coffee and hazelnut crusted venison with black pudding boulangère, date puree, chicory, redcurrants, chocolate tuille and game jus.
If you fancy an aperitif, ask for a Beau Gin with elderflower tonic. This signature cocktail is made with the Candlelight Inn’s own artisan gin, named after the loveable resident Irish Setter.
Read our dining review of the Candlelight Inn here.
The Queens Arms, Corton Denham
A visit to The Queens Arms, on the Somerset and Dorset border, is like stepping back in time. You can almost imagine Jane Austen rolling up in a carriage and stepping through the doors of this grand Georgian inn.
Stylishly refurbished during lockdown by new owners Simon and Doune Mackenzie-Francis, The Queens Arms is re-establishing itself as a proper foodie destination. Less pub, more restaurant, its kitchen is headed up by chef Jonny Jones, formerly of The River Café and Koji. His menus feature solid English favourites but with European influence. Book in for a Sunday lunch after an energising amble in the countryside and you’ll be treated to dishes like roast haunch of Dorset venison with traditional trimmings, and fillet of cod with pearl barley risotto, greens and tomato emulsion.
An ideal spot for a stopover between London and Cornwall, there are five en-suite rooms to book above the restaurant, as well as a dog-friendly coach house across the road and a private cottage for longer stays.
Like 5 of the best Somerset dining pubs? Check out our roundup of foodie pubs with rooms.