The Talbot Inn Pub with rooms in Mells, Somerset

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Timeless feudal village setting
  • Great staff; expect a VIP welcome
  • Gorgeous cobbled courtyard
  • Stunning bedrooms filled with extras
  • Exciting, seasonally changing menus
  • Don’t miss the Grill Room experience

PerkInn Places Perk

Tea and Crumpets on Arrival

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingCandlelitVisit a Stately PileNo Car NeededPrivate Dining

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Overview

The Talbot Inn Mells, Somerset, BA11 3PN

The personal touch

Set within an ancient cobbled courtyard, the 15th-century Talbot Inn Mells oozes genuine charm and character and fits perfectly into its feudal village setting, close to the historic church (where war poet Siegfried Sassoon is buried), the big manor house, and rows of unspoilt stone cottages. Energetic and passionate owners Dan Brod and Charlie Luxton, the dynamic duo behind the equally exemplary Beckford Arms Wiltshire (see entry), and Matt Greenlees, formerly at Babington House, restored the fortunes of the inn a few years back. With the help of skilled head chef Pravin Nayar, they have created a stylish and sophisticated inn, one of best in land, yet it welcomes everyone, from local drinkers and diners, walkers with their dogs, and weekenders from London with kids in tow. It’s a special place, a warren of snug rooms and passageways, with crackling winter fires, rugs on wood floors, flickering candles on old dining tables, a cracking beamed bar for a relaxing pint or two, and effortless service from charming, hand-picked staff. Across the cobbles is the Sitting Room, perfect for a private dinner or watching Sunday night TV, and the Coach House Grill Room, where food is simply grilled over charcoal and wood and served at long wooden tables with pitchers of wine, just like in Tudor times.

Sticky fingers

Kids are welcome overnight, with travel cots (free) and comfortable foam beds (£25 to cover laundry and breakfast) available and able to fit in all rooms, except Rooms 2 & 5. Room 7 (which has its own separate entrance) has a separate twin-bedded annexe room 7a and room 6 has a sofa bed in its sitting room annexe.

Muddy paws

The Talbot features a dog in the pub’s logo, so you would hope it was dog friendly and it certainly is, even having its own dog called Jake. Dogs are allowed in all the public areas downstairs and water bowls and bones are provided. For those staying, one dog-friendly room (8) is available, with a small charge of £10.

Alfresco

You can while away a long summer’s day in the pretty garden and the ancient cobbled courtyard has chairs and tables under parasols.

What’s on?

In the Sitting Room on Sunday night, popular TV programmes are sometimes screened on a giant projector system so locals and guests can watch them in a communal friendly environment. There are regular charity quizzes and a Christmas Market in December.

What’s the Damage?
8 Doubles from £100 to £160; family room £200 (two bedrooms)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking nearby

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide; Michelin Guide – ‘Bib Gourmand’

Sleep

The Talbot Inn Mells, Somerset, BA11 3PN

Do not disturb

The Talbot has eight stunning bedrooms, all offering the quality, comfort and attention to detail to be found in a top hotel, but with the informal charm and character of an inn. Overlooking the garden or pretty courtyard, they are simple and modern with comfy armchairs or sofas for curling up with a cuppa and a good book. Expect natural sea grass floors, local artwork and simple furnishings, alongside big beds topped with Egyptian cotton sheets, Siberian goose down duvets and Vintage Welsh blankets. All have bath and shower (apart from room 5, which only has a shower), and three feature roll-top baths parked quirkily by the bed. Pamper yourself with the Talbot’s own Bramley natural bath and body products and make good use of all the thoughtful extras, which include the emergency kit (toothpaste and sewing kit etc), the bath thermometer, the teapot and tea cosy for your morning cuppa, and enjoy the movies that can be streamed to the Smart TV for free. You will feel like you are staying at a very special place but somewhere where you can still feel very much at home – that’s the charm and appeal of The Talbot

Creature comforts

Poems by local famous poets in welcome folder; complimentary brownies; book library; fresh milk; Mozzo coffee and Princes & Sons Teas; handmade luxury Bramley natural bath and body products – if you love them you can purchase to take home at the bar; hot water bottles; emergency pack with toothbrush/paste, sewing kit etc.

Gadgets

Smart TVs, including movies that can be can be streamed to them for free; Internet radios with i-Pod docking stations; free wi-fi.

Pampering

An experienced therapist can be arranged for a one-hour relaxing facial or foot reflexology massage, or a half hour Indian head massage, in the privacy of your bedroom.

What’s for Breakfast?

Fresh orange juice; porridge with thick double cream, cinnamon & honey; homemade breads made with organic flour from Shipton Mill; The Talbot Full English; eggs Benedict; hash brown with fried duck egg; scrambled eggs with smoked salmon; eggy bread with bacon; Thyme-roasted mushrooms on toast; bacon or sausage sandwich.

What’s the Damage?
8 Doubles from £100 to £160; family room £200 (two bedrooms)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking nearby

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide; Michelin Guide – ‘Bib Gourmand’

Eat & Drink

The Talbot Inn Mells, Somerset, BA11 3PN

Mastering the menu

Head chef Pravin Nayar, who established the excellent food offer at the Beckford Arms, offers an exciting, seasonally changing menu with a genuine feel. Nearly everything is made, cured or smoked in-house, and local ingredients are used where possible, including Dexter beef, lamb, pork and chicken, with some produce grown in the pub’s kitchen garden. The menu blends more imaginative dishes, such as pork loin and belly fritter with heritage carrots, mash and ham hock consommé, and stout braised veal cheek, buttermilk mash, caramelised cabbage & wild garlic, with perfectly executed pub classics like beer battered fish & chips with mushy peas and tartar sauce, the Talbot burger, and ploughman’s with local Westcombe Cheddar. Leave room for a treat from the short and enticing desserts menu, perhaps dark chocolate and peanut butter tart with vanilla ice cream, or order a plate of delicious local cheeses. Imaginative vegetarian options may include salt-baked Barrington celeriac, wild mushrooms, pearl barley, roasted garlic and pea, lemon and thyme pithivier, smoked aubergine, courgette salad and goat’s curd.

On the menu

Bower Chalke veal liver parfait, vinegar jelly, apple, beets & toast
House smoked pheasant breast, duck salami, salsify, pickled red onions, tarragon.
Monkfish & mussel stew, chickpeas, smoked paprika, crab mayonnaise, grilled lemon
42-day aged rump steak from Robin Pitkin, horseradish, bone marrow butter and chips
Warm carrot cake, stem ginger ice cream and pecans

Sunday Roasts

Roast rib of aged beef, Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes
Slow roasted shoulder of locally reared lamb, cauliflower cheese and roast potatoes
Huntsham pork belly and crackling, Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes
On Sundays in the Grill Room, expect a simpler menu with typically one starter and two puddings and delicious roasts, perhaps 42-day aged beef from Robin Pitkin with horseradish sauce, roast leg of lamb with mint sauce, and roast Castle Mead chicken with lemon & tarragon and bread sauce.

Foodie Extras

The Sitting Room can be used for private dinners for up to 14 people, with set and sharing menus on offer. There’s a cookery school (www.kitchentablecookery.co.uk) offering one or two-day hands-on classes (bread & pastry making, for example), and weekly demos and tastings explore a seasonal ingredient each week. There are also regular wine and food nights, and supper clubs.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 8am – 9.30am
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm
Supper: 6pm – 9:30pm
Grill Room: 6.30pm – 9.30pm (Fridays & Saturdays; 12 noon – 3pm Sunday)

Local, local, local

West Country beef and lamb, free range outdoor reared pork and English chicken
Dexter beef – naturally reared at a Little Burdon Farm in nearby Charlton
Somerset milk, cream and butter – Ivy house Farm (www.ivyhousefarmdairy.co.uk)
Cheese – Westcombe Dairy (www.westcombedairy.com)
Keystone Brewery (www.keystonebrewery.co.uk)
Butcombe Brewery (www.butcombe.com)
Bramley Products – natural bath and body products handmade by Chloe Luxton (Charlie’s wife – www.bramleyproducts.co.uk)

Behind the bar

Among the inn’s three ales and weekly-changing guest beer is its own Talbot Ale, brewed at the Keystone Brewery, which is close to the Beckford Arms. Alternatively, sup a pint of locally brewed Butcombe Bitter. Naturally, Somerset ciders are championed, with Ashton Press, Thatcher’s Haze Cloudy and Orchard Pig available on tap. Spirit drinkers are well catered for too, and bar offers a speciality collection of English gins, while the inns’ own ‘Talbot Bloody Mary’ is rather special. An interesting, accessible and varied wine list offers affordable but exciting wines from small producers in both the New and Old World and there’s a solid selection of wines by the glass.

Time at the bar

8am – 11pm (10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?
8 Doubles from £100 to £160; family room £200 (two bedrooms)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Parking nearby

Gongs
Good Hotel Guide; Michelin Guide – ‘Bib Gourmand’

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Talbot Inn

2

Stourhead Farm Shop, Stourton BA12 6QF

Situated on the magnificent Stourhead Estate and renowned for the quality of its meat and its choice of locally produced seasonal foods and drinks, the Stourhead Farm Shop has been trading since 2005. There are 10 varieties of handmade sausages on offer - including the Stourhead Sizzler - a range of home-cured bacon and hams, cheese, fruit and veg, free range eggs, bread, jams and pickles.

4

Crocker & Woods, 27 Catherine Hill, Frome BA11 1BY

Chris Woodage worked for years as a chef in a number of swanky London restaurants but he’s also a photographer, extreme sports fan and coffee aficionado, which might explain why this quirky cafe specialises in selling artwork, artefacts and exceptional locally roasted coffee.

5

Tuckers Grave Inn, Faulkland BA3 5XF

A local institution, this timeless cider house is housed in an 18th century cottage and serves real ales and ciders straight from the cask and barrel. It’s also one of only a handful of pubs left in the UK without a bar counter.

6

Westcombe Dairy, Evercreech BA4 6ER

Established in 1890 and run by the Calver family since the 1960s, this prize-winning artisan dairy makes traditional West Country cheeses using unpasteurised milk from their own herd of cows. These include the multi award-winning Westcombe Unpasteurised Cheddar, Duckett's Aged Caerphilly and the Somerset Ricotta. Buy them all in the small dairy shop with its window looking into the cheese ageing room.

7

Brown and Forrest, Hambridge TA10 0BP

Tucked away on the Somerset levels, this award-winning family-run smokery has been here for more than 30 years and its products are on the menu of many top restaurants and gastropubs around the UK. As well as some of the finest smoked eel and salmon in the country, there is a range of smoked chicken, duck, lamb and trout. Hampers are also available. The shop is open Tues-Sat.

8

White Row Farm Shop, Beckington BA11 6TN

If you thought farm shops were always small and muddy roadside huts, think again - White Row is the size of a small supermarket and just as well stocked with local produce, much of it from the farm itself. It also has its own butchers, fishmongers, cafe/restaurant and fish and chip shop.

9

Seymour Arms, Witham Friary BA11 5HF

Built in the 1860s for farm workers on the Duke of Somerset’s estate, the interior of the Seymour Arms is listed as of ‘historic national importance’ by CAMRA. It has been owned by the same family since 1943 - the only change being the introduction of inside toilets 35 years ago - and the beer and cider is still served from a hatch in the central hallway.

10

Somerset Brandy Company, Martock TA12 6BU

Based on a farm at Martock in the countryside of South Somerset, the Somerset Cider Brandy Company stands amid 160 acres of cider apple orchards below Burrow Hill. The cider is made in traditional vats and the company uses original methods of production. If this is your tipple, then make time to visit.

11

Roth Bar & Grill at Hauser and Wirth, Bruton BA10 0NL

Not only is Hauser and Wirth a world-class art gallery and arts centre, it also has a cracking restaurant and bar in a former cow shed serving seasonal local produce, much of it from within a five-mile radius of the kitchen.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Talbot Inn

Activities

2

Rectory Farm Riding Stables, Radstock BA3 5YE

It doesn't matter if you're a complete novice or an experienced rider, Rectory Farm Riding Stables, part of a working farm at Radstock, meets the needs and requirements of all those who enjoy riding.

16

Harvey's Literary Tours, Bruton BA10 0AB

The West Country’s magnificent landscape has inspired many famous writers over the years – from Samuel Coleridge to Agatha Christie. Harvey’s Literary Tours help bring the region’s literature and landscape to life with the aid of walks and talks by local authors.

Shopping

9

Wells Trading Post, West Street, Wells BA5 2HG

Located in a 12th-century mill in West Street, Wells Trading Post is full of all sorts of quirky finds and retro treasures. Expect vintage fashion, furniture, collectables and curiosities.

10

Clarks Village, Glastonbury BA16 0BB

Just a stone's throw from Glastonbury, a visit to Clarks Village is a true shopping experience. Here, you can shop in stylish surroundings comprising paved walkways and landscaped gardens. There are many designer and high street stores, a restaurant terrace for alfresco and indoor dining and a choice of all-important coffee shops.

11

The Mulberry Factory Shop, Shepton Mallet BA4 5NF

A wide selection of Mulberry accessories and limited edition samples can be found housed in a former school building in rural Somerset. Here you'll find perfect examples of clothes, fabrics and Mulberry's famous leather bags.

12

Ex-Libris Books, The Shambles, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1JS

If you love browsing in bookshops, then make a point of visiting Ex-LIbris in The Shambles, right at the heart of Bradford-on-Avon. Out-of-print books are sourced and the stock includes 4,000 second-hand books as well as a range of cards and book tokens.

15

Tillions, The Shambles, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 1JS

Occupying three floors in Bradford-on-Avon's The Shambles, Tillons offers an extensive selection of china, glass, cutlery and cookware from leading manufacturers, including Bath Aqua Glass and Portmeirion.

Places to visit

3

Longleat, Warminster BA12 7NW

Standing in extensive parkland near Frome and Warminster, Longleat House is a perfect example of Elizabethan architecture. The house includes many fine paintings and artefacts, and possibly the most valuable private library in the world. Longleat is also renowned for its safari park.

4

Shaftesbury SP7 8AE

The Dorset town's most famous landmark is cobbled Gold Hill, still fondly remembered in director Ridley Scott's famous Hovis television commercial. In a traditional sandstone cottage at the top of Gold Hill you'll find a fascinating museum of local history.

5

East Somerset Railway, Cranmore BA4 4QP

Discover the great days of steam travel on a visit to the East Somerset Railway at Cranmore, near Shepton Mallet. The line runs for 2½ miles and the railway company hosts regular events throughout the year.

6

Westwood Manor, Bradford-on-Avon BA15 2AF

Small, intimate Jacobean manor house near Bradford-on-Avon, virtually unchanged since the mid-17th century. The house has decorative plasterwork, fine period furniture and tapestries and two rare early keyboard instruments. Outside you'll find a pond garden and small topiary.

7

Wells BA5 2UE

The jewel in the city's crown is its historic cathedral - a masterpiece of medieval craftsmanship. Look out, too, for the moated, 13th-century Bishop's Palace and many other splendid buildings and fascinating landmarks around the city.

8

Corsham Court SN13 0BZ

This Elizabethan mansion in the Wiltshire town of Corsham dates from 1582 and was used as one of the locations for the film The Remains of the Day, starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The house and gardens are open to the public.

14

Stourhead, Mere BA12 6QF

Acknowledged as one of Europe's finest landscaped parkland gardens, Stourhead is managed by the National Trust. The gardens serve as a perfect example of the English landscape style, and the lake is a picture at any time of the year. The autumn colours here are a real treat.

Walking

www.visitwiltshire.co.uk
www.visitsomerset.co.uk
www.discoveringbritain.org

To the east of Mells lies the vast expanse of Salisbury Plain. You may associate it with military training, out of bounds to the public, but there is more to it than that. Parts of the Plain are accessible to walkers, providing a unique opportunity to explore on foot one of the south of England’s most isolated and fascinating landscapes. You can go one better and walk from the village of Durrington to Stonehenge and back, enjoying views of this extraordinary World Heritage Site that few people get to see.

Cycling

www.colliersway.co.uk

Cyclists are spoilt for choice in rural Somerset. Close to the Talbot is the 23-mile Colliers Way, linking Dundas, Radstock and Frome. The trail is Route 24 of Sustrans National Cycle Network.

Events

www.visitsomerset.co.uk
Think of festivals in Somerset and Glastonbury immediately springs to mind. However, the region also plays host to a wealth of events, shows, carnivals and fairs every year – from historical re-enactments to spectacular firework displays. In addition, there’s tractor racing, sand sculpting, wassailing and the Jane Austen Festival.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Take A362 Radstock road from Frome, then follow signs left for Mells. Take right turn at mini-roundabout and then turn right again after a mile to reach Mells. Inn at the heart of the village.

Address:

Mells,, Mells, Somerset, BA11 3PN

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