Summer is just around the corner, and if you’re anything like us here at Food & Drink Guides, you’re already dreaming of spending evenings and weekends sat in pretty pub gardens with a refreshing pint, soaking up what will hopefully be some glorious sunshine with your family and friends.
If you’re in the Bath and Somerset region or you’re planning a visit there this spring or summer, you’re in luck, as this area known for its natural beauty, charming and historic city, and incredible countryside scenes is just overflowing with fantastic pubs and gastropubs you need to check out.
To make your search that much easier, we’ve rounded up 12 of our favourite pubs in the region. For a more comprehensive collection of the best restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs and hotels in the region, be sure to pick up your FREE copy of our recently released Bath & Somerset Food & Drink Guide here (https://www.foodanddrinkguides.co.uk/get-the-guide) or read a digital copy of the guide by clicking on the following link (https://issuu.com/foodanddrinkguides/docs/somerset).
With picturesque views across the river Exe and a delightful garden perched right on the bank, if you’re looking for an idyllic pub to make the most of the spring and summer seasons, the enchanting White Horse Inn won’t disappoint.
When we visited for lunch earlier this year, we were impressed by the extensive menu of enticing and locally sourced dishes, as well as their brilliant malt bar boasting over 200 single malt whiskies and a choice of a dozen or more gins. To start, we opted for the deliciously rich baked Camembert studded with cranberries and the delightful confection of smoked salmon, prawn and samphire. We couldn’t resist the Exmoor venison tenderloin for the main, which was cooked to perfection and served with a tasty selection of roasted vegetables. Family-owned and operated for several generations, those wishing to explore the exciting countryside surroundings can stay in one of the White Horse Inn’s beautifully decorated guest bedrooms, some of which are dog-friendly.
In operation since 1776 and just a short stroll from The Circus and Royal Crescent, The Chequers is a firm favourite with Bathonians and for good reason. Awarded two AA rosettes for its cooking and featuring in The Michelin Guide, this beautifully appointed gastropub’s inventive menu boasts a brilliant selection of exquisitely executed classic British dishes that simply have to be tried.
Changing regularly to make use of the very best local, seasonal produce, the pub’s exceptional menu always offers plenty to intrigue and surprise even regular diners. Begin with the likes of teriyaki salmon, chervil yoghurt, avruga caviar and fennel before moving onto a main like the whole roasted partridge with white beetroot fondant, candied walnuts and quince. Leave room for dessert though, as you won’t be able to resist tucking into the likes of white chocolate delice with blood orange sorbet and crumble.
Retaining many of its charming and traditional features and nestled away in the picturesque village of Wambrook, the Grade II listed Cotley Inn is the quintessential country pub and a must-visit for fans of classic British dishes in the Bath and Somerset region. Its south-facing terrace and pleasant garden area also make this an ideal spot to soak up the spring sunshine.
Despite the idyllic setting, The Cotley Inn’s menu is the real draw, showcasing dishes made using the very best local and seasonal produce sourced from the surrounding farmland. When we visited The Cotley Inn earlier in the year, we started with a rich and creamy leek and potato soup before moving onto a hearty and juicy beefburger stuffed with Ogleshield cheese and oozing with barbecue sauce. Our meal was so delicious that we were quickly planning our return trip.
Hidden off the beaten track in the charming village of Yarlington is The Stag’s Head Inn, a wonderful country pub that first opened its doors in the 1850s. Known for its warm welcome, convivial atmosphere and high-quality food and drink, as soon as you step up to this pub’s charming exterior you’ll know you’re in for a real treat. Featuring both a characterful restaurant and a cosy traditional bar boasting flagstone floors and a fine selection of local ale, cider and Continental lager, The Stag’s Head Inn will immediately make you feel right at home.
In the warmer months, enjoy a pint outside in the pub’s south-facing garden while you tuck into a delicious leisurely lunch or intimate dinner. Expertly crafted by head chef Sam McKean, the exceptional menus will have you coming back again and again to sample all the exciting and enticing dishes on offer. Start with the likes of whisky-and-beetroot-cured salmon accompanied by pickled cucumber and a delicate fennel and apple salad before moving onto mains like the pan-roasted fillet of sea bream served with brown crab hash, sea herbs, samphire, braised fennel and crab bisque.
The perfect Somerset sanctuary from which to explore the beautiful surrounding countryside, the 17th-century Holcombe Inn will enchant you with its attractive exterior and enticing seasonal menus. Acting as an ideal base from which to explore Bath, Bristol, Wells, Longleat Safari Park and many National Trust houses, stay in one of this multi-award-winning inn’s luxurious guest rooms and wake up to the smell of fresh coffee, cakes and pastries served all day.
For a delectable three-course feast, start with the likes of pan-fried pigeon breast with Puy lentils, pancetta and mushroom duxelles, followed by juicy pork fillet saltimbocca and braised pig cheek before finishing with a dessert like their drool-worthy chocolate dome with coffee parfait, hazelnuts and tonka beans. Their Sunday roasts also shouldn’t be missed, comprising tender beef, slow-cooked lamb or loin of pork served with all the trimmings like Yorkshire puddings, rich gravy and colourful, seasonal vegetables.
The hub of Sandford for over 140 years, the Railway Inn is always a true delight to visit with its charmingly decorated interior showcasing artifacts and photos that depict the pub’s cider-making heritage. Whether you’re simply looking for the perfect place to enjoy a pint of cider with your mates or you want to bring the family and savour a fantastic three-course feast in the restaurant, the Railway Inn will always impress with its seasonal dishes made with the finest regional ingredients and carefully chosen drinks menu.
Situated close to Strawberry Line, a popular footpath with walkers and cyclists, this dog-friendly pub provides a welcome pit-stop and promises to keep the entire family happy, whether they have two legs or four. Dogs are so welcome in fact that the pub even greets their four-legged friends with tasty, complimentary dog treats.
Featuring a light and airy contemporary interior which still pays homage to the building’s historical grandiosity, a great beer garden boasting plenty of seating under the shade of centuries-old trees, and a play area for the kids complete with climbing frame and swings, The Northey Arms is a pub that promises to please all your friends and family.
Whether you’re stopping by for a drink or wish to indulge in a fantastic three-course feast, you won’t be left wanting. Treat yourself to an elegant cocktail or order from the hand-picked wine list as you enjoy the likes of juicy seared scallops, battered prawns, spiced Cumberland pork tenderloin with a rich coconut and spinach dahl, and warm chocolate brownie. It’s also worth knowing about the weekly Tuesday steak night and Thursday’s burger and pint special. With so many enticing options to choose from, one visit to The Northey Arms is never enough.
Situated in the beautiful and historic city of Bath right on the bank of the canal in Lower Weston, The Locksbrook Inn is the perfect place to while away the hours as you sit by the water, soak up the sun, and sample the wide range of drinks on offer at the outside bar.
Listen to the pub’s chilled-out background music while you watch the narrow boats drift by before digging into brilliant dishes like their signature Locksbrook brunches and breakfasts. If you’re visiting later on in the day, there are plenty of traditional gastropub staples for you to choose from such as their battered Brixham fish and chips, succulent lamb rump, or range of light and healthy salads. This buzzy venue also offers a constant stream of deals, from takeaway pizza from £6 to Fizzy Thursdays where you can grab a bottle of Prosecco for £15. This family-friendly venue also boasts a dedicated children’s menu and activity packs to keep the little ones entertained.
Boasting glorious views over the Bath countryside and featuring a large terrace area, few pubs in the region make a better spot to enjoy beautiful summer days than The Hare & Hounds. Serving home-cooked, seasonal dishes that have been freshly prepared on-site using produce sourced in and around Bath, the à la carte features delicious choices such as homemade chicken liver parfait with juicy prunes, hazelnuts, pickled shallots and toasted sourdough, flaky fillet of hake with new potato and spinach cake, roasted fennel and creamy lobster bisque, and sumptuous dark chocolate mousse with honeycomb, salted caramel and raspberry compote.
A popular Sunday haunt for locals, The Hare & Hounds is known for their award-winning roasts, served all day from noon until 8pm. Just a mile from the city centre but a world away from the hustle and bustle, The Hare & Hounds provides the perfect pitstop for visitors heading to or from the M4 motorway to the north of Bath.
A charming establishment located just a stone’s throw from The Royal Crescent, if you’re looking for a place with the atmosphere of your favourite local pub but with the food offering of a top restaurant, The Marlborough Tavern should be at the top of your must-visit list.
Using the very best local produce to create great-tasting, inventive British dishes, the pub has held two AA rosettes for its great food since 2009 and features in both The Good Food Guide and The Michelin Guide. Begin your unforgettable meal with the likes of parsnip hash browns with parsnip crisps and wild mushrooms cooked in honey and soy before moving onto a hearty main like the Cornish wild venison loin and crispy shoulder paired with truffle mash, pear puree, parsnip crisps and red wine sauce. Make sure to leave room for dessert, as you won’t be able to resist the many tempting options such as rich chocolate fondant with pistachios, chocolate soil and salted caramel ice cream.
Situated just a short stroll from Somerset County Cricket Ground and just across the road from Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre, as soon as you step through the doors to The Ring of Bells, you’ll be welcomed by the sound of happy locals, the smells of freshly prepared pub grub, and the polite, friendly and genuinely helpful team of staff who will ensure your visit to this rare gem of a venue is always a great experience.
Furnished with a blend of modern and traditional décor with candles which help to create a cosy and intimate atmosphere, take a seat and peruse the tempting menus. When we visited earlier in the year, we were spoilt for choice by the delicious selection of hearty classics ranging from starters of baked Camembert with chutney to smoked salmon with cream cheese, lemon and caper berries. Mains were equally enticing, with dishes such as the Exmoor venison steak with red wine and redcurrant sauce and a range of incredibly delicious sounding burgers. We opted for the roasted lamb rump with Dauphinoise potatoes, minted pea puree and a red wine jus, which was cooked exactly as requested. The red wine sauce was beautifully rich and slightly tart – the ideal complement to the creamy potatoes.
Just a short drive from historic Wells and conveniently located along the A37, the George Inn provides a perfect pit-stop for those travelling to or from Bath. Situated in an idyllic rural setting, the pub boasts an inviting family-friendly atmosphere, traditional décor, comfy leather sofas, and a pretty beer garden ideal for really making the best of what will hopefully be a brilliantly sunny summer.
Featuring all the fantastic dishes you’d expect from the best English country pubs, order the crowd-pleasing crispy fish and chips or hunter’s chicken – butterflied chicken breasts wrapped in crispy bacon and smothered with barbecue sauce and cheese. Vegetarians are also well catered for here with dishes like their brilliant veggie burger or three-bean chilli, a meat-free take of a popular pub classic.