The Inspector checks in to Wiltshire’s Bell & Crown, which he declares has joined the pubs-with-rooms brigade with a flourish
- The Bell & Crown is a former coaching inn in the village of Zeals, near the National Trust’s Stourhead Gardens
- The Inspector’s room is ‘charming’ and boasts a ‘sumptuous’ duvet and pillows and pretty lampshades
- He says the food is ‘proper value’ and adds that his ‘pork tenderloin tastes like it’s been made with love’
- Remember, the Inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is…
You can hear the A303 rumbling from the drinks tent at the back of the Bell & Crown in the village of Zeals on the Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset borders.
Hopefully, the rumbling will become a purring once the energetic young team (part of the Chickpea group) behind this six-bedroom former coaching inn delivers on plans to create a walled garden in phase two of what is an ambitious restoration project.
Certainly, phase one has worked well. It helps, of course, that the bones of the building are so strong and full of character, with flagstone floors, two working fireplaces in the main saloon (both ablaze), exposed wood beams and window seats.
The Inspector checks into the Bell & Crown in the village of Zeals on the Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset borders
The former coaching inn has six bedrooms. Visit and you’ll be greeted by ‘engaging staff, rickety tables, original art and locally sourced food’
According to the Inspector, the bones of the building are ‘strong and full of character’. He notes that the Bell & Castle’s prices may rise as demand increases but, for now, it’s ‘proper value’
But you need muscle, too, and that’s supplied in abundance by the engaging staff, rickety tables, original art and locally sourced food.
We arrive on day three of the rooms opening for the first time and are greeted by Jo, who moved to the village from London. She seems genuinely thrilled to see us, as do several fresh-faced young things behind the bar, all wearing white T-shirts.
Our room is charming, with sumptuous duvet and pillows, pretty lampshades, sisal carpet, and lotions and potions from a British eco-brand called Land & Water. It’s not a big room but, then, we’re only paying £100 b&b.
‘The Bell & Crown has joined the pubs-with-rooms brigade with a flourish,’ the Inspector declares
Describing his meal at the Bell & Crown, the Inspector writes: ‘My pork tenderloin tastes like it’s been made with love’
Most of the main courses at the Bell & Crown come in at under £20
Prices may rise as demand increases but, for now, it’s proper value.
Same applies to the food and drink. Wine starts at £23 a bottle and most of the main courses come in at under £20.
My pork tenderloin tastes like it’s been made with love.
We chat briefly to a couple who have spent the day at nearby Stourhead Gardens run by the National Trust.
‘We never expected anything as nice as this,’ says one of them.
At breakfast, you can get what’s described as the ‘half English’, which is a brilliant idea for those of us who perpetually buy bigger trousers to contain our girths.
The Bell & Crown has joined the pubs-with-rooms brigade with a flourish.
At dinner, Mark chats to a couple who have spent the day at nearby Stourhead Gardens (pictured) run by the National Trust
The Bell & Crown, New Road, Zeals, Wiltshire, BA12 6NJ.
Doubles are priced from £100 B&B. For more information call 01747 840404 or visit bellandcrown.com.