There are some simple pieces of advice that I received from many of my friends when I told them I was pregnant; read and sleep while you can, go to the cinema, go out for dinner just the two of you and spend quality time together. I think we’ve managed to do all five, sometimes even managing to accomplish several in the same weekend, like during our stay at At The Chapel in Bruton, Somerset. We spent two wonderful nights there in June.
Bruton is a small, pretty, quintessentially English village set in the charming Somerset countryside. At the centre of the village is At The Chapel, a popular hub for locals thanks to its chilled out bar, pretty terrace, busy bakery, well stocked wine shop (The Winestore) and a great restaurant that serves up a mean pizza; all housed in a Grade II Listed, 17th-century former chapel. It’s also been a popular place to stay for out-of-towners, wishing to escape the rat race for a weekend of respite. Their eight bedrooms are simply designed with all the mod-cons you need and (if the other rooms are anything like ours) stunning bathrooms. From our bathroom window you could look across the rooftops of the village to the local church tower, and beyond. At the time of our stay we were yet to have our bath installed at home so I took full advantage of the large, deep bath and wonderful REN products whilst there.
Waking in the mornings I was as excited as a small child at Christmas thanks to the novelty of having fresh croissants delivered to our door. The room is stocked with tea and shortbread biscuits, as well as strawberry jam and whole milk in the fridge, perfect for a little pre-breakfast breakfast-in-bed, whilst reading the latest copy of Cereal Magazine. We did then descend the stairs to the restaurant for a light breakfast of poached eggs and the yummiest sourdough toast (one morning) and a bacon roll with locally-sourced and incredibly delicious bacon (the other morning). It’s worth noting that the restaurant uses only the best West Country produce, resulting in a menu of fresh seasonal dishes; all quite substantial in size.
At The Chapel is run by Catherine Butler and Ahmed Sidki, a formidable team. Catherine (formerly of Café Med in Notting Hill) is an extraordinary restauranteur; whilst Ahmed is the one responsible for designing and making the cool contemporary furniture and beautiful curved staircase in the restaurant. What they’ve created together far exceeds these simple descriptions though. It’s a cool, bohemian countryside hideaway with a lively local patronage. It’s also very reasonably priced!
The Hauser & Wirth Somerset gallery is nearby and definitely worth a visit (we should have, and will next time) but we chose to live the country life, driving around the beautiful countryside with the roof down, soaking up the sunshine, heading out to Mells for a traditional pub lunch at The Talbot Inn, before taking a walk around The Walled Garden at Mells, just across the road. I just want to do it all over again!