The location of attractions is intended only as a guide. Distances are 'as the crow flies'.
The Five Dials Inn is a popular pub infusing a traditional feel with a contemporary twist. Serving quality, flavourful food and topped with a warm, welcoming atmosphere, the pub is run by a dedicated team passionate about good food. There is a beer garden ready to be enjoyed in the warmer months. Parking is available.
Charmouth has to be one of the most famous places for collecting fossils in the world. Part of Dorset's World Heritage Jurassic Coast; many a happy hour can be spent scouring the beach for ammonites and belemnites.
Lovely beach, brilliant for fossil hunting
Take a fossil hunting guided walk or boat trip. No sand but plenty to keep the kids amused.
The hours seem to have a habit of slipping by while you're wandering along hunting for fossils on this stretch of coast. The kids love the excitement of finding an ammonite or debating the authenticity of possible 'dinosaur bones'. Great way to spend an afternoon.
Monthly walks are arranged by locals who ask for volunteers to help with clearing overgrown footpaths whilst enjoying the scenery. Take a look at the chaffcome.com website for details of walks in the area.
Surrounded by rich farming countryside, Chard is a classic Somerset market town with a distinct sense of history. Nearby attractions include the breathtaking Forde Abbey, a medieval masterpiece imbued with over 900 years of history and with 30 acres of stunning gardens. A little further afield you’ll find the wildlife park at Cricket St Thomas, with all manner of exotic animals.
A traditional country pub offering a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Food is locally sourced and Sunday lunch is very popular. In summer, dine alfresco and enjoy the views from the raised terrace and beer garden.
The Cotley Inn
Fabulous Sunday lunch, also good mid week menu. Food is locally sourced where possible, but this is very popular place to eat so best to book, for Sunday lunch you would definitely need to. Nice staff and atmosphere too.
A former Cistercian monastery dating back to the 1100s. The gardens are breathtaking, while inside must-sees include the cloisters and the upper refectory.
A place to unwind
We visited these delightful gardens as part of a circular walk from Thorncombe village. It was the perfect place for a leisurely lunch followed by a stroll around the gardens before continuing on our way. The highlight of the day.
Well worth a visit
We really loved the gardens and the interior. It was the highlight of our week. We spent several hours there and felt there was plenty to see both in the house and gardens. The tearoom provides excellent lunches for those who want to make a day of it.
Stately home and splendid gardens
Fascinating former abbey dating back to 12thC. One of the greatest Westcountry gardens (according to Alan Titchmarsh), plant sales and a good restaurant serving really local food from the estate. A good day's outing.
A country pub in the heart of the Blackdown Hills, you can enjoy 'pints, pies & pork scratchings - or a nice glass of wine', as well as their locally produced menu.
Without a doubt Best Pub in the Area
Excellent food and service, cosy atmosphere, proper pub, within easy walking distance of the Cowshed
An exceptional Elizabethan house filled with treasures, including 17th Century textile samplers and Elizabethan art. This house featured in the 1995 film ‘Sense and Sensibility’.
Absolutely wonderful in every way. We enjoyed many hours here. A must visit property.
A lovely house and location . It was a pity it was spoilt by a very heavy handed and hard sell approach in the ticket office to join the N.T. I had to be very persistent to get into the house and gardens without joining up .
Once we had managed to get in we had another issue with an officious lady in the long room who basically told us off for taking the wrong staircase up . It turned out that a rope had not been put in place . How were we to know! Other staff members tried to make up for this and were excellent but the impression overall was poor.
Another West Country gem to consider when in the Somerset or Dorset areas. Although the house was endowed to NT as an empty shell much work has been done by introducing surplus items from other properties and there is a current fascinating exhibition from the National Portrait Gallery which is a must.
Local, ethical produce is the ethos at the River Cottage Local Produce Store. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, of Channel 4's River Cottage, and team, source the best local produce from South West producers for the store, where regular tasting evenings and events are held.
With a different menu every day, reflecting what's in season, The Canteen also showcases the best of the South West, with mouthwatering meals and a wicked selection of cakes and cream teas. Reservations recommended for evenings and Sunday lunch.
River Cottage HQ Cookery School
Nearby, on the Devon Dorset border is the famous River Cottage HQ where you can dig deeper into the River Cottage philosophy and learn how to recreate some of those fabulous dishes. Hugh and the team run a wide range of events and day courses including bread baking, chicken rearing and meat curing at Park Farm between Axminster and Lyme Regis.
Stopped off for breakfast and a coffee, nice down to earth cafe, if you ignore all the self promotional books everywhere! I was expecting rip off prices due to the celebratory name but it was a very fair price for a lovely breakfast.
Great place to go and enjoy some of the best food and drink that Devon has to offer. No fuss and bother with linen tablecloths and the like, so you can focus on the food. Not the cheapest option in town, but the experience is well worth it.
New for July 2010: 'Cabaret Kitchen'
From the end of July Head Chef Tim and his team will be producing typically River Cottage fare using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients in front of your very eyes.
Exciting and unassuming
I have always been a big fan of the River Cottage brand so as soon as I was in the area I arranged to have lunch with a friend here. We were both travelling from opposite sides of the country to meet there, by which time it was about one thirty. You cannot book so we were concerned we might not get in, but we only had to wait a couple of minutes before being seated at a very rustic (possibly recycled/reused) wooden table in what felt like a barn/outhouse. It definately wasn't posh, but it was light and airy and very 'countrified'. The menu each day is written on a big chalk board and by the time we got there the choice was somewhat limited as lots of things had run out. However, what we chose was tasty, not too overpriced, and a twist on a classic. We very much enjoyed our lunch there and had a good mooch around the deli/shop afterwards (which you walk through to get to the restaurant), having a good friendly chat with the staff who treated you like an old friend (and ran to get you a glass of water after sampling one of the chilli jams!) I would definately choose it as top of my list for lunch when visiting the area in future, although perhaps not go out of my way to visit it on purpose.
A wide range of day courses and evening events are run, providing an insight into the humane and local production of food, and its preparation and cooking.
- H Minter
A sunday lunch to die for!
We go to the River Cottage Canteen whenever we are visiting Devon. The restaurent (as the name suggests) does not stand on ceremony, but it is homely and welcoming and you can turn up in walking boots! We've taken family and friends and it is suitable for an impromptu lunch or big family celebration. However what makes it particularly special is the quality of the food, which, thanks to the rearing of the meat by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team, and the cooking of the chefs in the canteen, makes for a truly delicious meal. It won't be the cheapest food you've ever eaten, but you can relax in the knowledge that all the food is truly organic and responsibly farmed and that all the ingredients taste just like they should. Highly recommended!
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