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A review of The Holcombe restaurant with rooms in Somerset, offering mouthwatering food and views

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The sweeping views that stretch across acres of fields from The Holcombe to the stunning neo-Gothic Downside Abbey church are breathtaking after we visit this country inn on a wonderful summer evening.

Owners Caroline Gardiner and Alan Lucas have upgraded the seventeenth Century inn from a pub to a restaurant with rooms, with a muted cosy vibe. In case your idea of heaven is stomping across the Mendip Hills along with your dog, then that is an excellent place to put each your heads.

In addition to lovely walks across the village and surrounding countryside, the inn has two dog-friendly lodges. Here it’s all concerning the detail. Barlake, where I cool down with my spaniel Bumble, has a water bowl, a soft dog bed and a blanket. Just outside the door is a big field wherein hounds can have a night sniff and potter.

Alice Smellie stays at The Holcombe in Holcombe, Somerset, which has countryside views and a ‘muted cosy vibe’

Pictured is a room featuring a freestanding bath. Alice describes the inn as a 'luxurious little haven'

Pictured is a room featuring a freestanding bath. Alice describes the inn as a ‘luxurious little haven’

For humans, the lodge is an expensive little haven, with freshly made cookies and a wood-burning stove within the bedroom, and a freestanding bath and Noble Isle toiletries in the toilet. 

The one sound from outside is the cooing of wood pigeons.

The eight major house rooms are suitably rustic, with clever contemporary twists; there are hand-printed fabrics and soft goose-down duvets and pillows.

'The eight main house rooms (one of which is pictured) are suitably rustic, with clever contemporary twists,' notes Alice

‘The eight major house rooms (certainly one of which is pictured) are suitably rustic, with clever contemporary twists,’ notes Alice

There’s masses of room to sit, and both the dining room and small sitting room (above) have wood-burners – 'perfect if you visit on a rainy day', says Alice

There’s masses of room to sit down, and each the dining room and small sitting room (above) have wood-burners – ‘perfect if you happen to visit on a rainy day’, says Alice 

Sustainable food is a huge focus at The Holcombe, with as much as possible sourced locally and seasonal produce grown in the kitchen garden

Sustainable food is a big focus at The Holcombe, with as much as possible sourced locally and seasonal produce grown within the kitchen garden

Above is one of the inn's dishes, scattered with the garden’s edible flowers

Above is certainly one of the inn’s dishes, scattered with the garden’s edible flowers

The inn sits on the sting of Holcombe, which is surrounded by villages reminiscent of Kilmersdon, famous for its very steep Jack and Jill Hill, and Mells, which offers pretty walks and a superb village shop and cafe. The magnificent Downside Abbey church, in-built 1878, is a five-minute drive away. 

It is taken into account certainly one of England’s great neo-Gothic churches and is riddled with extraordinary historical details, reminiscent of the console of its organ – constituted of timber from HMS Bellerophon, the ship Napoleon surrendered to soon after Waterloo in 1815.

Sustainable food is a big focus at The Holcombe, with as much as possible sourced locally and seasonal produce grown within the impressive raised beds and polytunnels of the kitchen garden. 

'If your idea of heaven is stomping around the Mendip Hills (pictured) with your dog, then this is an ideal place to lay both your heads,' Alice says of the inn

‘In case your idea of heaven is stomping across the Mendip Hills (pictured) along with your dog, then that is an excellent place to put each your heads,’ Alice says of the inn

Holcombe is surrounded by villages such as Mells, which offers pretty walks and an excellent village shop and cafe. Above is the village's manor, Mells Park House

Holcombe is surrounded by villages reminiscent of Mells, which offers pretty walks and a superb village shop and cafe. Above is the village’s manor, Mells Park House

The magnificent Downside Abbey church (pictured), built in 1878, is a five-minute drive away from The Holcombe

The magnificent Downside Abbey church (pictured), in-built 1878, is a five-minute drive away from The Holcombe 

A Somerset sirloin steak is served with mizuna and herb pesto and pan-fried loin of lamb with aubergine salsa, sour cream and pomegranate. It’s hardly standard pub fare, and the presentation is exquisite – dishes are scattered with the garden’s edible flowers, a signature of the chef. 

We eat supper at a protracted table on the terrace, watching the sun go down over the fields, with the ultimate golden rays silhouetting the tower of the distant Abbey church. There’s an arch heavy with wisteria at one end and the gardens are bordered by bee-friendly flowerbeds.

Inside, there’s masses of room to sit down, and each the dining room and small sitting room have wood-burners – perfect if you happen to visit on a rainy day. 

Bumble and I even have breakfast by the bar, and I can tell his review could be equally glowing.

TRAVEL FACTS

The Holcombe, Holcombe, Somerset. B&B from £170 per room per night (theholcombe.com).

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