I have just returned from an idyllic weekend away in Somerset as a treat to my husband and I for Valentine's Day as well as the last opportunity we had to go on a baby moon, or rather a last ditch attempt to remember that we love each other before a, hopefully healthy and happy, baby makes us question our sanity through many a sleepless night for the next 20 years. I had suggested it to the husband, and unlike him who would happily spend a weekend watching rugby on the sofa in our home, he was keen for the idea and suggested going to Somerset to see some friends and also visit the town of Wells so he could visit some of the set of Hot Fuzz. This last bit was completely lost on me but I agreed to it thinking I had one in the back pocket for when I want to visit New York and the sets of Sex and The City.
After much internet searching within a 10 mile radius of Wells, and near enough our friends living in Taunton, I found the Swan in Wedmore suited my husband's location practicality wants and my interior style needs. Recommended by two of my favoured boutique hotel providers, Mr and Mrs Smith and Sawdays, I was confident in the fact that this pub in a village I had never heard of would suit us, and our dog. And that it did. We arrived, starving, at about 18.30 on Friday night to its pub brimming with locals. We managed to find a table and my hunter gatherer went off to buy me and his unborn baby a Virgin Mary and a packet of crisps - knowing that if he didn't feed his wife soon, the hangry side of her would come out to play. With food in my belly, we were checked in by the helpful staff in the pub's restaurant (there is no front desk here) and shown to our cute room. I use the word cute here not because I am American, but because, whilst it was undeniably trendy (ergo my husband wasn't so keen), it was also, I think, quite small for the price of £120 a night.
The bathroom, too, was beautiful and actually a very good size, but not without its faults for, whilst it had the biggest bath I have ever seen, there was no shower which I felt was a massive shame. It was, however, bedecked in lush Bramley toiletries and all the wonderful smells that come part and parcel with them.
I had fortuitiously, owing to my hunger, reserved a table in the pub (so the doggy could join us for supper) soon after we had settled into our room. It being a Friday night, both the pub and the restaurant were humming with business even for a small village pub that has three other establishments within a 200 yard walk. On a Friday night, the Swan offers an exceptional value deal called their "Winter Warmer". Its £10 for a main course from a set menu (think pub grub faves of cumberland sausage and mash and the like) with a drink. The husband and I chose to go all out, much to our stomachs' chagrin later, simply because we fancied other things on the main menu that the ex River Cafe chef had as options that evening. We dined exceedingly well on the stuffed lamb special (him) and the chorizo burger (me). Uncharacteristically, we also both chose a dessert given the level of naughtiness on offer. This meant a salted caramel chocolate tart and a rocky road sundae for the child in me. It was all delicious and importantly all locally, and seasonally, sourced food.
Adjourning to bed after dinner, as is my body's requirment these days, I actually ran myself a bath in the deep tub and the husband retired to watching TV in bed. It transpires that the bed was the most comfortable bed in the world with high thread count sheets and weel ducked out duet and pillows. Even the dog lay still for the night.
The next morning, I woke early for a walk around the picture perfect village with its art galleries, church and village store. The husband lay weighed down by the weight of our duvet. We met for a lazy Saturday breakfast (which inspired my blog post here) in the pub which had been set up with a small pastry an cereal buffet and laden with the Saturday papers. The Swan also offers a cooked breakfast included in its nightly price and certainly has a plathora of interesting options, again steeped in the local area's produce.
The rest of the day was idyllic for the husband, dog and I. The skies cleared and we had a beautiful woalk with Mr and Mrs L down near their house in Taunton followed by a yummy homemade ploughmans lunch. I could easily see why so many people head ot this beautiful part of the world for their annual holidays. Case in point, on our drive back to Wedmore, we drove through Cheddar Gorge which was nothing short of stunning. The sun was setting and everywhere we looked had a rose tinted glow. Whilst there was definite leaning towards tourism in the village, out of about 20 shops, 15 of them were ice cream stores, there was plenty to do here with walks, rock climbs and cave exploring a plenty.
Once back in Wedmore, I predicatbly napped until supper. We tried to eat at the Dragon Inn, 50 metres from our front door, which was unfortunately fully booked upon arrival. We happily returned to the Swan however for yet another indulgent meal, despite protestiations that neither of us were hungry. I therefore fell asleep that night unbelievably quickly owing to harbouring a food baby. The husband fell asleep happy with his choice of phesant and ham hock pie, which was easily the best thing we ate in Wedmore that weekend.
After yet another delicious breakfast, on Sunday (still not hungry), we headed to Wells to visit the location of Sandford, Hot Fuzz's backdrop. It was such a pretty little city (whilst it is actually not big at all, it is still awarded the title of city as it has a cathedral. And a huge one at that). We walked around the Bishop's palace and its gardens, encircled by springs and wells - it was literally the perfect spot for the husband and I. I loved the architecture and art history behind the place, he loved taking selfies looking as much like Simon Pegg as possible. Even the dog seemed to enjoy himself. We also ticked off seeing the cathedral and the famous Vicar's Close - a mews of houses where vicar's, part of the cathedral's choir, used to live with the chapel and library just up the road. It is quite possibly one of the most instagrammed streets outside of London.
After the husband finished taking pictures of the Hot Fuzz tourist spots, we headed for the car to have lunch with some friends on the way home from our weekend away. We had a great time and I felt like we had only just done a small amount of what the area had to offer - we didn't make it to the beach or even the hippie town of Glastonbury for a vegan meal. I continue to find the UK, even in mid February, a fab place to explore for its culture, countryside and countless gastro pubs with excellent local food. I'd love to hear any of my readers' staycation spots!