Somerset, United Kingdom

The Talbot Inn

Price per night from$124.50

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP95.24), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Classic coaching inn

Setting

Somerset stableyard

The Talbot Inn hotel in Mells is the star of the village show: a converted 15th-century coach house with the same impeccable gastropub credentials as its sister, the Beckford Arms. Come on in for local ales, garden-grown food, a chat with one of the neighbours or just a lazy afternoon by the fire.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Home-made Talbot scones with jam and cream, and a pot of tea on arrival

Facilities

Photos The Talbot Inn facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Eight, including one suite.

Check–Out

11am. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £100.00, including tax at 5 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include full English breakfast.

Also

Learn local history in the Sitting Room – a 500-year-old beamed tythe barn that has been restored, kitted out with sofas and stocked with games. One wall is decorated with a mural depicting the history of Mells, from Roman times to present day. The room can also be booked for private dining, and the projector gets an outing every Sunday night for the Talbot’s weekly film screenings.

At the hotel

Garden; petanque piste; library of films and books; free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV with DVD player, radio, iPod dock, hairdryer, hair straighteners, tea and coffee tray, and bespoke Bramley bath products.

Our favourite rooms

We love Very Large Room One for its laid-back, luxurious feel – it’s definitely one to impress for a special weekend away, thanks to its freestanding bath by the window, sash windows overlooking the garden and spacious ensuite. The pretty pastel-green furnishings in Room Three also caught our eye, as well as its grand four-poster bed and bathroom tucked away at the top of a couple of steps (taller guests: remember to duck).

Packing tips

Wax jackets and wellies.

Pet‐friendly

Dogs are allowed (in room 8 only) for a one-off fee of £10, which includes a bowl and some treats – make sure you mention it when booking. See more pet-friendly hotels in Somerset.

Children

Cots and extra beds are provided free for kids up to three. There’s one family room with two bedrooms, one of which has twin beds.

Food and Drink

Photos The Talbot Inn food and drink

Top Table

Join in the fun at the lively, long communal tables in the Coach House Grill, watching a suckling pig or trout sizzle on the spit, or seclude yourselves by the fire in the Snug. For people-watching, your best bet’s the Map Room.

Dress Code

Barbour, Belstaff and Burberry to fit in with the cool country set.

Hotel restaurant

There are two. The Talbot’s main restaurant spills across a four-room warren of Bar, Snug, (indoor) Courtyard and cartographically decorated Map Room. The kitchen serves classic Brit gastropub fare (venison loin, Cornish pollock, buttermilk pudding with rhubarb, and the like), with an emphasis on ingredients that have been grown, cured or smoked on site. At weekends, the coal-fired Coach House Grill takes star billing, and the menu is dominated by flame-grilled meat and fish dishes, including unmissable Sunday roasts.

Hotel bar

The pub serves an impressive range of local ales and ciders, as well as a vast wine list and inventive bar snacks such as duck hearts on toast and the Talbot’s signature sausage roll. House cocktails include bellinis made with local peach liqueur and bloody Marys made with horseradish from the kitchen garden. There’s an extra bar in the Coach House Grill Room, which is where to head if gin’s your thing – it has an extensive selection.

Last orders

Breakfast is served 8–10am in the Map Room. The main restaurant is open daily from noon to 2.30pm and 6pm to 9.30pm. The Coach House Grill opens Friday and Saturday evenings from 6.30pm until 9.30pm, and Sundays for lunch between noon and 3pm.

Location

Photos The Talbot Inn location
Address
The Talbot Inn
Selwood St, Mells
Frome
BA11 3PN
United Kingdom

The Talbot Inn is in the village of Mells in Somerset, close to Frome and not far from Bath and Bristol.

Planes

Bristol airport is closest, 26 miles away (www.bristolairport.co.uk). Allow just under an hour for the drive. Flights land here from all over Europe, courtesy of airlines including KLM, Ryanair, EasyJet and Aer Lingus.

Trains

Get to Frome from London Waterloo in two and a quarter hours, with a change in Westbury, with First Great Western (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) and you’ll be 10 minutes away by car. Alternatively, hop on at Paddington and it’s a direct 90 minutes to Bath.

Automobiles

The hotel has free parking. The drive from London should take around two hours, depending on traffic along the A303. From the North, use the M5. It’s 20 minutes by car to Bath.

Worth getting out of bed for

The Talbot Inn is in the historic village of Mells, set in some of Somerset’s most photogenic countryside – perfect for afternoons spent cycling, clay-pigeon shooting (try The Big Shoot near Wells), fishing, golf and horse riding or just rambling around.The Roman city of Bath is half an hour away by car, and you’ll also be within reach of Longleat, Stonehenge and Stourhead.

Eight miles away, Longleat is a stately home with a difference: lions roam the grounds and eagles soar in the skies. This epic safari park, the first of its kind in this country, has been bringing a tropical touch to Wiltshire for over 60 years. Just 13 miles away, south of Frome, Stourhead is a Palladian mansion with world-renowned grounds. Wander amid the grottoes and temples, and see who spots the famous film set first.

Local restaurants

On King Street in Frome, three miles away, contemporary gastropub Archangel serves staples of Modern British fare such as scallops, mackerel and pork belly in a bare-brick walled dining room and bar, with low-slung velvet sofas. Plump for Cornish mussels, a Somerset ploughman’s, or pitch up on a Sunday afternoon for a classic roast. Try out the Talbot’s big sister, The Beckford Arms, 40 minutes away in Fonthill Gifford. Expect more of the same winning combination of local fare, cosy surroundings and roaring open fires. In Bruton, 20 minutes’ drive from Mells, At The Chapel is an elegant old coaching inn with a whole host of dining options: café, restaurant, bakery or wood-fired pizzeria.

Local cafés

The Garden Café on Stony Street in Frome is a lovely spot for Sunday breakfast (especially alfresco, in summer), specialising in natural, organic food. Its cakes are rib-stickingly good.

Reviews

Photos The Talbot Inn reviews
Jon Stibbs

Anonymous review

By Jon Stibbs, Travelling pen for hire

The Velvet Underground’s ‘Who Loves the Sun?’ gently sounded in the centuries-old bar. ‘Not everyone,’ replied Lou Reed to his own question. You crazy cross-dressing fool, Lou, I thought as Mrs Smith and I took our drinks to one of the tables in the glorious sunshine. Outside, there was that foreign heat that can only be properly described as ‘scorchio’.

People have been staying at the Talbot Inn since the 15th century, when horses drew coaches through the entrance of the elegant façade. Fragrant, flowering lavender now lines the cobblestones that feed onto the quiet gardens, where Mrs Smith subdued an urge to dance like a flower fairy among the pink and violet poppies. Across half a millennia, the Talbot has evolved with all the logic of a duck-billed platypus. The cosy bedrooms are arranged around a higgledy-piggledy array of crooked passageways, behind random doors and over unaccountable steps. These curious corridors must have seen countless illicit assignations and perplexed stumbling through mistaken doors.

The builders had an eye to future generations. Sadly, these foresighted folk failed to predict we might grow taller, so we did have to duck and occasionally swear. To modern eyes accustomed to soulless business hotels, it seems impossibly romantic. Additionally and refreshingly, Talbot’s staff has not had their personalities polished off. The various buildings include the bar/pub, connected to the restaurant and below the majority of the few rooms. Step out to the comfort of the sitting room and the Coach House Grill Room has a bar with 21 English gins – yes – 21 gins! Despite its hefty heritage, the hotel has eschewed the dubious charms of olde-worlde tattery. Instead of chintz, there’s understated modern art on the muted walls. Our accommodation – the Abercrombie suite – had a topless four-poster bed, a tweed armchair and a window seat. One of the other rooms has a stand-alone bath with a glorious view onto the garden, for the joy of bathers and anyone in the right spot when it’s time for the towel.

The village of Mells is taken from the Latin word mellis meaning honey, and while we saw no hives, it is incredibly sweet. Think thatch, pheasants and fishermen; the air was heavy with rosemary, roses and honeysuckle. The one shop stocks all the local cheeses, meats and bucolic goodies you would hope for. I nearly bought a copy of The Field when I saw headlines for ‘Gunny Mummies’ and ‘Tweedy Guitar Heroes’. Beside Mells’ fine boozer – The Talbot – the village is blessed with a glorious church. Justin, waiter and historian, took us on an unforgettable trip up the stone stairwell into the bell tower. Inside, he showed us the delicate mechanism to play the bells and he let me trigger them to off – woohoo! I can exclusively report that, yes, they do have bats in the belfry.

From the top of the tower, we looked out to the famous white horse of Salisbury Plain, down on Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Knox buried in the cemetery, and onto the local manor. The entrance to the Asquith family’s 16th-century home is marked by the scent of wild garlic and two stone ‘talbot’ dogs. The Asquiths are accustomed to responsibility, they count a PM among their number and used to name all the kids in the village until the mid-1800s.

The architect Edwin Lutyens had a heavy Victorian hand in the village. While he is probably best known for his work in New Delhi, Mells remains undeniable Old England. We took one of the hotel’s recommended walks for a trip into Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Mrs Smith was in her element pointing out buttercups, wild strawberries, snapdragons, dog roses, sweet peas and moon daisies. Several of which I suspect she did not invent.

In the peak of summer and machete-less, we snaked through a jungle-like path of head-height cow parsley setting off explosions of seeds. Looking for a picnic spot, we startled a deer to reveal the perfect place amid clover, beside a hedgerow and billowing trees. By this time, Mrs Smith had sunk into a reverie and was singing what she could remember of ‘Jerusalem’. ‘This countryside is all encompassing,’ I said as I found a snail in my pocket. ‘Bumtittybum of burning gold,’ replied Mrs Smith, happily.

Thirsty and inquisitive, we walked past the geraniums on the piano at the Garden at Mells – a garden centre, school and café – for a drink. Like a lion on a gazelle, I set about a glass of elderflower fizz; ‘That’s my man,’ breathed Mrs Smith, clearly impressed. We ate dinner in the restaurant’s map room. A Monday night, all the tables were taken, which is testament to the local ingredients and cooking. I had a tomato salad with cannellini beans, duck with buttery cabbage and – joy! – cheese: Westcombe cheddar, blue Wensleydale, biscuits like crumble topping, and thick relish heavy with spices.

Mrs Smith chose tender pigeon breast, hake with black-eyed peas, and gooseberry and elderflower tart with ginger ice-cream. There was silence when her pudding arrived and then the gentlest ‘Oh’ when she found a tiny elderflower embedded in the crust. This is not the place to come to mash it up. We went for a night walk and the only sounds were church bells, owls and the breeze through the trees.

We were fashionably late for breakfast, which doesn’t count for a lot in rural Somerset. A jar of hangover remedies was laid out on the buffet table, next to the ingredients to blend our own Bloody Mary using horseradish grown in the Talbot’s garden. We picked up dismembered newspapers and read as we awaited the arrival of our perfect eggs royale; this is England.

Price per night from $124.50

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