Somerset, United Kingdom

The White Hart

Rates from (ex tax)$75.31

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP75.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Hale and hearty 16th-century pub

Setting

Stumbled-upon Somerset village

The White Hart hotel is a16th-century coaching inn in equally historic village of Somerton set among the emerald moors of Somerset. Sister property to the Swan Wedmore hotel, its eight rooms share the same classic yet idiosyncratic decor – moustache-emblazoned doorknobs, stag-appliqued pillows and patchwork quilts all abound, but with a stylish sensibility. The hotel bar’s stag-antler chandeliers continue the whimsy, but the food is a serious affair of locally sourced, abundantly portioned pub grub.

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Facilities

Photos The White Hart facilities

Need to know

Rooms

8, including one suite.

Check–Out

11am. Check-in is 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $75.31 (£63), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

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 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP75.00), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

A marvellously meaty (with non-carnivore options) Full English breakfast is included in the rate.

Also

If you get the urge for a between-meal nibble, a range of bar snacks and home-made cakes are available throughout the day.

At the hotel

Gardens and free WiFi throughout. In-room: Flatscreen TV and tea- and coffee-making facilities.

Our favourite rooms

All the rooms have plenty of character, but Medium Room 6 with its distinct Phineas Fogg-demeanour – moustache motifs are found in the most surprising places and the wallpaper is hand painted with hot-air balloons and steampunk-style be-hatted gents – is one of the inn’s most bonkers and brilliant.

Packing tips

Somerton may not be a bustling cosmopolitan centre, but what it has in spades is grassy patches to stretch out on and all the time in the world to while away, so pack your sunnies for a nap in the garden or catch up on a few of the area’s native sons’ and daughters’ writings – Coleridge, Austen, Waugh and Arthur C Clarke all hail from this part of England.

Also

The bar and common areas are wheelchair accessible.

Pet‐friendly

A small well-behaved dog can stay in room 5 if agreed with the hotel in advance. See more pet-friendly hotels in Somerset.

Children

Welcome. Cots are free and extra beds can be added to rooms for £20 a night, and rooms 7 and 8 are close enough to keep an eye on wee ones. There's a healthy kids’ menu and mocktails in the bar, and monitors work from the back of the restaurant.

Food and Drink

Photos The White Hart food and drink

Top Table

Dine from repurposed billiards tables on the terrace – the one immediately outside the barn soaks up the most sun. If you’re visiting à deux, Table 2 in the barn has romantic views from the windows.

Dress Code

No standing on ceremony here – being slap bang in the middle of the British countryside means wellies are welcome and jean-clad dining is perfectly acceptable.

Hotel restaurant

Food is served in the bar at rustic wooden tables under stag-antler chandeliers covered in dainty lampshades. Platters, pizzas and pub favourites make up the delectable menu, with a few unexpected ingredients to reflect the hotel’s gastronomic cred. Breakfasts are eye-widening in their heartiness, most comprised of wood-oven-prepared locally sourced meats coupled with eggs; but granola, pastries, yoghurts and fruit make up a satisfying vegetarian selection.

Hotel bar

The pub encompasses the restaurant and a horseshoe-shaped bar, but there are less formal areas to lounge in if all you want is a large stein of local ale or cider; suede banquettes sitting alongside repurposed work-bench tables (where you can still see the vise marks) and sofas facing the fire. There’s also a dedicated menu of nibbles to appease your appetite until dinner.

Last orders

Breakfast is from 9am to 11:30am (11am on Friday and Saturday), lunch from noon to 3pm and dinner from 6pm to 9:45pm. The restaurant is closed Sunday evening but bar snacks are still available.

Location

Photos The White Hart location
Address
The White Hart
Market Place
TA11 7LX
Somerton
United Kingdom

Planes

Bristol (www.bristolairport.co.uk) and Exeter airports (www.exeter-airport.co.uk) are both an hour’s drive away, with arrivals from a wide range of destinations in Europe and North Africa, but only Bristol services a limited number of transatlantic destinations (Orlando and Cancun). Cardiff Airport (www.cardiff-airport.com) is just under a two-hour drive away, but caters to a wide range of destinations across the Atlantic and Pacific.

Trains

Castle Cary train station is the closest to the hotel (a half-hour drive away). From London Paddington, Bristol Temple Meads and Plymouth the station is a direct two-hour trip on First Great Western (www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk) or if travelling from Cardiff, change at Westbury station. Taunton station is a 40-minute drive from the hotel for trains to Reading and Exeter St Davids.

Automobiles

Farm-flanked roads make Somerset a stunning county to drive through and with train stations far flung from the hotel, you’ll be thankful for a set of wheels. The hotel is three miles from the A303 at Podimore, 20 miles from Junction 23 of the M5 (via the A39) and Junction 25 (via the A358). Bristol and Exeter airports both have a range of car-hire services. The drive from London takes around three hours.

Other

If you’re the energetic type, the country lanes and fairly quiet roads make this an eminently cycle-friendly county.

Worth getting out of bed for

Somerton village may look like a Lilliput Lane ceramic come to life, but in the vast open-air playing field that is Somerset county, there’s a lot going on, especially for sporting types. Miles of mind-bogglingly beautiful scenery offers top-notch rambling opportunites and flatlands, forests and shallow canals (or rhynes) provide various levels of natural assault course for mountain bikers – visit 1 South West for cycling maps, lists of essentials and top tips (www.1sw.org.uk/experience). Viaduct fishery (+44 (0)1458 274022) is just a 20-minute walk from the hotel. Even if you’re a rod and tackle novice, the tree-flanked Cary Viaduct makes a stunning spot to get acquainted with the sport. For keen anglers, there are six ponds stocked with your future dinner – expect to see bream, perch, tench, rudd, roach and perhaps an eel on the end of your hook. If you prefer something a bit more active, head to Burcott Riding Centre (+44 (0)1749 673145), a horsey haven – just a half-hour drive from the hotel where beginners and amateurs can learn to access their inner equestrian. Being a county with ample wide-open green space, golf is big in Somerset. Long Sutton Golf Club (+44 (0)1458 241017) is a pretty and professional set of courses, just a 10-minute drive from the hotel, where golfers can have caddies cart their clubs around 118 acres of lush golfing greens; or take a few swings from the 12-bay driving range. Tutors are on hand to help the uninitiated and after all that exercise you can kick back in the warm and welcoming clubhouse. If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a member of the landed gentry, don some Hunter wellies, pull on a Barbour jacket (and flat cap of course) and aim your rifle at some clay pigeons, at Kingweston Sporting Estates (+44 (0)7706 441520). It’s less brutal than participating in the live-game season and a good way to get the adrenaline pumping, and novices are welcome. Somerset is a historic region, with plenty of Saxon and Roman remains; Glastonbury Abbey (+44 (0)1458 831631) came a little later, being built in the 14th century, but it was once the richest and most powerful religious centre in the UK. It’s also rumoured to be the resting place of the legendary King Arthur and his queen Guinevere – so it’s worth a visit for a unique look into Britain’s ancient and myth-riddled past (a half-hour drive from the hotel). Crumbling ruins not exciting enough for you? Well, you can also get high in a hot-air balloon with Aerosaurus (+44 (0)1458 831631). Somerset has notable bucolic beauty at ground level but up in the air – with the fields laid out like a patchwork quilt and the picturesque villages reduced to dollhouse size – it’s equally, if not more, spectacular.

Local restaurants

The White Hart’s sister pub, the Swan Wedmore (+44 (0)20 7553 9210), is a half-hour drive away in Wedmore and although its menu is similar to the White Hart’s, it’s varied enough to be worth the journey. With home-made cakes and breads, home-cured meats and freshly delivered fish, you wouldn’t want to miss its gastronomic delights anyway. At the Chapel (+44 (0)1749 814070), which is unsurprisingly housed in a chapel, is truly divine. You could quite easily spend all day here, eating their baked goodies for breakfast (there are even adorable lobster-shaped rolls), sup a locally sourced fish soup for lunch, indulge in something creamy and calorific for afternoon tea then tackle a pizza from their brick oven for dinner – a day well spent. For more fanciful feasting, pay a visit to Babington House (+44 (0)1373 812266), a grand Grade II listed Georgian House offering very fine dining in a light-filled hall overlooking flowering gardens. Under chandeliers at impeccably dressed tables you can feast on generous local fare with slight haute leanings.

Local cafés

The Potting Shed café (+44 (0)1458 252885) feels like a micro village fete with rows of gingham-topped jam jars, slabs of home-made cake and local art scattered in a slapdash fashion on the walls. Their menu has fry-ups, soups, paninis, Welsh (and fried-egg-topped buck) rarebit and flavourful local ice cream from Pitney and Minehead. Oh, and don’t miss the afternoon tea, the cream flows thickly in these parts.

Local bars

The Market Bar & Bistro (+44 (0)1458 272468) may not be dissimilar from the White Hart, in fact it’s just across the road, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and this pub is as cosy, warm and welcoming as they come, with squishy sofas, outdoor tables for warm days and a tasty small plates menu with coconut prawns and prosciutto melts to accompany your pint.

Reviews

Photos The White Hart reviews

Anonymous review

Mr Smith and I have been down this road before. Ordinarily, we’d find ourselves slotted in between crates of beer, assorted Wellies, yards of mud-caked polyester and freight loads of waterproof clothing. But not this time. Usually when cruising down the A303 we’d have summer-solstice sunshine on the horizon, and Stonehenge’s mysticism en route as a prelude to the frolics of Glastonbury Festival. This time, we’re in the darkness of winter, with a somewhat more intimate destination in our headlights.

We turn off the fabled highway and duck down a country lane that syphons us off through the shapely Somerset hills towards Somerton, the elegant market town from which the county takes its name. (Contrary to rumour that its rainfall credentials meant Somerset got its name from pre-Roman times when it was only deemed liveable in during summer.) It’s Friday night and the uniform streets of 18th-century lias-stone buildings are curiously quiet. But there it is – a white stag lording it over a doorway and windows that glow from the cosseting warmth inside, beckoning us in.

It seems as though the entire population of Somerton has been swallowed up by the White Hart. Apparently, it’s the fifth most popular name for an English pub, but this boutique inn isn’t your average pub. The 16th-century coaching inn underwent 18th-, and then more recently, 21st-century surgery, and it is now a sophisticated sleepover with food to match (it’s sibling to the award-winning Swan in Wedmore up the road). The hubbub of a well-lubricated Friday night flicks on as we pull open the door and feel the warmth of this mobbed, upmarket local wrap itself around us.

We weave through the crowd in the timber-, tartan-, stone-, leather- and cream-accented room to seek out some sort of reception. There is none. But no matter, a frantic but diligent waiter clocks us, flings down his order pad and whisks the suitcase out of my hand. ‘Room seven,’ he notes, as I wait for keys to be handed over. But no, he’s already halfway through the door, carrying our bags upstairs past ‘Love’ and ‘Smile’ spelled out on the wall in old Beano-comic collaged letters and cute, colourful decoupage lampshades strung up out of antiqued mirrors. So far, so cheerful. ‘Please, relax. We’ll have a table ready for you downstairs you when you are,’ he says, before disappearing back down to the maelstrom.

Snug and serene, our room has a feature wall of hand-printed dreamcatcher paper fitting nicely with our prior experience of this mystical county of ley lines and Arthurian legend. I flop onto the plump bed topped with a soft plaid-wool blanket, cable-knit cushions and down duvet as fluffy and deep as a cumulus cloud, and I drink in the soothing scene –sage-painted woodwork, a sliver of apothecary-style drawers repurposed as a shelf, art deco-style suspended glass lamps and tongue-and-groove panelling painted a rich clotted cream. I can feel my pulse… slowing… down. Mr Smith is busy testing out the free, fast WiFi (you don’t get that in the middle of a muddy field), so I stir myself, pondering the generous range of Clipper teas and fresh coffee in a little glass box. But hang on, we’re in a pub and it’s Friday night, so it’s back downstairs to get acquainted with the local brews.

After a long, Otter-ale-aided sleep, it’s felicitous that breakfast is served until 11am (in fact food is served pretty much all day) and the hearty, meaty feast – a rustic sausage sandwich on sourdough for me, full English for him – sets us up nicely for our exploration of the weird wonders of Glastonbury town, with its wiccan shops of spells, crystals, herbal potions and New Age guidebooks. We climb up to the top of Glastonbury Tor and survey Somerset’s gorgeous landscape from the blustery bluff, then descend to seek sophistication at the Mulberry Factory Shop in Shepton Mallet and Kilver Court Designer Village with its discounted Orla Kiely and MiH concessions. Things are set to get even more refined hereabouts when the Hauser & Wirth gallery transforms a derelict farm in nearby Bruton. But such cultural delights will have to wait, because dinner beckons back at the White Hart.

Tom Blake, a former River Cottage Canteen chef, has pedigree, so we’re expecting great things, particularly since he’s promising to showcase the best that Somerset has to offer – let’s not forget that we’re in Cheddar country. The dining room offers an assortment of settings – a brooding barn with antler chandeliers; in the glow of the open kitchen pass; at raised wooden tables under a chalkboard diagram of cuts of pork; or at small tables in the thrum of the pub.

We settle in the barn where an unprompted plate of soft, home-baked bread and homemade hummous gets things off to an auspicious start. Sweet, flaky Cornish crab cakes come with a little pool of rich, mayonnaisey gribiche sauce; a succulent breaded pork cheek is matched with the tang of chopped gherkin. Mains of wood-roasted Cornish pollock with Jerusalem artichoke and pork belly, and spinach-, chilli- and mozzarella-stuffed loin of Old Spot pork with salsa verde, similarly let the main ingredients sing. I’m beginning to feel like Gloucestershire’s most famous porcine breed myself, but there’s just about room for wholemeal honey and apple cake with ice-cream. I could get quite used to this sybaritic Somerset scene. I must see if they have rooms available for Glastonbury.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The White Hart’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Food and open fires in the bar area

Don’t expect

Better pillows - the bed pillows were all firm hoolofill versions - need some soft feather filled options!.

Rating

Stayed on 7 Jan 2017

We loved

quirky decor

Don’t expect

quiet rooms

Rating

Stayed on 22 Dec 2016

We loved

Brilliant service, fantastic food and a charming village setting. Our room was lovely, all in all a very relaxing combination. A visit to Wells on our way down from Bristol was quintisentially English and set the scene perfectly for our night away. Travel cross-country to take in all the beautiful surroundings.

Don’t expect

To fit in your skinny jeans - the food is delicious and moreish, those ham hock croquettes were divine.

Rating

Stayed on 8 Oct 2016

We loved

The pretty town, the surrounding area, the whole style and feel of the inn. They bake their own bread...food very good. Lovely smiley staff. Relaxed and friendly. Recommend visiting Montecute House and Tintinhull National Trust properties nearby. Frome, Kilver Count in Shepton Mallet and Bruton all fairly close. 

Don’t expect

Five star luxury

Rating

Stayed on 10 Aug 2016

We loved

The decoration - the whole place is really well decorated with loads of cool features and quirky touches. Very close to Glastonbury and Wells

Don’t expect

A buffet breakfast - just a short menu with quite limited options

Rating

Stayed on 9 Aug 2016

We loved

A lovely market town away from it all, plus the breakfasts were amazing

Don’t expect

A quiet night as it's above a pub

Rating

Stayed on 23 Jul 2016

We loved

The room decor! The tiny town is full of quirky buildings and independent shops.

Don’t expect

Fast food, the restaurant serve beautiful food which tales a little while to prepare (including breakfast)

Rating

Stayed on 21 Jul 2016

We loved

Beautiful village; nice pub; friendly service;good food

Rating

Stayed on 30 Jun 2016

We loved

The warm welcome, delightful staff and cosy, stylish room with huge bathroom. The hotel's restaurant is the best in the village - no need to go elsewhere

Don’t expect

All mod cons (or a shower in some rooms)

Rating

Stayed on 13 May 2016

We loved

The service was impeccable and the room stunning. With a four poster bed and roll-top bath, it could not get more romantic. Dinner in the restaurant was delicious, with a great selection of fresh, local produce, meats and fish. Everything tasted like it was procured that morning. Glastonbury and Wells are both quite close. We stayed here on the first stop of a week-long excursion to the West Country, and enjoyed driving along the country lanes to those locals.

Don’t expect

A nightlife. We stayed on a Saturday night and went for a post-prandial stroll, to find the other pubs in town to be a bit unwelcoming and promptly returned to The White Hart, which suited us just fine.

Rating

Stayed on 23 Apr 2016

We loved

Room 1 (again), a table by the window for dinner in the barn, and the live music night when we arrived on the Friday night! The Swan Wedmore (sister to the White Hart) is well worth visiting for lunch!

Don’t expect

Small meals, everything is deliciously hearty and local!

Rating

Stayed on 22 Apr 2016

We loved

Very cosy with great decor. The bed was extremely comfortable and the food was delicious! We were also able to take the dog without compromising on the quality of the room. The setting is very pretty with a lovely tea room in the square.

Don’t expect

A traditional hotel layout. Check in is with the bar staff but still very efficient.

Rating

Stayed on 2 Apr 2016

We loved

Food was excellent - turbo charged pub food

Don’t expect

Flunkies

Rating

Stayed on 1 Apr 2016

We loved

We booked room three with the roll top bath and the four poster bed. Absolutely stunning. I'm also a sucker for a great shower and the walk in wet room was another wow for me. The pub is super cozy, really well decorated and lots of attention to detail. Service was excellent and the food super yummy. Great get away.

Don’t expect

If you're a light sleeper the church clock might annoy you.

Rating

Stayed on 27 Mar 2016

We loved

The village of Somerton and the very friendly staff. The room was modern and comfortable, good for a short break without being too expensive.

Don’t expect

Plush settings. This is modern rustic.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Feb 2016

We loved

Great food, great pub. 

Don’t expect

A quiet pub! It's very popular at the weekends so has a great atmosphere

Rating

Stayed on 5 Feb 2016

We loved

A room for any budget – we stayed in the biggest room, complete with four poster and stand alone bath tub in the room, which was delightful and relaxing. The place has a lovely quaint, country feel with lots of effort and attention to detail made

Don’t expect

Totally quiet nights until the bar closes – although this wasn't a problem after 11pm (and on a Saturday night).

Rating

Stayed on 16 Jan 2016

We loved

Fantastic cosy hotel, great food, excellent room. Only surpassed by the exceptional staff, very welcoming and helpful. Highly recommended.

Don’t expect

Sprawling metropolis on the doorstep.

Rating

Stayed on 18 Dec 2015

We loved

The relaxing, friendly atmosphere of the pub, the beautiful bedroom and fantastic food.

Don’t expect

A lively village: it's sleepy and peaceful

Rating

Stayed on 7 Nov 2015

We loved

The decor, the food and the excellent service

Don’t expect

Lively nightlife

Rating

Stayed on 7 Aug 2015

We loved

The Super room was AMAZING ... In particular the comfy and massive 4 poster bed.

Don’t expect

Hot water had run out but a helpful member of staff quickly sorted the problem out for us.

Rating

Stayed on 22 Jul 2015

We loved

The ace detail in our room and the great restaurant and bar. Very good value - the missus loved her free moisturiser!

Don’t expect

Biscuits in your room – just tea and coffee!

Rating

Stayed on 20 Jul 2015

We loved

First time we (a young couple) ventured beyond the high end 'chain' hotels, we fancied something abit quirkier and was very last minute so didn't want to spend much. Got an amazing last minute deal and allowed us to have the room, dinner, drinks and breakfast for around 100 - it was an absolute bargain! The food was amazing and home made and the room was very cosy and perfect for what we wanted it for - it was nice and hot on arrival and well decorated and amazing monsoon shower wet room is a nice touch. Thanks to this hotel / pub we will be trying to stay in a lot more places like this in the future!

Rating

Stayed on 16 Feb 2015

We loved

Lovely room lovely food helpful pleasant staff.

Rating

Stayed on 31 Jan 2015