The Swan in the very old village of Wedmore is not the typical family friendly hotel orchard with children's facilities and activities. Do not expect a swimming pool, kids club and other venues. And yet we are a fan. This village pub with 7 en-suite bedrooms is the perfect place to meet the true English countryside life. The white plaster building is at the heart of this very atmospheric smattering of mostly old buildings that make up tiny Wedmore which is located about 20 miles south of Bristol and 30 miles south west of Bath. It’s history can be traced back to Iron and Roman times. In Saxon times it lay at the heart of a large and important Royal estate.
The welcome is very friendly and makes us and the girls feel right at home. After hearing that they would be getting their own room they are even more exited. Especially the free standing retro bath and the similar retro wallpaper adored with birds make it for them. As there are no connecting rooms, it may not be the best option for families with smaller children and the staff will be happy to place an extra bed in the room. We noticed some traffic noise by day and the constant drone of a generator just under the room but the girls didn’t seem to notice and had a great night sleep.
Our room a level up has the same quirky, shabby chic touches. It is quite big with also a fantastic free standing bath in a huge bathroom and a bed that is massive and very comfortable. As an additional bonus: a floor-to-ceiling Juliette balcony that opened to a view of charming Wedmore. But again when open prone to some road traffic as is to be expected being in the heart of a busy village.
Opening as a Beer House in the early 1700s, the property was subsequently enlarged to become ‘The Swan Hotel’ from the mid-1800s with rooms, stables and coaching yard. Recently much of the original eighteenth & nineteenth century architecture was restored or rebuild. At the back of the restaurant there is a nice collection of old framed newspaper clippings giving you some more background on the impressive history of this building.
In the bar area you will find fires, stripped wood floors and comfy seats. In addition to the bar there is also a lovely sun filled lounge area with extra comfy chairs and its own wood burner. On tap are some interesting local bars and the local residents that regularly pop in for a drink make for a nice authentic feel. The restaurant team is headed by Tom Blake, formerly working at the well-known River Cottage. The menu changes almost daily and Tom and his team only uses the best local ingredients, fresh fish delivered 6 days a week and fresh meat such as pork provided by a nearby butcher’s own herd.
It is simple, unfussy, fresh food at its best. We all love it. You can eat where and when you like as there is a snack menu that runs all day. We could image ourselves sitting around the fire mid-Winter warming our hands to a rich soup. But it will be equally pleasant spend a long, balmy evening alfresco dining at the outdoor terrace. As we have it neither very cold nor very warm weather we settle for the bar area.
After a refreshing night’s sleep we are even more impressed by the breakfast. Homemade and done to perfection. We really like a good and preferable strong Cappuccino in the morning. And within minutes two big mugs where served, the lovely ladies taking care of the breakfast even managed to form the cream into a swan. After we had our necessary ‘fuel’ we were served with fresh bread and cakes, cured hams and bacon. The girls went for fresh fruit juices, pancakes and delicious chocolate croissants. The staff even encouraged us to pack something for lunch. So you definitely won’t be starving here, but if you still need any snacks or essentials there's a village shop just opposite the hotel.
Wedmore has a strong trading history and has been a center for shops and markets since 1500. This tradition continues today and the village has an excellent range of clothing and food shops. Also a few steps away from the hotel you will find a lovely old church to light a candle. The village of Wells (with its famous cathedral) is 8 miles away to the east. Or hike to the Cheddar Gorge only 3 miles to the north for some exploring and the Somerset Levels lie just outside the village, providing a fantastic range of wildlife and bird watching opportunities – as well as miles of peaceful roads and tracks for bicycling or walking. Kids will maybe be looking for some more action. If so they will definitely love nearby Brean Theme Park which has over 40 fantastic rides and attractions. From thrilling roller coasters to children’s river boat rides, mini coasters and go karts. Or head to the somewhat more laid back Avon Valley Adventure & Wildlife Park which is more geared towards little ones.
# The Swan provided both comfortable lodging and some of the best meals we had during our trip around England.
# It is situated in a thriving little village. So there are a couple of other pubs and small restaurants should you decide to go somewhere else for a drink or a bite to eat.
# We liked the creative, country style, interior and very friendly staff of this small pub hotel. The perfect place to spend a few nights sampling some village live.
This property can be booked through www.i-escape.com/swanwedmore