Mells (Somerset) is one of those sought-after picture-pretty villages, the kind you wished you’d known about when you were upping sticks and moving to the country (although when we were moving The Talbot Inn
, voted number 1 pub in Britain by the Times a while back, remained resolutely ungastro-ed).
The pub though country chic in décor (tweedy/antiquey) is more Soho House in its ways: excellent food, excellent bedrooms, excellent attitude – the kind of place where you can rock up as three families spawning 10 children, take over the sitting room and hang out for several hours ordering nothing but Cokes and cider and no one bats an eyelid.
It works on many levels, for a weekend mini break (Londoners love it), a celebratory dinner or post walk pint.
Talking of which the incredible Fussells Iron Works are less than half a mile up the road, a derelict site which once produced agricultural tools that were exported across the globe. Now a wild and tangled lost valley full of rusting, antiquated machinery and a breeding space for horseshoe bats, the Iron Works has a river running through its heart (with a fast-flowing weir, take care with small kids). The Walled Garden
(opposite The Talbot) is another essential on your Mells whistle-stop. A beautiful garden combining a nursery and a laid-back café (great wood fired pizzas in summer) this place has incredible views over the church meadows, good coffee and rough and ready seating on hay bales not to mention the most knackered piano we have ever seen.