You know sometimes how you want a decent, well, more than decent pub lunch, but you can’t face jostling for a table or a patch of the garden in the city?
How about hopping in the car and driving 45 mins out to the fantastic Redan Inn in Chilcompton. We visited last week, as it’s pretty close to our place, for an early lunch with both kids and the dog. It was one of those lunches where, as a parent, you feel like you’re winning. The baby ate then slept. The dog gained some new fans. The Saturday supplements even got a quick read. It was sunny.
Have you ever been to the Bird in Hand in Long Ashton or the Pumphouse in town? If not, you should go, but the Redan Inn is its sister pub, run, styled and stocked on very similar principles. The Redan, however, has seven bed and breakfast rooms, which also look impeccable (hello quick night away without the kids!).
The bar area is light, roomy, clad with lovely wood and large tables for bustling groups. There’s another, slightly more peaceful looking dining room, and even a private dining room if you are that fancy. The drinks choice is a Somerset dream, with some very decent ales and ciders, and, 120 different kinds of gin. Yes, actually 120. With infusions, cocktail potential, and a very knowledgeable bar manager to guide you through it. I was gagging for one, but I’ll save that for a return journey without the kids.
Whilst the place filled up with folk, locals, visiting lunchers, other families, we chatted to the really brilliant staff. Honestly, you know when a place just makes you feel welcome, despite your multi-carnage risk entourage? Bottle warming, no problem. Dog petting, standard. They showed me where the toys were (big box of cool stuff and books), encouraged us to try their food with honest descriptions. Later on, one lovely guy even helped me with the buggy and the dog back to the car. It was such a great family lunch.
There’s some excellent luxury touches at The Redan – the Bramley products in the bathrooms, the fixtures and fittings, the very smart and exceedingly tempting beer garden with its all-dayer tables in sun and shade. There’s even blankets for the knees stacked by the back door.
We ate squid (a Bristol Parent family standard starter, weird but true). Crunchy chillies and the right amount of salt. My handmade burger was beefy and full of juice. David’s chicken special was really, really good, and Tibbs took down the kids fish and chip, although the poor kid literally had six extra hungry eyes beadily stalking her every mouthful (see below).
The warm, nutty brownie with clotted cream ice cream and honeycomb pieces was really good, too.
I had this flash-forward vision of taking my mates to The Redan for a proper evening summer booze-up. It’d be perfect for that. It’s also somewhere you could comfortably deposit visiting relatives that you don’t have room for in your own house. It’s a classic place for a first night away without the kids, because it’s so close to Bristol yet burrowed into Somerset enough to give you that holiday vibe.
Go! Maybe book a table if you’re a big group, but The Redan Inn is a top pick for Summer 2017 in my opinion. It’s on the way to Wells, Glastonbury, Kilver Court and all those good places, and is festooned with decent dog walks nearby (check out my post on the nearby Greyfield Wood with its waterfall, for starters, or look at cycling the Radstock Greenway which is great for little legs).
(header photo taken from The Redan Inn website)