Lodge evaluation: The Bradley Hare, Wiltshire

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It was on our second day that all the pieces clicked into place. Mr Smith and I had simply returned from a bracing tramp round rolling Wiltshire fields and have been chilly and drained. Pushing open the doorways to the Bradley Hare, we noticed two squishy chairs sitting in a puddle of sunshine, the crackling wood-burning range inside toe’s attain.

That may do properly, we thought, and settled in for the afternoon.

That lazy afternoon in that heat, sunshine-filled pub, is what made this spot so very interesting, so very value a lazy few days. We sat, basking, sharing first a pot of English breakfast tea after which graduating to freshly-mixed cocktails. We chatted, browsed the papers, performed a recreation of chess and felt essentially the most relaxed we’d felt in months.

The Bradley Hare does precisely what a superb native pub ought to do. Opened in the course of the last, complicated dregs of the pandemic in 2021, this pub with rooms (set within the village of Maiden Bradley on the Duke of Somerset’s property) appears newish however lived in; artfully styled however effectively liked. The well-loved bit is due to the locals, of which it appears to have a really wholesome following.

Throughout our two-day, mid-week keep, it was at all times busy, irrespective of the time of day or night time: with native girls lunching, with blokes and their canine propping up the bar, with {couples} studying by the hearth, with younger mother and father having fun with a peaceable drink whereas the newborn slept.

It’s the pub that’s the guts of the place, and the entire village by all accounts, with three beautiful rooms to it: a slightly extra formal eating room, with pistachio partitions and vibrant artwork; a second, relaxed bar house which appears to lap up the locals; and a 3rd linked ‘cosy’ space, with comfortable chairs and the chess desk.

Ben Jones, who runs the place, got here from Babington Home, in just-across-the-border Somerset, and that easy-breezy, kick-off-your-shoes vibe is clear right here, if on a extra modest scale.

The bedrooms, by the best way, are easy and cozy, designed by James Thurstan Waterworth, the previous European design director of Soho Home. Take your decide from these in the principle home, which have seagrass flooring, Nineteenth-century antiques and modern artwork on the partitions, or throughout the courtyard, the place they’ve massive freestanding baths and window seats.

Set proper in a quiet, rural village, you may get an honest stroll inside 5 paces of the entrance door. There’s a helpful walkers map simply to the left of the pub, proper subsequent to the peculiar help-yourself milk station, which, we have been instructed, are fairly widespread in these elements. We headed out throughout the fields, the sky blue and the bushes alive with birds, and didn’t see one other soul for an hour.

Pretty because it all is, the rationale individuals come right here is to discover. And discover we did, first with a 20-minute drive to the attractive village of Bruton, with its good outlets and the well-known Hauser & Wirth gallery, a posh of transformed barns that now home cutting-edge artwork exhibitions, in addition to a restaurant and (expensive) farm store.

We strolled across the beautiful, rambling gardens, designed by Piet Oudolf, and poked in regards to the bean-shaped pavilion by Smiljan Radić, earlier than heading to the village itself for a mooch in regards to the outlets (I can extremely advocate the truffled cheddar on the Godminster Farm Store).

We wandered in regards to the village of Frome, too, to nostril in regards to the vintage outlets and have a slap-up lunch on the vibrant, cheap-and-cheerful River Home. Again in Bruton, dinner was within the much less low-cost however no much less cheerful At The Chapel, a celebrated restaurant with rooms positioned in – you’ve guessed it – a transformed Nineteenth century chapel, with a hovering eating room, minimalist design and the form of menu the place you wish to order all the pieces. We opted for the West Nation charcuterie board, Tuscan fish stew, squash and Westcombe ricotta ravioli, and an unlimited chargrilled steak with watercress.

The meals was, if something, even higher on the Bradley Hare on our second night, the place a deliciously spring-like dish of tenderstem broccoli with lemony ewe’s curd and dukkah (me) and devilled kidneys on toast (him) was adopted by a really moreish burger with bone marrow mayo (each of us), all served by beautiful, fresh-faced employees who stored attempting to refill our glasses.

There’s a robust nod in the direction of sustainability right here, too, with a menu that’s massive on all issues native and seasonal. The kitchen works intently with the Maiden Bradley Group allotment to supply just-picked veg and herbs, and so they’re working in the direction of zero-waste eating the place nothing is wasted.

The factor I’ll keep in mind essentially the most, although, is that afternoon within the pub. A crackling fireplace, scrumptious drinks, artwork on the partitions and locals by the bar, all wrapped in wonderful Somerset countryside: a superb native pub doing precisely what a superb native pub ought to do.

Discover out extra about the Bradley Hare or discover our full assortment of pubs with rooms


Francisca Kellett is the previous journey editor of Tatler, and contributes commonly to the journey pages of The Occasions, The Telegraph, The Monetary Occasions, Nationwide Geographic Traveller and Luxx. She can be the co-founder of Mundi & Co: a content material company for sustainable, luxurious journey manufacturers.

All images by Hannah Dace





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