I’ve lost count of the number of times people have recommended The Inn at Freshford to me – but not having a car, we’ve never quite gotten ourselves together to hop on the train out to Freshford and see what all the fuss was about. Last weekend though, we finally made the pilgrimage, and boy oh boy was it worth the wait.
This beautiful old inn has stood on a quiet country lane by the river since the 16th century, and it’s postcard-perfect – built from honey-coloured stone and rusty-red slates, bedecked with hanging baskets overflowing with bright flowers, and surrounded by a rambling garden with tables tucked into every sunny corner. In the winter, you’ll find the interior as snug and cosy as you could possibly want from a country pub, complete with a roaring fire. The menu, meanwhile, is made up of all the best traditional favourites, but lavished with superb ingredients and the occasional creative little twist. In other words, this place brings together the very best of old and new.
We hit the Inn at Freshford on a Sunday, so we had the opportunity to sample their roast dinner – always the test of a good pub. I don’t mind telling you that I make an absolutely cracking roast, so my standards are pretty high, but I was impressed – thick, incredibly juicy slices of roast pork, gorgeously golden roasties and a fabulous gratin on the side (give me my five a day with a generous helping of cheese and cream, that’s what I always say).
Also on the Sunday lunchtime menu were a few other pub favourites, including a choice of burgers and good old fish & chips. I particularly liked the crab and bacon burger, a gorgeously rich and flavourful combination that puts boring beef burgers to shame, but the dish I actually ordered for myself was fish & chips, and it was excellent. Juicy, flaky fish and light, crispy batter, some scrumptiously minty crushed peas, and chips just how I like them – forget your fancy shoestring fries, I want great big triple-cooked wedges that are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Fish & chips might seem like a straightforward classic, but there are so many ways to get it wrong. Luckily, the Inn at Freshford neatly sidesteps all of them.
The portions are pretty generous so we didn’t quite have room to try dessert, but there was a salted caramel ice cream sandwich I’ve definitely got my eye on for next time – we’ll certainly be going back. Whether you live in Bath and you’re looking for a breath of country air, or you’re visiting the area and want to experience a quintessentially gorgeous English pub, this is the perfect choice. Once you’ve filled yourselves to bursting with their excellent food, the exquisite village of Freshford is ideal for a gentle stroll (I wanted every single house – when I win the lottery, this is where you can send my post) or you can saunter along the riverbank too. Too full to move? Simply sit back, order another pint and soak up the atmosphere. This is one spot you won’t be in a hurry to leave.