The Devonshire Arms Hotel, Long Sutton, near Langport
Eat, drink and stay in a fab former hunting lodge on the village green in Long Sutton, Somerset –an ideal London/Cornwall stopover
Opposite the village green and church in picture-postcard Long Sutton, near Langport, on the edge of the Somerset Levels, just five miles from the A303, in South Somerset.
Blue lias stone, 400 year-old, Grade II listed, former hunting lodge for the Dukes of Devonshire (it was once part of their estate) – so quite grand from the outside; high ceilings, open plan and with a relaxed and friendly atmos inside.
Grab a stool at the bar, a leather armchair by the fireside, a place on a church pew – tables and chairs are dotted around.
Dedicated dining area at one end.
Private dining in The Stables – exposed beams and a long wooden banqueting table – for up to 14 people.
Al fresco eating and drinking in the sheltered courtyard and sunny terraced gardens behind.
And out front, overlooking the village green, watching the – sleepy, Somerset – world go by.
SCOFF & QUAFF
On our visit, starters included a white onion and rosemary soup, smoked ham hock, chicken liver pate, smoked salmon platter – and these fluffy little clouds of goat’s cheese mousse, served with earthy pickled beetroot, beetroot puree, hazelnuts and topped with a handful of delicate micro herbs. Served with hunks of freshly baked bread, this could be a light lunch on its own.
Mains included pan fried hake, butternut squash risotto, chicken salad, chargrilled rib eye steak and a super succulent confit duck leg – there’s braised red cabbage, mash and greens hidden underneath – and a shiny herb jus.
Only available at lunchtime, nosh on pub classics like ham, egg and home cut chips; fairly substantial sandwiches (oak-smoked salmon, ham with farmhouse chutney, pulled pork) and the ploughman’s lunch that was never called that by any ploughman – the name was concocted by the Milk Marketing Board in the 1960s to boost cheese sales. Whatever. This one was a whopper, with thickly sliced honey roasted ham, award-winning local Westcombe cheddar, Somerset brie, home-made chutney, gherkins and mixed leaves.
Desserts are good and portions generous enough to share on a lunchtime: viz our warm treacle tart, where the sweetness of the treacle was nicely offset by the tangy lemon curd and creamy vanilla ice cream.
Other temptations included: affogato, vanilla cheesecake, chocolate torte and a West Country cheeseboard, with or without a dessert tipple. Somerset Pomona anyone?
Booze has a local emphasis, with Moor Beer and Harry’s cider both brewed in Long Sutton, Burrow Hill cider, and a compact and carefully thought through wine list.
Didn’t stay over on this visit but we always like to have a nose at what’s on offer. And in this case it’s nine individually designed and rather nice bedrooms, with good quality bedlinens, striking light fittings, flat screen TVs, bottled water by the beds, and all of them en suite (one with a roll top bath).
Breakfast includes freshly baked croissants and a full English with local free range eggs, organic bacon and sausages from Sharpham Park.
OUT & ABOUT
You’re close to the moors, marshes, walks and wildlife on the Somerset Levels; picturesque Langport and Somerton; shopping at Clarks Village and Kilver Court; Long Sutton Golf Club; one of the world’s biggest collections of vehicles at the Haynes International Motor Museum; and the Tor, Abbey and New Age (is that still a thing?) shops and workshops in mystical Glastonbury.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Come for a glass of wine, lunch, dinner or stay overnight in one of their comfy rooms. Travel cots and Z beds if you’re bringing the family. Children’s menu. Restaurant and bar on ground level. Makes for a super nice stop off for those on the London-Cornwall-London route.
Not for: Anyone feeling squeamish about country pursuits – there are trophy antlers on the walls.
The damage: Starters £6–£7.50; mains £14.50– £21.50; pub classics £12.50– £14.75; desserts £4.50–£7. See the latest menus. Weeknight packages – 1 night, dinner, breakfast for two – from £190.
The Devonshire Arms Hotel, Long Sutton, nr Langport, Somerset TA10 9LP. 01458 241271. thedevonshirearms.com