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New in Somerset and Dorset: an affordable boutique hotel, a low intervention wine bar, a Michelin star run gourmet grocery/deli/cafe – and Mary Shelley's House of Frankenstein (eek).

Book yourself in for a luxe but affordable boutique stay – and scare yourself silly at the world’s first museum dedicated to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – in Bath. Quaff low intervention wine and scoff shared small, wild plates in Lyme Regis. Eat a picnic lunch courtesy of a Michelin star chef in Bruton. Ready, get set, go!

NEW HOTEL: The Yard in Bath


A luxury stay in the centre of Bath that won’t break the bank – not a contradiction in terms if you book yourself into The Yard. Opening in June, the former coach house turned boutique hotel close to the Circus, Royal Crescent, Thermae Bath Spa and the city’s other myriad delights, has 14 rooms (we’ll take the one with the roof terrace please) set around an historic courtyard.


Expect king size beds, rainfall showers, freestanding baths, REN toiletries and Nespresso machines. Breakfast is hung on your door handle each morning; coffee and cakes available throughout the day and booze in the evenings down in the courtyard. Amazingly, double rooms start from only £95 (including breakfast).

NEW WINE BAR: Lilac in Lyme Regis


Not content with launching one rather fabulous eaterie in Lyme Regis in the past year (Robin Wylde in Autumn 2020), Harriet Maunsell is opening a second, with the same ethos: wild, foraged and West Country ingredients, waste reduction and sustainability.


Opening in July, the new low intervention (‘hands on’ small batch vineyards) wine bar and tap room Lilac will serve wines from small-scale Dorset vineyards including English fizz from Langham’s on tap; international rare and low intervention wines by the bottle; local ciders, beers and soft drinks; plus a daily changing selection of small plates, like tempura sea vegetables with smoked roe, elderflower and mint; wood-fired lobster with strawberry, rose and verbena; charcuterie and fresh breads. Can’t wait.

NEW WINE BAR/DELI/GROCERY: The Old Pharmacy, Bruton

Photo Ed Schofield

Little sister to his Osip restaurant next door is Michelin star chef Merlin Labron-Johnson’s newly opened The Old Pharmacy, a wine bar, deli and grocery store selling ‘store-cupboard essentials’, snacks, wine, coffee, absolutely yummy cakes, sandwiches and salads.


Perfect for a weekend lunch or picnic, all sorts of goodies like wild boar terrine and country pâté, hand harvested olive oils from Alta Sabina, Datterini tomatoes, Cima Di Rapa, Sicilian navel oranges, Yorkshire rhubarb, broad beans, artichokes and asparagus – much of which is used in the Osip menu. Currently open Wednesday-Sunday 9am-3.30pm but opening in the evenings soon.

NEW ATTRACTION: Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein, Bath

Horror/sci-fi/literary fans: the world’s first Frankenstein museum is opening in the city where it’s believed Mary Shelley wrote much of her famous novel over 200 years ago. From Weds 30 June, the doors will be creaking open at this new Bath attraction – part museum-part immersive experience – about Shelley’s unconventional life and work. Come face to face with all sorts of unusual and grisly artefacts, atmospheric interactive multi-sensory stuff, an 8ft monster and ‘assorted body parts’ (eek)… if you dare.

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