Red Lion Inn Pub with rooms in Babcary, Somerset

Prices from:
£110 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Thatched village gem
  • Relaxing and inviting – beams & fires
  • Passion for local produce
  • Contemporary smart rooms – special
  • The Den – pizzas & summer breakfasts
  • Perfect A303 pit-stop (2 miles)

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Sticky FingersCandlelitGreen Fingers15 Minutes from the MotorwayPrivate Dining

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Overview

Red Lion Inn Babcary, Somerset, TA11 7ED

The personal touch

A charismatic thatched pub in the heart of unspoilt Somerset, the Red Lion Inn Babcary has been restored by Charlie and Clare Garrard into a place where locals and visitors rub along happily together. It’s still very much a drinkers’ pub, with regional ales and local ciders at the pumps, and the place has been stripped back to reveal the very best of its original character – flagstone floors, real fires and lots of nooks and crannies. There’s a leather sofa in front of the wood-burner in the main bar for those chilly winter evenings, while in the cosy village bar under low beams the piano sits ready for a sing-a-long and table skittles await. The more formal dining area with its burnished dark-wood tables is watched over by a huge stone lion’s head protruding above the open fireplace. The garden has plenty of space for eating and drinking outdoors, and the revamped Den – a chic little converted barn (or ‘posh garden shed’) – has a smart paved terrace and a wood-fired oven. The recently opened Farm Shop at the pub is stocked with goodies from artisan suppliers within a 20 mile radius of Babcary. Open two hours a day (10am-12 noon; 11am-1pm weekends) you’ll find vegetables and fruit, cheeses and chutneys and bacon and charcuterie, amongst other foodie items to take home.

Sticky fingers

The garden is geared up for children, with a slide, boules pit and giant Jenga providing outdoor distractions in the warmer months. Children can be accommodated on sofa beds in the two larger upstairs rooms for an additional £20 per child (including a continental breakfast). The sofa beds can take one 15 year old or two little ones.

Muddy paws

Dogs are very welcome in the pub, but not in the bedrooms. There are dog treats behind the bar.

Alfresco

The pretty garden will appeal to all ages. The grassed area extends to the terrace by The Den, where you can also eat out in the warmer months – look out for the pizza and slow-roasted meats from The Den’s wood-fired oven.

What’s on?

The Red Lion plays host to village events, including some for the local church, and they do quite a few weddings (Clare can even do the photos, if required). The monthly pub quiz is a regular fixture. Farmers’ markets take place at the pub from time to time, and the Christmas market is a popular event in December. The Den can be used for private dinners for up to 24, with more (120) in summer if a marquee is added to the terrace outside.

What’s the Damage?

6 doubles/twins £110-£120 (single £90)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to pub and 1 bedroom
  • Parking

Gongs

Visit England 4 Star Inn; Taste of the West Gold 2015; Tatler Restaurant Guide

Sleep

Red Lion Inn Babcary, Somerset, TA11 7ED

Do not disturb

The six bedrooms are in the converted Grade II stable block in the pub’s garden, which has been restored using original materials and is accessed via a pin code entry system. Four rooms are on the ground floor and the other two – the larger options – are up on the first floor. The two bigger rooms have sofa beds, making them ideal family spaces, and one of the ground-floor rooms has disabled/limited mobility access and a wet room. The classic/contemporary rooms have shaker-style shutters at the windows and artworks by Clare’s sister, Jackie Rennie (impressionistic rural scenes, which you can purchase if they catch your eye). The rooms are stylishly kitted out, with muted natural colours, low lighting, huge comfy beds with crushed velvet headboards and fake fur throws. Wooden floors in the smart bathrooms mean your feet don’t get too cold! Breakfast is served in the pub’s bar or across the courtyard in The Den.

Creature comforts

In-room massage; Egyptian cotton sheets; Bramley toiletries.

Gadgets

Free Wi-Fi; Flatscreen TV; Telephones (limited mobile signal).

Pampering

Guests can be treated in their room by massage therapist Vicky Cromwell. Treatments include therapeutic massage, reflexology and oriental face massage.

What’s for Breakfast?

Selection of cereals, fruit salad and yoghurt; porridge; sausage, bacon, black pudding, mushroom, tomato, fried egg, toast; scrambled eggs on toast; poached eggs on toast.

What’s the Damage?

6 doubles/twins £110-£120 (single £90)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to pub and 1 bedroom
  • Parking

Gongs

Visit England 4 Star Inn; Taste of the West Gold 2015; Tatler Restaurant Guide

Eat & Drink

Red Lion Inn Babcary, Somerset, TA11 7ED

Mastering the menu

Head chef Mark Barton likes to make use of the fine ingredients available in this part of the country, with some stuff grown on their own veg patch at the pub. The Red Lion team has catered back stage at WOMAD and Glastonbury, where they turned out around 700 covers a day in a field – it must seem so much easier in the comfort of their own kitchen! The menu features pub classics alongside more unusual things with some global flavours along the way. There are lunchtime sandwiches – steak, maybe, or feta cheese with roasted veg – and comforting options such as fish and chips and Somerset glazed ham with fried free-range eggs and chips, but equally you might go for whole roast red leg partridge, crispy bacon, champ mash, curly kale and red wine jus, or a more European-style baked fillet of cod with chorizo, butter beans, clams and white wine butter sauce. Fresh seafood is shipped up from Brixham in Devon and the cheese hails from the South West (served with fudge biscuits and apple and pear chutney). Desserts might include duck egg custard tart with rhubarb and ginger ice cream, or apple and pear crumble with crème anglaise.

On the menu

Hot-smoked mackerel pâté, pickled summer vegetables, char-grilled sourdough
Slow-roast belly of pork, braised red cabbage, mustard mash, apple sauce and red wine jus
Roast butternut squash risotto, sage, pine nuts
Red Lion beef burger, chips, dressed leaves
Dark chocolate fondant, summer berries, vanilla ice cream

Sunday Roasts

Slow-roast belly pork with roast potatoes, seasonal veggies, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese and gravy; roast Beef with roast potatoes, seasonal veggies, Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese and gravy

Foodie extras

In the summer, the wood-fired pizza oven in The Den comes into its own every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is also used for slow-cooking lamb and for hog roasts over summer weekends.

Time to Eat

Breakfast: 7.30am – 9.00am (can be later at weekends)
Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm (3pm weekends)
Dinner: 6.30pm – 9.30pm (9pm Sunday)

Local, local, local

Bread – Lievito Bakery, Lovington (www.lievito.co.uk)
Real ales – Ottery Brewery, Honiton (www.otterbrewery.com)
Fish – Kingfisher Brixham (www.kingfisherbrixham.co.uk)
Dairy – Longman Cheese, North Cadbury (www.longmancheese.demon.co.uk)
Meat – Andrew Barclay, Wincanton
Dips & meze – Levant Catering, Castle Cary (www.levantcatering.com)

Behind the bar

The real ales come from the Otter Brewery just across the border in Devon, with regular local guests offering sterling support. Cider (and apple juice) doesn’t have to travel too far to reach the door of the pub – Orchard Pig is a near neighbour. There’s also Lawrence’s traditional flat and cloudy cider from Corton Denham and Thatcher’s from Shepton Mallet. Black Cow’s pure milk vodka is a high quality tipple made in Dorset, and, when it comes to cocktails, you’ll find the likes of apple & ginger fizz, Babcary bramble, espresso martini and a Bloody Mary up for grabs.

Bar snacks

Stornoway black pudding sausage rolls
Artisan bread and olives
Pitta bread and hummus
Chorizo with stuffed peppers

Time at the bar

12 noon – 4pm, 6pm – 12 midnight

What’s the Damage?

6 doubles/twins £110-£120 (single £90)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Private dining facilities
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to pub and 1 bedroom
  • Parking

Gongs

Visit England 4 Star Inn; Taste of the West Gold 2015; Tatler Restaurant Guide

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - Red Lion Inn

2

Stourhead Farm Shop, Stourton BA12 6QF

Situated on the magnificent Stourhead Estate and renowned for the quality of its meat and its choice of locally produced seasonal foods and drinks, the Stourhead Farm Shop has been trading since 2005. There are 10 varieties of handmade sausages on offer - including the Stourhead Sizzler - a range of home-cured bacon and hams, cheese, fruit and veg, free range eggs, bread, jams and pickles.

3

Godminster Cheese Shop, Bruton BA10 0EH

Godminster is home to Richard Hollingbery and his family. Primarily a dairy farm, Richard decided to go organic in 1996. Since then the farm has produced award winning waxed cheddars and bries, with 'Great Taste' Awards going to homemade chutneys and cheese biscuits. In the shop visit the whole selection, take part in daily cheese tasting or simply find out how the goodies are created.

4

Empire Farm Courses, Templecombe BA8 0HR

Empire Farm is a 100-acre Soil Association certified organic farm on the edge of the Blackmore Vale. The farm is home to poultry and pigs, many of which are rare breed. The Farm's School offers a wide range of courses such as 'introduction to smallholding', curing and smoking meats, charcuterie and hours of fun making sausages using the farms own meats!

5

Lawrence's Cider, Corton Denham DT9 4LS

In the pretty village of Corton Denham is one of the best cider makers in the West. John Lawrence's hobby of making cider using local apples, has become a business producing 1,500 gallons of top quality cider every year! John is always ready to share his cider making experience and happy for visitors to drop by his bungalow to see the process - though phoning him first is advisable!

6

Mother's Little Vintage Tea Room, Castle Cary BA7 7BG

This unique little 1930s style tea room and coffee shop celebrates 'afternoon tea' in style - including delicious goodies on a choice of two or three tier cake stands. From cream teas to contemporary and healthy food choices, there's something for everyone, surrounded by a bit of nostalgia.

7

Lievito Artisan Bakery, Lovington BA7 7PS

Opened in 2104, Phil Nicodem's artisan bakery sells amazing breads, pastries and puddings that are normally only sold wholesale. Pop down to the old ice-cream factory in Lovington village and came back with arms full of delicious sourdoughs, pain au chocolat, handmade chocolates and challah buns. The bakery is open whenever anyone comes by (they're baking anyway) - but if you want croissants, call to order or turn up by 8am, as they sell like hot cakes!!

8

Levant Catering & Restaurant, Brookfield, Station Road, Castle Cary BA7 7BX

Tanya Levy of Levant Catering specialises in the best Mediterranean dishes, from Spain to The Lebanon. Guests can enjoy her beautifully crafted food, made from the freshest ingredients, in her gorgeous Arts and Crafts home. Sit by the wood burner in winter or eat outside on the decking by a babbling brook in summer. The restaurant is open Thursday and Friday nights and Saturdays for private functions.

9

Wells Farmers Market BA5 2RB

This long established weekly farmers' market has 17 food stalls offering a huge variety of foodie treats, from chocolate to cheese, poultry to puddings. Wells Farmers' Market not only won a Gold Award in the 'Taste of the West' Awards 2014, but was also judged 'Best South West Farmers' Market'. The market takes place every Wednesday morning, all year round.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - Red Lion Inn

Activities

2

Pevlings Farm Riding Stables, Templecombe BA8 0DA

Pevlings Farm is a wonderful and informal place to ride. All ages and abilities, including beginners, are welcome. The facility includes floodlit all-weather outdoor arenas, show jumps and cross country jumps. Lessons can be group or individual and hacking options involve rides through quiet lanes and bridle paths.

3

Wincanton Races BA9 8BJ

In a stunning setting, Wincanton Race Course runs fixtures of quality jump racing throughout the year. As well as watching the excellent racing there is plenty to see and do with trade stands and other activities. Saturdays provide some of the best racing of the National Hunt season, featuring top horses in the country.

4

Aerosaurus Balloons Flights from Castle Cary BA7 7AH

Champagne balloon flights take off, gliding over some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country. From the balloon basket, at dawn and dusk, passengers can enjoy watching the sun rise or set whilst the world below of quaint villages, striking coastlines and rolling countryside, shrinks into miniature.

21

RNAS Yeovilton Airshow BA22 8HW

Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, has won awards for its famous airshow which attracts over 35,000 visitors a year. Over five hours, spectacular flying displays include fast jets, historic warbirds, helicopters, formation display teams, aerobatics and culminates in a world renowned Finale with pyrotechnics!

22

Empire Farm Courses, Templecombe BA8 0HR

Empire Farm is a 100-acre Soil Association certified organic farm on the edge of the Blackmore Vale. The farm is home to poultry and pigs, many of which are rare breed. The Farm’s School offers a wide range of courses such as ‘introduction to smallholding’, curing and smoking meats, charcuterie and hours of fun making sausages using the farms own meats!

Shopping

12

Kilver Court Designer Village, Shepton Mallet BA4 5NF

Housed in an old mill complex within stunning gardens, Kilver Court is the ideal shopping destination for fashion, chic home interiors or simply somewhere to relax. You'll find a whole host of tempting top designer outlets including Jack Wills, Toast, French Sole, Paul Smith and Orla Kiely and all with up to 60% off!

13

Mine Boutique, High Street, Shaftesbury SP7 8JG

This one-off boutique and gift shop is a favourite with locals and helpful staff are always on hand to advise for buying that special or unusual gift.

14

Light Green, Castle Cary BA7 7AW

This little shop sells an interesting mix of organic and eco-friendly skincare products alongside organic and fair trade fashion. Vintage clothes (Victorian era to the 70s) and one-off vintage jewellery are also for sale. For tired shoppers the treatment rooms offer excellent full body, Indian Head and hot stone massages!

15

Weekend Clothes, Sherborne DT9 3PX

Based in Cheap Street this little shop has high quality fashion ideas for your wardrobe - from every day wear to clothes for special occasions. There's a good selection of shoes and accessories too from a range of hand-picked designers. Sister shop 'Weekend Home' is only next door and well worth a browse.

16

Dairy House Antiques, Shaftesbury SP7 9AN

Over the years, this treasure trove has expanded to house a massive stock collected by over 20 antique dealers. There's a large selection of decorative furniture, lighting, rugs, art, books, kitchenalia, textiles and decorative ware. Glass cabinets display china, glass, jewellery, silver and other exquisite items.

17

The Present Finder, Cheap Street, Sherborne DT9 3PU

This family business is the home of unusual and upmarket presents. Many gifts are sold in association with The National Farmers Union, Country Gentlemen's Association and also support charity Help for Heroes by selling their merchandise.

18

Butterfly Bright Haberdashery, Sherborne DT9 3NL

Alison Nurton created Butterfly Bright in 2011, selling fabulous fabrics, haberdashery, craft supplies and kitchen accessories made by local and international designers. The shop has now moved to a larger premises with room for popular workshops - be it quilting, embroidery, jewellery or cake decoration!

Places to visit

6

Clarks Museum, High Street, Street BA16 0EQ

Dedicated to famous local shoe makers, the Clarks brothers, this is a shrine to shoes. With over 1500 shoes from around the world, from Roman to modern day, it tells the story of Clarks from its very beginnings. Highlights include Princess Diana's wedding slippers, a replica of the shoes worn by the Queen for her wedding to Prince Philip and shoes designed by Joanna Lumley and Tracey Emin.

7

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton BA22 8HT

Imaginative exhibitions tell the story of naval aviation from the first manned kites towed behind naval vessels, to helium filled airships, seaplanes, bi-planes, iconic aircraft of WW2, modern Sea Harriers and helicopters. You can visit Concorde's cockpit and even 'fly' by helicopter onto the replica flight deck of HMS Ark Royal!

8

Haynes Motor Museum, Sparkford BA22 7LH

As the UK's largest exhibition of 'greatest cars from around the world', with over 400 amazing cars and bikes, this is a must for motor enthusiasts! From nostalgic classics of the 50s and 60s, to glorious Bentleys and Rolls Royce's and exciting super cars like the Jaguar XJ220 - it's a wonderful and unique collection.

9

Montecute House TA15 6XP

This glittering Elizabethan mansion is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and design. The Long Gallery, the longest of its kind in England, houses over 60 Tudor and Elizabethan portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. The beautiful gardens are constantly changing, filling the house with scent in summer and providing an atmospheric backdrop for winter walks.

10

Lytes Cary Manor, Charlton Mackrell TA11 7HU

Managed by the National Trust and located near neighbouring Somerton, Lytes Cary Manor is a medieval manor house with a beautiful Arts and Crafts-inspired garden. The garden rooms include a splendid collection of topiary and herbaceous borders. There are also delightful riverside walks to enjoy.

11

Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Durslade Farm, Dropping Lane, Bruton BA10 0NL

A pioneering world-class gallery and arts centre, set in idyllic surroundings and known for innovative exhibitions of contemporary art. Events here include talks, workshops, screenings and there’s also a good bookshop. The restaurant serves seasonal, local produce with a popular bar designed using scavenged materials. Outside, the gardens include a perennial meadow set behind the gallery buildings.

19

Weekend Home, Sherborne DT9 3PU

Weekend Home offers interior treats; from cushions and throws, table linen to lamps, mirrors to items of furniture. Colours here are muted - creams, taupes and limestone - and there's a wide range of gifts for birthdays and weddings too.

20

Sherborne, DT9 3BJ

With its medieval buildings, ancient Abbey, Alms-houses and two Castles, Sherborne is one of the most beautiful towns in England. It also has a good selection of independent shops, cafes and a farmers market on Saturdays. Wandering the streets, you may recognise backdrops to numerous films, including most recently The Imitation Game.

Events

5

Glastonbury Festival, Pilton BA4 4BY

Farmer Michael Eavis began hosting an open air music festival on his farm in Pilton, Somerset, in the 1970s. The festival has now become the largest green space open air festival in the world, attracting more than 150,000 festival goers over 4 days each year. In addition to drawing top musical talent, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and other arts.

Walking

www.movingsomersetforward.co.uk/walking/where-walk
The Red Lion is surrounded by beautiful local walks but it’s also situated close to famous trails, such as the Macmillan Way, Leland Trail and Monarchs Way, which all offer superb varied terrain, crossing hills with views to the Somerset levels.

Cycling

www.mapmyride.com/gb/castle-cary-eng
This is great countryside for cyclists. For shorter rides there’s 13-mile circuit south via North and South Cadbury, Sparkford, South and North Barrow and back to the Red Lion. Castle Cary nearby is on the 80-mile ‘Round South Somerset’ circuit.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: From the A303, take the A37 north at the Podimore roundabout and follow signs for Babcary.

Address:

Babcary,, Babcary, Somerset, TA11 7ED

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