The Inn at Freshford
a funky, stylish contemporary country pub specialising in down-to-earth, modern grub
Around 5 miles/8km south east of Bath, the picture-perfect, super-pretty village of Freshford is easily accessible to walkers who meander alongside the Avon or Frome rivers, cyclists who make the most of access to the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath or those who favour leaping in the car and escaping to the country when the mood strikes, all of whom are richly rewarded for their efforts by finding themselves at the heart of a village that looks like a backdrop for a scene in a Beatrix Potter story… and any of whom will be richly rewarded for their efforts by a visit to The Inn at Freshford: a funky, quirky, no-fuss contemporary inn specialising in proper, down-to-earth modern pub grub and featuring a magical, split-level garden to chill out in when the sun comes out to play.
This 16th century pub may have ancient origins, but there’s a thoroughly modern backstory to recent developments at the Inn. If ever a pub was in need of some TLC, it was this one – and it’s an utter delight to see the honey-coloured stone building’s charms both within and without recently scrubbed up and refurbished to exacting contemporary standards, whilst still intelligently retaining the traditional pub atmosphere, complete with original timber beams, quirky corners and inviting open fireplaces.
Stylish but practical design flourishes (an illuminated whisky cabinet mounted against an ancient stone wall; a formerly overlooked ante-room transformed into a cosy but spacious dining area; a wrought iron spiral staircase leading to a smart little chill out zone on the upper floor) are dotted hither and thither, while local and craft beers, ciders, a fabulous range of gin, cocktails and the pub’s own private collection of wines make a trip to the bar here a voyage of discovery.
Further upholding the ‘proper pub’ tradition, sustenance ranges from bar snacks (whatever your tipple of choice, it’s way too wet without a little dish of pork crackling served with cider apple sauce) to full-on 3-course feasts by way of an array of doorstop sandwiches served every day from 12noon until 6pm and a wide selection of Small Plates that can be mixed’n’matched to create sociable sharing platters or taken individually as starters.
The pub’s sourcing and sustainability policy is exemplary, the freshest local produce is pushed to the fore across all menus, and a recent summer menu revamp has – amazingly, given the quality and standard on offer on our last visit – made A Very Good Thing even better.
From the Small Plates menu (£7 each or 3 for £17,) we shared a melty, oozy haddock kedgeree croquette served with a little pool of deeply umami curried raisin ketchup; crispy but inherently meaty chicken wings teamed with a fascinating burnt apple puree and kimchi; and sweetly earthy, lightly smoked mackerel, beetroot and horseradish on perfect sourdough. Super starters? Indeed – and, in truth, substantial enough for supper had we stopped our menu foray at that point. But of course, we never stop at starters.
For mains, for Mr Pig, the Butcher’s Block: the chef’s cut of the moment which, on the evening we visited turned out to be a fat, moist slab of sirloin, served with subtly exotic Carissa tomatoes, triple-cooked chips and salsa. For me, a more complex and even more carnivorous dish: the Butcher’s Bowl, featuring barbecued/slow-cooked meats including velvety shin, bathed in a rich, slick bone broth, served on a foundation of steamed rice and topped with a crispy fried egg that, when nudged with a fork, added a creamy richness to the whole melange, offset by a sharp blast of fermented vegetables dotted hither and hither on the dinnertime dance floor – overall, it was a bold bowl of food, laden with personality, offering twist after twist of flavour sensation at every turn. It’s huge, and definitely not for the faint-hearted – but if you’re a foodie craving an adventurous experience, this is the dish for you.
Puds: yes, after all that, we went there (well, in so much as I sampled the two desserts that Mr Pig decided he couldn’t live without): a playful, mousse-liked malted chocolate cheesecake on a cookie base served with salted honeycomb and chocolate sauce, and a strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwich that bought the most divine strawberries that I’ve tasted in a very long time, in both coulis and fresh format, to our supremely happy table for two.
Elsewhere on the menus, vegetarians/vegans are very well-catered to, children get their own little selection and even the descriptions of the Sunday roasts are enough to make you start looking forward to the weekend even if its only Monday evening.
But there’s yet more reasons to revisit the Inn at Freshford once you’ve made acquaintance with this new-look old pub. Tuesday evenings bring the moules frites special to the menu (mussels, fries and drink, £13), there’s a dedicated seasonal Supper Club menu to explore on the first Friday of every month throughout the summer and regular live music events keep the party going with a swing – keep an eye on our news feed and the Inn’s What’s On page for full details of all the goings-on.
Personally, we’re planning on getting Inn at every opportunity.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Dog friendly ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
Main Menu served Monday – Saturday: 12noon – 9pm;
Doorstop sandwich menu Monday – Saturday: 12noon – 6pm;
Sunday Roast: 12noon – 7pm
Around 5 miles/8km south-east of Bath, accessible by train, bike, walking routes or a gorgeous drive through the countryside