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 (recently under new ownership) specialising in proper, down-to-earth modern pub grub and featuring a splendid 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. In 2016/17, the small but perfectly formed Ideal Trade Company took over the Inn at Freshford and two other beautiful pubs in the Bath locale, with the Cross Guns in Avoncliff (also boasting 16th century origins, nestled on the canal towpath and featuring panoramic views from the riverside pub gardens) and the Old Crown Inn on the Bath-Bristol road that passes through the picturesque little village of Kelston completing the triumvirate. If any of the pubs were 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 scrubbed up and refurbished to exacting contemporary standards, whilst still intelligently retaining the traditional pub atmosphere and putting the original timber beams and inviting open fireplaces into the spotlight.
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. On the food front, seasonal menus push the freshest local produce to the fore, supplemented by meat, fish and vegetables smoked in the pub’s on-site smoke house. Further upholding the ‘proper pub’ tradition, sustenance ranges from bar snacks (whatever your tipple of choice, it’s way too wet without one of the pub’s homemade sausage rolls) to full-on 3-course feasts by way of an array of doorstop sandwiches served every day until 6pm and a wide selection of Small Plates/light bites that can be mixed’n’matched to create sociable sharing platters or taken individually as starters.
From the Small Plates menu (£6 each or 3 for £16,) we shared soft, smooth chicken liver and bacon pate that came topped with a sturdy, sweet slab of toasted sweetcorn bread (a lively, novel touch,) salt and pepper squid that melted on the tongue and super-fresh crab on toast served with lively pickled fennel. 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 Him, a creamy slab of twice-cooked pork belly resting somewhat salaciously on a neat mound of bubble and squeak, accompanied by roasted root vegetables and cavalo nero and bathed in a sublime watercress hollandaise; for me, crisp crab fishcakes served with pickled fennel slaw, a lively chimichurri zinging with the thrum of fresh herbs and a crisp, lesser-spotted (if indeed, ever spotted anywhere else?) battered lemon pepper onion – this kitchen knows just how important supporting characters are.
We didn’t plunder the pudding menu because we went a bit overboard on the starters, but its clear from the grub we indulged in that desserts won’t desert you here. 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. Selected wines by the glass or bottle are half price all day, every day on Wednesdays, the last Thursday of every month is Burger and Malbec night (two burgers plus a bottle of Finca la Colonia Coleccion Malbec for just £25 – less than the price of that particular bottle of wine on its own) and an Alfresco Dining Club on Friday 7 July, featuring a bespoke seasonal menu cooked using a variety of open fire cooking methods and hosted by the company’s sister venture (and gourmet alfresco specialists) Barabiku Outdoor Catering. Get inn!
- 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
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