It has been a busy few weeks with work trips and moving house, but during the madness I squeezed in a weekend in the countryside for a bit of R & R. You may remember last summer I made the long awaited trip to The Pig in the New Forest (which I wrote about here>), since then The Pig has had two little piglets and I couldn’t think of a better place to escape London with friends.
I chose The Pig near Bath as it is en route to my parents, as well as a short drive away from my friend Helen who has recently had a baby – so the ideal location for catching up with friends and visiting family.
Chloe & I loaded up the Mini for our weekend adventure and set off on the two hour drive to the Somerset village of Pensford, where The Pig is situated. Like the New Forest hotel, we drove up the wooded driveway to the main house, where we were greeted by the obligatory farmyard doormen which firmly signalled our arrival.
Unfortunately we had picked the only rainy weekend of the summer for our visit, but this only made the perfect excuse to settle down in the lounge of the gorgeous Georgian mansion and introduce Chloe to some proper Somerset tipples! In an act of true friendship I allowed her to start off gently with an Elderflower Cider before forcing a proper Scrumpy down her neck, by way of a true Somerset initiation.
Helen soon arrived with a sleeping new baby Zachary, so we ordered some pizzas from the wood fired oven outside and proceeded to catch up on our news.
The sun finally made an appearance, so we seized the opportunity to get our Hunters on and walk off our lunch in the grounds. The gardens here seemed bigger than at the original New Forest Pig, and alongside the namesake creatures who were busy snaffling up their lunch, there was also a herd of beautiful deer which roamed freely.
One of the things I love about the Pig hotels is the ‘home grown’ element and being able to see this in action, so the next stop on our exploration walk was the kitchen garden and the smokehouse, where we watched the foragers collect produce for the evening’s dinner. Never ones to miss a silly photo opportunity (and spurred on by the lunchtime cider drinking) we channelled our inner Bill & Ben as we came across a pile of unplanted pots by the greenhouse.
With the sun still shining, we made our way back to the house for a cup of tea and some more country air on the deserted terrace. The only disappointment on this tranquil afternoon was the distinct lack of cake.
Robes on and ready for a deeper level of relaxation, we skipped through the walled garden towards the Potting Shed treatment rooms for our massages. The sheds, were indeed sheds, but were candlelit and scented with aromatherapy oils which instantly made us feel relaxed and at home.
Sixty blissful minutes later we floated back across the gardens to our room within the main house, with all London stresses left behind.
Unlike the Pig in the New Forest, most of the rooms here are within the main house, which makes it feel more ‘hotel-like’ and less of a secluded escape, however it was in no way noisy despite being fully booked.
Décor wise the two Pigs were very similar with their vintage, country style, and the room had everything you could wish for to make it a home away from home, including the most comfortable bed and fluffy duvet that I have slept on since my visit to the New Forest hotel last summer.
Dinner is the main event at The Pig and it is an affair as relaxed or formal as you wish to make it. After making use of the giant walk in shower in our room, we made our way down to the gorgeous conservatory for our 8pm reservation and were seated next to casually dressed diners who were finishing their meal and heading up to their rooms with DVDs, wine and popcorn, whilst others who were in their finery and clearly here for the evening.
Like the original Pig, the menu is locally sourced, and everything bar the Brixham seafood has been produced within a 25 mile radius.
With the sun setting outside the window and the deer running home for the night, we kicked off our dining experience with a selection of starters & ‘Piggy bits’ to ensure that every angle of the menu was covered!
Home smoked salmon with a fennel and cider dressing, slow cooked pig’s cheek, which was perfectly crispy, and the grilled courgette & English feta salad were amongst our favourites; the chipolatas with spicy ketchup are not to be missed either.
For a main we opted for the sharing platter of chargrilled pork belly and homemade BBQ sauce, which was so delicious it proved very difficult to share, whilst the crispy tobacco onions were unusual, yet completely addictive.
To round off our evening’s feast we all chose the parfait with strawberries and mint from the garden which was a fab choice, and one I would definitely repeat again – it had the perfect balance of flavour and sweetness, and the pig shaped biscuit was a quirky touch!
Feeling stuffed to the brim, we retired to one of the lounges for an after dinner cocktail or two before making the short journey upstairs to bed, completely exhausted from our long day of eating and…well, eating!
The next morning we woke still feeling full from last night’s feast. Nonetheless we headed down to the sun drenched conservatory for a coffee, but it was mere minutes before we were tempted by the plentiful buffet of pastries, juices, cereal and fruit. Catching a glimpse of the eggs on the table next to us, we soon gave up on the modesty, and before long we were ‘forcing’ down our own plates of Eggs Benedict and omelette.
A quick stroll around the gardens signalled the end of our mini break and time to head home. The Pig near Bath had been a wonderful host and much needed breather from the house moving chaos. Would I return there? Without a doubt, however I think the original Pig has a slight edge for me but for no reason I can easily put my finger on as both are packed full of charm. Visit The Pig website for more details & rates >
The Luxe Life was a guest of the Pig