A delightful gem

The Oak Room offers a place both to relax and dine formally

The Oak Room offers a place both to relax and dine formally - Credit: sub

A luxurious stay on a return trip to a familiar spot manages to overcome an initial disappointment for ANDY COOPER

Our trip to one of Somerset’s iconic spots started with disappointment. Not an hour before setting off for Tarr Farm Inn we learned that the adjacent Tarr Steps had been washed away in recent floods.

So, bang went the plans for a Sunday morning hop across the River Barle and walk along its banks after breakfast, disappointingly.

On the plus side, that disappointment was the only down side to a fabulous stay at Tarr Farm, the delightful little gem nestling at the bottom of that winding valley road just outside Dulverton.

I knew the place of old, having often stopped there for some liquid refreshment and a bite to eat many times when drawn to that famous old clapper bridge not 100 paces from its front door. But this was the first time I’d enjoyed an overnight stay there.

And what a welcome stay it was. From the enthusiastic check-in to the offer as we departed the following day for us to call back in for coffee once we’d completed our walk, service was at a premium.

A delightfully-converted block adjacent to the main building houses some swish and well thought out bedrooms. Our room – the master bedroom – had a distinctive designer double bed as a centrepiece, with tasteful furnishings and warm and spacious ensuite bedroom - lovely added touches.

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By mealtime we were hungry enough to eschew the offer of a pre-dinner snifter in what looked like a welcoming bar to get down to the main event in the Oak Room dining area.

I say ‘area’ because the room doubles up as not only a dining room but also has some cosy sofas on which to relax – a nice use of the space.

Our meal choices were extensive and expertly cooked and service was attentive, but not OTT. It was clear from how busy the place was – even on a somewhat dark and windswept night – what a popular spot this was.

After dinner we couldn’t resist the charms of the bar any longer and enjoyed our coffees and aperitifs in comfort with the rest of the folks enjoying the convivial atmosphere – including chef and his team, who we were pleased to be able to congratulate in person on a superb meal.

And so to bed for a relaxing evening with a windy night outside kept at bay in the snugness of our room. A superb full English the following morning set us on our way for a bracing walk along one side of the Barle, before we re-traced our steps and said a sad farewell.

Never mind the absence of a step or two on the bridge – Tarr Farm Inn more than made up for it by being a step ahead for service and sumptuousness.