Mother’s Day in Somerset sorted!
Everywhere gets so darn booked up for Mothering Sunday – as you’ll know, if you’ve ever spent the day before desperately trying to nab a restaurant reservation only to find it’s Burger King or bust. So in the interests of being super-organized, we’ve decided to get in there early this year with our guide to what to do with your mother – or your children – on Sunday 26 March (I can think of a few suggestions that aren’t quite in keeping with the spirit of the day, but let’s leave that there). Here are Muddy’s mega Mothering Sunday picks…
Family Sunday lunch – don’t worry, you don’t have to cook it
I’m trying to work my way around our region’s many, excellent local pubs (*hic*). Some of my favourites for a family lunch include (*drum roll please*)… The Red Lion in Babcary just off the A303 near Sparkford, The White Horse has a brilliant sharing board over in Haselbury Plucknett near Crewkerne, the Ring 0′ Bells in Compton Martin in the Chew Valley (that’s the pub where big name music stars just happen to pop by – though we can’t promise a musical megastar when you visit), The Queens Arms in Corton Denham near Sherborne, old coaching inn The Talbot Inn over in Mells, The Babbling Brook Inn and its award-winning Sunday roast not far from Bridgwater, The Sheppey out on the Somerset Levels (you can book online) and The Swan in Wedmore. It’s not a pub but a country house hotel but the Mother’s Day menu at the Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor looks awesome.
A family walk (that’s not the school run)
If the weather is looking good (we can but hope), tell your kids to can the moaning about their legs being tired and head off for a nice family stroll. We’re spoilt for choice for scenic surroundings in our region but your starter for ten includes the stonking grounds of Tyntesfield up in Wraxall. It’s a vast Gothic pile with formal gardens, an orangery and 540 acres of rolling parkland. If any of you are super fit, you might want to bring your trainers: this weekend it’s the Tyntesfield 10k. Mums get in free to the Walled Gardens of Cannington near Bridgwater (so long as they’re with another paying adults) and there’s a free gift if you get there early enough (it’s open 10am-5pm). The gardens, which are so good that they’ve been designated an RHS partner garden, lie within the grounds of a medieval priory; there’s a tearoom and plant nursery too. You can walk through three centuries at Hestercombe‘s gardens – the Georgian landscape gardens, a Victorian shrubbery and Edwardian formal gardens – then pop in for afternoon tea or a special two-course Mother’s Day lunch in the historic Bampfylde Hall. Just over the border at Stourhead in Wiltshire, stroll around the lake and acres of grounds described as a ‘living work of art’, admire the many follies and stop off for a hot drink at the Gothic Cottage, have a meal or drink at The Spread Eagle pub just outside the entrance to the gardens or a lolly ice from the ice cream parlour across the courtyard.
Let them eat cake
I’m always up for tea and cake, so I’m guessing that you might be too. Pinkies out for cream tea (or lunch) at the 18th century country house Ston Easton Park just south of Bath. If it’s warm enough, Posh Tea (finger sandwiches, home baked scones, jams and organic cream plus teas) in the 5-acre gardens at the Cole Manor Tea Rooms near Bruton would be lovely – the croci are out. Cross Lane House in Aller, just outside Minehead offers the tallest (and most exquisitely presented ) afternoon tea I’ve ever had: book ahead and wear your elasticated trousers. If you really want to push the boat out then you’ll want a table at The Royal Crescent in Bath, where you can choose from four gourmet afternoon tea menus and a wide selection of different teas and Tattingers.
Mother/adult daughter jaunts (no kids allowed)
Super cool The Barn in Loxton, near Axbridge in north Somerset has teamed up with The Blossom Parlour florist to offer mums a Swedish massage and bouquet to take home – leaving you to enjoy one of the many other beauty or relaxation treatments on offer. Chill out at the Bristol Lido, one the UK’s oldest surviving lidos with an outdoor pool surrounded by an award-winning restaurant, tapas bar and spa. Lots of swim and eat packages, day and half day spas, including a March Madness Spa Day midweek, which includes use of the pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub, a one-hour treatment, lunch or early dinner plus a glass of prosecco if it rains, ice cream if it snows and Amaretto hot choc if the temperature drops below zero. Frontlinestyle in Bath have a special Mother’s Day pamper package which includes a Clarins goody bag. Or how about the two of you learning how to create homemade liqueurs, like basil infused gin or limoncello? Combe Grove‘s expert Head Barman Shane Turner will show you how in a one-day workshop – and you get a bottle of the stuff to take away.