The Old Crown Inn, Kelston
Cracking pub classics in an atmospheric 400-year-old inn on the edge of Bath, with a large garden, outdoor bar, fire pit, lodge – and bee house
On the north-west edge of Bath, on the A431 to Bristol, in the village of Kelston. At around four miles from Bath, it’s an hour and a half hour walk if you fancy or a 20-mins drive if you don’t – either way, an easy escape from the city.
Ye old worlde – 400 year old – pub stuffed with original features – flagstones worn smooth, beams hanging with hops, cast iron cooking range and working fireplaces with old guns, old prints, old boxing gloves about the place – with contemporary twists, set over four rooms.
Perch here in the main bar or another cosy one right next door.
Love the antiqued glass wall and Colonial style ceiling fans in the dining room.
The snug, aka the interestingly named Morgue, where legend has it that they kept bodies dragged out from the nearby river Avon.
There are tables outside the front but the place to sit is out back in the large award-winning garden (Best Pub in Bath in Bloom 2018 and South West in Bloom 2018 Gold).
Plenty of space for groups of mates or family – this is super sociable.
No need to go back into the pub for booze – order at the outdoor bar.
Cosy around the firepit.
Leather chairs, benches, sheepskin throws, bean bags and a woodburning stove in the garden lodge with a TV for screening sports matches.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Carnivores, pescetarians, veggies, vegans, gluten-free and kids can nosh on pub classics and more. So starters like minted lamb chipolatas, mint yoghurt and spiced tomato relish or smoked Applewood cheese croquettes, rhubarb and beetroot ketchup. Mains including burgers and steak, pie, cider-battered fish and chips, mussels and the Buddha bowl of roasted cauli, carrots, red cabbage, split pea and quinoa with a tahini dressing.
Add a hunk of bread or handful of salad and the twice-baked cheddar cheese souffle starter would become a standalone lunch. Rich and delicious.
Another huge portion * lets out the belt another couple of notches * of poached salted cod, roasted root veg, samphire with a lemon butter sauce.
The Bath Soft Cheese Co is on hand over the road to provide a selection of their famous Bath Blue, Wyfe of Bath, Merry Wyfe of Bath (with cider, hic!), Bath Soft for the cheese board, to be eaten with homemade chutney, quince jelly and walnuts. Very good indeed.
Vino: around 16 wines all available by the glass or bottle, mostly European with a few New World thrown in. Boozy coffees take you back to the 70s (thank you).
OUT & ABOUT
Loads of footpaths criss-crossing the village including the Kelston Roundhill walk, part of the Cotswold Way, which goes up to a prehistoric barrow with breathtaking views. The Bristol to Bath Cycle Path. Sir John Harington, inventor of the first flushing loo for Queen Elizabeth I, is buried in the village churchyard.
Good for: Within easy reach of Bath. Colder days inside the cosy pub. As soon as the sun’s out, head for the garden – and the more the merrier, this is a place to have a rollicking time. Kids’ menu. Half price Prosecco Tuesdays; Fish ‘n’ chip Fridays, Sunday roasts. Weddings and parties all year round.
Not for: Don’t come for a pig-out on a Monday, there’s a limited menu.
The damage: Very reasonable. Weds – Fri 12pm – 2.30pm and 6pm–7pm, 2 courses £15; 3 courses £18. Otherwise: light bites (olives etc) £4; starters £6; mains £10 – £18; desserts £7; cheeseboard for two £12. Under 10s menu £5 and £6. Wine £18–£26.
Opening hours: Mon to Saturday 11.30am – 11pm; Sun 11.30 – 10pm. Food: Mon menu 12pm – 6pm; Tues to Sat main menu, 12pm–2.30pm/6pm – 9pm; Sat 12pm – 9pm. Sun roasts 12pm –7pm
The Old Crown Inn, Bath Rd, Kelston, Bath, Somerset BA1 9AQ. 01225 423032 oldcrownkelston.com