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The Red Lion Inn, Babcary

Muddy says: The best of both worlds: trad thatched pub serving cut above classic pub food and al fresco pizzas plus sleekly chic guest rooms.

Idyllic rural location? Check. The south Somerset village of Babcary is tiny and unspoilt but close enough to the A303 and A37 to make it easy to find and perfect for stopovers to and from the deepest West Country.

Picture postcard country inn inside and out? Absolutely: thatched roof, flagstones, roaring fires, leather sofas, quirky decorations. Pretty, sunny gardens with arbour, rosemary bushes and wood pit.

Great food? Yep. A menu with cut above pub classics at its heart and a deserved reputation for its a la carte menu, Sunday roasts, burgers – ingredients locally sourced as far as possible – plus regional beers, local ciders and a first-class wine list. And now an outdoor wood-fired pizza oven.

Child/dog friendly? Sure: (tasteful) play things for kids. Those pizzas. Dogs welcome.

Somewhere to lay your head?  Of course – in six sleek guest rooms, with faux fur throws – twin, double or superior rooms (plus a sofa bed for children).

Any good for larger groups? How big do you want to go? Private dinners for up to 20 in The Den and wedding receptions and parties of up to 120 in their elegant marquee.

Is that all?  Did I mention their events?  Throughout the year,  including live jazz from the likes of Ronnie Scott’s and artisan food markets.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset