The Bell & Crown Hotel



You might not be familiar with the village name, but Zeals is a gem of a mini-break destination at the crossroads of Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset. What’s more, in the The Bell & Crown, it has an inn that’s been going strong for two centuries, so it’s got pedigree.

Chef Joey Haynes’ menu puts produce from local, family-run suppliers at the fore with pub classics inspired by the seasons – think south coast sea bass with butternut and red lentil dahl, Westcombe curd fritters with soured cream and chives, and ‘nduja scotch eggs. Flagstone floors, open fireplaces and dark woods adorn the indoor dining area, but guests can enjoy a glass of wine on sheepskin-blanketed chairs with views of the working fields beyond too, and a walled garden is coming soon.

After dessert of roasted peaches and New Forest strawberries topped with vanilla ice cream and mint, mosey upstairs to one of six stylish rooms, only open since April. Cosy window seats, beamed ceilings and neutral hues are accompanied by vibrant, handmade lampshades, Moroccan rugs and antique French nursing chairs – it’s home away from home with all the trimmings.

Fuel up on Lincolnshire sausages, hash browns and field mushrooms before you set off on a woodland trail of Stourhead house and gardens or to wander the medieval streets of nearby Salisbury – you might just catch the sunset over Stonehenge on the way back.

Doubles from £131, including breakfast. 01747 840404,

Words by Jas Matulewicz.

This review was taken from the August/September 2022 issue of Food and Travel. To subscribe today, click here.


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