So it’s happened again. I have returned home and to the reality of my working existence to realise that another restful trip away ended all too quickly. “Get a grip, that’s life” you say – but when you’ve endured a moment of pure retreat bliss, it’s hard to bounce back.
The reason for this week’s feeling of angst is due to the hospitable powers of Jackie Cosens (owner) and her team at the Pear Tree Inn, an 17th Century “pub with rooms” in the county of Wiltshire. I’m not sure this three worded and profoundly modest description portrays the actuality of this charming country escape – in my eyes, this quintessentially British, yet modern countryside eatery with elegant overnight accommodation exudes so much more. I guess that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, but you get my drift.
Tucked away near the sleepy town of Melksham, sits this unpretentious, old stone build farmhouse. Upon arrival, you can’t help but smile at its chocolate box exterior – equipped with original features and surrounded by Pear Trees as the name suggests. Step through the front door you are welcomed by the gentle buzz of guests, an impressively stocked bar, and the warmth of a cosy fireplace – no need to guess what I noticed first.
The mismatched furniture, worn wooden tables and reclaimed timber flooring contribute to the rural aesthetic of this Farmhouse venue. Add some trendy illuminated letters, a scattering of leather armchairs and a supply of literature, and you’ve got the perfect, cosy environment for a casual tipple or two. For hungrier tummies, enjoy one of the lunch or dinner menus available seven days a week from the Inn’s rustic restaurant. With the addition of seasonal events and entertainment, the Pear Tree is the areas local hub of foodie activity.
With eight rooms (including family-friendly, hypoallergenic and easy-access options) split across the main setting and converted barn, there is plenty to choose from, with each offering boasting their own bespoke design. Our “pear” for the evening was the deluxe, “Bartlett”, situated upstairs above the Farmhouse itself. Balanced by muted tones and scant injections of colourful furnishings, this shabby-chic boudoir oozes all that a restorative getaway should. The generous king-sized bed comes dressed in crisp white Richard Haworth cotton sheets, Mongolian faux-fur cushions and matching throw to compliment. Underneath this decorative exterior lays the most sumptuous of mattresses – awaiting tired bodies to unleash its restorative powers on to.
As you’d expect, there is a provision of electrical appliances (hairdryer, television, kettle) with a selection of tea, lollies, homemade shortbread and locally brewed filter coffee. Our en-suite was small yet perfectly formed, armed with Bramley toiletries and fluffy towels – the only thing I missed was a bath robes to roam around in, but then I remembered – the Pear Tree isn’t trying to be a hotel, and nor should it. Rest assured, you have all the components for a tranquil night away.
Like the rest of the Pear Tree Inn, the menu does not disappoint. With Jackie’s partner and experienced caterer and Chef Adrian behind the foodie selection, it’s easy to see why the pair (excuse the pun) has got this format so right. Sampling the “Sunday Supper” dinner menu, we were presented with a list of traditional British plates – all boasting produce sourced locally, seasonal and organic where possible.
Begin your dining experience with a selection of small plates, including; Guinea fowl terrine, chicory, hazelnut & blood orange salad, toast (£7.95), Grilled Cornish Mackerel, new season rhubarb two ways, beets and crème fraiche (£7.25) and Bubble and squeak, oak smoked streaky bacon, poached hen’s egg, hollandaise sauce (£7.50). For the main body of the menu, choose from; Whole South coast plaice, brown butter shrimp, salsa verdi, greens, chive potatoes (£17.75), Pan fried gnocchi, roast beetroot puree, sage butter, kale & lemon pesto (£13.75) and 300g 28 day dry-aged steaks, roast garlic & herb butter, salad, fat chips (£21.50-£23.50). Despite our intentions to leave room for a dessert, the previous feeding somewhat defeated us.
For those of you who have booked overnight accommodation, you have an extensive breakfast menu to continue scoffing in the morning. Quick bites such as; homemade jams, granola and juices are available as part of the buffet for those with a sweet tooth (Mum, I’m talking to you). There’s also a menu providing hot plates from the kitchen; think Porridge with thick double cream, cinnamon & honey, Smoked back bacon, breakfast marmalade sausage, black pudding and Avocado, slow roast tomatoes, poached eggs on toast.
The charm and charisma of the Pear Tree Inn makes this the perfect countryside getaway for special events and restorative mini breaks. Jackie and Adrian's attention to detail shines through in all aspects of this gorgeous restored building, meaning every element of your stay is taken care of.
Rooms start from £125, please visit their website for more information.
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