We recently discovered 'Piggy Coladas' at The Pig hotel near Bath... and basically, cocktails will never be the same again! If you love a tipple with a smooth chocolatey twist, then this is pretty much heaven in a vintage saucer... and where better to sip it than tucked away in the beautiful rural surroundings of the Mendips, about 20 minutes outside of Bath and Bristol. On an Autumn afternoon, it's such a treat to wander around their peaceful gardens, in the hazy glow of weekend relaxation.
We pop to The Pig for a bit of lunch to celebrate our seven-year wedding anniversary, but day invariably turns to evening, as it really is one of those places where you lose all track of time and can happily while away the hours eating, drinking, chatting and exploring.
Anyway, here are five things we discover about The Pig that we absolutely love:
1. The feel of the house
As we pootle up the winding driveway, I find myself humming a bit of Blur "He lives in a house, a very big house in the countrrryyyy!" but really, this is probably more gorgeous Georgian mansion in the country (which doesn't fit quite so well with that particular melody ;)).
There's a cool country vibe inside and out - and those huge pig sculptures wait to greet you!
The obligatory rack of Hunter wellies sits in the hallway for that relaxing garden stroll and the plethora of plush velvet has us sinking back in a sofa, dreaming of Winter nights by a roaring fire. Sigh!
Until the 70's, the house was actually a family home and their portraits still keep a watchful eye over guests. We don't mind at all though.... we love a bit of history with our vodka and vinyl! ;)
With oodles of space, you won't be short of places to explore either. We dash about like excited kids, counting up three lounges, a cosy bar, a private dining room (where opulent chandeliers meet rustic wood and iron), and then there's the relaxed restaurant - big, buzzing and choc-full of chatty diners, enjoying lunch with family and friends.
Our advice would be to grab a table in the gorgeous Greenhouse for a feel of rustic chic - old wood, mismatched chairs, terracotta pots, lots of light and great views over the garden and beyond to the deer park.
2. The food
Fresh, local, delicious. That's what you'll get here and that's just the sort of food we love! There's a '25 miles' menu, so you can be sure that what's not grown in the vegetable and fruit beds of the kitchen garden is certainly locally sourced.
We tuck into a mix of fish and veggie dishes - a melt-in-the mouth Organic Smoked Salmon, with a local cider dressing (to give it just the right amount of zing), a home-made Oyster Mushroom Raviolo with Tarragon, Red Onion and Olive Salad (simple and wonderful), Harbour Fillet of Plaice with Charlotte Potatoes, Vinegarette and Crispy Capers (all cooked to perfection I'm reliably informed) and 'Incredible Sweetcorn Risotto', that's exactly that! The charred sweetcorn, tinker bell chilli and sprinkling of crispy onion give it a very welcome kick.
The Kitchen is overseen by Chef Director of The Pig Group, James Golding and Head Chef Kamil Oseka and for us, the guys absolutely nail it.
We move to the outdoor terrace for a bit of raspberry cheesecake in the Autumn sunshine and well... we've definitely had worse days ;).
3. The Kitchen Garden
The gardens definitely feel like the heart and soul of The Pig - and we head through a pretty iron gate to discover vegetable patches galore, fruit cages, greenhouses and nearby poly tunnels bursting with goodness!
There's rows of salad turnips, leeks, onions, sweetcorn, chillies and berries... pretty much most of what we'd eaten moments earlier. Now that's what we call fresh! The concept of growing what you serve with a menu driven by the seasons isn't unique, but it's definitely done very, very well at The Pig.
4. The potting sheds
These days, the spa at most boutique stays sees you hanging out with other guests, sipping tea in your robe and slippers before it's your turn for a treatment! Not so at The Pig. Here, it's off to one of the private outdoor Potting Sheds you go - and we think that's a flipping lovely idea.
Original sheds have been transformed into single treatment rooms and are dotted about the garden. It's magical strolling around the grounds to seek out your unique hideaway. The inside of these cabins is a world away from the typical treatment rooms you'd normally find... and whether it's a massage, facial or reflexology you're after, you can sit back in the peace and quiet of your rustic retreat and drift away to the sound of real birdsong.
And there are lots of little spots in the garden to sit and chill afterwards too...
5. That glass collection!
So, if we could take one thing away from The Pig it would be this little lot...
So many pretty colours and so many drinks we'd love to make (and test out) in all the shapes and sizes of glinting, gorgeous glass!
And, if you fancy sleeping off those Piggy Coladas, there's 29 beautiful bedrooms to choose from - although get in quick, because they get booked up lightening fast. Here's a little taste of what you can expect if you do fancy a stay...
Next time, we're definitely making sure our head hits the pillow in one of these gorgeous rooms ...
All in all, we leave this fantastic Somerset spot planning our next escape and feeling as happy as the proverbial pig in... well, you know! ;)
Rooms at The Pig start from £155 on weeknights and £185 at weekends. Grab lunch there daily, from 12 noon.