FROME INDEPENDENT MARKET IS WONDERFUL FOR THE SOUL

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There’s a fair chance you’ve never heard of Frome (pronounced Froom). And likely even greater odds that you’ve probably never visited it. But you really really should. This ancient market town is situated 13 miles from Bath in the rolling hills of rural Somerset, and is probably one of the prettiest in England. Even more so on the first Sunday of every month when the Frome Independent Market sets up shop and runs from 10am-3pm.

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Now this is no ordinary market. Most markets in the UK tend to be rather underwhelming affairs. Not this puppy. With its mixed elevations and narrow, well-kept medieval lanes, the town makes for a perfect location for a relaxing day out. The organisers have really got this one right, and hats off to the local town council for supporting such an ambitious and sophisticated monthly event. Just once every four weeks the entire town centre switches over to full-on pedestrian mode with row upon row of excellently curated stalls spread out in all directions.

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From vintage home furnishings, kitchenware to clothing, Continental style brocante sellers to retro mid-century modern decor, the market offers a superb mix of browse-worthy gear and grub. There were gorgeous pastries from At The Chapel over in Bruton, fantastic meat & game from a number of local suppliers, beautiful jewellery and artwork from many of the regions top talents… including the brilliant Anthony Oram. We also had a chance for a friendly catch-up with the ace team behind Decorator’s Notebook. So basically we didn’t once find ourselves unconsciously uttering the words “cheap tat” whilst strolling through the different shopping areas. Seriously, the quality of this market is truly top notch.

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Obviously for us, one of the most standout aspects of this market was the dog-to-people ratio. It’s safe to say we’ve never attended a more dog-friendly street market with so many hounds of all shapes and sizes in attendance.

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Over 200 stalls providing the best seasonal, regional food & drink means you aren’t going to go hungry and there are water bowls put out for the mutts at literally every second shopfront. Street food options are varied and you can go for anything from pulled pork BBQ to some of the best looking quiches this side of the English Channel.

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With such a laid back atmosphere, Frome Independent Market has managed to cultivate a vibe that is refreshingly easy-going yet still manages to feel effortlessly stylish. Everything is designed to make you love being here.

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The local bricks & mortar shops in Frome are of a notably high calibre too, providing a great backdrop to all the lovely market people selling their wares streetside. And the cafes dotted along Catherine Hill could be transplanted from any hip city neighbourhood you care to reference. Good coffee abounds. Or even proper Sicilian gelato! Not surprisingly cheese is very well represented given that the South West produces some of the country’s top award winners, with some gorgeous options from The Bath Soft Cheese Company amongst others.

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HOUNDWORTHY will be featuring at one of the upcoming events and we’ll post about it on our Twitter and Instagram feeds once we’ve confirmed dates!

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Frome Independent Market is easily reached via the M3/A303 or M4/M5. A train does serve the town on Sundays arriving at 10:26am and leaving at 3:37pm. Parking is free but can be a bit busy if you are arriving before noon and trying to find a spot right near the town centre… park up the hill and walk down. Oh and bring a HUGE shopping basket.

www.thefromeindependent.org.uk
www.houndworthy.com

PLANNING A DOG FRIENDLY HOLIDAY? DISCOVER BRITAIN’S DOG FRIENDLIEST.

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There are plenty of holiday lets out there which boast of being unique or quirky. But in our experience very few of these claims actually feel genuinely true. Certainly even fewer are canine compatible! The glorious getaway that is Spring Park however, is an exception. We’d even go so far as to say it’s in a league of its own.

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Set in an incredibly rural part of Cornwall, 6 miles from Launceston and a mere stones throw from the Devon border, Spring Park is surprisingly easy to get to. Turn left off the A30, along a glorious road through rolling hills scattered with sheep and cows, turn left at the Springer Spaniel pub and Bob is pretty much your uncle. The location – on the edge of a tiny hamlet named Rezare – is surrounded by farmland, woodland and the meandering river Tamar. At night it is SO dark and SO quiet – a perfect retreat.

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Spring Park is owned by Paddy and Kitty, a thirty-something couple with a passion for surfing, big shaggy beasts and free-wheeling finders of cool retro designy stuff. Available for hire are 4 vintage wagons and 2 barns. Please don’t let these terms conjure up images of something rudimentary, primitive or a bit draughty though because you could not be more wrong! Wood burning stove? Check. Fully equipped kitchen? Check. Spacious bathrooms with steaming hot showers? Check. It’s no wonder they’re listed with  Canopy & Stars, Alastair Sawday’s acclaimed directory to unique and special places to stay.

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If you book one of the barns you’ll also be treated to toasty under-floor heating. People treats and dog treats await every patron on arrival and each accommodation option is beautifully presented with an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, quirky trinkets, books, artwork and blankets aplenty. The cosiness of each carriage or barn simply cannot be underestimated and you’ll feel at home right away – even though your own home is unlikely to look anything like it! You will also have use of your own private landscaped garden and a fire pit for toasting marshmallows under the stars. Yep, really!

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So, what exactly are these motley crew of cabins on wheels? Well, Duke is a handsome 1940’s showman’s carriage set in a meadow, surrounded by high hedgerows for privacy and seclusion (Motley’s favourite!). Pip is a tiny 1930’s steam-roller ‘living van’ (who knew these things even existed) with a separate spacious living area while Maiden is a 1940’s railway Ale wagon. Hercules was built on a 1940’s showman’s trailer chassis and although the cabin is not of the same era, the workmanship and detail that has gone into creating such an individual space is phenomenal – 1940’s cinema seats and a beautiful hand painted kitchen. Set in it’s own little wooded area it really is something out of a fairytale. There are a couple of new additional ‘projects’ on the go too which will undoubtedly add their own unique charm and style to Spring Park over the coming months and years.

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We’ve had the pleasure of visiting Spring Park in Summer, Winter and Spring. On each occasion the surrounding landscape changes and naturally the feel of the place changes. Long dark winter evenings make your petit home-from-home a wonderful warm retreat where twinkly lights lead you through pathways to your front door. If you’re headed there with your hound we’d recommend a good collar light for night-time pee performances. On a moon-free evening it really is pitch black! The Springtime flowers bring colour and life to Spring Park and the warmth of summer just makes for lazy days to lie on the grass and read a book or a great magazine. Your mutt however will be dragging you down to the river for a swim with a floating toy.

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One of the most wonderful things about Spring Park is that you could stay there on numerous occasions in a different wagon or barn and have a different experience in each one. If there’s ever a reason to go back again and again this is it.

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So for your next dog friendly holiday adventure put Spring Park on your radar. Your hounds will love ya for it.

Spring Park, Rezare, Launceston, Cornwall, PL15 9NX
http://www.quirky-holidays-cornwall.co.uk
tel: 07805 990302

 

 

A KYLIE-FRIENDLY, LILY-FRIENDLY, DOG-FRIENDLY PUB NEAR BRISTOL

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We’re definitely not your average dog lifestyle company. So it stands to reason that we’re constantly on the hunt for dog-friendly pubs that are anything but average. This absolute beaut out near Chew Magna lake, just south of Bristol is a real gem of a find. The Ring O’ Bells in Compton Martin is what we call a proper country pub… with a great backstory.

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Not many rural pubs (this one is a on a hillside in a gorgeous valley overlooking a lake) can boast the following claim to fame: Where else can one have a meal at the very same table that Kylie Minogue has been photographed winding and grinding atop, or sat in a quiet corner nook where Lily Allen or the dude that is Mr. Glastonbury (Michael Eavis) tucked into their Sunday lunch. Or where Coldplay has gigged… just for the heck of it. This one can.

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The point is, this lovely little find in the middle of nowhere is a fantastic country bolthole where you get dine in good company, and if you’re really lucky, drink real ale rubbing shoulders with proper beardies… and possibly pop royalty! WITH. YOUR. FREAKIN’. DOG. We love it.

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If you’re ever in this part of England and manage to find this great dog-friendly pub near Bristol, you might want to double check if your dog thinks taxidermy is alive. Tucker wouldn’t stop growling at “Moonshine” the giant stuffed, bespectacled ox head mounted over the fireplace. Silly little dude seriously thought it was real and comin’ to get him. Ridic.

 

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We’d also suggest perhaps bringing one of these… that beautiful dark flagstone floor can be chilly in the cooler months. Available at www.houndworthy.com.

The Ring O’ Bells, Compton Martin, Bristol BS40 6JE

IN PURSUIT OF COUNTRY ESCAPES WITH THE EPICUREAN

HOUNDWORTHY ON THE EPICUREAN

Ep·i·cu·re·an

Devoted to the pursuit of luxurious living, especially to the enjoyment of good food and comfort

In history and tradition, culture and cuisine; Britain is a country rich in treasures. We are a country well-practised in the art of living well, however, this legacy is overshadowed by the reign of supermarkets, impersonal hotel chains and consumer convenience.

Born out of a collection of British pubs that wanted to give a voice to their shared passion for quality and comfort, The Epicurean strives to champion this cultural heritage – to advocate great British producers and seek out the finest pubs and inns that offer an authentic British experience. Utilising its industry knowledge, The Epicurean will delve culinary debates, share behind-the-scenes secrets and pay homage to the farms, breweries, pubs and inns that are upholding the standard of British quality.

Here the discerning epicurean can read up on the latest culinary trends, explore the lush British countryside and discover the best places to rest your head on these fair isles. Hear tips from hunting pros, ale connoisseurs, or foraging gourmands and discover ways to experience the finest that our green pastures and cobbled streets can offer, without scrimping on luxury.

Essential reading for the curious foodie, Sunday Roast aficionado or those in search of the UK’s finest country escapes. We strive to be purveyors of British quality in its every manifestation.

Read The Epicurean’s original review of HOUNDWORTHY here.