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The Courtyard Hotel, 10-12 High Street, Wiveliscombe, TAUNTON, TA4 2JX [Map]
A pub that we hadn't really intended to visit but were glad that we had. Picture the scene. A journey from Cornwall to Birmingham, regarded by some perhaps as from heaven to well something not quite as good. Picture too the M5 with miles of stationary traffic all heading northwards. Hmmm, do we stop at a motorway service area or perhaps as it's a nice day find a tea shop? Tea shop, hmmm, let's try Wiveliscombe as it sounds like a nice place. Drive there. Tea shop closed on a summer Sunday afternoon. Hotel down the road open. Approach bar.
"Excuse me, do you serve cream teas?", says I.
"Hmmmm, no we don't. Well we don't normally. But we could. Yes we can. How many would you like?"
"Two please," thinking how simple it was to order a cream tea in a hotel bar/pub.
"And what would you like to drink with your cream TEA? Tea or coffee, or perhaps something else?" asked the landlord.
"Well tea I guess," I replied.
"Are you sure that you don't want anything to drink with your cream tea?" he repeated.
"Well we would have a real ale, but tea will have to do as we're driving," I uttered.
"OK, two cream teas it is."
And guess what appeared, two cream teas without tea! But luckily a local helped us persuade the landlord that we were after tea with our cream teas, that in tea shops normally appear anyway!
Anyhow, an interesting story that isn't intended to put down the establishment. We thought that it was one worth mentioning and we were very impressed by the place in all other areas! It is the only pub in this guide where I have never consumed a drop of alcohol, though a local did point out that the beer was very good. It's brewed by the Cotleigh Brewery based in Wiveliscombe, who have been brewing award winning beers since 1979.
An excellent establishment with a small bar at the front, a friendly landlord and very friendly feel. Apparently they've also a cellar bar, but we didn't look for that. Certainly the upstairs bar would be an excellent place to go for a quiet quality pint of beer. They do lunches too and it looked like the food was pretty good as some very satisfied locals told us so.