The Bell at Skenfrith

UK Wales South Wales Monmouthshire

The deftest fishing rod flick from the English border on the banks of the River Monnow, here is one of the establishments that helps rural Monmouthshire get its tag as a foodie Mecca. This whitewashed 17th-century hostelry is a drovers inn with a sensitive contemporary refurbishment that preserves the best of the old (oh, those mighty oak beams), with the interior’s openness and abundant plants throughout, not to mention a superbly-executed menu, giving it a fresh, new touch too. You will know it by its location opposite the stone hump-backed bridge to England and by the silver Bentley parked out front (modern cars do so mar an otherwise lovely old-fashioned scene, don’t they?).

With views of either the pea-green hills behind or the murmuring river out front, 11 delightful rooms await here. These are country mansion style, large and light with Farrow & Ball colour schemes, claw-footed baths and other antique furnishings: especially striking are the elegant mustard-tinted Coachman, the two-floor Lough Arrow and Heckham Peckham with its curving beams and semi-four-poster bed.

There are two bar areas, the Dog and Boot Bar for the many muddy hikers and anglers the inn receives and another snug area with a wood-burning stove and sofas. The Bell then opens up into an excellent restaurant where you can feast on roast pork tenderloin enveloped in Parma ham and braised pork cheek, perhaps, or beetroot and goat’s cheese risotto. The wine list is absolutely standout. In summer, take your drink to the sloping grassy beer garden alongside. And whenever you are here, try some local walks: The Bell has mapped and marked seven of the best. 

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The Bell at Skenfrith, Skenfrith, Monmouthshire NP7 8UH

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