There has certainly been a bit of a buzz around the opening of the newly revamped Fontmell pub.
The pub which was originally The Crown is well situated in Fontmell Magna just 10 minutes drive from Shaftesbury. What strikes you when you walk through the door is that it is more intimate than its imposing exterior would lead you to believe. You’re greeted by smily, trendy staff and a super cool zinc bar. Log fires, deep coloured walls, homemade sausage rolls on the bar and a dining room which resembles a country house library, this is an atmospheric, stylish gastro pub.
Admittedly, I went to the Fontmell with a group of mothers – not with my children – so it was a little harder to get a feel as to how child-friendly this place is. I have to imagine whether it would work for my family.
Well, it’s comfortably snug in the Fontmell so probably not so great for a large brood of small children. I would probably be happy to take my older three (aged 9, 8 and 5) for a really lovely, cool lunch or early supper, but I’d be a little more nervous taking my rather active 2 year-old (probably more a reflection on him than the Fontmell). There are no highchairs due to space which probably says it all. My boys would love the Collyer’s Brook stream which flows between the bar and dining room and my daughter would love the whole snazziness of the place.
The food is great for adults and a real treat, should you opt for the full dining experience. I’m told by one customer that the Hamburger on the Comfort Food menu is one of the best in the area. The children’s menu is straight forward and sure to appeal to every fussy eater. The Black Cow is the Fontmell’s clever smart coke float – root beer, ice cream and chocolate sauce and I’m told the Willy Wonka ice cream sundae is very popular amongst the younger guests.
The rooms are definitely a highlight of the Fontmell and certainly worth recommending to anyone looking to visit the area. Each room is named “butterfly” in different languages. Book the Mallyshag for families with its King Size bed, sofa bed and freestanding roll top bath in the room. A travel cot can also be provided. My other favourite room was Papillon although they’re all beautifully designed with gorgeous bathrooms full of luxury potions.
William Scott Masson, manager of the Fontmell, says, “Everybody should feel welcome at the Fontmell and everybody should be treated the same. Either dress up and come for dinner or pop in on your way past with the dog.”
I think this would also apply to small children – as long as they’re on their best behaviour.
Let us know what you think.