Number One Bruton & Osip

This twelve-bedroom hotel was the last place we stayed before lockdown. We’ve not stopped dreaming about it since: the yellow front door, the cheese slate and bottle of West Country cider waiting in the bedroom, the view across the valley from the window. At its enclosed independent restaurant, Osip, creamy rice pudding and warm, homemade brioche are served for breakfast. No wonder then that we’re ready to head back to Number One Bruton. The hotel occupies a former Georgian forge and our favourite bedrooms, Townhouse 4 and 5 also happen to be the cheapest (from £130 a night including breakfast), a twin and a double tucked under the eaves with Morris & Co wallpaper and the comfiest beds.

Of the bigger rooms below, Townhouse 1 is the most luxurious with a roll-top bath. Scattered throughout the hotel you’ll find antiques like the intricate inlaid Syrian chest of drawers here, as well as art by local artists. In this area that means Sir Don McCullin’s photographs in the sitting room, Bill Amberg’s leather fobs attached to the room keys and a Penelope Hobhouse garden.

If you’re staying longer than a night, it’s worth booking one of the three cottage rooms across the courtyard as these have their own cosy sitting rooms with wood burners. These are more airy and rustic in feel, in Cottage 1 there’s a beautiful spindle bed and ancient fireplace, whilst Cottage 2 would work for a family.

 

Osip is an independent restaurant and lunch or dinner there must be booked separately, although hotel guests get a complimentary breakfast. It’s the creation of Merlin Labron-Johnson, the youngest British chef to be awarded a Michelin-star – aged just 24 – and it rightly fills up in advance, so you’ll need to book ahead. The set evening menu (£65) is a real treat, with the six courses changing each week. Such is Merlin’s passion for biodynamic produce and local sourcing that he handed over a tote bag and sent us out foraging for wild garlic and nettles in the woods during our stay.

If you’re stopping for a couple of nights you could wander up the road to At The Chapel for a wood-fired pizza, or follow the footpath to Hauser & Wirth that sits on the edge of town. The Newt is also just 10 minutes away in the car.

Both Number One Bruton and Osip will re-open on 30 July with new safety procedures in place. Due to wedding cancellations there are rooms available this August and September – we recommend you book now.

— Daisy Allsup
1st July 2020