Spring hasn’t been all that forthcoming this year – blasts of warm sunshine and blossom, then clouds and rain for days. Luckily, we’ve found you the ideal spot for all weathers – indoor/outdoor done perfectly so you’ll start to want to visit The Jack Russell Inn at least once a season….
The drive up to this secluded spot in the tiny yet glorious village of Faccombe is magical. You snake through beautiful countryside and climb higher and higher, dodging pheasants along the way.
Just when you feel as though you are totally off the beaten track and possibly in the wrong place, the inn appears – opposite a duck pond and a field full of deer.
If it’s cold, you’ll be instantly enveloped by the warmth with lit fires, exceptional staff and endless cosy spots to sit in. If it’s warm, you can lounge outside for hours – spoilt for choice with the multitude of seating areas and the fresh country air.
The Jack Russell Inn sits proudly on the Faccombe Estate – a place that I became more and more impressed with the more that I learnt. Its ethos is “Rich in History, Mindful of the Future” and this isn’t simply some corporate tagline they’ve come up with – there’s sustainability and innovation throughout here.
The water comes from a bore hole on the estate and is UV filtered (I even instagrammed the bottle in our room I was so taken with this). The electricity is from a wind turbine on the hill and there’s a wood pellet burning biomass boiler that not only provides heat for the estate but also the pub, lodge and the surrounding community. Even more amazingly, the wood pellets used for the boiler are a byproduct of the waste from Faccombe Forestry– where 100% of each tree is used wherever possible.
This concentration on natural resources, living in sync with the surroundings and working sustainably to create amazing things filters into the kitchen of Head Chef Andy Watts. Skipping ahead to our incredible dinner, we were bowled over by how much of the menu’s produce came from the estate. The passion that is poured into every dish was clear – even down to the wild garlic butter which we enjoyed even more knowing that it had been made with foraged ingredients.
Rewinding to the start of the evening however (once settled happily into The French Bulldog Room) we enjoyed a glass of Coates & Seely whilst sitting at the bar. Refreshingly this is a high level gastro pub that has also maintained the custom of those within the village and living nearby.
Before the wild garlic butter made an appearance, we got the chance to say hello to Chef Andy who delivered the most delicious ‘Cauliflower Popcorn’ which was gone in moments.
In hindsight a slower pace would probably have been wiser but we still managed to sample a full three courses – from Cured Cornish Mackerel with Fennel, Orange and Chilli Salad through to Somerset Meadow Lamb with Lamb Confit, Lamb Fat Carrot, Potato Dauphine. I think I’ve told most of Instagram about how the lamb fat carrots were the best roasted carrots I think I will ever eat in my life.
With our room situated just upstairs, we slept deeply and managed a quick whizz around the village before breakfast – largely because the blue skies had returned and the daffodils were out. Breakfast itself was superb – with a buffet option (think homemade pistachio and almond granola) alongside the option to order A La Carte.
This really is such a versatile spot. Speaking to their brilliantly knowledgeable and well trained staff, we learnt that they have multiple groups (especially shooting parties) throughout the season, yet they’re also extremely child and dog friendly – making them a real hit with families and couples. Summer, Winter, rain or shine – they’re there and you need to go.