English novelist Dodie Smith once wrote, “What is it about the English countryside — why is the beauty so much more than visual? Why does it touch one so?” We are a generation with the world at our feet, where you can travel to the otherside of the world in under 24 hours and flights to Italy can be cheaper than an Uber home after a night out.
However with all this access it is important not to appreciate the astounding beauty on our doorstep. The travel restrictions forced us to look a little closer to home and so many of us fell in love with the English countryside all over again.
We drove down the winding roads of Somerset in the magnificent Mercedes-Benz GLA, here is our tale of the perfect road trip to The Pig-Near-Bath…
A member of the revered AMG family, it is the gateway to the world of AMG Driving Performance and encapsulates the visual fascination of motorsport.
With 421 horsepower, a top speed of 168mph and an ability to reach 0-62mph in 4.3 seconds, the Mercedes-AMG GLA is a powerhouse.
A cockpit worthy of the name. From signature AMG instruments and displays through sports seats to the multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather with flattened bottom section and aluminum shift paddles. So you can get to grips with both the vehicle and all the streets around town in fine style.
It also boasts a wealth of technology in a cockpit that is a masterclass in design. With many signature AMG instruments, it also has a MBUX multimedia system with instrument cluster features the AMG Menu and the media display offers sporty additional information and signature AMG display designs.
The 3-spoke AMG Performance steering wheel has a flattened bottom section, Touch Control buttons and aluminum shift paddles. Also as if tailor-made for performance is the AMG centre console with signature AMG handrest and the AMG DRIVE UNIT comprising integrated buttons for operating the manual transmission mode.
The epitome of elegance, innovation and power, the Mercedes-AMG GLA is one of the most spectacular cars on the roads.
Stay at The Pig-Near-Bath
The Pig has captured the heart of guests around the country. The first The Pig was opened to great fanfare in 2011, a decade later and there are now eight pigs in the litter. Dotted around England, there are Pig hotels in the city, in the countryside and by the coast, each with its own identity but bonded to the rest by warmth, tumble-down charm and sustainability.
The Pig-Near-Bath is a whimsical honey-hued country house tucked discreetly into the folds of the Mendip Hills. There are three cosy drawing rooms with sumptuous armchairs that are begging to be sunken into, order a slice of homemade cake and a pot of tea and while away the afternoon by the roaring open fire.
There are six categories of rooms, from Snug to the Apple Shed which is split over two floors. The Apple Shed was once a quaint shed and apple store but has been transformed into a cosy retreat. It is hidden within the Kitchen Garden and boasts a wood burning stove, vast monsoon showers and a romantic freestanding bath.
The jewel in The Pig-Near-Bath’s crown is the enchanting Somerset Kitchen Garden complete with a Smokehouse, wildflower orchard, fruit cages, a greenhouse and beehives. There are many new friends to meet in the form of pigs, a herd of Fallow deer and chickens.
The Pig-Near-Bath is often referred to as a restaurant with rooms due to food being at the heart of The Pig’s ethos. There is a simple and honest home-grown philosophy at The Pig to only use produce grown in the kitchen garden or sourced within 25-miles.
The 25-mile menu is filled with delicious quintessentially British dishes. To start there is Buffalicious Mozzarella Garlic Crumb with yacon and red onion marmalade or James Golding’s Loch Duart Oak Smoked Salmon with pickled cucumber and Willy’s cider dressing.
Follow with Hand Rolled Pappardelle with ‘zero-mile’ oyster mushrooms and sourdough crumb or 10oz ‘Salt Aged’ Sirloin Steak with thrice cooked chips and bearnaise sauce. Pair it with some delicious sides, such as the tobacco onions or the honey and mustard heritage carrots.
For dessert, there is Trinity Burnt Cream with piggy shortbread or a decadent Chocolate Brownie with dairy ice cream.
The Pig works closely with some of the most exciting and inspiring artisan producers and takes inspiration from each of The Pig’s locations, including ancient woodland, agricultural farmland and the ocean to ensure they have the finest local fish, hand-picked fruits, award-winning cheeses and local English wines.
The kitchen garden is the beating heart of The Pig-Near-Bath and it influences everything from the fresh mint in your morning mint tea to the flavours in your gin & tonic in the evening.
The Pig’s commitment to sustainability is admirable, the team work tirelessly to reduce their footprint and care for and protect the environment. The Pig produces 17 tons of fruit and vegetables from its site each year. In one year four of The Pig properties including The Pig-Near-Bath collected nearly 25,000 chicken eggs and 50,000 quail eggs.
At The Pig they compost all garden waste and recycle all cooking oil. The fish is approved by the Marine Conservation Society and even produce their own honey from their bees that pollinate the garden.
Nothing goes to waste at The Pig, old linens are turned into rags for cleaning, reclaimed natural building materials are used across all of the properties and furniture is antique and upcycled to give pieces a second life.
The Pig-Near-Bath has redefined the perfect country escape. Yes it has delicious food in a sumptuous setting but it is also on a mission to create a greener, cleaner and more beautiful experience for us all, one Pig at a time.