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Relaxed luxury at Warwickshire’s quintessential, country pub

The Bell Inn Ladbroke

Nestled in the heart of Warwickshire’s pretty, Ladbroke village is The Bell Inn, a cosy pub, filled with roaring fires, dogs and country chic interiors, which has become a popular destination thanks to its impressive Modern European dishes, created with the best, local small farm produce.

We arrive fresh from a stay at The Castle at Edgehill - read our review here - which is part of the Freespirit Pub Company that took over The Bell last year. They relaunched the pub with an elegant, new country interior - deep green or russet walls, tartan textiles, quirky artwork and luxe country furnishings - as well as seasonal menus, ranging from pub classics to fine dining.

The Bell Inn Ladbroke

The Bell now champions the traditional British steakhouse and the meats on our fellow diners’ teetering Sunday roast plates look delicious. They offer Oxfordshire sirloin of beef, pork, half a roast chicken, nut roast or a trio of all meats served with pigs in blankets. Ding and very much, dong.

Sadly, our bellies aren't stretchy enough to follow The Castle’s winning breakfast with one of these bad-boys, so we opt for some lighter plates from their excellent vegetarian menu.

king oyster mushroom

I start with the umami-packed dish of meaty King Oyster Mushrooms in a golden pool of sesame and soy, topped with salad leaves and spring onions. 

My partner opts for the courgette and squash fritters, with a wonderfully light and crunchy batter and moist - but not soggy - filling. They are accompanied by a moreish, feta and mint dip, topped with juicy cherry tomatoes.

courgette fritters

I follow this with a fresh and colourful grain salad, with quinoa, pumpkin seeds, mixed leaves, pomegranate, butternut squash, chickpea, beans, and a zingy wholegrain mustard dressing.

My husband has the butternut squash and red pepper parcels - golden, crispy filo pastry with a lovely balance of sweet, creamy and garlic flavours, drizzled in balsamic. His parcels are served on a bed of salad and new potatoes, with a tangy, sun-blushed tomato tapenade. We wash this down with a smooth and oaky bottle of Rioja Crianza.

filo pastry parcels

The children’s menu is excellent value (£10.95 for a main and dessert) and the staff are warm and patient with little guests. Our kids wolf down their Margherita pizza, fries and tomato pasta with a little help from their greedy parents, and follow it with churros and chocolate sauce, which is a big, gooey hit.

For the three days of sunshine England enjoys, there’s also an immaculate beer garden and courtyard for alfresco dining, which we admire on our way out.

The Bell Inn strikes the perfect balance of relaxed luxury - somewhere you can take sticky children, but still enjoy quality food and wine in elegant, cosy surroundings.

The Bell Inn, Banbury Rd, Ladbroke, Southam CV47 2BY

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