Food and fresh produce is very much a priority in Dorset – fresh fish, local farm meats & Vegetables, Cider, Dairy, even Chillis!
The result is some fantastic places to eat.
An annual awareness raising campaign sponsored by The Vegetarian Society, the week is intended to promote inspirational vegetarian food and the benefits of a meat free lifestyle.
One of the things we hear a lot of here at The Fernhill is the lack of variety in vegetarian food in restaurants and hotels, which seems madness in 2012! We all know that vegetarian food has gone beyond the nut roast and mushroom wellington, surely?
Which is why at The Fernhill we actively promote our Vegetarian and Special diets menu; catering for vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free diets alongside our a la carte menu.
But you’ll find no inspid vegetables and soggy nut roast here: feast your eyes on these vegetarian delights:
Whether it’s our freshly made soup of the day (also gluten free) or a fantastic Greek salad, the food is fresh and tasty and makes the perfect starter. Not a soup or salad fan? Try our homemade mushroom pate on gluten free bread – a starter to be proud of! And let’s not forget our speciality; the Meat Free Fernhill Salad, full of tasty goodness including West Country blue cheese, mushrooms and pine nuts.
After the perfect starter you need the perfect main course, and we’ll be sure to deliver. Try our creamy roasted vegetable risotto made with seasonable vegetables, or give the parsnip and cashew loaf a try (a firm favourite with our regulars!), with it’s gorgeous cheese sauce, Potatoes Dauphionoise and locally sourced vegetables. Spaghetti Caponata has the rich taste of currants, pine nuts and tomatoes and makes a wonderful lighter touch.
Room for dessert? Of course! Tuck into a fresh fruit salad, our to die for sorbet or a wonderful summer pudding. The best way to end a meal, and more than proof that vegetarians can eat in style!
So if you’re looking for a restaurant that fully understands the needs of a vegetarian menu, look no further than The Fernhill – we’ve got you covered!
You can find out more about National Vegetarian Week at http://www.nationalvegetarianweek.org/
We have to share the great Dorset Knob Throwing competition at Cattistock, near Dorchester which we enjoyed on Sunday
A Dorset Knob is a hard dry savoury biscuit which is today made by only a single producer, Moores Biscuits in Morcombelake, just down the road from Fernhill (We stock their biscuits here – they are seriously yummy!).
Dorset Knobs are made from bread dough which contains extra sugar and butter. Once cooked, they are very crumbly and rather like rusks in consistency, and are generally eaten with cheese. They are named after a historic Dorset Button.
The Festival itself celebrates every aspect of the Dorset Knob. The Throwing competition is enthusiastically participated by many – 3 knobs per entry, at least one foot on the ground when throwing and underarm throws only allowed…and all valid throws must land in a set space – the longest throw wins! But if that doesn’t satisfy your competitive streak you can try, Splat the Knob, Knob eating competitions, or just enjoy them alongside some delicious local Fayre provided by the many local producers. We didn’t spot one Food stall which wasn’t local, and the food was incredible – local Burgers made by the Farm and served with Wyke Farm Cheddar, Hog Roast, Hand made Quiche, salads…plenty to satisfy all tastes.
Musical entertainment was provided by Local Banjo playing bluegrass/folk, a rocker band and Morris Dancers which were extremely popular (it looked like incredibly hard work actually!)
Part of making any holiday extra special is the food. At Fernhill Hotel we offer an all-British menu made up of seasonal and local produce and ingredients which are Organic and Fair-trade.
Our A La Carte menu features traditional dishes with a contemporary twist, such as the West Country Fillet Steak with a Boozy Peppercorn Cream Sauce and the Line- caught Sea Bass Fillet with Spring Onion and Ginger-Soy Dressing. We also offer a Bar & Grill menu for other national favourites including the Sunday Roast with all the trimmings. But if you want to experience more first class dining, then just a short 5- minute drive away are two of the country’s leading celebrity-chef owned restaurants.
In Lyme Regis looking over the harbour is Mark Hix’s Oyster & Fish House, offering sensational panoramic views of the Jurassic Coast whilst you tuck into the freshest, local seafood. Mark Hix has awards coming out of his ears, has published not one, not two but nine cookbooks, has created menus for the like of The Ivy and Mayfair’s Brown’s hotel and regularly writes the food column in Esquire and Country life magazines as well as weekly for The Independent newspaper. With these sorts of credentials under his belt, you know dishes at his Oyster & Fish House are going to provide a taste-sensation. Offering great British ingredients such as Dorset crab and grilled lemon sole, all to be eaten in a spacious yet informal setting, it’s not surprising that pre-booking is recommended for the Hix Oyster & Fish House.
One of the biggest, if not THE biggest, celebrity chefs right now is of course Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and just down the road in Axminster is not only the River Cottage HQ, but also his River Cottage Canteen and Deli. The Canteen dishes are as local and as fresh as they get, with the ever-changing menu not only inspiring and delicious, but more than reasonably priced, too. With local mutton, mussels and mushrooms all regularly on the menu, the Canteen really offers the best of Dorset. The Deli at the front of the Canteen offers diners or passers-by to sample the tastes of River Cottage, providing fresh and locally produced quiches, cakes and ciders (plus much more) you can eat in or take-away.
We offer a Celebrity Chef Package so you can combine the best of both worlds – one night Bed & Breakfast so you can enjoy a table at either Hix Oyster & Fish House or River Cottage Canteen (we’ll even book the table for you, subject to availability!) plus one night Dinner, Bed & Breakfast with us so you can relax and enjoy cuisine which many describe as equally as tasty!
So if you are planning your next holiday along the Jurassic Coast, then why not stay at Fernhill Hotel
and sample the tastes of Dorset in either of these local celebrity restaurants.
Christmas is a fantastic time of year, perhaps the only one where friends and family all get together to catch up, share stories and indulge. Although many of us are lucky enough to get time off work over the festive period, that’s not to say we always get the chance to relax.
But if you’re tired of cooking and entertaining this year, then why not think about letting us do the hard work for you and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat at either our Restaurant or Café Bar?
Open both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, you and your friends and/or family are welcome to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening at Fernhill Hotel. Unlike many hotels and restaurants open over Christmas, we don’t force you to have an entire 3-course meal. So if you want to pop in to share a bottle of wine and a plate of festive cheese and biscuits, then you can!
We do still of course have our full a la carte and Bar & Grill menus on over Christmas, so whether you want to enjoy a romantic meal or simply a relaxing, non-Christmassy gathering with your friends, then there’s still a range of delicious starters, mains and desserts to choose from.
If you’re bored of mince pies and sick of the mother-in-law’s sherry trifle, then you’ll be pleased to hear that our menu is free from Christmas clichés. Instead our focus, as ever, is on locally sourced ingredients and dishes that represent all that is British.
Our location to the coast means that we offer the freshest seafood, with Dorset also known for its meats, especially beef. With plenty of vegetarian options too, we ensure we cater for all our guest’s preferences, even if it is just those wanting to get away from the mountains of turkey sandwiches!
So why not give the best gift of all this Christmas by hanging up the oven gloves for a day and enjoying a stress-free meal in our hotel Restaurant or Café Bar.
Dear Rob & Jo
Please accept our apology for this belated thank you We have been very happily occupied with our lovely grandchildren.
We would like to offer a very sincere thank you for the wonderful reception you provided for our daughter Rowan’s wedding on September 24th 2011.
From our first meeting to discuss plans right through to the Sunday when we left the hotel, we found yourselves and your staff to be friendly, attentive and professional.
Jo, you were so helpful with all the planning and we found it easy and comfortable to work with you in deciding what we required. We felt confident you had understood the details and we were certainly not disappointed.
Rob, you were a great host. We really appreciated the unpretentious relaxed atmosphere, and many of our guests commented on the lovely ambience you have created.
Please give our compliments to your chef – we so enjoyed the seasonal local produce in the wedding breakfast. Please thank all the courteous waiting staff – they are a fabulous team.
Some of us were fortunate enough to stay the two nights of the wedding weekend. Having read a recent travel review in a Sunday paper, we can only agree that ” the bed was quite honestly the most comfortable I have ever slept in”!
You have created a delightful venue for weddings and we imagine you will be very busy into the future. Thank you once again.
with kind regards, Sally & John.
We wanted to share with you the recent successes of our local butcher Complete Meats in Axminster. They have a strong commitment to livestock welfare & using Local suppliers (providing a weekly list of farms so we can tell our guests exactly how far their meat has travelled!)
They have just won the top award in the South West (Category Winner and Regional Champion) for their Traditional Pork Sausages – for the second year in a row!
Of course, we already knew how delicious their Pork sausages were as we serve them on our breakfast menu every morning.
The sausages are available to buy in their shops in Axminster Honiton & Chard, so you can enjoy them at home after a fabulous stay with us at Fernhill.
Winter is definitely on the way, but that’s no reason not to plan a short break in the South West! Save up to £170 with our Autumn/Winter deals..
We offering you a third night FREE when you book 2 nights with us until the 22nd December so there’s no excuse to let the weather get to you – plan a few days’ R&R with plenty of fresh sea air and good food.
Haven’t got 3 days spare? We’re offering up to 20% off our rates for Sunday-Thursday stays as well!
Here are some of the great activities you could be enjoying…
- Walk the stunning Jurassic Coastline - we are on the coastal path diversion and the Jurassic Bus Route so walking and travelling without car are simple. We have many walks available for both the experienced walker and the more relaxed stroller.
- Dine in one of our local Celebrity Chef restaurants – River Cottage Canteen and River Cottage HQ are less than 5 miles away, and Mark Hix’ Oyster and Fish House Lyme Regis is within walking distance.
- Fish the local waters with one of the local fishermen – and we’ll cook your catch for dinner if you wish!
- Tempt the taste buds by visiting some of the many wonderful food producers we have – The Town Mill Lyme Regis alone houses a local Cheesemonger, Bakery and tea & dining room – all have won awards in their class.
- Try some Fossil hunting on the beaches – a truly relaxing pastime with new treasures to find each day! The Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre is a great place to start.
- Head East to Burton Bradstock or West to Beer to relax in some of our coastal villages and enjoy some local produce while soaking up those stunning views.
- Spend some time exploring the historic buildings and gardens we have locally – Kingston Maurward, Mapperton, Abbotsbury and Forde Abbey to name but a few.
- Many museums whether you like Tanks & Military, Tutankhamun, Teddy bears or Dinosaurs.
- For the kids (large or small!) there are many many attractions from Creely to Pecorama and many more!
We haven’t mentioned the shopping, farms, beaches, or the many National Trust properties in the region…there really is something for everyone – 3 days will only scratch the surface!
Book a short stay at our discounted rates and enjoy everything West Dorset, Devon & Somerset have to offer without the crowds this autumn/winter.
It seems after a few years of disappointing Summer weather,this August is going to give us a Great British Summer! Britain is the most wonderful country when the sun is shining – in fact if we could be guarunteed the weather many of us would probably avoid the airport restrictions, waiting, travelling & delays of going abroad.
West Dorset is a stunning corner of South England with so much to do a week just isn’t enough! Many people make Dorset a regular weekend jaunt after visiting for this reason, so if you haven’t yet visited the area this year should be the time to do it?
Enjoying the Great British Summer in West Dorset is easy. If you love food we have many local producers of artesan Cheeses, Beers, Cider & much more. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ is just down the road and provides courses and dinners on the Farm (as seen on TV!) and Mark Hix Oyster and Fish House at Lyme Regis is another popular choice, but be sure to book in advance. At Fernhill we make all the necessary arrangments to make sure you get the most from your stay. From booking restaurants to arranging fishing trips, or advising the best places to visit we try to take the stress out of your stay, so you can relax and simply enjoy your surroundings.
This Summer we have already enjoyed the renowned Lyme Jazz Festival which attracts visitors from around the World, and Lifeboat Week, during which we had a fabulous display from the Red Arrows. On the 6th August we had Lyme Regis Regatta with many activities for young and old, including a world record attempt for the biggest sand Ammonite…
Maybe this summer you’ll be enjoying a staycation instead. If that’s the case then take advantage of the abundance of fresh seasonal produce at this time of year and cook up a treat! Fresh strawberries, gooseberries, beetroot, spinach, the many varieties lettuce and tomatoes all make cooking and eating a pure pleasure at this time of the year. Check out some of these websites for ideas of seasonal fruit and veg, and recipes to take the stress out of planning meals
One vital aspect of providing an unrivalled one-stop experience for our guests is the quality and range of the food on offer, along with an outstanding level of service. At Fernhill, great food is an integral part of that experience: Meeting and exceeding your expectations is paramount plus it’s something we love to do. For your satisfaction and peace of mind, you’ll find:
Staff that want to serve you:
Have you ever been to a hotel or restaurant and were left with the distinct impression that the staff would rather do hard labour in a prison camp than serve you? If so, you’ll probably be keen to avoid paying for such a “privilege” again. Fortunately, we at Fernhill recognise that our guests deserve far better treatment, and the basis for selecting our team is as much on their attitude to guests as on their specific skills. Why take our word for it when you can visit our Dining Room between Tuesday and Saturday as a non-resident, or on any day of your choosing as a resident? A selection of sample menus is also available to whet your appetite.
If, as someone with specific dietary requirements, you’ve experienced frustration and disappointment because you were less than well catered for at a particular establishment, then you’re in for a very pleasant surprise at Fernhill. All you have to do is to inform us of your needs when you reserve your accommodation or book your table and we will make sure you are catered for. Our menus all note Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy free and Gluten free to help you make the right choices.
Have you ever been to a wedding or function where the food has left a lot to be desired, even when the venue has a good reputation for its catering facility or restaurant? Happily, in the same way that our chef is used to delighting our individual guests, groups and parties that choose Fernhill as their corporate or wedding venue have access to the very same level of dedication and expertise, and all naturally tailored to your requirements.
Why is this policy important? Firstly, it ensures quality for you, the paying guest. Intimate knowledge of our suppliers has been essential to upholding that quality. Secondly, it minimises our impact on the environment. You’ll be reassured to know that efforts in these areas have resulted in a Silver Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme and the highest rated AA Three Star hotel in west Dorset.
So, if the weather has put paid to any local excursion you had planned, remember there’s always plenty to do, and eat, here at Fernhill.
If you’re the kind of person that’s very much “at one with nature”, you’ll be amazed at just what you can see, do and taste within 50 miles of the Fernhill Hotel in Lyme Regis.
The first and most obvious place for the cheese lovers amongst you is Cheddar Caves and Gorge, where the world famous cheese is produced. Even if you’re not a big cheese fanatic you can revel in the sights and sounds of some of the largest inland cliffs in the UK (500 feet in places!) that form the famous Cheddar Gorge. A designated site of outstanding natural beauty since the early 1970′s, it provides an unforgettable day out.
A little cider.
Just a few miles from Cheddar, in Sandford, is Thatchers Cider Company. For over 100 years the company has produced award winning cider.
Three National Parks
Being located between three of the UK’s most glorious national parks is something we’re proud of, and each has its own particular attractions. To the north-west, there is Exmoor National Park, Dartmoor National Park is to the west, and to the east there is the New Forest National Park.
And if you fancy another drop of cider after visiting the National Parks, you’ll not be disappointed.
On the way back from Exmoor there are Hancocks in South Molton (Devon side of the park), The Somerset Cider Brandy Company Ltd & Burrow Hill Cider in Martock, with their champagne method cider, and cider brandy as distinctive specialities. The centuries old Sheppy’s is just outside of Taunton at Bradford-on-Tone, and the award winning Perry’s is located in Ilminster.
Not a cider drinker? Between Dartmoor National Park and and Lyme Regis is the Lyme Bay Winery, producing and selling ciders, country wines and speciality liqueurs to boot.
So you see, with the Fernhill Hotel as your base you are naturally spoilt for choice