The Sign of the Angel, Wiltshire: hotel review
At The Sign of the Angel in picturesque Wiltshire village Lacock, we find all you'd expect from a traditional inn, brought up to date with contemporary dining
What's the draw?
If you're into 15th-century coaching inns (and let's face it, who isn't?) with clever, local modern British cooking, then The Sign of the Angel – mullioned windows, half-timbered frame and all – is likely to be right up your alley. The charming village of Lacock in Wiltshire is protected by the National Trust, so it's no surprise that this restaurant with rooms is a floor-to-ceiling period belter crammed to bursting with original features.
What to eat
Most of the seasonally changing dinner menu comes from local farmers, butchers and artisan producers in Wiltshire and Somerset. This isn't just country pub grub, though: expect seriously complex flavours achieved with surprisingly simple, recognisable ingredients. House-smoked duck is paired with tender, outrageously juicy beetroot and popcorn-style pieces of crackling, while lamb rump comes with broad beans, delightful spuds, mint gel, celeriac purée and two bonus bonbons of deep-fried pulled lamb. Wines are reasonably priced and range from classic to curveball – and by curveball we mean Chilean gewürztraminer. It's not often that the dessert trumps the lot, but it does here: the elderflower sponge and apple crisp paired perfectly with a Chilean late-harvest sauvignon blanc. In the morning, breakfast is hearty and English, and if you arrive earlier than dinner, you can nab yourself a fortifying afternoon tea out back in the idyllic riverside garden. What could be better?
Distance: 102 miles
This pretty market town is about a ten-minute drive away from Lacock. Its bustling streets are flanked by sandstone buildings housing antiques shops and places to eat and drink.
The people of Lacock are an industrious bunch, and you'll find quaint honesty-box stalls selling their wares throughout the village, whether that's antique knick-knacks from a window ledge, plants in a lean-to or homemade jam from a garden wall. The village is also home to a Downton-esque abbey, the Fox Talbot Photography Museum and a characterful pub, The George, which has a huge beer garden and an archaic dog-powered spit (obviously no longer in use) in the fireplace. That's quite a lot for a village of only four tiny streets, but if you're after more than pottering around for the weekend, you're not far from the likes of Bath and Bradford-on-Avon for day trips.
Rooms from £110; signoftheangel.co.uk