Sometimes it seems you have to travel far and wide to find a new and exciting spot to enjoy a beverage and slice of cake. But every now and then you are pleasantly surprised when a dashing shiny and new eatery pops up right on your doorstep.
Last Sunday, whilst on our weekly trip to the supermarket we happened upon a lovely distraction in the guise of The Duchess of Cornwall Inn, a rather regal looking establishment in the heart of Poundbury in Dorchester.
Now I have told you all about Poundbury and it’s links with HRH the Prince of Wales here, and so it is no wonder that the most elegant establishment to open it’s doors so far in this small but perfectly formed town, should be named after Prince Charles’ wife; The Duchess of Cornwall.
Let me show you around.
The interior is nothing short of splendid. You’d be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled into a members only club in St James. It is light, bright, spacious and filled with interesting and arresting décor.
The large bronze brewing vat in the entryway gives a clue to the establishments providence. No it isn’t a swanky wine bar, it is in fact a Hall and Woodhouse inn. The brewery having been founded here in beautiful Dorset in the late 1700’s by Charles Hall and at a later date Charles son Robert made his nephew, Edward Woodhouse a partner; Hall & Woodhouse.
Nods to the Hall and Woodhouse style, for which the franchise is synonymous with, as well as it’s renowned beer of course, are seen throughout the interior in the unique and effortless decor, it manages to be completely on brand, without being in any way repetitive or predictable.
Comfortable chairs and plump cushions welcome you in the common room, whilst communal benches encourage a more relaxed vibe on the ground floor.
The mezzanine offers a beautiful view of the ground floor, the increadible staircase and views from the floor to ceiling windows.
The upper floor has a more formal dining feel to it. There is also an area which can be partitioned off to offer a private dining experience.
Watching on are a wall of eyes from the past. Paintings are hung from every inch of space and other small but perfectly appointed adornments fill the spaces throughout the vast building.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this building was a restored masterpiece. It is however, like the rest of Poundbury, all new, built in a style to evoke a sense of antiquity and grandeur. It works perfectly.
We enjoyed a coffee and a slice of extremely fresh and moist zucchini and lime cake.
A short and fleeting visit, but every moment comfortable and elegant. The staff are extremely attentive and discreet in equal measure. I can’t wait to return and enjoy more of what this beautiful establishment has to offer.