As a new member of staff here at The Crown in Wells, at the beginning of a new year, it seemed like a good idea to have a sort through my desk and office shelves to familiarise myself with things, get a feel for the place and get organised! As I was tidying and filing I came across some old photos of the hotel and left them on the desk for staff to have a look at when they passed through. It was not long before they were picked up and staff were seeing who they knew, how old the photos looked and how much the place has changed. It also seems apt that I have joined the team during a refurbishment of Anton’s Bistrot which is now complete. I could really see what the space was like before and as it is now with a good tidy up, lick of paint and some stylish finishing touches. As I have done some research on the hotel prior to my interview and now looking after marketing, including Facebook and Trip Advisor, I have seen some comments regarding the age of the building and the fact that, in places, it is a bit ‘tatty’. This reminded me of a coaching inn in the town I grew up in Norfolk. It was a beautiful old black and white building, full of character. Many happy nights I spent here in my youth drinking or singing on the karaoke, many weddings and birthdays celebrated. Even scenes for Dad’s Army were filmed here as the town was used as the location for Walmington-on-Sea. This old hotel had been the hub of the town for many years but now standing on the site is a cinema and some generic eateries after this beautiful old building was torn down.
When I read the history of the Crown, it had been built in 1450 and used for a variety of things throughout its life, the fact that it was boarded up when Adrian and Sarah took it on is so sad. They did not want this beautiful building left to ruin. I am so glad they did. It is the heart of Wells and has such character; the market place would not be complete without it. As I am typing, I wonder who has walked through this building over the centuries and although it is a bit draughty in places, and could do with a lick of paint in others (something we are continually working towards), it has a certain charm.
There are many chain hotels you can stay in which look the same from one town to another. What’s different about The Crown is that it is a truly unique, family run hotel and it is also very much loved by its owners and the staff who work here. We need to continue to breathe life into our old buildings, or they will be lost forever! So if you want to stay somewhere quirky and one of a kind, why not come and visit us? I'm certain you’ll be glad you did!
The Crown at Wells has welcomed independent wine merchant The Grape and the Good into its Market Place home.
The Grape and the Good, brainchild of proprietor Andrew Kinnersley, originally opened on Priory Road in October 2015, has now taken up residence at the front of The Crown’s popular restaurant, Anton’s Bistrot.
Former Wells Cathedral School pupil Andrew said “I started my working life at The Crown while a student in the late 90s before going on to become a wine merchant, living and working in the South of France. Starting a family drew us back to Wells and the shop went from strength to strength and as a traditional retailer.”
With a rise in High Street rents, business rates and the end of lease coming it made sense for The Grape and the Good to make efficient use of retail space at The Crown, in an area which was historically run as a shop, in a prime location at the heart of the City.
In addition to a terrific choice of wines and Champagne, The Grape and the Good also stock a popular collection of craft beers, gins, vodka and other select spirits, with Andrew on hand to advise customers which tipple may suit them best.
“The synergy we have with The Crown gives us the opportunity to offer more than just a retail experience,” Andrew continued. “We welcome diners in to savour a delicious bite to eat while enjoying a glass or two of something fabulous that they have personally selected to wash it down with. We’re also open all day for those just fancying a glass of wine, with craft beer to drink in coming soon.”
“There is often a misconception that independent wine merchants are pricey, not so! We are not only competitively priced but the customer also receives the personal service lacking in larger retailers. We’ve been very happy with the lovely local base of regular customers built up at The Grape and the Good and are delighted so many have followed us to our new location.”
“We’ve had a very positive response since we opened at The Crown and we look forward to welcoming customers into The Grape and the Good, particularly during the busy run up to the festive season.”
The Grape and the Good is open seven days a week from 10am, with food from midday. Details of Winemaker Master Class dinners plus ‘Meet the Brewer’ events coming soon at www.thegrapeandthegood.com.
So lovely to be able to welcome Ardal O'Hanlon back to The Crown this October.
The star of Father Ted and Death in Paradise was in Wells to perform live stand-up at Long Paws Comedy Club.
Ardal gave a delightfully funny and self-deprecating set, his second at the comedy club.
Ardal was last in the City and staying at The Crown in 2012.
We hope he doesn't leave it so long next time.
Wells has come over a bit of a fluster again as the crew for Poldark have rolled into town ahead of filming tomorrow (Friday 24th).
The area outside the town hall is being set up as a market - differing a bit from our usual market days - with the town hall itself transformed into Warleggan Bank.
Key members of the cast, yes, him included, were last in Wells in February this year to shoot scenes screened in the last series.
Poldark has also been filmed at our neighbours, the Bishop's Palace in the undercroft and outside too.
Wells is now firmly on the film locations map, thanks in part to our friends at the Cathedral and Bishop's Palace.
Hot Fuzz remains the most famous film of a list that includes Elizabeth, the Golden Age, Jack the Giant Killer, The Hollow Crown, Wolf Hall, The Huntman Winters War and Another Mother's Son.
You never know who you may bump into...
Well, a lot of people came over all unnecessary when Poldark rolled into Wells last week.
The Market Place at the side of The Crown was transformed into………a market place! Warleggan, as opposed to Wells.
Any modern day elements were removed from the back of The Crown to ensure it was in-keeping with the 18th century setting for Poldark. Signage was taken down and a Market Tavern sign put up.
The Town Hall became Warleggan Bank and the main focus of the filming on that day.
It was a freezing cold and some of the cast had hot water bottles under their 18th century costumes to try and keep some of the chill at bay.
Yes, the man himself was spotted, several times as he was filmed walking from one end of the Market Place to the other.
We had to intercept some rather excited fans found wandering around upstairs corridors at The Crown, trying to get a better view of the action.
We were fortunate enough to have photographs of the two main characters – Ross Poldark and Demelza signed and they now take pride of place in reception.
The crew also kindly left us with a Crown Inn sign from series two, which is now in the back of our Bar.
Following a recent inspection by a nice chap from Visit England, we were tickled pink to be a recipient of their new (and we like to think, shiny) Breakfast Award.
We take great pride in being able to offer our guests the best start to their day with a fantastic variety of tasty treats that adorn our breakfast table. In addition to a choice of toast, preserves and cereal, we offer a good selection of fresh fruit, nuts, granola, yoghurts, cold meats, cheese, croissants and pastries.
All our full English and vegetarian breakfasts are freshly cooked to order and we only use the best local produce and free range eggs.
We do our very best to ensure our guests leave the breakfast table well set up for the rest of their day. We're pleased the feedback we receive and now this Breakfast Award are testimony to that.
By the way, you don't have to stay here to enjoy breakfast at The Crown, we serve daily from 7.30am and you're very welcome to join us.
We had a super Burns Night at The Crown.
Piper John Campbell joined us to 'do the honours', piping in the Haggis and performing the full ceremony. Chef Tom Ollis and his team cooked up a treat of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties.
While playing outside The Crown he had an impromptu photo taken with the Wells City Harriers.
All in all a great evening and we're pleased to have offered a nod to the great man, Robert Burns.
The Crown's loo is now officially twinned with one in San Juan Moca in Guatemala.
The scheme, organised by the folk at Toilet Twinning ,
funds work of international relief and development agency Tearfund.
Donations are used to provide clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education in areas where there is a need.
Toilet Twinning say "This vital combination works together to prevent the spread of disease. Children are healthier, and able to go to school; parents are well enough to work their land and grow enough food to feed their family. With better health, and more ability to earn a living, men and women discover the potential that lies within them to bring transformation.
Family by family, community by community, nation by nation, we are flushing away poverty. "
If you'd like to take part visit the website www.toilettwinning.org.
Goodness, all go here!
Work's finished on the exterior - it does look rather fabulous - as well as a little zhuzh up in the bar and bistrot.
That's not all, folks, oh no. Our general managers, Tim and Lesley have settled in well and truly made their mark at The Crown. We also have new chefs, Dane and Chris with us. They've worked with Tim and Lesley to put together a new menu. We've kept the dishes that have proved popular with diners, while popping in a few new innovative delights too. The emphasis has very much been on using local suppliers and produce, wherever possible.
The lunch and early evening Offer menu has been replaced by daily specials boards and promotions which provide diners with a greater choice, while still at good value.
We also have a new cocktail and wine bar, serving up a delicious selection of locally-named tipples - Strawberry Line, Somerset Sour and Cathedral Cosmopolitan - by the glass or jug to share. We’re working closely with local vineyards and suppliers to finalise our new wine list, including The Grape and the Good in Priory Road.
In spite of the many rumours circulating we're definitely here to stay and are excited about The Crown’s future as one of the best places to eat, drink and stay in Wells.
As an independent business of nearly 25 years we fully appreciate the continued support from the local community, which is an essential part of our trade, as well as those travelling from further afield.
We look forward to welcoming you to experience (and taste!) the positive changes that have been made at The Crown. See you soon!