Driving to the Bell took me onto the M11 northbound, pretty much a straight road, but the one thing I don’t like about most motorways is that slow lanes has ruts in the road, made by heavy lorries, that make you feel unbalanced driving, and if its windy, then its even worse. The journey took just over an hour, I just missed the traffic but due to the time of year, I arrived when it was dark.
The pub & carpark was on the left-hand side for us, an easy turn into the carpark, but there are a few narrow roads and large stone walls on the way. We had to pull in close to a telephone box for a car to pass, which was going downhill, which Hank did not like (due to no power steering)
We got into the carpark, and there was plenty of room, the pub also has a few acres of land, so they allow motorhomes to park on the grass in the summer months. The pub does not offer hook up or grey facilities, but they are happy for you to charge phones etc inside should you need to. The garden has chickens and a cockerel(but we didn’t hear it in the morning), an outside marque, a play park, a stage for outdoor entertainment, gazebo, and a large pond with koi carp. I love the fact that there is so much to do at the pub before you’ve even gone for a walk around the local area.
Entering the pub is round the back only, as the pub sits on the edge of the road. Accessibility is fine going into the pub but there is a step that splits the bar area from the dining area which would not be suitable for wheelchair users. The pub is traditional sized rural pub so I would say it’s a tight squeeze for anymore than 45 people standing/sitting.
As you walk in, straight ahead is the bar, with a wonderful array of beverages, local brews, your usual beers and ales, lagers, and spirits, with small bottled drinks for non-alcohol folk. To your right there is a wonderful fireplace and open fire that has the specials written above it, you’ve also got local information about whats going on in the area. Next to the fireplace is a room that they use for functions that can fit about 20 people in for birthdays and other celebrations. To the left of the bar you go up to the dinning area, the tables are traditional old country pub style, some with benches, with candles on and of course, food menus.
I had already spotted pheasant pie on the specials board, which was sourced locally, and I certainly wanted to try that. The great thing as well is that if you’re with your four-legged friend they even get a special meal made for them should you ask for one. Marvin had a meat medley (like a stew) that she gobbled up in just a few seconds. My pheasant pie was incredible, big chunks of meat alongside a wonderful creamy sauce. I will say if you are a pie connoisseur, you might be disheartened by the pie as its more of a dish with a lid of puff pastry, as I’m not a big pastry fan, it was perfect for me. The veg, mash and gravy that came with it was divine!
I tried the local ale called Adnams, an award winning local ale, cost about £4 for the pint, it tasted great, not too hoppy for me, but I then changed to a rum and coke, and started chatting to the locals.
Everyone there enjoys the company of new faces, as lots of motorhomes come and visit through the year. One of the locals told me he would have bought a motorhome year’s ago but now he prefers his creature comforts, I said motorhomes have changed a lot since then, but there was no changing his mind. As the night closed, Marvin had met lots of new friends and so had I. The hospitality from the owner was first class and the locals incredibly friendly, the atmosphere is so cosy and warming, I wondered what it would be like in the summer months with beer garden open and any entertainment on.
In the morning we decided to go around the local area to see what was around us. We came to an English heritage site called Audley End house, a beautiful mansion on lovely grounds. A walk would probably take you about 30 minutes to see the gardens etc, so I imagine a better time to go would be in the summer months as there wasn’t anything happening when we got there. I must advise that if you don’t have an English heritage membership this place is incredibly expensive and a family of 4 would cost you about £40 so unless there’s a coupon in the local paper or a big event happening, its not worth just a quick look like what we did. I did however find a flat piece of land just up from the venue that you could park a motorhome on if you wanted to do some off-grid walking around the area.
Wenden Ambos is a beautiful village close to Saffron Waldon, it is a must see if you’re passing through and the Bell pub is a fabulous stop off point on route. Perfect for families with kids and couples travelling alone or with a dog. So much to offer and the food, drinks, and the people will make you feel right at home. We give this pub an 8/10 and would certainly revisit it for another review in summer .