Monday, 18 May 2015

#beergardenleicester: The Bell Inn, East Langton

I told you that the hunt for Leicester's best beer garden was all a bit of a Ross Noble 'Freewheeling' rip off and so true to my word we went out to test the Bell Inn in East Langton. The suggestion to try this was made by @karonphilips over on Twitter (who sadly seems to have disappeared in the month since she made the suggestion - come back to us KaronPhilips!) and I had never even heard of East Langton before, let alone visited the Bell Inn, so I was excited to try somewhere totally new.

I think The Boy is getting bored of being photographed in beer gardens...
And what a fabulous suggestion it was! Just beautiful, picturesque gardens in a countryside retreat. Quite, quite different to everywhere we've been so far on our search. We stopped for Sunday lunch there and I'll be getting my thoughts on that posted soon.

Size and exclusivity
A large garden out of the front of the smallish, historic pub with a large number of tables. I think this could be a little bit of a local secret - it was clearly well attended by people from the surrounding villages for the Sunday lunch, but I'm not sure how many people outside of the inner sanctum are aware of it. So it retains its exclusivity and that helps the atmosphere, which is lovely and friendly.

Early Doors
Fabulous - we were there slightly before work kicking-out time would normally begin, but the whole garden was flooded with sun (when it wasn't stuck behind a cloud) and it was so open that it would clearly remain that way, at least in most areas, well into the evening. A fabulous, open, sunny spot.

Smarts
Beautiful. Perfectly manicured gardens nestle on a slope by a chocolate box perfect cottage pub, covered in a gently down of ivy. Even though it fronts directly on to the road, it is super peaceful - I think the road into East Langton is one way, so there is no through traffic, just the people accessing the village or pub. We could hear the gentle noise of a cricket match taking place on the hill just above us. Absolutely quintessential British countryside beauty.


Wifi
The wifi wasn't too bad - they have their own wifi and I was able to access Twitter etc. no problem sat outside on the benches. It wasn't the strongest signal and so I'm not sure if it would work on the tables furthest away from the building, but it was definitely fit for purpose. A lot of city centre pubs could learn a thing or two here.

British-Summer-Proof
The weak link in the chain. I could see no British Summer protection. If it rains, you go in. If it's windy, you go in. You can't have everything.

Furniture
Beautifully maintained and high quality picnic tables in immaculate rows (although it looks a bit erratic in my picture - I think I got the angle wrong!) Very neat, very tidy, very comfortable, although a  little bit off balance due to the slope, but nothing that's going to put your drink at risk.

Miscellaneous
Nothing to report here - the Bell Inn is very strong in all of the categories I usually have, except British Summer Proofing, but I can't think of anything more to add points for.

Pub Dog
Yes! Hot on the heels of the Western we have ourselves a friendly black labrador, which I did stroke, but her owner was on the phone so I didn't get to ask if I could take a selfie. Can't take points off for that though really. God, I love a pub dog.

Edit: 04/07/15 - I've decided to add physical accessibility notes to each of the #beergardenleicester reviews. The Bell's garden is very accessible, but the grassed area is on quite a steep slope so do bear that in mind.

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