Built on steep hills with cobbled streets, Frome is an historic market town with more listed buildings than any other Somerset town. One such building is the Archangel, dating back as far as the Domesday book and being first recorded as an Inn in 1311. A view from the outside presents a modest building that was once a medieval coaching inn called The Angel. In fact, the outside of the carriage house probably looks much like it did in the 18th Century thanks to the white painted brick, the shingled roof top, and the dark paned glass windows.
However, despite being apparent that the building is steeped in history little is documented about this grade II listed building until its recent renovation which started in 2008. It was at this juncture that The Angel Inn became the Archangel and a major renovation programme took place resulting in this magnificently quirky restaurant and bar with rooms.
The building, despite such an extensive renovation programme, still reveals its medieval history as so much of the ancient interior has been preserved. Modern medieval is probably a good way to describe it now! The Architect, Piers Taylor of Mitchell Taylor Workshops, preserved the ancient beams and walls and put them on show, conserving their patina and leaving them largely unadorned to speak for themselves. This is especially true in the barn-like restaurant, which has a mezzanine floor and a suspended glass cube that cradles a private dining table close to the cross beams, on which rows of “candles” glow, lighting up the high celings.
Renaissance paintings of angels (hence Archangel) have been deployed throughout as wallpaper, and glass and steel, zinc and slate, leather and copper have been used to create a lux-rustic style. The narrow medieval lane that dissects the building from front to back has also been preserved and covered over to connect the buildings so the long slate floored passage now leads on, not to stables, but to the two bars, reception desk, loos (each with its own particularly stunning ceiling-to-floor angel) and restaurant.
The Archangel’s bedrooms are fabulous but distinctly quirky and a true reflection of the vibrant market town of Frome. If you like something a little different, the Archangel is most definitely for you. The bedrooms feature every modern convenience.
The rooms are designed in a palette of deep, rich purples and golds with dark oak floors and sumptuous velvet curtains. Details such as gold Florentine bedheads, freestanding zinc roll-top bathtubs, and cool iron furniture make for an elegant yet fun bedroom experience. Stemming from the name itself, two of the bedrooms are adorned with a mural of an archangel (one of the angels is a re-creation of The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci, another from Fra Angelico’s Angel of the Annunciation).
Quirky they may be but each room comes with all of the modern conveniences that you would expect of such an establishment: flat screen TV, CD/Radio player, Wi-Fi, direct dial telephone, Branche d’Olive body products, real tea (loose leaf) and proper coffee (with fresh milk), and hairdryers/ironing facilities on request.
The Archangel is a very old building, and also in the centre of a thriving town. So by way of example: some of the rooms have beams with low ceilings – not so good if you are very tall; some of the rooms have windy staircases and in particular Room 6, although completely stunning, has a staircase in need of serious respect if you have spent many hours in the bar.
Thriving’ would be a good way to describe the Bar at the Archangel. Whether for morning coffee with delicious cakes and croissants, or a lighter bite and a pint of real ale at lunchtime, or a fabulous cocktail on a Friday evening, the Bar at the Archangel is perfect for all occasions.
The bar and adjoining lounge are stylishly designed with rich purple tones, deep leather sofas, roaring log fires, exposed stone walls. A zinc –topped bar and vast Renaissance murals complete the look. The Archangel also lends wall space to local artists.
At the Archangel, Frome they are passionate about serving good drinks and, harking back to their heritage as a coaching inn, they take real ale very seriously. They are accredited by the independent organisation Cask Marque which is a reflection not just on the quality real ales that we sell but more importantly on how they look after them. They have several real ales on tap.
A Restaurant with rooms is what they proudly state…so expect great food in this quirky modern medieval establishment.