St Catherine’s Quarter in Frome appears just like the set for an English rom-com. Winding cobbled streets lead in direction of the river, flanked by outdated stone buildings or pastel-painted vintage outlets – no chain shops in sight. There’s a working gasoline lamp devoted to St Valentine, with a renovated George V postbox connected, and a love seat close by, all clearly ready for Richard Curtis to name “Motion.”
On the high of the hill, on Catherine Road, the phrases “Grocery and Provision Shops” are scrolled in gold on the facade of what’s now a restaurant. Step inside and all indicators of English market city disappear: Bistro Lotte is a decidedly French affair. It’s Friday lunchtime and the boho clientele (I spy a person with a Dalí-esque moustache, whereas others have popped in after strolling the canine) are tucking into moules-frites and carafes of wine.

Bistro Lotte, with butcher J Cayford – the place it sources meat for its menu – subsequent door
Proprietor Charlotte (Lotte) Evans greets me. She’s not from France however simply favored the concept of working a laid-back bistro with good meals and wine at its coronary heart. The bistro opened final spring in what was once acar-parts store (following the shut of the grocery), now reimagined with excessive ceilings, panelled partitions and scrubbed wood tables bearing rose-filled vases. The constructing dates from 1908 and the renovation revealed an array of unique options, from stained-glass home windows to ornate Minton tiles.
Above the restaurant, the City Home has six guestrooms (over two flooring) – and I head as much as drop my bag earlier than becoming a member of the diners. The wild garlic and watercress in immediately’s soup (£4.75) was foraged by barman George, and it tastes just-made recent and zingy. Moreover staples corresponding to croque monsieur (£6.95) and steak-frites (£12.95), the brief lunch menu additionally has a give attention to galettes (buckwheat crepes): the Chèvre Provençal (£7.25) comes full of tasty greens and creamy goat’s cheese.

The entire place is a labour of affection for Lotte, who moved to Frome from Surrey 10 years in the past. She used to work as cabin crew for an airline, so hospitality has all the time been her factor. She’d run cafes earlier than taking up the brand new enterprise, too. It has been so successful that Bistro Lotte is including a wine bar a number of doorways down the road. It’s going to open in September, although 4 household suites above will probably be prepared earlier (in mid-June).
Frome has had a renaissance over latest years, with a flurry of impartial outlets, cafes and eating places opening. My post-lunch stroll takes for much longer than deliberate as I’m drawn into outlets together with The Dandy Lion classic and Lifetime of Riley plus galleries, boutiques and homeware shops corresponding to Kobi & Teal. Time a go to to coincide with the month-to-month Frome Impartial market, which showcases artful folks from native designers to artisan bakers, and there’s much more temptation. I poke my head across the door of Stony Road Home – a wine store, bar and restaurant – and wander down medieval Low cost Road, the place somewhat stream runs alongside the center of the street.

It’s night once I get again to Bistro Lotte and the environment has modified to candlelit cocoon. I can think about whiling away hours on the bar. Lotte takes her drinks choice critically and there’s a selection of wines from small European vineyards, sourced by native enterprise Moor Wine. Many are natural and most are bag-in-a-box – displayed in rustic wood crates – and served in carafes to keep away from glass waste (although there are bottle choices, too). I remorse planning to go to a good friend that night as I see diners tucking into beneficiant plates of petatou (a provençal potato and cheese cake, £13.50) and boeuf bourguignon (£14.50). All of the meat on the menu comes from J Cayford – the butcher subsequent door.

Croque monsieur is a lunch-menu staple
Returning for the evening, I take pleasure in the identical unfussy high quality in my room. It’s a giant area, with calming gray partitions, botanical prints, and a desk with kettle, tea, espresso and recent milk. It’s peaceable – regardless of going through the street – and the mattress is large, with a trendy wool throw and velvet cushions. The lavatory’s the sort you would like you had at residence – slick and gleaming white with a strong bathe (pure toiletries come from Wiltshire agency Bramley).
The solar is shining once I wake and I ponder the day over espresso and a breakfast platter (select from fruit, granola and yogurt, or cheese and charcuterie – all with recent bread and croissants). Bathtub is the following cease on my itinerary however I need countryside motion first and stroll up Cley Hill for views over west Wiltshire and Somerset. The record of locations to go to close by is lengthy – from Longleat safari park to the Hauser & Wirth gallery. There’s not time immediately – however each cause to return again.
• Lodging was supplied by Bistro Lotte (doubles from £95 B&B), 23 Catherine Road, Frome
Ask a neighborhood
Tabitha Clayson, director, the Frome Impartial market, which takes place on the primary Sunday of the month

The Walled Backyard cafe, Mells. {Photograph}: Alamy
• WalkHead into the countryside on a stroll by way of Vallis Vale to picturesque Mells village, the place you’ll discover The Walled Backyard nursery, with wood-fired pizzas in its cafe at weekends, and The Talbot Inn.
• EatThere’s a lot selection, from Rye Bakery with its natural grains and handmade pastries to cocktails and small plates at Fats Radish. For espresso, try Moo & Two or Frama.

Pastries from Rye Bakery
• DrinkFor craft beer and native cider there’s Palmer Road Bottle. The Three Swans is a superb locals’ pub with among the greatest inside decor on the town.
• VisitTry galleries such because the Whittox Gallery and the WHY Gallery. Rook Lane Chapel will host a serious heritage challenge, Casting the World: The Story of JW Singer & Sons, Frome from 29 June-28 July. It celebrates the lifetime of the foundry proprietor, and the sculptures, statues and civic works – corresponding to Justice that sits on high of the Outdated Bailey – that have been forged in Frome in the course of the Victorian period.
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