A 15th-century former coaching inn situated in the charming medieval village of Castle Hedingham, The Bell has been run by the Ferguson family for over 45 years. From the late 1700s the pub was a popular stop for coaches en route between Bury St Edmunds and London and it remains a traditional pub serving good quality real ales and honest food using local ingredients including herbs and vegetables from the pub’s own allotment at the back. Exposed stone walls, heavy beams and real log fires create a welcoming atmosphere in which to enjoy a Mighty Oak Maldon Gold, Adnams Southwold Bitter or one of the guest ales. The Turkish chef puts his stamp on the menu, with Mediterranean fish nights on Mondays, and Turkish stone-baked pizzas on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. In the summer, the wood-fired oven and barbecue are fired up for guests to enjoy Middle Eastern dishes and fish specials alfresco in the walled patio and hop garden, once home to cock-fighting, croquet and quoits. At lunchtime, Italian paninis are one option, alongside favourites such as ploughman’s. Otherwise, enjoy unpretentious dishes like grilled lamb shish and sweet red pepper in a tortilla wrap with bulgur wheat; salmon and broccoli fishcakes with salad and potato salad; lemon roast chicken with root vegetables; or lentil pottage pie (a vegan alternative to cottage pie); with chocolate brownie for afters. Half-size portions of many dishes are available for younger visitors. The annual July beer festival that showcases up to 40 ales proves popular, as is live music every Friday night and jazz on the last Sunday of the month.
Closed: 25 Dec eve
Open all week
Opening times: 12-3 5.30-11 (Fri-Sat 12-12 Sun 12-11)
Lunch opening: Mon-Fri 12-2, Sat 12-2.30, Sun 12-3
Dinner opening: Sun-Mon 7-9, Tue-Sat 7-9.30
Food and drink
Real ales: Mighty Oak Maldon Gold, Adnams Southwold Bitter, guest ales