A mile outside of the sleepy town of Crewkerne in Somerset, lies the beating heart of current day Ariel machinery – the factory.
In addition to the dedicated build bays and service facilities, the factory also boasts an enviable collection of Ariel machinery from the early 1900s through to modern day classics and proof-of-concept machines.
Visiting the factory and chatting with the knowledgeable and enthusiastic engineers during your machine’s build process is an experience like no other! Similarly, catching up with the latest news and options available for your machine when dropping the car off for a service is just as intoxicating.
But what to do if you’re in town for a few hours or more? You can’t chat to the engineers all day – they are trying to build/service your Ariel and get you back on the road. With this in mind, we have put together a guide of recommended local amenities to help you make the most of your visit.
Places to stay
Haselbury Mill – a matter of two minutes’ walk away
Well cooked ‘pub grub’ and comfortable accommodation (you will receive a preferential rate on your room if you choose to stay here and mention you are visiting Ariel).
Lord Poulet Arms – 3 miles, 10 min drive
Family pub, restaurant and hotel. Gastro-pub style food, quiet village location with ‘olde-worlde’ style furnishings. Pricing at the higher end of ‘pub prices’.
Masons Arms – 5 miles, 10 min drive
Village location, with simple accommodation available, as well as a camp site! There are two menus, the normal ‘pub grub’ and an à la carte with more refined dining. Locally sourced produce and warm friendly atmosphere. Pricing is in the moderate-high range.
Lanes Hotel, Spa, Brasserie, Bar – 5 miles, 10 min drive
A fairly wide variety on the menu (from fish pie, to steaks and sandwiches, tea and cake in the afternoon). Moderately priced.
The Green Room – 8 miles, 20 min drive
Located in the centre of Yeovil – perfect if you want to spend the night at the movies. Friendly service and fine dining at reasonable prices – but does get booked up quickly! There is also simple accommodation available at reasonable prices.
Summer Lodge Country House Hotel, Restaurant & Spa – 12 miles, 30 min drive
In a quiet location, surrounded by countryside. Fine dining using local produce, luxury accommodation – in the high price range.
The Shave Cross Inn – 12 miles, 30 min drive
Quintessential 14th century building in a very rural location, with cosy rooms and good ‘pub grub’ at reasonable prices.
Oxbridge Farm – 12 miles, 30 min drive
A friendly B&B in the heart of the Dorset countryside, about five miles away from the coast. For those interested in horses there is a livery/eventing yard here and there is plenty of room for parking trailers although the roads leading to it are quite narrow! The breakfast is excellent and they can provide evening meals to a very high standard on request.
Places to eat
Dinnington Docks – 5 miles, 10 min drive
The last of a dying breed of pubs as they should be – great local atmosphere. No frills pub grub cooked well at reasonable prices. The guys at Ariel North America particularly like this one!
Prince of Wales Pub – 7 miles, 15 min drive
Usual well cooked pub grub set in a country park so you can walk off the calories (or ciders!) afterwards.
The Royal Oak – 7 miles, 15 min drive
Another proper old pub. Very reasonable prices – and has a skittle alley if you fancy trying your hand.
The Stable – 14 miles, 30 min drive
The first in a widening chain of friendly eateries. The menu is superb – as long as you like pizza, pie and cider all at reasonable prices – as that’s all they have!
West Bay for fish and chips – 16 miles, 40 min drive
Pick and choose from between 5-10 kiosks selling fish and chips. If you are there in the evening and the weather is fine, you might find the local bikers down there for their bike night. On your Ace, or even in your Atom or Nomad, there will be a warm welcome and friendly atmosphere.
Things to do and places to visit
Ham Hill Country Park – 6 miles, 12 min drive
Country park suitable for everyone with walks and cycle paths for exploring, as well as being the home of the Prince of Wales pub mentioned above.
Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton – 13 miles, 30 min drive
Europe’s largest naval aviation collection. Recently refurbished.
The Jurassic Coast – distance varies, but nearest is 15 miles, 35 min drive
Durdle Door is a popular destination with its natural limestone arch, which is 36 miles from the factory (around 1hr 10 min drive).
Golden Cap – 16 miles, 40 min drive
Golden Cap is the highest peak on the south coast and the views on a fine summer’s day are surpassed by none.
Haynes Motor Museum – 17 miles, 25 min drive
Various halls filled with all types of vehicles, ranging from historic scooters to Delorean to Dodge Viper. A petrol head’s heaven.
Bovington Tank Museum – 33 miles, 1hr 15 min drive
Nine separate exhibitions. Static and moving displays (dates apply).
Cheddar Gorge and Caves – 40 miles, 1hr drive
Simply take a scenic drive and have lunch in one of the many surrounding village pubs or explore the caves and cliffs on foot. Or if you are feeling adventurous – try exploring the underground caves or climbing the cliffs with a guide such as CaveClimb (other services are available, this is just an example). You’ll need suitable clothing for this, because it gets wet and muddy down there.
Longleat Safari Park and Longleat House – 45 miles, 1hr 15 min drive
From monkeys up-close-and-personal, trying to tear the trim off your pride and joy (you don’t have to go into this area if you don’t want to – there is a ‘monkey bypass’) to an Elizabethan mansion, formal gardens and maze. Now home to 52 of the largest and rarest spiders on Earth.
Thatchers Cider Mill – 53 miles, 1hr 10 min drive
Individual tours (1-15 people). These take place every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 11am. There are many other cider mills to look round too, but listing them all would take forever and quite honestly, we’re surprised you’ve read this far.