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Boxing Gloves

The Big Match

The gloves are off. So who packs the biggest punch for their town: Stuart Shepherd, director, BEST WESTERN Shrubbery Hotel, Ilminster in Somerset, or Rhys Roberts, director, BEST WESTERN Tiverton Hotel in Devon?

RHYS ROBERTS - BEST WESTERN TIVERTON HOTEL, DEVON

BEST JOKE ABOUT ILMINSTER

A man was driving home to Ilminster after a busy day at work when a policeman pulled him over. ‘Just a minute, please, officer,’ said the man. ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone.’

BEST PLACE TO GO AT 1AM

On a summer’s night why not take a stroll by the beautiful canal. Make yourself a delicious midnight picnic, take in the scent of wild herbs and spot some of the local wildlife. The canal runs right through the centre of town. It’s very peaceful and romantic. And, of course, the whole town should be tucked up in bed at 1am!

BEST PLACE FOR A HANGOVER

A brisk walk in Exmoor National Park, about 25 minutes from Tiverton. It has stunning views and fantastic clean air that will blow away the cobwebs. You might even glimpse a wild red deer or native Exmoor pony. Otherwise head for Time Out Leisure, a club in town which has its own large Jacuzzi – so you can have a restorative soak in the bubbles, followed by a stimulating Thai massage.

WEIRDEST PLACE IN TOWN

The Bank. Weird because… it’s not a bank… and it’s not on a slope. In fact it’s on one of the most level areas of town. It is actually a restaurant, called The Bank, because it was a branch of one a long time ago.

BEST LOCAL SPECIALITY

Haggits homemade pies are produced locally and you can get them in beef as well as lamb. It’s a secret recipe and they’re one of Rick Stein’s local food heroes. You can only buy them in the local Spar in Silverton, just outside town.

Otherwise have a cream tea – the Anchor Inn on the River Exe is great.

WHO IS THE LOCAL HERO?

No one knows his name but he lives in a Romany caravan with his shire horse and dog, and never goes further than a few miles either side of town. He’s a hero because he lives in a totally sustainable way.

SO WHY SHOULD PEOPLE STAY AT YOUR HOTEL?

‘We hope that people come to stay with us because of the warmth of the service, the fine food (as local as possible) and the beautiful surrounding countryside’.

STUART SHEPHERD -BEST WESTERN SHRUBBERY HOTEL, SOMERSET

BEST JOKE ABOUT TIVERTON

A man goes to see a doctor. He prods himself in the arms and legs with his finger, complaining that it’s agony. The doctor asks the man if he is from Tiverton. ‘Yes,’ replies the man. ‘I thought so,’ said the doctor, ‘your finger is broken.’

BEST PLACE TO GO AT 1AM

The Market Square in Ilminster. In Victorian times it was an important staging-post for travellers with east-west and north-south routes converging here. Its colonnaded market cross was rebuilt in 1813. Today it is still used by travellers as a stop for buses and for coach trips to London.

BEST PLACE FOR A HANGOVER

Have a relaxing facial and massage at The Wellbeing Day Spa in West Street. Or sweat out the booze with a spicy curry at the Rajpoot Tandoori restaurant in Silver Street.

WEIRDEST PLACE IN TOWN?

Strawberry Bank in Ilminster – for a start, there are no strawberries. Local geologist Charles Moore discovered in the early 1840s that beneath the houses is a beautifully preserved Jurassic eco-system, and there is now a three-year collaboration between Bath College Literary and Biodiversity Scientific Institute and the Palaeobiology Research Group (University of Bristol) to study it.

BEST SPECIALITY

2008 Royal Bath and West Supreme Champion Cider, produced by Perry’s Cider. It’s pressed, fermented and bottled from real Somerset cider apples at the family farm. The shop sells locally sourced food, drinks and gifts. The presses are housed in the 16th-century thatched barn and all the ciders can be sampled.

WHO IS THE LOCAL HERO?

Elvis is alive and kicking in Ilminster. Local resident Barry Paul is not only a fireman but also a local celebrity. Barry performs as ‘Elvis’ here and abroad. Once a year he performs ‘Shelley’s wish’ in memory of his late sister.

SO WHY SHOULD PEOPLE STAY AT YOUR HOTEL?

‘The hotel has been run by the same family for 50 years. It’s very much a community and is the venue for most local parties. It’s really a ‘home from home’ for guests of all ages.’

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bwadmin Best Western Social Media Executive

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