VENTURING out with a small group of friends to the Castle Inn in Bradford on Avon, we had high expectations after reading great reviews from other diners.

The pub’s own description states that it is a place to enjoy fresh, good food at a reasonable price, and I think they have hit the nail on the head, offering a cosy place to enjoy tasty and hearty food that doesn’t cost the earth.

I was celebrating the upcoming nuptials of friends and picked this pub because it was dog-friendly.

What we discovered is that it is also people-friendly, with cheerful bar staff who seemed happy to be there and created a relaxed atmosphere.

I was almost as excited to see Max, my friend’s adorable husky, as I was to see his owners, but sadly as I walked up to their table they were minus the canine, who had been left at home on this occasion.

Trying not to let the change in company affect my mood, I turned my attention to the menu. There were lots of offerings, from a breakfast of eggs Benedict or granola to a traditional full English, titled the Castle Breakfast.

The pub was cosy and there were quite a few diners but because there are lots of smaller areas inside no one feels on top of one another.

The view of Bradford on Avon and the surrounding area are spectacular from the pub garden and I think it would make a lovely beer garden in the summer.

We picked from their ‘grazings’ list, which all seemed to be starter size. We picked three from the list for £12, (£4.60 each).

These included the Cheddar and leek croquettes, a scotch egg and a brie and apple caramelised onion tart. The croquettes were delicious and a decent size even though we all had good appetites.

For mains there was an issue because they didn’t have the cod fillet and ratatouille, however we made up for it by having a Stowford Press battered cod, triple cooked chips, pea puree, tartare and lemon (£12.50) The portion of fish was large and the chips were excellent.

As we nattered about the excitement for the wedding, we happily ate and drank in the pub which was cosy and welcoming.

As it was served, the macaroni cheese, bacon lardons, Parmesan breadcrumb crust and salad (£12.50) smelled delicious and the portion was huge.

The Cajun spiced chicken breast burger (£10.25) was well presented and came with chips and coleslaw. It went down a hit with the diner, who cleared his plates within minutes.

The bar was fully stocked with different types of beers and soft drink options. A classic cider or two were also on offer and drinks seemed reasonably priced.

Despite being full we battled through, sharing the chocolate and hazelnut brownie, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream (£6) and it was totally worth rolling out of the pub stuffed to the brim.

The overall atmosphere was great for a mid-week treat and it is ideally placed to enjoy Bradford on Avon, which is half way between Trowbridge and Corsham, where our friends live. The bill was £59.25 for food only, drinks bought separately. JULIA CORBETT