Hare and Hounds, Bath
Expect legendary roasts, 10-mile views and cool interiors at this beautifully renovated Victorian pub above Bath, looking across the city to Solsbury Hill. A conservatory, decked terrace, sprawling garden and a vast mullioned window in the bar all face the right way – you gaze out over fields and hills. You might find goat’s cheese and honey terrine, beer-battered haddock and hand-cut chips, dark chocolate mousse and clementine purée. The pub is open all day, breakfast is served from 8am during the week and from 9am at weekends.
Open daily, lunch and dinner £10.50-£22, Sunday lunch £13.50-£15.50, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/hareandhounds
The Acorn Innz, Dorchester, Dorset
Perfect Evershot and rolling countryside lie at the door of this 400-year-old gem in Thomas Hardy country. It’s very much a traditional inn; locals sup pints of Otter Ale in the long flagstoned bar and menus are sourced from within 25 miles. In the dining room, the atmosphere changes to rural country house with smartly laid tables, terracotta tiles, soft lighting and elegant fireplaces. Good food is taken seriously, be it a home-made burger, or open lasagne of confit rabbit followed by twice-cooked pork belly, and sticky toffee pudding.
Open daily, lunch and dinner £5.25-£22.95, bar meals from £4.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theacorninn
The Durham Ox, York, Yorkshire
Find this cosy pub at the picturesque top of the Grand Old Duke of York’s hill – it’s the heart of the village. There’s a lot of space to enjoy – sit outside in the beer garden, sample one of their locally brewed gins in the bar or book the private dining room with its own pre-dinner sitting area and log burner. Food is excellent – classic British menus from fresh, local ingredients; try queenie scallops followed by cauliflower and cumin fritters with roasted monkfish. Rich sunken chocolate tart makes an irresistible pudding.
Open Weds-Sun, dishes from £9-£32, bar meals from £9, Sunday lunch from £15, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thedurhamox
Lord Crewe Arms at Blanchland, Northumberland
Set in a sheep-clad valley village on the moors’ edge, you’ll find this Grade II listed inn steeped in history. Inside: ancient flags, inglenook fireplaces, fortress walls and a classy country décor. With a head chef from Mark Hix’s “stable”, the robust modern British menu includes steaks, chops and spit-roasted meats, fresh crab salad and ruby beets. Puddings hark back to ancient times: sea buckthorn posset, rhubarb fumble. Wines include great burgundies and clarets, ales range from Allendale’s Golden Plover to Nel’s Best from High House Farm, and there are water bowls for dogs in the garden.
Open daily, lunch and dinner from £12.75, Sunday lunch £18 for two course, £24 for three,
The Horseshoes at Long Lane Village, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
Between Derby and Buxton, the Horseshoes sits in a pretty spot
in a village where locals are spoilt rotten by monthly taster menus
and local food that hits the spot.
Food is king here, so work up an appetite in the surrounding hills and feast on the likes of pan fried scallops with black pudding, followed by Hardwick Hall rump of lamb with wholegrain mustard mash. Leave room for the famous Horseshoes cheese board, or sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream and salted caramel sauce.
Open daily (food served Weds-Sun), starters from £6, lunch from £11, dinner and Sunday lunch from £16, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thehorseshoes
The Hollist Arms, Lodsworth, Sussex
This is a great walk and Sunday roast destination. Award-winning Langham Brewery is just down the road, and the bar features other ales too; a short but well thought-out wine list includes Sussex choices. The menu is good pub food following the seasons, using as many local ingredients as they can: pie and quiche of the day, home-made burger, risotto, home-baked ham, crab mayo with chilli and lime. You can sit outside in the large garden at the back – the local food shop adjoining is a bit of a boon.
Open Weds-Sun, starters from £6, mains from £12, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thehollistarms
The Cholmondeley Arms, Malpas, Cheshire
Seldom has going back to school been this much fun. The glorious carved oak bar dominates the main hall in this converted old school house, offering the malted charms of Cholmondeley Best Bitter as well as a staggering 366 varieties of ruinously good gin; they’ve recently been awarded the title of UK’s Best Gin Pub. Study the blackboard menus or opt for sharing a seafood trawler board followed by their legendary steak and kidney pie.
Open daily, lunch and dinner from £11.95, Sunday lunch £14.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thecholmondeleyarms
The Felin Fach Griffin, Powys, Wales
Nestled between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, this quirky inn resembles the sitting room of a small hip country house. An open-plan feel sweeps you through to the restaurant, where stock pots simmer on an Aga; try hake fillet with pernod cream, pheasant rillette, Eve’s pudding with cinnamon custard, all of it delicious. Lanes lead into the hills, and a small organic kitchen garden provides much for the table.
Open daily, lunch from £12, three-course dinner £29-£35, Sunday lunch from £16, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/felinfachgriffin
The Griffin Inn, Fletching, Sussex
A proper inn, one of the best, a community local that draws a well-heeled and devoted crowd. There’s a lively bar, a small club room for racing on Saturdays and two cricket teams play in summer. Smart menus based on the finest seasonal produce include fresh fish from Rye and Fletching lamb; food and beers are as local as can be. There’s a wood oven on the terrace and, on summer Sundays, a spit-roast barbecue – accompanied by 10-mile views stretching across Sheffield Park to the South Downs.
Open daily, bar meals from £6.50,three-course dinner £30-£40, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thegriffininn
The Swan, Pewsey, Wiltshire
When The Swan was threatened with closure the locals rallied and bought it, now it’s run with unpretentious charm. There’s a welcoming atmosphere for anyone who stops for sustenance, and the kitchen turns out wholesome dishes: homemade pies, chilli con carne, chicken Kiev. Produce is locally-sourced, meat comes from nearby farms and most of the real ales come from local breweries. Old photos on the walls nod to its history, with an attractive thatched roof and a lawned garden, a terrace for seating and a pretty orchard.
Open Weds-Sun, starters from £4, lunch and dinner from £10, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theswanpewsey
The Watership Down Inn, Whitchurch, Hampshire
A smartly renovated 19th-century pub at the foot of the North Wessex Downs, overlooking the Test Valley, this is a treat for dog-walkers, families and foodies. Menus are seasonal and imaginative: try pan-fried Hampshire pigeon breasts with pickled carrot, blackberry dust, apple and beetroot purée followed by fresh ravioli stuffed with red pepper and goats cheese topped with olive tapenade, then double chocolate mousse cannelloni; all paired with a great selection of wine. After indulging, borrow a map and take a walk through the water meadows.
Rooms for two from £115 per night, open daily, starters from £6.75, mains from £15, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/watershipdowninn
The Litton, Litton, Somerset
You’re perfectly placed for Bath and Bristol here, tucked into the Mendips in a pretty village that’s fallen in love with its pub – and it’s easy to see why. Tuck yourself into a corner and order up a Welsh rarebit, or grab a Moroccan blanket and an armful of cushions and head for the riverside terrace where fire pits blaze and kids can perch on colourfully upcycled beer barrels. The whisky bar is a temptation all of its own, as are the splendid Sunday roasts.
Rooms for two from £100 per night, open daily, starters from £6, mains from £12, Sunday lunch from £12.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thelitton
The Shilton Rose and Crown, Shilton, Oxfordshire
The 16th-century Rose and Crown, set in an idyllic Cotswolds village, holds just two rooms: the bar itself, simple and unadorned, and a (slightly) larger extension built in 1701. There’s an open fire in the inglenook, a medley of kitchen tables and chairs, well-kept beers and serious wines. Join a happy crowd for delicious, authentic renditions of parsnip and chestnut soup, roast partridge with haricot beans, bacon and garlic; steak ale and mushroom pie, bread and butter pudding and pear and almond tart.
Open daily, lunch £8.50-£19.50, dinner £12-£19.50, three-course Sunday lunch £27, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/shiltonroseandcrown
Rose and Crown, Romaldkirk, Durham
Romaldkirk is one of those lovely villages where little has changed in 200 years. It sits peacefully in the north Pennines, lost to the world and without great need of it. As for the Rose and Crown, book a table in the panelled restaurant for excellent food, perhaps local Raby Estate venison pie followed by white chocolate panna cotta and pistachio ice cream. Dogs are very welcome too.
Open daily, rooms for two from £115 per night, lunch from £10.50, three-course dinner from £27, Sunday lunch £19.50, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/roseandcrown
The Black Bull, Sedbergh, Cumbria
A smartly refurbished gastropub in Sedbergh, part of the Yorkshire Dales and on the edge of the Lake District. Owners Nina and James are very hands-on and passionate about provenance – Nina bakes the breakfast bread and pastries, they do their own smoking and curing and there’s a little kitchen garden at the back. Sample inventive cooking by the fire in the cosy bar, or in the airy restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Open daily, rooms for two from £99 per night, starters from £6.50, mains from £12.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theblackbull
The Fitzherbert Arms, Swynnerton, Staffordshire
In the old village of Swynnerton on Lord Stafford’s estate is the spruce and dog-friendly Fitzherbert, perfect for a meal after a bracing walk. A vivacious team ferry platefuls of flavoursome food to elegant tables: seafood platters, steak and stout pies, crumbles, brownies and local cheeses. They do a great line in comfort food, have a good list of local suppliers and Staffordshire ales star at the pumps.
Open daily, lunch and dinner from £11.95, Sunday lunch £14.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thefitzherbertarms
The Cat, West Hoathly, Sussex
A fine medieval hall house with a Victorian extension, this 16th-century free house has a buzzing atmosphere and heaps of character. Harvey’s Ale and top-notch pub food, passionately put together from fresh local ingredients, attract a solid crowd: retired locals, foodies and walkers. Tuck into rare roast beef and horseradish sandwiches, Rye Bay sea bass with brown shrimp and caper butter, South Downs lamb chops with dauphinoise (and leave room for treacle tart). The setting is idyllic, in a pretty village opposite a 12th-century church – a welcome sight after a walk in Wakehurst Place or Ashdown Forest.
Open Weds-Sun, lunch and dinner from £12, bar meals from £6, three-course Sunday lunch £26, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thecat
The Harpx, Powys, Wales
Chris, Angela and their friendly team run this ancient Welsh longhouse, tucked up a lane near the parish church, as an authentic country pub: unfussy, well-loved and honestly traditional. Accompany a pint of Wye Valley or Three Tuns bitter with locally-sourced steak and chips, sea bass with salsa verde, or a vegan or vegetarian dish. Or take a simple ploughman’s to a seat in the garden and gaze on the spectacular Radnor Valley. The menus change every six weeks; otherwise, life in this tiny village, like its glorious pub, remains delightfully unchanged.
Open Weds- Sun, lunch from £5, dinner from £10, three-course Sunday lunch from £22, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theharp
The Duck at Yeoford, Crediton, Devon
On a quiet road through a thatched and flowered Devon hamlet sits the Duck at Yeoford. Hunker down in one of the wooden booths and enjoy a pint of local ale (try the pub’s own Muddy Duck) and a good lunch. Menus change with the seasons. There are chunky ciabattas, steak frites, fish of the day, baked Camembert, confit duck leg with cassoulet. Children have their own menu, puddings are truly tempting, and the cheeseboard is an ode to all things local. The Tarka Line runs through the village with walks from the pub along the trail to Copplestone and Crediton.
Open Weds-Sun (bookings only), lunch from £7.50, mains from £14, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theduckatyeoford
The Double Red Duke, Bampton, Oxfordshire
A seasonal, locally-sourced menu can be paired with superb ales in this beautiful old coaching inn. The garden is a flower-strewn piece of classic English tavern life, with the grandeur of the old stone building hanging above clad in tumbling foliage. The village is right on the Thames Path too, so it’s simple to drop in after a hike for bar snacks that range from pie to oysters and get a sample of the fine food on offer even if you don’t stay for dinner.
Starters from £9, mains from £10.50. Sunday lunch £30 for two course, £40 for three, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thedoubleredduke
The George, Alstonefield, Staffordshire
Although it’s now more of a restaurant than a pub that does food, we still love The George for its relaxed attitude to doing wonderful things with local produce. There’s honey from the beehives, plants from the kitchen garden and a real love of land and community in the careful selection of all their ingredients. Field-to-fork supper club events are worth waiting for, but drop in any time and this lovely building on the village green will serve you something fantastic with a minimum of fuss.
Open Thurs-Sun, set menu lunch: £14 for one course, £21 for two, £28 for three, dinner: starters from £9, mains from £20, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thegeorge
The Holford Arms, Tetbury, Gloucestershire
The Holford Arms really makes the most of its outdoor setting, with glamping chalets, bell tents and a covered beer garden festooned with fairy lights scattered through the seven acres of cider orchard hidden behind the bright white frontage on the roadside. Menus are creative and their championing of local produce runs from their own growing to the beers at the bar, which feature several nearby breweries. It’s the sort of place where you finish eating and linger at your table for the atmosphere.
Open daily, mid-week specials from £15 for three courses, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theholfordarms
The Lamb Inn, Crediton, Devon
The little walled garden of The Lamb is exactly what you’d expect to find outside a place that wears its traditional feel with such warranted pride. It goes perfectly with the skittle alley, the low beams and the deep red carpet. There’s a fancy restaurant area indoors as well as the bar, but nothing beats grabbing one of the wonky benches and treating yourself to a superb Sunday roast surrounded by the chatter of locals and visitors alike.
Open daily, lunch from £6.95, three-course dinner £22-£35, Sunday lunch £10.95-£12.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thelambinn
The Five Horseshoes, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
The view from the garden of The Five Horseshoes makes it one of our favourite places to eat. You have to be lucky (or very early) to get the spots that give you those unbroken Chiltern panoramas, but you can still take in the scenery from the conservatory and the dining room too, so this is a great stop whatever the weather. The menu embraces a wide mix of styles, with small plates and classic mains all available and all superbly cooked.
Open Tues-Sun, lunch and dinner £8.50-£16, bar meals £5-£9.75, Sunday lunch £13.75, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thefivehorseshoes
The Swan at Marbury, Marbury, Cheshire
The place that brought legendary pub owner Jerry Brunning out of retirement because he couldn’t resist the location, The Swan has wonderful views from its charming garden. It doesn’t rest on the laurels of its setting though, with the pub’s own artisan producer in Bordeaux supplying their wine and menus that change daily to make it always worth dropping in.
Open daily, starters from £5.50, mains from £13.50, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theswanatmarbury
The Crown Inn, Andover, Hampshire
Take a lovely stroll through the Test Valley and end it in the centre of the village of Upton, where this classic country pub sits waiting to reward you for the walk. There are benches out front and in the garden if you fancy a quick pint in the sun, but for a unique and fun dining experience, try out their H’igloos (Hampshire Igloos), little huts warmed by a woodburner and perfect for a small group to eat, drink and chat in cosy privacy.
Open Weds-Sun, starters from £7, lunch from £13.50, dinner from £15, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thecrowninn
The Greyhound Inn, Wantage, Oxfordshire
As you’d hope the canine name suggests, this is a dog-friendly pub, right down to the secure garden where the only worry you’ll have if your dog wanders off is that they’ve gone snuffling round other tables for food. The menus are a mix of pub classics and off-the-cuff dishes based on whatever their local suppliers have to offer. The Midweek Fix meals are superb value but there’s great hiking along the ridgeway that make it a brilliant weekend stop as well.
Open daily, starters from £6, lunch from £6.50, dinner from £14.50, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thegreyhoundinn
Crown and Anchor, Ham, Wiltshire
The terrace in the walled garden of Crown and Anchor is a lovely spot to soak up the sunshine, but has also been kitted out with a canopy, heaters and blankets so you can sit outdoors in any weather. There are big hikes along the Test Way and through the ancient Avebury stone circle, so you can work up an appetite before settling in at this gorgeous thatched country pub. Dishes (below) from a diverse menu can be paired with something special from a well-stocked and reasonably priced cellar.
Open Weds-Sun, starters from £7.50, mains from £14.50, Sunday lunch £24 for two course, £29 for three, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thecrownandanchor
The Greyhound Inn, Woodbridge, Suffolk
A gem of a community pub, reinvigorated by passionate young owners. Scottish Stewart oversees the growing range of malt whiskies and gins from north of the border, while Louise is a tireless force of culinary creativity, smoking her own salmon, baking soda bread, churning ice cream and cranking out batches of oatcakes to go with the cheese board. Enjoy it all in the fenced garden where kids and dogs can run free.
Open Tues-Sun, starters from £5.95, mains from £10.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thegreyhoundinnsuffolk
The Bull, Ditchling, Sussex
The Bull doesn’t just have a garden, but an entire “garden tent” menu, served in the beautiful surroundings of its Bedouin tent with straw bale seats and strings of lanterns overhead. There are wood-fired pizzas and a range of hot dogs, as well as more traditional roasts on Sundays. Wash it all down with a pint of the pub’s own Bedlam ale or any of the great guest beers, then sit back and see where the evening takes you.
Open daily, lunch and dinner from £13, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thebullditchling
The Perch, Binsey, Oxfordshire
The building has been a pub for over 800 years and it seems as if it’s only been improving all that time. A massive riverside garden, overhung with willows and served by the Shed Bar, make this a pub for long summer afternoons that turn into lively nights. Look out for special events that celebrate the area’s history and produce, or drop in any time for fabulous food with a British farmhouse focus, served in a laid-back, scenic setting.
Open daily, starters £5.95-£9.95, mains £12.95-£19.95, Sunday lunch £13.50-£16.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theperch
Scourie Hotel, Lairg, Highland
This famous old fishing inn is a treat from top to toe. It’s a quirky place run with great panache by the Campbells, who refurbished in style and now it shines. It’s supremely comfy and very friendly – smart without being stuffy. There’s great tradition, too; a board master allocates fishing beats each morning, a gong announces dinner. There are two bars, a pretty garden and paths that lead down to the sea. This is a wildly beautiful corner of Scotland.
Closed From October – April , lunch from £4.95, bar meals from £10, three-course dinner £32, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/scouriehotel
The Ship Inn, Elie, Fife
There are few inns where you can sit on the terrace and watch a game of cricket on the beach below. But it’s not beach cricket as you know it. This is serious stuff, played at low tide. As for this cute little boutique inn, it doubles as the pavilion. Dine on the terrace for lunch in the sun and gaze across the Firth of Forth to Edinburgh’s hills. Feast on delicious food – fish and seafood from local waters, lamb and beef from nearby farms, sinful puddings. The Fife coastal path awaits for excellent walks.
Open daily, lunch and dinner £5-£35, Sunday lunch from £12.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theshipinnelie
The Meikleour Arms, Meikleour, Perth and Kinross
With their own ale, the Lure of Meikleour, more than 50 malts and a bevvy of artisan gins, you’ll find a toast for every occasion at this lovely country inn. Much of the food comes from the estate – vegetables and herbs grown in the walled garden, scallops hand-dived on the west coast and venison from Meikleour forest. There’s a sweet beer garden for the warmer months.
Open daily, light bites from £8, lunch and dinner from £20 for two courses, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/themeikleourarms
Y Ffarmers, Llanfihangel y Creuddyn, Ceredigion
The drive to this pretty village, once a silver and lead mining community, is well worth it. Friendly Y Ffarmers is under the delightful stewardship of Caitlin and Lewis. You can walk into the quarry-tiled bar with mud on your boots and not an eyelid will be batted. The dining room serves up excellent food – try pan-fried trout with dill and samphire potatoes and beetroot pesto, then bara brith bread and butter pudding with cream.
Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays) and Tues lunchtime, lunch and dinner £5-£18.50, Sunday lunch £16-£19.50, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/y-ffarmers
Cross Foxes, Brithdir, Gwynedd
Nicol and Dewi have worked wonders breathing new life into this stone-built former farmhouse. A steel and glass entrance leads to a modern bar with flagstones, exposed stonework and beams. Take a pint of Purple Moose’s Snowdonia to the terrace and gaze up at lofty Cadair Idris – a giant’s seat indeed. Food from the open kitchen comes with impeccable local credentials. What could be more local than Conwy mussels, leeks and cream followed by confit leg of Welsh lamb with a rosemary and honey gravy?
Open daily, lunch from £4.95, dinner and bar meals from £9.95, two-course Sunday lunch £12.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/crossfoxes
The Plume of Feathers, Mitchell, Cornwall
It was an inspired move to transform the 16th-century coaching inn where John Wesley once preached into a warm and stylish pub-restaurant. A menu carefully-curated by head chef Andrew Dudley draws an appreciative crowd, and food is available all day. Friendly staff serve seasonal meals at sensible prices – take hand-pressed burgers made with Cornish beef, or risotto of the day with locally-grown, organic vegetables. There are beetroot and gin-cured salmon sandwiches at lunch – and delicious desserts after.
Open daily, breakfast from £5, lunch from £7.50, dinner from £12.50, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/theplumeoffeathers
The Cornish Arms, St Merryn, Cornwall
It could be the blueprint for how a good country inn should be. Come for the exceptional Sunday lunch and the atmosphere – it’s unpretentious and authentic, with locals rubbing shoulders with walkers and holiday makers. The food, as expected when Rick Stein is involved, doesn’t miss a beat – good, honest dishes cooked well.
Open daily, lunch and dinner £9.95-£19.95, Sunday lunch £14.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thecornisharms
The Tower Inn, Slapton, Devon
Standing beside the ivy-clad ruins of a chantry tower, a flower-bedecked classic, a southern belle, loved by all who visit. Despite the hidden access and tricky parking, this 14th-century inn attracts not just locals but families from Slapton Sands. Accompany golden, bitter-sweet St Austell Brewery Proper Job from the handpump with a plateful of Devon crab gnocchi, mussels in Addlestones cider cream broth, Start Bay scallops and locally-caught fish of the day.
Lunch from £5, dinner from £10, three-course Sunday lunch £22, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thetowerinn
The Sun Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria
Set in a narrow street, with the historic church in view, The Sun is a fine example of an old country inn. Step under the ancient portico and into a lovely low-ceilinged bar. Food is lavish, so enter the smart brasserie-style dining room – for potted mackerel pâté with rhubarb chutney; monkfish with herb gnocchi, clams and squid; steak and kidney pudding; rhubarb crumble tart. There are cask ales to keep beer buffs happy, the wine list is sublime and the staff are wonderful.
Closed Mon lunchtime, lunch from £9.95, dinner from £15.95, sawdays.co.uk/pubs/thesuninncumbria
For more information on Sawday’s pubs or to buy a copy of Sawday’s Great British Pub Guide (RRP £14.99) visitsawdays.co.uk/pubs