Serving up quite possibly the best Sunday roast in the area, the Bolingey Inn can be found huddled a mile in land from the holiday hoards of Perranporth.
For about £9 you get a huge plate of locally sourced meat – take your pick from beef, pork and lamb – a big old Yorkshire pud (regardless of meat choice), a separate serving of freshly cooked al dente veg, crispy roast spuds and the icing on the cake, an extra helping of gravy served alongside. ‘Coz there’s nothing worse than running out of gravy half way through your dinner, eh?
And the deserts can be pretty special too. I can definitely vouch for their pavlovas - made from crispy, chewy meringue, and mighty cheesecakes – huge, creamy and usually laced with some sort of booze.
Penwartha Rd, Perranporth, Bolingey, Perranporth TR6 0DH
Google map: bit.ly/12lgBfC
* Sian is our Been there local for Cornwall. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/been-there-local-cornwall.jsp and her own blog about Cornish living: www.adventureswiththeblackdog.co.uk/
I caught myself singing out loud as I was walking the coast path between Swanage and Corfe Castle on the first sunny day of spring. The walk is about 10 miles, taking in wild cliffs, rock pools, giant fossils, old quarries, stunning bays and finally the lush Dorset countryside, with rewarding views of the mysterious castle ruins at the end. Put up your feet at the Greyhound Inn, which does a good pint and meal. Returning to Swanage by steam train makes for a perfect end of the trip.
From Buttermere to the Kirkstile Inn return, around Crummock Water.
This will take you about five hours including an hour’s stop for lunch at the Inn.
Begin in the small village of Buttermere, following the path to Crummock Water. This skirts the lake on its western shore. The path is clear and hugs the water’s edge.
Spring is coming, heralded at last by the sound of water as the frozen waterfalls melt, there is the gold of gorse, birds nesting and the bleat of lambs.
We recite lines from Innesfree:
‘I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore’ and sing snatches of song as our spirits soar as we tramp along.
Mellbreak soon flanks us as we tramp the mile or so along the path to Dropping Crag’s sheer face, on to High park and then by road to the Kirkstile Inn.
I sampled delicious home made bread and soup and a wonderful plum and cinnamon crumble washed down with half of the local ale before setting off to Lanthwaite wood.
This takes us back towards the lake and her Eastern margins. A path again follows the water’s edge, light glittering on rock and water, milder air.
The last bit is along the road into Buttermere but can be avoided with some careful map reading.
The Sky Tea Rooms are still open for home made ice cream or cream tea to round off a perfect day out.
In Castle Hedingham, Essex not only can you explore this magnificent Castle, you can walk around the beautiful grounds filled with daffodils and bluebells in spring time. There are lots of events that take place here, from jousting tournaments to wedding fairs. A short walk away brings you to the village pub 'The Bell.' This family pub serves hearty, excellent value meals and stocks local ale and ciders. If the pub isn't your thing there is a lovely tea rooms opposite serving up light lunches and home-made cakes.
The Shipwrights Arms overlooking a beauiful creek in Helford changed hands in 2012, and re-opened in time for the Easter weekend 2013 after a re-fit. It was very long overdue a refurbishment and new energy, because the location has to be one of the most beautiful in Britain, with views down the Helford River, but it had been going downhill for a number of years. I popped in for a quick pint after walking Frenchman's Creek, and enjoyed a very well kept locally brewed beer (Harbour Light) and checked out the menu. There is something to be said for a pub menu which is not complicated as you know the the chef will focus on doing a few things really well - this one looked interesting, and also had a few pub staples (fish and chips for £10, pasties for much less). Definitely worth dropping in for a look and a bite to eat - even the soup and bread should be good - the manager is well known locally for making her own artisan bread which is sold in the region.
Helston Village, Helston TR12 6JX, England
+44 (0)1326 231235
Google map: bit.ly/16mvhgS
Cycle away the winter cobwebs in the Brecon Beacons!
Park in the village of Talybont on Usk, where you can start and finish at the White Hart or Star pubs. One has a bunkhouse and the other a B&B and restaurant open through the winter; both have great beers and good food.
Cross the canal by the footbridge then cycle north on the Taff trail which begins with a long climb alongside the Talybont reservoir. you will see the high peaks ahead of you to the left. You then pass through Talybont on Usk and Taf Fechan forests, before crossing a B-road leading to a fantastic climb up stone tracks to the Cwm Cynwyn pass as the base of Cribyn at an altitude of nearly 2000ft. On a clear day the views are stupendous and you may surprise a few walkers, fell-runners and sheep.
The descent is very technical with huge boulders and terrifying drops coming down the other side before the surface improves to a fast tarmac descent into LLanfrynach, where there's a pub for a well-earned pint, before following the roads back to Talybont.
Talybont on Usk village:
White Hart Inn:
Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7JD
Talybont-on-Usk, Brecon, Powys LD3 7YX
Google map: bit.ly/UILn0F
Widemouth Bay is quintessential English seaside. A huge expanse of sea and sand welcomes you as you drive into the bay. The Bay View Inn is a great, friendly pub/restaurant and has good reasonably priced rooms, including family rooms with DVD players, comfy beds and terraces overlooking the ocean. It's a popular place for the locals and gets busy but at 11PM all goes quiet and a good night's sleep can be had with just the sound of waves to help you drop off. The Bay has a surf school, local shop selling fresh seafood, good cafe on the beach and a charming old-fashioned 50's fresh fish and chip van for cheap and cheerful evening suppers.
The Jolly Cricketers set in the heart of Seer Green village in the Chilterns is constantly recommended by the locals (the fish and chips a particular favourite) and won a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide 2012. The award (named after Bibendum the famous ‘Michelin Man’) singles this pub out as “an inspectors’ favourite, offering good food at moderate prices."
A gem of a bar, restaurant and hotel. Owned and run by an American, Jim Anderson, over 240 single malts, 150 Belgian beers and a well kept range of guest beers make this a great "must-visit" place. Jim's wife Anne runs the superb restaurant, making very skilful use of fabulous local produce.
A fantastic pub in Goathland, North Yorkshire Moors.
The tiny one room pub has a large fire, seats and a hole in the wall where you are served by the owner - who runs the post office/sweet shop on the other side of the hole.
Always a fantastic selection of beers and a wide variety of food available, as long as you want pork pie and pickle! It is a lovely place in the middle of some beautiful countryside, friendly, full of character and a great place to visit. Quite unique.
In the early 2000's you ventured into the Kings Head if you had lost the will to live and wished to exit this vale of tears in the near future! In 2005 it re-opened, run by two ex-offshore surveyors who cared about beer as a product and producing an environment in which to enjoy it! Today this is a friendly, comfortable, 21st century take on the traditional English pub selling mainly Norfolk beers, a well chosen selection of Belgium ales with a few exceptions from elsewhere on the mainland to vary the mix and, with the exception of the odd free-range piggy pork pie, there is no food, music or entertainment. However there is a bar billiards table which sees a considerable amount of use. Definitely worth passing a few pubs for even in Norwich which is truly a fine city for ale.
The Belvedere in Stonehaven offers shelter and a hot meal on a dark winter’s afternoon: a most welcome sight after our nippy adventure along the coast. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary by clambering around the algae-covered Dunnottar Castle, which stands on a craggy rock that juts out into the ocean. We discovered dripping caves and gazed over the misty North Sea, then booked in to a cosy, well-heated room. Large windows, with a view onto the garden, filled the room with fading orange sunlight. In this serene setting, with our tea and biscuits, we felt no need to turn on the flat-screen TV or use the wifi.
A recently rescued old boozer in a spectacularly remote Yorkshire dale, the Queens Arms is the kind of village pub you dream about. Great local beer and the kind of fabulous food which if it came out of a suburban kitchen would require much deeper pockets. Upstairs, four cosy, immaculate bedrooms with beams and crisp white cotton linen and outside any number of stunning walks from the door.
The Miller's Arms in Canterbury is a weather boarded pub occupying a rounded corner position overlooking the remains of a water mill complete with mill race. The rooms are not numbered but each is named after a Canterbury Tale, thus we had The Pardoner’s Tale. The bar, open all day, serves real ale in a selection of eclectically-rooms. The smoking area is so pretty and candle lit that it almost makes you wish you were a smoker. Comfortable rooms, all with WiFi, an outstanding breakfast menu, friendly staff and Canterbury Cathedral ten minutes' walk away, all combine to make this an ideal base.
2 Mill Lane, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2AW
+44(0)1227 456 057
Google map: bit.ly/TnU41K
With the Red Lion at Stiffkey, North Norfolk, you get the best of both worlds. Newly built, eco-friendly modern accommodation with power showers, warm heating and comfortable beds and a pub, dating back to the 1600s whose character is allowed to speak for itself with flag-stoned floors, ancient beams and log fires. Mussels are a speciality here, not just the classic white wine and garlic, but more adventurous choices such as mussels with curried potato and spinach. There’s nothing better than a wind-swept walk along the sea-marsh, accessible straight from the pub and coming back to a plate of mussels in front of a roaring log fire, washed down with a pint of Norfolk Wherry, knowing a comfy bed awaits. Dogs allowed.
It's a pub with rooms in a pretty honey-stone village just outside Yeovil, and a walk from NT property Montacute; the perfect stop-off if you're doing the trek to the far West Country from London and don't want to do it all in one go. The Mason's Arms is a friendly, proper pub rather than a gastropub with designer pretensions, with hearty food and its own microbrewery (the beer was delicious, but the quantities the landlord makes are so small, you'll rarely find it anywhere else). The rooms have some luxury extras that you don't usually find in a pub stay (robes, decent toiletries), especially considering the price - £85 for a double, which included a great breakfast.
Not far from the beaches and birdwatching of the Norfolk coast, few drinkers in the bar or diners in the busy restaurant at the Gin Trap realise that there are three traditional bedrooms with luxury en suite bathrooms available at this friendly country pub. In winter we've stayed there and returned from walks along the beach at Hunstanton to a roaring fire, and in summer we've sat in the sunny garden over a drink before an excellent meal with local specialities like samphire (and advice on how to eat it). I like the proper vegetarian items at breakfast - pancakes with blueberries or French toast with fresh fruit - alongside the more traditional menu.
An amazing pub with whisky themed rooms in the heart of malt whisky country. For a whisky fan you could not ask for more - great atmosphere, delicious food, comfortable rooms and probably the largest selection of glenfarclas single malts in the world. And it's located right on the Speyside way long distance walking route so you can use your own steam to visit many of the local distilleries. What a place to have a few drams and rest your head for a night! Found it so good had my wedding celebration there! Wow!
The Wheatsheaf hotel and pub in Virginia Water is set in an ideal location as it is right by Virginia Water Lake and Windsor Great Park. It is cosy with its open fireplaces and it has a large beer garden at the back. The inn welcomes families for dining and staying. Traditional, freshly cooked English food and light bites are available.
For a bit of history, King George III and Queen Charlotte are known to have stayed at the inn in the early 1800s.
London Road, Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4QF
Google map: bit.ly/RPdXMJ
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