Our top picks for foodies

19 October 2018

If you’re a passionate foodie and love to combine great food and drink with a relaxing break away, then you’ll love these fabulous destination dining pubs with rooms – all offer exciting seasonal menus that brim with local ingredients from artisan producers. Escape, treat yourself, linger over a memorable dinner, explore the wine list then retire to a stylish room at one of these brilliant foodie boltholes.


The Red Lion – East Chisenbury, Wiltshire

The Red Lion, East Chisenbury, Wiltshire - Michelin Star

Hidden away in rolling downland on the edge of Salisbury Plain (you’ll need your sat nav) is the thatched 18th-century Red Lion Free House.   Nestled in the gorgeous sleepy village of East Chisenbury it is so much more than the rustic rural local it looks from the outside – it is a culinary oasis deep in the Wiltshire countryside where chef/owner Guy Manning’s exemplary cooking was awarded in 2013 (and still retains) a Michelin star.  Bring the family, book all five gorgeous riverside rooms and savour Guy’s exemplary cooking in the stunning, glass-encased upstairs dining room. Special indeed!

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The Kingham Plough – Kingham, Oxfordshire

Emily Watkins has firmly established the Kingham Plough at the forefront of the Great British food scene. Emily arrived with a stellar CV, having previously been Sous Chef at Heston Blumenthal’s world-famous Fat Duck and her truly innovative modern British menus have transformed the pub into a destination food-driven inn. The ethos here is all about seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Newly revamped rooms complete a very pleasing picture. A fantastic Cotswold foodie destination.

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The Wellington Arms – Baughurst, Hampshire

This hidden foodie haven, lost down peaceful North Hampshire country lanes, is well worth finding for chef Jason King’s delicious modern British food – his daily chalkboard menus offer plenty of interest and imagination with much of the produce used being organic and sourced within a five-mile radius of the pub. With their own kitchen garden, bees for honey, free range rare breed chickens for eggs and home-bred rare-breed pigs and lambs, the food and the ethos behind the Wellington Arms provides the real ‘wow’ factor.  Four fabulous bedrooms give the finishing touch and for an extra special treat, book the old Cart Shed.

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The Gunton Arms – Thorpe Market, Norfolk

This country-house chic inn enjoys a stunning parkland setting where deer roam freely past the inn. On offer is simple, gutsy, ingredient-led cooking using only local, seasonal produce, with venison from the deer park, seafood and Cromer crab caught by local fishermen, and foraged samphire from the coast. Delicious steaks cooked over the vast open fire in the Elk Room are a highlight!  The gorgeous bedrooms upstairs (with great views across the park) as well as in the newly converted Barn and Coach House make this a very special place indeed.

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The Olive Branch – Clipsham, Rutland

Food & drink with impeccable breeding is the tag-line at the Olive Branch in Clipsham and you won’t be disappointed.  Chef-Patron Sean Hope’s cooking offers French finesse in pub-size portions, thick with well-judged flavours, and an emphasis on locally sourced & seasonal produce. Traceability is at the fore with the current suppliers named on the back of each day’s menu and much of the produce coming from their own kitchen garden and poly tunnels.  The Beech House, just across the road from the inn offers 6 individually styled rustic-chic rooms so there is absolutey no need to leave! Book ‘Double Cream’ for its vast bathroom and claw foot bath.

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Pipe & Glass – South Dalton, East Yorkshire

Expect high standards across the board at James & Kate Mackenzie’s handsome 17th-century country inn tucked away in a postcard-pretty village in the Yorkshire Wolds. James cooks exciting pub food, his inventive menus built around top-notch Yorkshire produce, and he has held a coveted Michelin star since 2010. Splash out at the chef’s table or curl up by one of the roaring fires after a walk, with a pint and a plate of Yorkshire rarebit, then retire to one of the gorgeous rooms – they’re the last word in stylish glamour.

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The Star Inn – Harome, North Yorkshire

You know you’ve landed somewhere special when you spot the thatch on the long, low roof of the smartly whitewashed Star Inn, a 15th century pub perched on the edge of the North Yorks Moors. Chef-owner Andrew Pern won the first Michelin star for Yorkshire and has been delighting us ever since, his ever-changing seasonal menus are sensational, drawing on the rich larder of local produce, especially game from the moors. It’s hard to leave the Star, so book one of the quirky, super comfortable rooms across the road and explore the wine list.

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St Tudy Inn – St Tudy, Cornwall

Emily Scott, chef patron of the St Tudy Inn (located well of the beaten track between Bodmin Moor and the sea) has worked hard to create a fabulous foodie inn that draws a discerning crowd from far and wide.  Emily heads up the kitchen and her simple, rustic cooking (inspired by classic French regional cooking) offers short daily menus changing with the seasons and showcasing top-notch local ingredients.  Rustic, simple and flavoursome, expect plenty of sparkling fresh fish cooked simply and skilfully, while local game, meat and vegetables are all given the respect they deserve.  Four simple, elegant rooms in a converted barn make this a relaxed and soothing place to stay to savour some fantastic food.  Retaining a Bib Gourmand for 3 years running, this is a food lovers’ paradise and a perfect destination inn.

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The Pointer – Brill, Buckinghamshire

James Graham heads up the kitchen at this foodie gem in a pretty hilltop village in Buckinghamshire.   With a passion for authentic, honest and delicious food, his short modern British menus change regularly, evolving with the seasons and the availability of the best local ingredients – sourced from local farms and artisan producers who share his ethics and passion for quality food. Hidden away in a pretty brick cottage across the village lane are four beautifully decorated bedrooms popular for foodie weekend breaks as the Pointer is an easy drive from west London.

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The Bildeston Crown – Bildeston, Suffolk

The 700 year old Crown is run with passion and panache by husband and wife team Chris and Hayley Lee and for the past decade Chris’s cooking has gained respect from both food critics and his peers, as well as wowing the guests that beat a path to the inn’s door for his innovative modern British cooking. His free-wheeling culinary exuberance is as exciting as the sheer quality of his cooking and you are as welcome for a pint and a retro bar snack as you are for a seven course tasting menu and wine flight.  An ideal venue for a relaxing foodie break away.

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The Miller of Mansfield – Goring on Thames, Oxfordshire

Nick and Mary Galer, (former team members of Heston Blumenthal’s exceptional Fat Duck Group) bought this historic ivy-clad inn in 2014 and have worked their magic in transforming the place into a relaxing modern-day coaching inn offering sublime food and very comfortable lodgings.  Passionate about sourcing the best local and British seasonal produce, the frequently changing lunch and dinner menus are freshly prepared in the kitchen, from the bar nibbles to the hand-rolled pasta and homemade breads, jams, chutneys and butter. The flavours shine through in the simple yet elegant food, the result of careful cooking and respect for the key ingredient.

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The Punchbowl Inn – Crosthwaite, Cumbria

Head chef, Arthur Bridgeman Quin (at a mere 21 years old), is cooking up a storm at the glorious Punchbowl Inn, gaining respect not just locally but nationally too having been shortlisted for various Young Chef of the Year Awards. Top notch local and seasonal ingredients feature on an imaginative monthly menu alongside a daily changing chalkboard – there is plenty of focus on classic pub dishes too.  The location in the stunningly lush Lye Valley, where invigorating Fell walks radiate from the front door, and the nine individually styled and beautifully appointed rooms with roll top baths and power showers, make this a chic rural bolthole for a delectable weekend away.

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Thank you for visiting our blog – this is where we have the latest on what our pub industry expert David Hancock has been up to including his discoveries when searching for Britain’s best pubs with rooms. We’ve also got insider tips and extra updates to share about what makes our handpicked inns such wonderful – and individual/unique places – to help you find anything from the cosiest corner, to a special room with a view or even the heartiest breakfast.