Fancy relaxed staycation dining with fantastic food? Pick one of Britain’s 16 Michelin-starred gastropubs, from the Hand & Flowers in Marlow to the Pipe & Glass Inn in Yorkshire
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: Perfect pubs serving Michelin-starred meals.
Want a fantastic dining experience to remember but don’t fancy anything too formal on staycation? Then pick one of Britain’s 16 Michelin-starred gastropubs. These pubs celebrate fabulous food, with big-name chefs in the kitchen offering meals in a relaxed setting.
The pub to beat (the only one in the UK with two Michelin stars) is the red-roofed, white-walled and oak-beamed Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire. Chef patron Tom Kerridge calls it ‘a proper pub with proper food’ and guests eat amidst the warm woods and dark leathers of a classic 17th Century pub dining room.
Leading the way: Chef Tom Kerridge at his Hand & Flowers
The a la carte menu isn’t cheap, with starters such as soft smoked salmon with apple pancake, dill, creme fraiche and caviar at £42.50, while a duck liver parfait with orange chutney and toasted brioche is £26.50. But there’s also a two-course set lunch for £35 every weekday (thehandandflowers.co.uk).
In East Yorkshire, the Pipe & Glass Inn lets you enjoy fine dining in the garden when the weather permits. Sun-bleached wooden tables with olive-green umbrellas spill out of the 15th Century coaching inn.
Chef James Mackenzie’s signature fish pie with parsley mash, cheddar crust and brown shrimp and pickled fennel salad for £19.50 is a lunchtime favourite, served in the cosy bar or in the shadow of a 450-year-old yew tree in the garden (pipeandglass.co.uk).
Friendly staff welcome diners to the award-winning Walnut Tree Inn, set in the hills near the market town of Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. A set three-course lunch costs from £40, with dishes including smoked haddock in a lentil and coriander sauce, rump of lamb with jabron potatoes, and honey-roasted nectarine and strawberries.
Chef James Mackenzie’s signature fish pie is a lunchtime favourite at The Pipe and Glass
One of the Angel dishes, which is one the UK’s most recent pubs to win a Michelin star
There’s an open fire in winter and plenty of seats outside in summer (thewalnuttreeinn.com).
A former ‘pub of the year’ as well as a Michelin star-winning place to eat is the thatched-roofed Masons Arms in Knowstone, Devon. Chef Mark Dodson’s always-changing a la carte menu currently has specials such as sea bass with bouillabaisse, aioli, fennel and a crab tortellini for £28.50.
As befits a relaxed but stylish gastropub, meals can be washed down with anything from locally brewed real ale to a range of chilled champagnes (masonsarmsdevon.co.uk).
Another thatched pub with an all-star kitchen is the Nut Tree Inn, near Bicester in Oxfordshire.
Sit outside next to splendid hanging baskets and in front of a picture-perfect village pond. Step inside and you’ll find stone floors, thick stone walls, leather sofas and white linen tablecloths.
Chef Mike North’s current seasonal menu includes hearty beef fillets as well as saddle of lamb, halibut and vegetarian options. The roast apple and calvados sorbet with vanilla ice cream and digestive crumble for £15 is a popular pudding (nuttreeinn.co.uk).
The thatched-roofed Masons Arms in Knowstone, Devon, has a relaxed atmosphere
Artistic: Chef Mark Dodson’s creation at the Masons Arms
Tasting menus are big hits at The Angel at Hetton, in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales – it’s one of the UK’s most recent pubs to win a Michelin star. Chef Michael Wignall and team offer nearly a dozen beautifully presented dishes for £75. The five-course Sunday lunch costs from £55, with a main course choice of turbot, beef or quail.
Enjoy dinner so much you want to stay for breakfast? Like many of the best gastropubs, The Angel offers rooms and a variety of ‘dine and stay’ packages (angelhetton.co.uk).
- For a list of one-Michelin-star restaurants and gastropubs, visit guide.michelin.com.