1) Square and Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset
This pub received multiple nominations from our readers, who love its garden and the fact that the pub brews its own beer and has a fossil museum at the back.
Judge Fergus Collins says: “With a beautiful landscapes around, this is a wonderfully cosy, nook-filled country pub, very family friendly and dog friendly, with walks from the door, and just a very genial place to end up when you’re out in the wilds of Dorset.”
You said: “Nowhere quite like it. Brews its own and even has a museum out back. Amazing pasties, cider and characters await – if you can find it.” Neil Bartlett
“It’s hard to beat the views from the garden, and what other pub has its own dinosaur and fossil museum?” Dave Gregory
2) The Rugglestone Inn, Widecombe in the Moor, Devon
Located in Dartmoor, the Rugglestone Inn was originally a cottage but was converted to an inn in 1832.
It sits next to a pretty stream and has a woodburner inside, while a large garden hosts happy walkers in the brighter days.
Dogs are welcome (on a lead).
Judge Mark Rowe says: “It just ticks all the boxes for what you want from a country pub – good food, fine ales, nice wine, welcoming people and it’s just a perfect place if you’ve been up in the moors all day exploring the tors of Dartmoor. You can see the pub from a distance away with its lovely beckoning lights. As wander down, you know you’re 30 minutes away from a fantastic pint.”
3) The Lock Keeper, Keynsham, Somerset
It’s all about the location, which is right on the river in Keynsham. This rustic riverside pub is a popular choice with locals and visitors, offering a huge beer garden, good food and even a petanque pitch.
Judge Miranda Krestovnikoff says: “The Lock Keeper has a superb beer garden, fantastic food, it’s kid friendly, dog friendly – and it’s all in a really really beautiful setting.”
4) The Fox House, Longshaw, South Yorkshire
A country pub built in 1773, the Fox House for years was a favourite resting place of livestock drivers and stage-coach passengers. Set in the Peak District, the Fox continues to attract custom today, with delicious hearty food, a wide range of drinks, comfortable accommodation and great walking from the doostep.
Judge John Craven says: “The Fox is a classic country pub. Lots of tiny little corners with tables, so you don’t feel as though you are in a huge restaurant area. The food is excellent and reasonably priced, the beer is excellent and it’s family friendly.”
5) The Old Forge, Knoydart, Lochaber
The most remote pub in Britain may not be everyone’s idea of a cosy local, but its very isolation is part of its charm. Only accessible by ferry (7 mile sea crossing) or foot (18 miles), the pub was once an old smiddy’s forge, and today it offers bonny food, drink, music and accommodation. Ben Fogle once even took it over for Christmas.
Judge Phoebe Smith says: “It takes effort to go and have that pint at the end of a day at the Old Forge. And it’s in a beautiful setting looking out to the islands – a great reward after the amount of effort required to get there. You can camp on your way and do some munros that no one does… all this makes the Old Forge very very cool.”
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