Nothing beats the warm glow of a country pub in the bleak midwinter. Tucked away down quiet country lanes, along riverbanks and at the foot of heather-bound tors, our West Country pubs pride themselves on their hospitality and cheeriness. With wholesome and hearty menus and firkin-filled cellars, these cosy pubs lift the spirits of walkers facing the winter winds and there’s no better finale to your festive family stroll than a visit to the local. Here are a few of our favourites…
The Cott Inn, Dartington, South Devon
The Cott Inn is everything you’d expect from a Devonshire village pub. From its delightful thatched roof and centuries old cob walls, to its inglenook fireplace and low beamed ceilings, this charming pub is enough to make your heart sing and wouldn’t look out of place on a hillock near Tolkien’s Bag End. Nestled into the rolling South Hams countryside between the rugged uplands of Dartmoor and the sparkling South Devon coast, this pub dates all the way back to the 13th century. Its lantern-lit beer garden is a lovely place to sit and unwind after a country walk, while its live, midweek music sessions are always a real hit with the punters.
The Steam Packet Inn, Totnes, South Devon
Set on the tranquil banks of the River Dart, the Steam Packet Inn is widely recognised as one of South Devon’s most charming pubs. Enjoy stunning views from the terrace and cosy evenings by the open fire. Whether you fancy a light bite or a three-course meal, expect a warm and friendly welcome. Dartmoor Best, Devon Amber, Sharp’s Coaster and Doombar are all on tap, as well as a regular offering of guest ales. There’s also a cultured wine list to satisfy the most discerning of palates and a fine selection of malt whiskies plus plenty of other tempting winter warmers.
The Carpenters Arms, Ilsington, Dartmoor
Seamlessly incorporating a high-end restaurant experience into a traditional village pub, The Carpenters Arms, set amid the dramatic landscape of Dartmoor, is one of Devon’s premier gastropubs, priding itself on its snug and relaxed ambience, its rustic charm and character. Make sure you book to avoid any disappointment.
The Golden Lion, Port Isaac, North Cornwall
With its colourful seafaring history and stunning position on Port Isaac harbour, it would be hard to find a more characterful pub in Cornwall than The Golden Lion. Toast yourself by the fire with a pint of Cornish ale and a crab salad, or go all out with a sophisticated triple-course meal chosen from the pub’s ample menu. You’ll love the history behind the ‘Bloody Bones Bar’ which has a smugglers’ tunnel that leads down to the causeway. Such is the unspoilt beauty of Port Isaac, it’s become a popular filming location; regularly used in the tales behind the swashbuckling BBC period drama, Poldark, and also, the trials and tribulations of ITV’s Doc Martin. Surrounded by breathtaking walks and sweeping views, where better to end you day’s adventures than this enchanting portside watering hole.
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The Roseland Inn, Philleigh, Cornwall
The magnificent Roseland Peninsula plays host to one of the most adorable pubs in the West Country. The Roseland Inn is a cosy Cornish haunt surrounded by long and lovely walks around this dramatic sweep of heritage coast. This 16th century inn is full of snug nooks and cosy corners where you can relax after your countryside rambles. A home-cooked gastro menu, craft and local beers, gourmet coffee and a discerning wine list await all those who step past the ancient thresholds of this warm and friendly hostelry set in the charming village of Philleigh.
The Bankes Arms, Studland, Dorset
The Bankes Arms is a handsome country inn situated on the magnificent Jurassic Coast. It continues to serve both the locals of Studland and the steady flow of walkers and explorers with both attentiveness and aplomb; the sight of its dazzling menu and well-stocked bar enough to revive the weariest of pilgrims. The Bankes Arms befits its magnificent setting and is a close neighbour of the iconic, towering sea stacks of Old Harry Rocks and the hilltop perch that houses Agglestone Rock. Well-behaved dogs welcome.
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The Marquis of Lorne, Nettlecombe, Dorset
Nestled into the rolling hills of Nettlecombe, Dorset, lies one of the county’s most beloved and historic public houses. The Marquis of Lorne is a gorgeous 16th century pub that continues to rank highly in South West hospitality guides as well as being the recipient of a string of pub awards. Fresh and locally sourced ingredients are just one of the secrets behind its popular lunch and dinner menus, while a well-tended and ale-tapped bar prides itself on consistently serving one of the finest pints in West Dorset.
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The Anchor Inn, Chideock, Dorset
A menu that captures the spirit of West Dorset complimented by award-winning real ales and first-class wine, just two of the ingredients that help make The Anchor Inn such a popular and much-loved pub. Whether you’re a party of coastal-walking wayfarers in need of winter comfort food, or a couple of gourmet enthusiasts keen to enjoy artisan dishes and a memorable dining experience, you can expect a hearty welcome at this delightful seaside pub.
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