Pub of the Year: Rural Bolt-Holes

Is the Pub of the Year in this category?

We’ve been on the hunt for the Pub of the Year and have been getting help from drinkers all over the country!

Over the last few months we’ve been inundated with messages from loyal pub drinkers from the UK touting their favourite drinking holes. British drinkers understand better than anyone else the importance of a good pub, and they also know how varied they can be which is why we’ve chosen to split our competition up into a wide range of categories in order to give every style and location a pub the chance to be included. We’ve already covered the city-based pubs that have impressed us over the last year, so now we’re going to switch our focus over to the pubs that are a little harder to reach.

A proper rural pub is a hard thing to find. Not only are these pubs under the most threat from closure, but they’re all too often isolated from the rest of the industry which leads to them flagging behind their urban compatriots. Thankfully, our readers have been in touch and tipped us off regarding their favourite country haunts.

We’ve been blown away by the standards at these establishments and are happy too present our short list for Rural Bolt-Holes:

The Thomas Lord in Hampshire

Many village pubs have closed over the last few years, The Thomas Lord was one such establishment, dutifully restored by its owners, the Upham Group. The pub is a stunning example of rural-public house design and is staffed with attentive waiters throughout. The food presents a clever twist on pub classics and although the prices are a little higher than we’re used to paying, we thought it was well worth the price. Andy, the local who brought The Thomas to our attention, had this to say:

“For years this place was empty, so I’m so happy to see that it’s open again and under such efficient management. I was a little concerned when I discovered that it had been bought by a group, but those worries were laid to rest within a matter of weeks of it opening. The staff are lovely here and the food is the best in the area.”

The Rising Sun in Cheshire

The Cheshire countryside is the stunning backdrop to The Rising Sun, a traditional country pub whose food output marks it as a real cut above the rest. The cleverly devised menu at The Rising Sun is full of appealing crowd-pleasers, such as Popcorn Chicken and Crispy Duck, whilst a generously priced 3 Course Lunch features an adventurous Chorizo & Black Pudding Croquette and Chicken Tagine. Martin tipped us off about his favourite local and explains why here:

“For years I’ve been searching for the perfect place to incorporate into my weekly Sunday dog walk, so I was over the moon when I discovered The Rising Sun. I’m a regular here now and plan on occupying a cosy armchair every Sunday for the foreseeable future!”

The Fox & Duck in Hertfordshire

Nestled in the centre of idyllic Therfield, The Fox and Duck is a pub that ticks all the boxes when it comes to rural comforts. Set in front of an attractive green, which is a hub of activity during the busy Summer months, we found this pub to be just as busy on a colder Autumn evening. Hungry diners can pick from two menus: an informal bar menu packed with classic pub grub dishes and an a la carte menu for something a little bit more special. Diana is a frequent diner and told us more about why she loves it so much:

“I simply adore this pub, it has everything that you could desire of a country escape: delicious warming food, a delicious wine menu and plenty of tasty desserts to keep the kids happy. I think I’ll be coming here for the rest of my life!”