There are few things more typically British than a good pub and when the sun’s out, we Brits tend to flock to our local and take up residence in the beer garden. Pubs are increasingly serving great quality food, so much so that many of them have been awarded a Michelin star. We take a look at twenty Michelin star pubs where you can enjoy top quality food in down-to-earth surroundings.
Yorkshire and Humberside
The Black Swan at Oldstead, North Yorkshire
Surrounded by glorious National Park countryside, The Black Swan was rated as one of the top five best value restaurants in Britain by The Sunday Times Food List. Adam Jackson’s dishes are innovative yet unpretentious and draw heavily on Yorkshire produce. As well as the a la carte and set menus, Jackson offers a seven course tasting menu for £70 (£65 for vegetarians) and daily changing ‘specials’. The dining area is full of character with antique furniture and oak floors and food can also be eaten at the bar or on the tables outside where you can fully appreciate the magnificent Yorkshire landscape with a pint of local ale.
The Pipe and Glass Inn, Beverley, East Yorkshire
James and Kate Mackenzie’s quaint country pub dates back to the 15th century and boasts East Yorkshire’s first and only Michelin star. The portions are generous, the produce sourced locally and the menu changed regularly to reflect the season. The Pipe and Glass Inn seeks to cater for everyone with separate vegetarian and children’s menus and a takeaway option for those that are hosting a dinner party or simply want to eat from the comfort of their own homes. James’ food is unpretentious and unashamedly British, featuring classics such as Bubble and Squeak and Potted Pork. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with gorgeous bespoke wooden tables and outside dining facilities.
The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire
Just on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors lies this quintessential country inn, which held a Michelin star from 2002 to 2011 and then regained it in 2015. Head chef Andrew Pern takes the ingredients found on his doorstep – among the best in the UK – and turns them into dishes in his inimitable ‘modern Yorkshire’ style. There’s a strong emphasis on game, and the thatched building itself has centuries of history behind it as an inn for travellers visiting the Moors.
The Box Tree, Ilkley, Yorkshire
One of the oldest buildings in Ilkley (dating back to 1720), this pub restaurant got its name from the box trees planted in the beautiful gardens surrounding it. It’s been operating as a restaurant since 1962, once gaining the coveted two Michelin stars and having chefs like Marco Pierre White at the helm. Nowadays it has one star, which it has held since 2005, and the food has a classical French base with light and delicate dishes made from local ingredients.
The Walnut Tree Inn, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
This rural Welsh pub has an illustrious history; from 1963 to 2001 it was successfully run by ground-breaking chef Franco Taruschio. After experiencing some hard times, Great British Chef Shaun Hill took it over in 2008 and has restored it to its former glory with his own distinctive style of cooking. Hill’s food is classic yet full of eclectic influences and his menus changes daily. He steers clear of overly elaborate dishes and the dining area reflects this minimalism with clean white walls and simple wooden tables. Hill’s lack of pomposity is also evident in the lack of service charge and the website which ‘will not offend visitors with smarmy overstatements of what’s on offer’! Clearly The Walnut Tree Inn’s reputation speaks for itself, as well as its Michelin star, it was voted 17th in the National Restaurant Awards list of the best 100 restaurants in the UK.
The Peat Inn, Scotland
A beautiful and well-kept coaching inn near St Andrews is the home of one of the most well-respected restaurants with rooms in Scotland, with an impressive list of accolades for its kitchen and its hospitality proving this point. The Peat Inn was converted from its original purpose to a restaurant thirty years ago, with Geoffrey Smeddle – an alumnus of Terence Conran, having previously held the head chef position at Etain, the empire’s flagship Scottish restaurant – taking over in 2006 to usher in further accolades. Dishes are often deceptively simple-sounding, and given that seasonality is key, there is a decided slant towards fresh flavours, although appearances of home-smoked meats like wood pigeon, poached fruits, and slow-cooked potatoes and pulses lend deeper notes to many of the dishes on offer.
The Black Rat, Winchester, Hampshire
The Black Rat is full of eccentric twists and turns, ideal for those who like their pubs with cosy nooks, strange taxidermy but most importantly, stunning, Michelin star dishes. Head chef Ollie Moore serves up sophisticated dishes studded with allotment flavours, a combination of fine dining and a walk in the British countryside, for an unforgettable meal in an unforgettable location.
The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire
Tom and Beth Kerridge’s pub in the charming Georgian town of Marlow earned a Michelin star within less than a year of opening in March 2005 and holds the prestigious accolade of being the first and only pub to have been awarded two stars in 2012. Tom Kerridge takes traditional British classics and adds French twists in preparation and presentation that elevate these dishes to Michelin standard food. The rustic décor juxtaposes stunning restored furniture with fine tableware while the service is friendly and unpretentious. The three course set lunch is an extremely reasonable £19.50 and is available every day except Sunday.
The Harwood Arms, Fulham, London
As the only Michelin star pub in the capital, The Harwood Arms is ‘where the country comes to town’. This relaxed, down-to-earth pub is a collectively owned by Brett Graham of The Ledbury, Mike Robinson of the acclaimed Berkshire pub Pot Kiln and Edwin Vaux from the Vaux brewery. The Harwood Arms prides itself on game and wild food with Robinson shooting all the venison himself on Berkshire estates. The menus are proudly British with an emphasis on seasonality while the bar is stocked with the finest British ales and bitters. Quiz lovers should note that Tuesdays are quiz night!
The Hind's Head, Bray, Berkshire
This fifteenth century pub was given the high end treatment by none other than Heston Blumenthal (whose three-starred restaurant The Fat Duck is right next door). The menu offers a selection of traditional British dishes done to the very highest standard, as you’d expect, with huge amounts of research going into the history and execution of each dish. The Scotch eggs on offer are particularly famous.
Sir Charles Napier, Chinnor, Oxfordshire
Overlooking the Chilterns lies this inn full of wooden beams, roaring fires and comfortable chairs, with a large garden full of sculptures and tables if the weather permits eating outside. Apart from the Michelin-starred menu (which features dishes such as rose veal with sweetbreads and Cornish hake with mousseline potato), the bar staff ensure there’s a range of well-kept ales on offer, so locals can just pop in for a drink instead of a full three-course meal.
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire
Calling itself a ‘reinvention of the traditional English inn’, this newly-starred Cotswolds pub serves local, seasonal food in a relaxed setting. The dining room is separate from the pub and makes the most of the on-site kitchen garden, picked fresh every morning before making their way to diners’ plates. If you’re a fan of game, be sure to visit in autumn, as the menu becomes an homage to wild British meats cooked to perfection.
The Crown, Maidenhead, Berkshire
A newcomer to the list of Michelin-starred pubs, The Crown at Burchetts Green was awarded its first star in 2016. Combining British ingredients with classical French cooking, the menu is decided every morning by Simon Bonwick, who ensures every element on the plate sings with flavour from his tiny kitchen. While Simon cooks completely alone, his eldest son Dean runs front of house, and his other children are always on hand to help out at the weekend.
The Royal Oak, Maidenhead, Berkshire
Berkshire is hardly short of Michelin stars, but this pub has retained one for the past seven years. The seventeenth century building dedicates itself to serving the best British food around, and the chef loves nothing more than cooking game in season (his Hare, guinea fowl and ham hock pie is a particular favourite). The restaurant is owned by Sir Michael Parkinson and his son Nick, who bought the pub in 2001 and lovingly restored it into the destination it has become today.
The Butchers Arms, Eldersfield, Gloucestershire
This rural 16th century pub is run exclusively by husband and wife duo James and Elizabeth Winter - he cooks, she runs the front of house. The Michelin starred menu is short, sweet and seasonal, the ingredients sourced from trusted local suppliers and everything from the bread to the ice cream is homemade by James himself. Be sure to book in advance as the place only accommodates 25 diners, which is unsurprising given that the Winters are a two-man band!
The Pony & Trap, Chew Magna, Somerset
Run by brother and sister team Josh and Holly Eggleton, who took over this two-century-old pub in 2006, The Pony & Trap has earned its reputation as one of Somerset’s culinary destinations. A frequent contributor to Great British Chefs, Josh Eggleton cut his teeth as one of Gordon Ramsay’s protégés and earned his first Michelin star for The Pony & Trap at the tender age of 27. The menus champion local produce sourced from trusted suppliers and seasonal ingredients, changing daily but maintaining Eggleton’s emphasis on simplicity. The lunch menu features a collection of true Pub Classics such as Ploughman’s, Ham, Eggs and Chips Piccalilli and Fish and Chips. The décor is understated with light, spacious dining areas overlooking the picturesque countryside.
The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon
Great British Chef Mark Dodson runs this lovely 13th Century inn while his wife Sarah deals with the front of house. Dodson was head chef at Michel Roux’s three Michelin star Waterside Inn for twelve years, making him the perfect chef to take on British and French classics and give them a modern twist. After moving to Devon in 2005, the Dodsons managed to win a Michelin star for The Masons Arms in just six months and it was named Michelin Pub of the Year in 2010. This village local boasts excellent food, real ale and stunning views over the rolling hills towards Exmoor.
The Red Lion Free House, East Chisenbury, Wiltshire
With access to their own pigs, hens and greenhouse, the staff of The Red Lion don’t have to travel far to get their hands on amazing produce. A pub through and through, it’s almost as if the Michelin-starred restaurant plays second fiddle to the wine and beers on offer. However, don’t doubt the passion the team has for fine dining, which can be seen on their impressively large menu which namechecks each and every supplier they work with.
The Neptune, Norfolk
With a Michelin star retained since 2009, The Neptune is a refurbished coaching inn with a difference. The gourmet bolthole uses the ingredients of Norfolk to create its modern British menu, and with the restaurant only a stone’s throw from the beach, plenty of fish and seafood make an appearance. The six rooms above the pub are available for curious gastronomes travelling from afar, and the surrounding village of Hunstanton is as picture perfect as you can get.