Best of British: The UK’s top 20 traditional dining destinations

traditional britishFor those looking for a great traditional meal at a country pub, village tea room or city centre dining room, look no further. We’ve rounded up the best places to get a top roast, great game, delicious Dover sole, fish & chips, afternoon tea or perfect pies in the capital and across the UK…




Scott’s W1

Richard Caring’s “stunning” Mayfair glamour-magnet “will leave your guest über-impressed” – it is “one of the slickest operations in London”, where the “confident” staff serve up “fresh interpretations of classic fish dishes” with “ease and efficiency”.


St John EC1

It’s “not everyone’s cup of tea”, but Fergus Henderson’s famous advertisement for ‘nose-to-tail’ (offal-heavy) British eating still inspires adulation; some fans also adore the spartan aesthetic of his Smithfield ex-smokehouse, which others just find “uncomfortable”.


Anchor & HopeThe Anchor & Hope SE1

“Number one for pub food in London”; for the 9th year this “convivial” South Bank boozer – with its “hearty” but “superbly precise” British cooking – remains “the benchmark for gastropoub eating”; if only it weren’t “so horribly hard to get a table” – expect to queue and share tables.




The Gunton Arms, Thorpe Market

“A gorgeous setting in parkland and the ambience of a hunting lodge” help make this “beautiful” and “quirky” country pub “a perfect out-of-town experience”; appropriately enough, the menu is “game-orientated”.


Last Wine Bar, Norwich

“A real Norwich institution”; in a former shoe factory, this bistro and wine bar offers a “huge selection of wines by the glass” and its food (best sampled in the “buzzy bar”) is “more ambitious” of late, too; elsewhere, a newish brasserie sibling is a “welcome addition” to the Golden Triangle.



The Devonshire Arms, Bolton Abbey

The Duke of Devonshire’s grand country hotel undoubtedly offers “very good” standards, with “excellent” views contributing a “delightful” experience all-round; even fans can find prices in the main dining room “grossly OTT”, though, and the whole style is too “stuffy” for some tastes.


Sam’s Chop House, Manchester

“Hard to beat for filling, very traditional British comfort food” (“steak and kidney pud’ is the star!”) – this pubby city-centre spot is “very appealing to the Mancunian palate”.



Magpie Café, Whitby

“Still the best battered fish in the UK” continues to establish this “old fashioned café with lovely views of the harbour” as one of the nation’s best-known eateries – “the queue can stretch a long way out of the door!”


Bettys, Harrogate

“THE quintessential tearoom” is “a throwback worth queuing for” and definitely “not to be missed”; go for coffee or afternoon tea, though – lunches can be “slightly disappointing”.



Corse Lawn Hotel, Corse Lawn

“Never fails to please, like an old and trusted friend”; the “menu hasn’t changed much over the years”, but the Hine family’s restaurant-with-rooms still offers some very good traditional fare (especially game); opt for the more atmospheric bistro or “better still, eat outside overlooking the pond”.


Ethicurian, Wrington

“Set in a restored orangery in a lovely walled garden, with views across the valley to the Mendip Hills”, this ‘ethical’ restaurant “uses only local produce, a lot of it from their own garden”; no good if the food doesn’t measure up, of course, but all reports say it’s “original”, with “vivid flavours”, and “served with love”.



Dining Room, Hartwell House, Aylesbury

“Perfect for special occasions”; the “lovely” country house that once accommodated Louis XVIII in exile is a “wonderfully comfortable” hotel nowadays, offering food that’s “well above-average”.



English’s, Brighton

Well into its second century, this “old-fashioned” Lanes seafood restaurant, with its “lovely” outside tables, has tourist-trap potential par excellence; of late, however, it has notably bucked up its standards, offering a lunch menu, in particular, which is “very good value”.


The Royal Standard of EnglandThe Royal Standard of England

“For a pub as old as this the food and service are excellent” – England’s oldest freehouse by and large lives up even to its rather grandiose name.



Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead

“Gardens to die for” provide a “beautiful” setting for this “wonderfully atmospheric” Elizabethan country house hotel of long standing; it came into new management in recent history and nowadays the food is “acceptable, but not stunning”.



The George HotelThe George Hotel, Stamford

“A taste of tradition and class”; this huge, historic coaching inn is just the sort of place to seek out for “good roasts” and an “old-fashioned dessert trolley” too, although the “lively” (much cheaper) Garden Room is often preferred to the more sedate main dining room.

Share this article: