Northwest England - pubs with good food
I'm looking for suggestions for traditional country pubs where you can get a nice, unpretentious but high-quality lunch or dinner around the northwest. Real ale and proximity to good walks a plus. Anywhere in Lancs, Cumbria or W. Yorks... even down to Cheshire.
There are loads...
The Inn at Whitewell, not far from Clitheroe in the Forest of Bowland - great food, either in the bar, or in a the restaurant at the back (a fab fish pie is their most famous dish) and lovely building. The area is pretty too and the pub is on the River Hodder (I think). If you get hold of an OS map, then there are plenty of walks round there.
The Three Fishes in Whalley is also really good - informal surroundings and traditional food. It's run by the people who run Northcote Manor (also definitely worth a visit, but it is a Michelin starred restaurant and country house hotel, so not really what you're looking for. Again, the countryside is pretty, and I'm sure you can find some nice walks.
The Eagle and Child at Bispham Green, South Lancashire, is great. It's an old pub which does very high quality food and it has a beer garden. The surrounding area is nice enough, and I'm sure there are plenty of walks, but it's very flat.
The Spread Eagle in Sawley, near Clitheroe, is pretty good, but as far as I remember, not exactly a country pub anymore. It's a lovely location though on the banks of the Ribble.
There are several in Cumbria - the Masons Arms in Cartmel Fell used to do good traditional food. It's changed hands since I went, but it's still good apparently. The Drunken Duck also gets good reviews, but I've never been. Both are in lovely countryside and will have good walks.
It's worth going to the Angel in Hetton in the Yorkshire Dales - it's not Cumbria, Lancashire or West Yorkshire, but it is the West side of North Yorkshire! The food is top notch and the Dales are great to walk in.
With all of these, check what their system is - some don't take bookings, and you may have to take pot luck or get there early. Others take bookings in their restaurant, but not in the bar etc etc. All of them are very popular.