Autumn roasts with the most
Can't be bothered to baste potatoes with goose fat? I hear you. Instead grab your gang and head to one of these local gastropubs and let the experts do the hard work
I love a big ol’ roast dinner as much as the next woman but, my goodness, aren’t they a faff to make? Hours of peeling, basting and washing up of roasting tins… and then it’s scoffed in 10 minutes flat. So in an attempt to take things easy this season, I’m gathering my brood and whizzing off to one of these brilliant local pubs for a lazy lunch. Yorkshire puds ahoy!
The Greyhound, Beaconsfield
New on the local gastropub scene, this Grade II-listed coaching inn has two roast options alongside its small but perfectly formed a la carte menu – Hampshire Beef Ribeye (£20) and Highland Rump Beef (£22). Eat in the inn’s cool, contemporary restaurant with exposed beams, accents of mustard (the colour not the condiment) and trendy curved seating.
Jacob’s Inn, Wolvercote
Sitting at the top of Oxford’s Port Meadow, this stylish, buzzing pub is ideal for families, friends or walkers. Like its sister eateries in Bicester, Woodstock and Headington, the food is locally sourced and crowd-pleasing – the roasts come in at £16.50, and there’s also a nut roast at an even more pleasant £14. Give yourself plenty of time to walk Port Meadow afterwards – locks, Abbey remains and grazing cattle aplenty!
The Crown, Granborough
Found in the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it village of Granborough, this refurbished pub offers a beef, chicken and pork roast (or the option to triple up) served with all the trimmings including seasonal veg, cauliflower cheese, Yorkies, potatoes and gravy. Don’t fancy a roast? On a Sunday there’s also the option of pub classics from burgers to fish and chips. You’re also near high street shopping Mecca, centre:mk, if you want to factor in a trip to the shops.
The Chequers, Marlow
We’ve long hailed this 16th-century inn on Marlow’s high street as a carnivore’s paradise thanks to the focal point on meat, and it’s no different when it comes to Sunday lunches. Roast options start from £14.50 and include Native Breed Dry Topside of Beef, Gloucester Old Spot Cola & Honey Roast Gammon (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!), roast chicken or vegan wellington, all served with glazed carrots and parsnips, steamed green beans, fat roasted potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy.
The Mole Inn, Toot Baldon
The sleepy village location of this pub, just five miles south east of Oxford, belies its fantastic foodie credentials (Raymond Blanc is a fan), and the cosy, unfussy interior and pretty outdoor space make it a great family-friendly option. The enormous roasts cost between £16 and £18 – choose from Shorthorn beef or Sandy Lane pork or lamb, all with beef dripping roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, honey roast carrots and parsnips and creamed leeks & celeriac purée.
The Crown Inn, Church Enstone
A quintessential country pub – think flagstone floor, atmospheric log fire – but with arty quirks like a piano, vintage furniture, modern art and books piled up in every nook and cranny. This Cotswolds inn offers a relaxed, stylish setting for your lunch and the menu changes weekly but you’ll always find a trusty roast beef with all the trimmings.
The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green
Fancy your roast with a side of history? The oldest freehold pub in England, The Royal Standard (situated on the outskirts of Beaconsfield) looks the part with nooks and crannies, dark interiors, real log fires and medieval tiled floors. There are four staple meaty roast options (chicken, beef, pork, lamb) from £15.95, plus a weekly special, a just vegetables option and smaller option for kids.
The Pilgrim Pub, North Marston
A proper community pub through and through, timber-beamed beauty The Pilgrim holds ‘Village Nights’ every Tuesday, which can involve everything from open mic nights to curry clubs. However, we’ll be heading there for the Sunday lunch menu – after all, where else can you get a blade of shorthorn beef roasted to order? You could also opt for a slow braised Welsh lamb shank or even pan roasted calves’ liver and bacon with your Yorkshire and roasties.
The Full Moon, Hawridge
You’ll find this historic, non-pretentious pub, situated a few miles outside leafy Chesham amid the gorgeous Chiltern hills, ideal turf for post-roast rambles. The Sunday roast offering changes weekly (keep your eyes peeled on the pub’s Facebook page for announcements) and is rustled up by head chef Andrew O’Connor who champions fresh, local meat and produce. Eat inside – it’s classic British country pub style with a real fireplace – or there’s a new heated outdoor marquee.
The White Horse, King’s Sutton
Squirrelled away on the Oxon/Northants border and overlooking the village green, The White Horse in King’s Sutton is every bit the postcard-pretty village pub – so it’s no surprise there’s a classic English roast menu to match. The set ‘Support Local Sunday’ menu champions local produce with three courses for £36. Take your pick from Newbottle Farm Fillet of Beef or Hard Squash, Courgette, Goats Curd for those less carnivorously inclined.
The Crown, Playhatch
Meaty feast ahoy! This charming 16th-century inn, nestled between the Chilterns and the Thames, offers a Sunday carvery with a selection of carvery meats, seasonal veggies, roast potatoes and, or course, Yorkshire puddings. Adult dinners are priced at £15, or there’s a smaller serving for kids at a very reasonable £7.
Nags Head, Great Missenden
There are plenty of options for your Sunday lunch (eight to be exact) at this family-run, award-winning 15th-century pub, all at around £17. Roasts include Bedfordshire top side of beef, English Pork and British lamb, or there are less traditional options like confit duck leg and steamed sea bass if you fancy something a little different. Fun fact to wow/bore your family with over lunch: the pub pops up in Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox movie.
The Greyhound Inn, Letcombe Regis
The Greyhound is well-loved among the locals for its excellent foodie offerings, which are much more sophisticated than one might expect of a village this small. The Sunday menu in particular is mouthwatering, with local meats including Longhorn beef sirloin and Sandy Black pork loin for around the £16 mark including Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Veggies can enjoy slow roasted aubergine for £16.
The Three Oaks, Gerrards Cross
This handsome pub outside Gerrards Cross is in the habit of collecting Michelin Bib Gourmands (2014-2020 and counting), the award that values brilliantly executed food at reasonable prices. The interior feels elegant and grown-up – a bit like you’re visiting a refined, well-to-do uncle – but it’s child-friendly and relaxed, with an attractive outdoor patio garden. Roasts are excellent value at £17ish and the presentation is way beyond what you’d expect of a gastropub.
The Boxing Hare, Swerford
I love this pub and so do the Beckhams! The Boxing Hare is a 15-minute drive from Great Tew and Soho Farmhouse, where VB, DB and family spend much of their time. The food here is sensational, and no surprise given head chef is Nicholas Anderson, a two-time Michelin star and 3 AA rosette winner, most recently cooking up a storm at The Bell of Hampton Poyle. The vibe here, nevertheless, is relaxed; there are patios, gardens and plenty of nooks and crannies within too. The big beast of a Sunday roast here is the 24oz Dry Aged Cote de Boeuf, for two to share (£68) though you can eat your way through beef rump for £21. If all the roasts are equally tantalising, you can order a plate containing all three roasts for £22!
The Maytime Inn, Asthall
A super-pretty rural pub with rooms in the Mitford village of Asthall, with exposed brick work, Farrow and Ball walls, log fires and a stonkingly lovely garden with amazing views. It also happens to be a 10-minute drive from the Cotswold Wildlife Park and in glorious walking country. It’s unpretentious here, and very dog-friendly, so it’s ideal for families out for the day. Good value roasts at two courses for £21.95 and three courses for £24.95. Portions are generous, mind, so take your elasticated trousers!
The Greyhound, Rotherfield Peppard
Celeb chef Antony Worrall Thompson is the man twiddling the knobs in the kitchen at this rural pub. It’s a lovely place– a bit quirky, with giant teddy bears hanging from the beams , but also warm and exhibiting a flair that is often missing from identikit ‘grey palette’ pubs. The big calling card here is the wagyu beef – even the Sunday roast potatoes are made in the beef fat. The service is friendly but slick (Mrs Worrall Thompson is maitre d’) and prices are competitive – £18-23 for a roast here is a steal.