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Northamptonshire’s Best Pubs Reviewed: 15 Amazing Places Perfect for Sundays (or First Date)

best pubs in northamptonshire

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Northamptonshire’s Best Pubs Reviewed: 15 Amazing Places Perfect for Sundays (or First Date)

We’ve reviewed what we believe are Northamptonshire’s Best Pubs so you can jump straight in without the drama of making the wrong pick for your day/night out.

If you live in Northamptonshire, you’re likely familiar with the plethora of chain-pubs that the large centres of civilisation have to offer – Wellingborough, Corby, Northampton, Kettering – none of these names are likely to raise any eyebrows amongst the London elite.

But connecting these populated hubs span thousands of acres of rolling countryside to put any of the surrounding counties to shame.

Amongst those acres sit all of Northamptonshire’s best pubs.

Merely a 10 minute drive out of any of the main towns are the often forgotten small villages that dot the green and agricultural expanses of our county.

So, if you’re looking to spend a quiet Sunday afternoon relaxing with family, friends or for a quaint first date in one of our county’s finest pubs – look no further than our definitive list.

the tollemarche arms

Tollemache Arms – Harrington

We’re starting off with one of my personal favourites.

Not 5 minutes from the A14 lies a small village home to a stone built pub serving home produced gin and real locally sourced ales.

With an old world, rustic, homely feeling the Tollemache Arms, known to regulars simply as the Tolly, boasts some stunning views over the surrounding fields, perfect for unwinding on a lazy Sunday.

If drink’s not your thing (we all try) – the food menu will satisfy all the favourites you’d expect from a country pub including my own favourite, the Tolly burger.

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What others say:

“Called here at lunchtime on a fine day with a bitterly biting wind. On entering the premises it was lovely and warm and welcoming. A member of staff found is a table by the roaring wood fire,and left us a menu,and took our drinks order. It is a very well balanced menu.”

“Wasn’t my first visit and definitely won’t be my last. We sat in the bar area when we arrived for a drink and a catch up, we were then shown to our table when ready and got the ball rolling, the whole experience went swimmingly. The food was your typical pub food done really well.”

“Some friends were visiting from Oz and asked to go to a nice traditional English country pub. We did not hesitate to take them here. Food was excellent, as always. I had the mushroom Mac n cheese, from their new menu. It was delicious. Staters and mains are very generous in portion size, so you won’t leave hungry.”


best pubs northamptonshire the swan

The Swan – Lamport

Between Northampton and Market Harborough, and with arguably one of the best views in Northamptonshire, is The Swan.

To say The Swan is located on top of a hill would be a gross understatement, with a view that spans at least 10 miles – what better way to enjoy your quiet Sunday, especially if the sun’s shining.

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“The restaurant food is nice but too expensive. The worst part are the waitressing staff. They are unfriendly and when you ask for more time come back literally minutes later; you actually feel harassed. I wouldn’t go again any time soon!”

“We dined here for bank holiday lunch. The haloumi starter was delicious as were the home made steak and ale pies – I had mine with “thrice” cooked chips. We had the Syrah wine which was good value at £20 per bottle. The meal was really good and excellent value for money.”

“Having been here several times this always rqnges from very good to excellent for a Gastro Pub located in the countryside north of Northampton near to Lamport Hall. The service is generally good and the food whilst typical of Gastro food, this being part of a chain of Gastro Pubs, is generally of a high standard”


the-folly-inn best pubs northamptonshire

The Folly Inn – Towcester

Another firm favourite is the Folly.

Whilst inside Towcester’s boundaries, it’s tucked right on the edge, technically in the countryside and like the other locations on the list, overlooking acres of luscious country.

With a refreshingly old fashioned décor and service, whether you visit with family or friends, you’ll be treated to a host of superb quality pub food and locally sourced drinks.

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What others say:

“If you like your food, and who doesn’t, then driving out of Towcester on the Old London Road will reward you when you discover this very special foodie place. We were there at the invitation of my wife’s sister and her husband, with whom we were staying overnight as we journeyed back from our long journey up north.”

“I have been to the folly several times with friends. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The food is good. I usually go for one of the specials and have not been disappointed. You do need to book as it can get very busy.”

“We have visited the Folly Inn on many occasions for lunches and every time we have had excellent food served by attentive staff. These meals were surpassed by an even better Christmas Day lunch. Wonderful atmosphere, no rush, great food and once again very helpful staff who look after your every need. Highly recommended.”


the-folly-inn best pubs northamptonshire

Snooty Fox  – Lowick

Known affectionately to the regulars simply as “The Snoots” you’re in for a treat. Unfortunately I’ve never visited myself, but when throwing the title of this blog to the office, the Snooty Fox was almost unanimously mentioned.

Not only boasting a refined, locally sourced food menu and a drinks’ menu to satisfy anyone’s taste, the Snoots has an afternoon tea option, perfect for a seasonal hot drink and scone with your parents.

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What others say:

Beautiful setting in this old Cotswold town, great service, excellent food, wonderful atmosphere, the head bar manager Richard goes out of his way to help you, polite, helpful and has a great sense of humour. Will be coming back very soon. Highly recommended.

I last posted a review about 3 years ago so this is well overdue. We have stayed overnight on several occasions when visiting family in Tetbury and we are happy to continue to do so. Even if we aren’t staying, we enjoy either a meal or a drink and there is always a nice mix of locals and visitors.

More of a pub/restaurant with rooms, the Snooty Fox is a good choice if visiting the area. We stayed one night in a ‘superior’ room. Room was very spacious with character. While not luxurious, it was comfortable and clean and in reasonable condition.


old friar best pubs northamptonshire

The Old Friar – Twywell

Possibly one of the most remote items on this list, head away from civilisation far enough and you may be lucky enough to stumble upon Twywell.

With an outdoor children’s play area, this is a pub for all the family to enjoy a quiet afternoon.

With an interior exactly as you’d expect for a tucked away country pub, you’ll be treated to a solid selection of family favourites in both food and drink – perfect for a winters get-together or a summer beer garden.

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What others say:

Had a great evening with friendly and polite staff. After a very a questionable table the staff dealt with the situation very well! The friar has been a very pleasant watering hole and we will be returning soon.

 Yet another enjoyable evening spent here. All but one of us had a roast and thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the beef, which was delicious and my husband had beef and turkey. Our friend had the suet pudding and said that was also very tasty and enjoyable.
First time visiting and was impressed with the pub itself. Really cosy, country like feel, whilst also being modern and clean. Plus the staff are really friendly and helpful. There wasn’t any parking in the actual car park so we had to park down the road a bit.

thornhill arms best pubs northamptonshire

Thornhill Arms – Rushton

Having changed hands more than a premiership footballer, the Thornhill Arms has had a fairly rocky management history.

Doubtless, what can’t faulted are the traditional selection of home-cooked favourites, and ales, lagers and beers.

Set within scenic surroundings, the Thornhill Arms is well worth the travel and with numerous outdoor and indoor seating areas, is a must-try location within Northamptonshire for a chillaxed afternoon.

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What others say:

Such a wonderful local pub. Food is absolutely scrumptious with service second the none. The management are the warmest, kind, caring and considerate people I have come across and the family run team always go the extra mile to accommodate! Much is to be said for the sister pub The Sondes arm in Rockingham.

One of the best value for money pub restaurants I’ve been to. Good menu selection, well cooked and presented food ON HOT PLATES, friendly service and excellent lunch time venue for couples, small and large groups.

First family visit for some years – congenial atmosphere and attractively decorated for season! Although pre-booked had long wait to be seated, however profuse apologies given by management for delay. Varied menu of quality food which was well presented with excellent service from waitresses. Good sized portions and value for money. Look forward to another visit in near future.


cromwell cottage pub kislingbury

The Cromwell – Kislingbury

If you’re looking for a lovely little pub to take a first date who likes the countryside feel or just to sit by a fire and read a paper for the afternoon, the Cromwell is for you.

Good food, cute atmosphere and a vibrant bunch of locals keep the place feeling lively but quaint at the same time.

A good collection of local gins and whisky’s make this a go to place for those seeking new tipples.

Give the food a go and take the mother there for an afternoon, you won’t regret it.

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What others say:

Myself and my partner booked the Cromwell after receiving a £10 voucher via email and we really enjoyed it I had beef and ady had the trio roast a little disappointing they had run out of cauliflower cheese but what we had was filling will definitely return soon.

Came here for an evening meal, what can I say? greeted by pleasant, friendly staff and attentive service. We had 3 courses, starters arrived within 10 minutes, I personally had the scallops of the day which were served with a generous portion of pork belly and a onion flavoured mash….perfect, my new favourite!

This is a good old British pub with a generous dining room. Low ceilings and log fires are welcome. The menu is extensive but some food had “run out” when we visited which was a little annoying. The food was pretty good, but not exceptional. Definitely worth a visit even if just for drinks.


Red Lion – Brafield

I used to go to the Red Lion a decade or so ago when it had a reputation for really good pub food.

Though this has faded slightly, it’s still a good solid choice for some decent food, good atmosphere and some quiet corners if you’re looking for some peace.

In the summer the garden is great for the kids and a few hours chilling out with your friends.

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What others say:

Yet another fantastic meal today for the 5 of us – all mains and desserts absolutely perfect. The place is lovely – cosy and comfortable. The staff are ver welcoming, polite and attentive. Would recommend this fab place to anyone and everyone. Thank you and see you again very soon.

Firstly ,in my opinion some earlier reviews do not do this place justice. We went here this evening & had a really nice meal. I had the spicy butterbean soup & it was delicious,piping hot,full of flavour & served with 2 chunks of bread. My partner had Halumi with beetroot bourini dip,he said it was lovely.

Last visited a couple of years ago and remembered it was a good place so arranged to meet friends for lunch on a weekday. Pub looked very festive and cosy. Our meals arrived quickly even though we had all chosen something different. Mine was baked cod wrapped in prosciutto with herby roasted potatoes and green beans.


The Britannia – Brackmills

Though it’s often assumed the ‘Brit’ is full of the rowdy workers from around the Brackmills estate, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

In fact it’s usually pretty quiet and has a chilled atmosphere.

The food is pretty good, a great choice of pub snacks and some good drinks on offer.

Certainly a good choice if you work around the area for heading there after a day in the office.

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What others say:

We took our son and his family for a meal last night, as always the food was very good but the service was slow. It was fairly quiet and there seemed to be adequate staff but I felt that we waited a long time for each course.

We used to dine here years ago, but haven’t had the opportunity more recently. We booked a table for New Years Eve, it was a set menu with good choices. From the moment we arrives the service was second to none, they were very attentive. The food was amazing!

Good location but not many seats in the pub, more a food destination. Went yesterday very nice but felt a little unwelcome as we did eat. Helpful staff however.


The Greyhound – Blisworth

Though quite out the way from Northampton the Greyhound is the first choice of many when looking for a weekend retreat.

Nearly always booked up to the brim at the weekend thanks to the awesome food that’s on offer. Can also recommend the Sunday lunch menu.

A great mix of food and bar areas as well as people occupying both in high spirits, it’s a solid all round choice for most situations.

In the summer the beer garden really takes over and you’ll often find yourself in a queue to get a drink, but it’s worth it, a great place in a beautiful setting.

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What others say:

We were greeted and seated by the manager and our waitress Silvie was very nice, we were very well looked after, The Greyhound has a wonderful menu and cozy atmosphere. We all had starters and a main, were offered dessert but declined on this occasion. Often busy on weekends so worth booking.

Regular visitor as we the service makes it that bit better than the usual pub. Food is good and above normal pub food. Ales are always worth it. Pub food, but the service and location makes it special.

Had lunch here yesterday (Tuesday 10 January) with my daughter and my husband. Very warm and friendly welcome and service and delicious food, although with the generous portion sizes, my daughter & I could not eat all of our Main course & none of us could manage dessert! Excellent Meal though and will visit again.


Brampton Halt – Brampton

Really good food, especially the fish platter, the menu is often the draw for many.

A mix of a country pub feel with a hint of fine dining.

Plenty of room for a drink as well as for entertaining in the restaurant.

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What others say:

My friends and I visited on 2 January for lunch. Luckily we booked our table as it was really busy. The waitress was really friendly and regularly stopped at the table to see if we wanted more drinks. We had the pulled pork stack, the pie of the day and two halloumi stacks. Food was lovely.

7 of us visited for my boyfriends birthday lunch, we literally sat down and the waitress asked for our drinks orders. Ordered our food and we all went for variations of the roast, chicken or beef and my other half had the trio. Food was served quickly.

Disappointed!!!! Being a regular here with my family, we were very disappointed with the quality of food, and portion sizes have most certainly been reduced. Staff were friendly and tried to rectify the issues. Think it’s time for a change of venue – lots of new places popping up.


Hopping Hare – Duston

I have to admit, when I was first told about this place I baulked at going. Assuming that there was no way a pub in Duston could be on a par with some of the others on this list, how wrong I was.

An awesome setting, great options behind the bar and on the menu the Hopping Hare is a good all rounder.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet meal with the other half, a first date or a few drinks with the friends this pub is now near the top of my list for all the above.

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What others say:

A party of 16 of us had a great meal at the Hopping Hare today. Their Christmas menu has plenty of choice including the traditional turkey etc. The service was excellent, all in all a great time was had by all. We will be back next year!!

Second visit to the Hopping Hare and we were again impressed. This time we booked a larger room with a bath and it was very comfortable. Fantastic, friendly staff make the place a pleasure to visit. The food is very good and reasonably priced. Breakfast was again first class. Best budget Hotel in the area by some distance.

Booked a table for evening meeting with friends. My main course of cod loin on lentil base was very good. Plenty for me (a small woman) but anyone with bigger appetite would have needed a bigger portion or a pudding to supplement their meal. Puddings (which my fellow diners had) were generous. Prices not the cheapest.


Stags Head – Great Doddington

The Stags Head, although not my local, it isn’t far away so i’ve been in a number of times.

For me the lure of a nice country pub with decent food, drink and a pool table to kill a few hours is a good combination and to be honest the draw for me. It’s rare these days.

The food is OK pub food, typical menus and the Sunday options are good.

They have quite a few mini-events on, poker and quizzes for example which is worth talking to them about on arrival.

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My partner and I, along with our 2 children (5 & 7) had a lovely evening here, this evening. When we arrived we thought it looked very pretty, a very traditional village pub. The inside decor and furniture is quite dated but it adds to the village pub feel. The waitress who greeted us was really lovely and very polite.

Me and my partner are here last week and the food was fantastic, good presentation and nicely cooked. Staff are very polite and very professional! We loved It and will be back soon.

Visited Sunday for 1st time after recommendation, as there was a small group of us we had pre-ordered about 10 days before our planned visit. Although the staff were very friendly, the service was very slow, we were shown to our table and foolishly expected our first course to be served almost immediately, after almost an hour.


The Coach & Horses – Brixworth

A good choice for a Christmas work engagement.

Can get quite busy on a weekend with many locals around, often too many.

It’s fairly pricey in comparison to what you get at others on the list and the menu is slightly restricted and basic.

But, don’t let that detract if you’re looking for a location for a beer in the afternoon or with your friends.

Just don’t take a first date or the children, as you’ll probably lose them in the crowds.

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What others say:

Cannot speak more highly of this place and how great Les and Anthea’s hospitality is. I’ve stayed here a few times now with friends and it’s never let us down. Would definitely recommend to anyone. From a well laid out bedroom with all the necessities provided. To a fantastic cooked breakfast custom made ready for you.

My family were visiting so we went for a Sunday evening meal. We were seated by a roaring fire in the bay window. We eat here relatively regularly, but I tried the “Salt Beef” from the specials board for the first time. I still think the blade of beef is the best thing on the menu.

Just stayed overnight at the Coach & Horses whilst in the area for a family wedding lovely room and breakfast excellent value didn’t have an evening meal but the restaurant menu had plenty Of choice. Friends who live nearby and are frequent users of the pub tell me the food is very good.

 


The Old House at Home – Wellingborough Road

The only pub that isn’t out in the sticks on our list, for good reason too.

Though it’s certainly not a place to take the kids for a day out, it makes up for it with a cracking atmosphere, good food and unbelievable choice of beers, ales, spirits and cocktails.

A good venue for a casual first date or as a stepping stone on the way in to town with the lads.

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What others say:

My company booked us in here for our Christmas lunch last Friday. As there were quite a few of us we had the private room at the back with its own bar. Lochran was our bar person for the afternoon and he was brilliant. The food had been pre ordered and every course came out hot and was very tasty.

Over the moon with the service provided, Couldn’t of asked for better service, the menu was fully explained and the christmas dishes matched the atmosphere, very welcoming and will definitely return! Jordan was fab and kept our glasses full!!!!

We arrived very early for our dinner reservation and decided to have a few drinks downstairs first. The place looks wonderful and “christmassy” which was made even more welcoming by the polite and attentive staff. We had several cocktails deciding to splurge a little. Don’t be put off by the price these are PROPER Cocktails!


If you’d like to nominate a pub or add some more detail to any of the venues about, please get in touch using the comments form below.

All ‘what others say’ reviews are from Tripadvisor.

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Alexander Cornelius Tobias Bob Robinson III: An owner of several walk-in closets, Alex is the UK’s largest collector of white, plain shirts. Alex mixes in the upper echelons of society; rubbing eyebrows with some of the Kettering elite. Alex is the master of whittling fine wooden sculptures of his favourite Powerpuff Girl: Blossom. Surprise Fact: Alex is the county’s Cross-country 500m Backstroke Boxing Champion.

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