With spring just around the corner and Mother’s Day and Easter Sunday soon after, if you’re in the stunning Chilterns region, you’ll likely be looking to make the most of the start of the sunnier seasons with a trip to a few of the region’s finest country pubs.

Boasting Britain’s oldest pub along with plenty of award-winning establishments, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is home to hundreds of great drinking and dining venues, but which ones should you take your family to this spring?

To make your life that much easier, we’ve rounded up our 10 favourite pubs in the region we think are more than worthy of a visit this year. For a more comprehensive collection of the best restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs in the Chilterns, be sure to pick up your free copy of our Chilterns Food & Drink Guide here or read a digital copy of the guide here.

Bell Inn Studham – LU6 2QG

Winner of the Best Pub in Bedfordshire at the 2018 National Pub & Bar Awards and the SME Luton & Bedfordshire Business Awards, and for four consecutive years, winner of Best Hospitality Venue at the Dunstable & Houghton Regis Business Awards, The Bell Inn, situated in Studham, the southern-most village in Bedfordshire, is a must-visit establishment.

Boasting large gardens overlooking the common, panoramic views, characterful nooks and crannies and a menu full of all your favourite pub grub including homemade pies, freshly beer-battered cod and chips, and fresh dough pizzas, come rain or shine, The Bell Inn offers the warmest of welcomes to all its visitors, whether it’s their first stop here or they’ve been coming for years. After a refreshing spring walk with your four-legged friend exploring the beautiful Dunstable Downs just five minutes away, we can’t think of a better place to catch your breath and warm your cockles than The Bell – there’s even a “Bell & Hound” menu that is sure to keep your dog happy.

The Chequers Inn – SG3 6JP

Situated in the heart of Hertfordshire in the village of Woolmer Green and just a short distance from Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, this family-owned established provides guests of all ages with the friendliest of welcomes and a mouth-watering selection of home-cooked pub classics. Whether you’re sat within the pub’s cosy interiors enjoying a pint with your friends or you’re soaking up the summer sun in the pub’s garden with your family, The Chequers Inn ticks all the boxes. There’s even a small zoo in the garden which is home to guinea pigs, rabbits and even marmosets – sure to keep the kids entertained during their summer holidays.

The food is also fantastic, with an extensive menu full of dishes that will please even the fussiest of eaters. From hunters chicken and steak and kidney suet pudding to Thai red chicken curry and five bean chilli, you’ll be spoiled for choice. There’s also a brilliant burger menu including the likes of peri peri spiced homemade beef burger with cheddar and jalapenos and a roasted flat mushroom burger with sun-blushed tomatoes, pesto and goats cheese in a toasted bun.

White Hart Hotel – AL6 9EN

A popular pit stop for hungry travellers due to its convenient location just north of London, The White Hart, with its traditional and warming décor, cosy log-burning fire, and historic photographs proudly on display, has been a beloved and welcoming establishment since it originally opened all the way back in 1681.

Boasting a contemporary menu, a well-stocked bar, and a carefully curated wine list which is truly the star of the show, although this charming pub may have opened in the 17th-century, it’s far from stuck in the past. Stop by in the morning and enjoy a continental breakfast or a comforting cooked dish. Changing with the seasons, expect an extensive selection of dishes for lunch and dinner such as beer-battered halloumi and fries and grilled sea trout with bubble and squeak. Their selection of buns also proves to be very popular with visitors, offering a selection of scrumptious fillings ranging from soft-shell crab to gravy-dipped lamb and cheese.

The Green Man – SG4 7EU

If you’re looking for delicious home-cooked fare in a family-friendly location, the traditional family-run Green Man pub just a mile from Hitchin should be at the top of your list. Located just a short stroll from The Hertfordshire Way, an area of natural beauty perfect for cyclists and those looking to make the most of the springtime sunshine, your friends and family will just love the large garden ideal for outside dining which comes complete with a children’s play area.

Expect to find a host of British classics on the extensive menu including the likes of lamb shank in minted gravy, chicken breast wrapped in bacon with stilton sauce, and 8oz sirloin steak. There’s also an extensive range of delicious sandwiches such as prawn and Marie Rose sauce, Pendle Forest smoked cheese and Bramley apple chutney, and fish fingers and tartare sauce. Be sure to also keep an eye out for The Green Man’s meal deals: Tuesday to Friday evenings are reserved for grill and fish night and Curry night is held every Friday.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – AL3 4HE

Built in the 11th century and laying claim to being the oldest pub in Britain, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is a landmark pub in the region boasting a fascinating history along with a charming traditional English pub atmosphere. Previously a watering hole for monks who used to sneak into the pub through tunnels that connected the beer cellar to the original St Albans Cathedral grounds opposite the pub, step inside this welcoming establishment and you’ll find low ceilings, an open fire, dark oak beams, and an original breadmaking oven that will make you feel right at home. It is even rumoured that during the Civil War, Oliver Cromwell stayed a night at the inn.

Serving up classic British fare to the locals of St Albans, the talented chefs will delight you with a menu jam-packed with popular British dishes crafted with contemporary flair. Expect to find the likes of homemade fishcakes, beer-battered fresh hake and hand-cut chips, and homemade sausages served with mashed potato, caramelised onion and jus.

The Crown – SG2 7HD

Offering the most idyllic setting for anything from a lovely and lively night out with the family to a romantic date night, The Crown, located in the hamlet of Aston End in rural Hertfordshire, will instantly make you feel at home with its cosy interior complete with exposed brickwork and comfy leather seats. Whether you’re visiting in winter, autumn, spring or summer, the friendly staff always provide an inviting atmosphere. In the colder months, get all cosy in front of the warmth of their log burning fire, and when the weather’s a bit warmer, relax outside in their large garden and patio area, complete with fire pits, a barbecue, and an exciting kids’ area.

Choose from their seasonal menu which includes the likes of starters of hearty salt-baked beetroot served with hazelnuts, apple, endives, and truffled goat’s curd and mains like the red wine-braised ox cheek, the pork T-bone served with crackling and apple sauce, and a comprehensive range of other British classics. Be sure to also keep an eye out for The Crown’s seasonal specials which change weekly.

The Red Lion – LU6 2QA

A beloved pub due to its cosy décor, delectable British dishes, and warm and welcoming atmosphere, the family- and dog-friendly Red Lion at Studham always has something going on. Whether that’s a quiz night, live band performances, or an evening centred around themed menus, there’s always a reason to visit The Red Lion.

You’ll also be spoiled for choice with the large selection of tempting home-cooked classic pub grub on the menu, perfect for a relaxed lunch or a special evening meal. Enjoy dishes like the honey-glazed ham, beer-battered cod, signature Red Lion burger with Emmental cheese, gherkins and onions, pie of the day, or ploughman’s board with pork pie, ham, cheddar, pickled onions, apple and rustic bread. Whether you enjoy your meal in the dog-friendly bar area or in the quaint and cosy dining room, the social atmosphere, great food and extensive range of real ale, fine wine and spirits on offer will ensure your visit to The Red Lion is one to remember.

Potters Arms – HP7 0PH

Offering traditional pub classics, pizza, a full à la carte menu, and a comprehensive and authentic Thai menu at the weekends, the newly renovated Potters Arms in Amersham is a pub-restaurant like nothing else in the Chilterns. When we visited this venue, we ordered from the à la carte and were impressed by the quality of the dishes both in taste and presentation. To start, we ordered the bubble and squeak and were amazed with how they managed to elevate this classic and simple dish far above what you could ever imagine. We then enjoyed the wild boar tenderloin with juniper jus, which was just as delicious as it looked, followed by the orange and lemon cheesecake which was so light and airy that it simply melted in the mouth.

You can rest easy knowing that Richard Edwards, the custodian of The Potters Arms who has over 25 years’ experience in the restaurant and pub industry, will guarantee a dining experience you’ll be dreaming about weeks after your first visit.

Black Horse Pub and Eating House – HP16 9AX

When you think of the perfect British pub, you’d probably imagine something exactly like The Black Horse in Great Missenden. The quintessential English watering hole, this newly refurbished pub is the ideal spot to sit back with a pint in the cosy armchairs or watch the sun set outside in the beautiful seating area. With a menu that boasts scrumptious dishes the likes of treacle- and juniper-glazed smoked salmon with citrus mayonnaise and herb crispbread, cider-braised pork belly with Dauphinoise potatoes, sautéed curly kale and cider jus, or beer-battered haddock with tartare sauce, crushed minted peas and hand-cut chips, you’ll be spoiled for choice. This is comfort food at its very best. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try dishes like the crispy, spicy, and incredibly moreish sesame- and panko-crumbed chicken wings with homemade kimchi and sweet chilli sauce.

If you’re looking for the perfect venue for anything from a relaxed business lunch to drinks receptions, The Black Horse can even be booked out for private events.

The Greyhound Inn – HP23 6EH

Full of character and warmth and known for its real ales and freshly cooked food, whether you’re popping in for a pint with your mates or you’re looking for the perfect establishment for a hearty meal with the family, this friendly and traditional village pub won’t disappoint you with its menu full of pub classics with a modern twist. Situated in its stunning rural location in the heart of Wigginton adjacent to the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The Greyhound is popular with ramblers looking for a place to eat, drink, or stay the weekend.

Constantly changing to make the most of the region’s finest seasonal produce, sit inside the cosy pub interiors or outside in the lovely pub garden with play equipment for the kids and enjoy a fantastic selection of tempting dishes such as locally sourced Cumberland sausage ring, pumpkin ravioli with sage butter, and a great range of burgers, grilled dishes, jacket potatoes and ciabatta. Also, make sure you don’t miss out on their terrific traditional Sunday roasts.

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