Top 10 places to eat locally

One of the, no THE, most common question I get asked, either before guests arrive or when they get here, is:

Is there somewhere nice to eat nearby?

We have put a few suggestions in the back of our welcome book but here is a countdown of our top 10 places to eat when staying with us at the glampsite in Staffordshire.

10. First on our countdown to our favourite place to eat locally is The Duncombe Arms at Ellastone, and it would be much higher on our list but it is a bit of a drive out being 12 miles away from us. We generally see a visit to The Duncombe as a treat, not just because of the distance but also because it is significantly more expensive than other country pubs. However with the raised price tag does come an exceptional meal. The pub themselves describe their food as ‘mixing pub classics with more adventurous modern British dishes’ and I think this sums up their food quite well. They have been named as one of the best dining pubs in the country by The Michelin Guide, The Good Pub Guide, Budweiser Budvar’s Top 50 Gastro Pubs and the Diners’ Choice Awards. From a Burger with bacon jam, house relish and cheddar cheese to pumpkin pithivier with chestnuts and sweet spiced carrot you can view their menus here. Not far from Alton Towers, the lovely market town of Ashbourne and some great Peak District walks, it is easy to incorporate a meal at The Duncombe, whether evening or lunch, with a day out. To get there use postcode DE6 2GZ it is an 18 mile trip so make sure you call them first to make sure they have a table for you 01335 324275

9. In at number 9 is Little India in Barton Under Needwood. 3.2 miles away from us, you do need to drive- but if you want a drink we can help you to organise a taxi. Rated 4.5 on trip advisor* where it has also been referred to as ‘not your average Indian’ and dubbed #1 out of Barton’s 9 restaurants, if you fancy Indian cuisine this is one we would recommend. Friendly staff a nicely decorated restaurant, extensive menu and superb food, make this a go to restaurant if you are in the mood for Indian cuisine. They also offer a takeaway service so if you want to relax in the comfort of your yurt or The Loft you can bring it back with you. If you aren’t sure what to choose staff are always happy to make recommendations based on your taste buds, and in the past they have gone off menu and made up special dishes based on what I have said I like and don’t like. Note that the restaurant does get busy- especially on weekends- which is a great sign of a good restaurant, but does mean booking is advised. You can reach them by putting the postcode DE13 8AH in your sat nav and call them on 01283 712510. View their restaurant menu here.


8. The Dog and Partridge at Marchington is our number 8, is another firm 4.5 rating* on tripadvisor, and number 1 out of 32 restaurants in Uttoxeter. A traditional small village pub with good home cooked food, a cosy coal fire to keep you nice and toasty in winter, and a small but pretty beer garden to sit outside in summer. The Dog and Partridge is housed by a building dating back to the Georgian era, and one of the first things that I noticed about the place when we first went was the attention to detail in the decor. Lot’s of lovely quotes and pictures on the wall, vintage arcade games (not for playing on, purely for aesthetics), and since it was nearly Halloween a lot of time and effort had gone into decorating for that too. The pub itself, is very traditional and rather than being one large open restaurant it has several smaller areas for dining, the largest being at the front of the pub by the bar. This works really well for groups, we have been as a family a few times with 7+ of us dining and had one of these areas to ourselves. The food is traditional, but well-cooked, pub grub, you can join them for steak and wine night every Wednesday, and they often have events on such as live music every Sunday from 5:30pm. View their website with menus and event details here. 5.1 miles away from us you can find them by using postcode ST14 8LJ or call them on 01283 820394


7. The Royal Oak at Kings Bromley is coming at number 7. This pub has actually changed hands a number of times in the last 10 years, but we visited a couple of weeks ago to see what it was like now, and were very pleasantly surprised. Another important thing amongst our guests is that a pub is dog-friendly, as we do get a lot of furry visitors into our accommodation, and The Royal Oak ticks this box. We had a really friendly welcome and the staff went above and beyond for us on a Sunday evening when they had just closed the kitchen but we went in with three hungry children wanting food. They fired the pizza oven back up and whipped up two delicious home made pizzas that filled 5 (2 x adults 3 x children) of us up easily, and we had some to take home with us. Another 4.5* rated establishment on trip advisor with a certificate of excellence given in 2016, 2018 and 2019. In summer the pub benefits from a large beer garden with plenty of seating. A well-thought out pub, with some more formal dining areas and some more relaxed sofa areas, a fireplace (unfortunately not lit on our visit as that particular area was quiet) to make it super cosy in Winter, lovely decor, and a relaxed atmosphere. We didn’t get chance to look at the standard evening menu but I imagine it will be a normal ‘pub’ menu of home cooked food. The Royal Oak is 7 miles away, use postcode DE13 7HZ and you can call them on 01543 473980

6. Denstone Hall Farm shop is our number 6. ‘A farm shop’ I hear you say! Yes, a farm shop! If you follow us on social media you will know that we offer a selection of BBQ items from Denstone as well as using them for a lot of the produce in our breakfast packs. Denstone has been voted as the UK’s number one large farm shop in 2019 and won lot’s of other awards as well. They have a cafe where a lot of the deli-counter produce is home made on site (I could live on their potato salad) and of course you can eat there. Most of the time the cafe is just open during the day but they do regularly offer themed evenings where you can go and enjoy a set menu of meals all created from local produce. Although it is called a cafe and has the same casual relaxed atmosphere of a cafe, I would argue that it is a bit of a cross between a cafe and a restaurant. You can get everything from breakfast to a full meal and even afternoon tea. The cafe has also had some extension recently which is fantastic as they are always so busy. Booking is highly recommended but they do hold back 20% of tables for walk-ins- please note these are always in demand. With a large indoor room, garden room and outdoor seating in the summer, the cafe does get busy but we have never experienced slow service with them. They also welcome dogs into their outdoor room and outdoor areas. The last time we dined at Denstone I treated myself to the rarebit and wow, was it delicious.  Another plus side of Denstone is that it is not far from Alton Towers, in fact you pass it to get there if you are staying with us, making it is a great place to stop for breakfast on the way, or call in for an evening meal if they have a themed night on, on the way back. View their main menu here. Again, Denstone is ideal if you are planning a day out, it is 11 miles from us, but with so many places to stop off nearby that great for walking and exploring (JCB lakes and headquarters, Dovedale, Ashbourne...) it’s well worth the drive out. To get there put ST14 5HF into your sat nav, and call them on 01889 590050. Another strong 4.5* rating on tripadvisor “Homemade food, freshly made and locally sourced” what more could you want? Have a look through their menu here, where you can also read about their history and how they came to be so successful today.


5. This one was difficult to place. If I were writing this with entirely my own wishes and the quality of food in mind then it would easily be number 1. However My number 5 choice The Old Vicarage doesn’t necessarily fit in with what our guests are looking for when they stay with us for a relaxed casual glamping weekend. Pascal at the Old Vicarage is rated 5* on tripadvisor and #1 out of 132 restaurants in Burton On Trent, and has been for many years. His reputation is well-known locally and if you get the chance I would 100% recommend giving him a try. Take a look through their instagram for some mouthwatering images of the delicious meals he creates and you will be ringing to book before you can say ‘Bon appetit’. The only reason I have ranked it so low on our top 10 is because it is quite a formal atmosphere and when you have been traipsing around muddy fields all day, or being dragged around Alton Towers by the kids, you probably want somewhere a bit more relaxed that doesn’t really mind if you turn up in your wellies. It is also most definitely a restaurant and not a pub. However if you are staying here as part of a couples romantic weekend, or a girly get together and you want to get a bit dressed up in the evening and enjoy a cocktail or two, then this is definitely the place to go. The Old Vicarage also put on a lot of events from chef’s tasting tables, to champagne brunches, and although I haven’t tried any of these yet I am most definitely eyeing a few up in the next few months. Described as ‘English cuisine with a french twist’ you can view their menus here. Put DE14 3EQ into your sat nav and a 3 mile drive will take you to this highly rated restaurant. Do make sure you book first by giving them a call on 01283 533222


4. The top 4 have been really difficult to choose between as we love all of them. The Bridge Inn at Tatenhil came in at number 4. The Bridge is a lovely little Italian restaurant situated right on the canal just 2.7 miles from us, it is also right next to Branston Water park, so another great one to incorporate into a day out. Whether a nice romantic stroll around the Waterpark and along the canal, or a family day playing on the park and next the water on the ‘beaches’, or watching the barges go by, you can easily call into the Bridge at anytime for lunch or dinner. Inside, the Bridge is definitely more of a restaurant than a pub and is quite small and this is the only reason it only came in at number 4. For us with 3 young children we like somewhere that has a bit of space where they won’t disturb other diners. In summer the good sized garden which overlooks the canal is the perfect place to sit and share a pizza or (my favourite) lobster ravioli and some amazing cheesy garlic bread, and the kids have got a little room to play as well. In winter seating inside is limited so you are definitely best to book, especially on weekends. You can reach them on 01283 564177 and to get them use the postcode DE14 3EZ. Checkout this vlog we did last year when we visited the Bridge as a larger group with my dad, sister, her fiancé and their children. You can view their menus here.


3. It was literally a toss up between number 3 and number 2, but The Meynall Ingram came in at number 3. The Meynall has always been a popular pub with locals but several years ago (after an expensive refurbishment) it unexpectedly closed. Last year we heard the exciting news that it was being refurbished again and was due to open it’s doors again in May. It did and we got ourselves down there as soon as we could. To say we were impressed is a huge understatement. We were greeted by beautifully landscaped gardens, with paths weaving through to the various tables. The gardens led to a large outdoor seating area in a courtyard with a gorgeous living wall. You can access the inside of the pub from several different doors, and each lead to a different area. Go through the front door to get to the main, dog friendly, bar where you can dine in a casual relaxed environment and choose from the extensive range of drinks they offer. Just off the bar to the left is a little dining area where you can dine next to the wood-burner in winter, again dog friendly. Or leave the bar to the right hand side to go through to the main restaurant, which although still relaxed is slightly more formal, and no dogs allowed. Continue through the restaurant and pass the little private nook where you could book a table for a larger group and have some privacy (ideal for ‘not too rowdy’ hen parties or birthdays), and continue through to the Meynall’s take on a sports bar. Which is not naff and tacky but beautifully decorated with several large TV screens that don’t intrude too much if you aren’t interested in watching sport but are great if you are. The menu ranges from homemade pizzas to 12 hour slow cooked lamb shank, they have a dedicated vegan menu and food is locally sourced. They even serve breakfast, and although we haven’t tried it yet it looks A-mazing. Just 4.1 miles away from us you can view the menu here and use postcode DE13 8RB. If you want to give them a call before you visit you can reach them on 01283 575988.


2. Number 2 on the list is The White Swan at Walton. This pub is a 7.8 mile drive from us and takes about 15 minutes to get to. It is safe to say it is one of the most popular pubs in our area. Booking is essential, although you may be able to get a table in the bar at lunchtimes. The bar area is dog friendly but the restaurant areas are not. They do also have a lovely outdoor area covered with fairy lights, you are welcome to take dogs in here, and one of the lovely things about the Swan is their ‘pooch park’ where dogs can get a drink and a snack. I was very impressed last year during one of our (many) trips in the summer when they had put out a basket of suncream, blankets for when the evenings got a bit chilly and bottles of iced water for visitors to help themselves to. They are most definitely known for their pizzas which are all handstretched and made to order. They are one of the- if not THE- best pizzas I have ever had. With a huge selection of toppings there is something for everyone. The main menu provides a selection of amazing home cooked food from sliders to Caribbean stew. We really love their yakitori sticks. Especially the little ones, you can choose from 14 different little sticks including Camembert, prawn, duck, lamb and many more, either have a few as a starter or add sides, such as salad and fries and turn them into a main meal. The other notable thing about the Swan is the sheer selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. I particularly love the homemade lemonade with a blob of sorbet on the top, very refreshing; especially in summer. View their menu on the website here, where you can also book a table online. Use postcode DE12 8LZ and phone 01283 712378 but be aware that they are very busy and don’t always answer the phone. Have a little look at some of our visits from last summer here


1. Drum roll please. Our top choice for eating locally of course had to be The Bell Inn, Anslow. Our local pub is just 1.2 miles away from away us and you can walk via the country lane or take a stroll along public footpaths across the fields. Not only is The Bell incredibly convenient being so close but they also serve great food, and you are always guaranteed a friendly welcome from the staff and locals alike. In summer take advantage of their huge beer garden, with football goals and play area for children, there is plenty of space for them to run around without disturbing other drinkers/diners. The outdoor pizza oven is also open in the summer ideal for a relaxed al fresco lunch. There is regular live music and entertainment and a nice selection of drinks. They do get very busy on Fridays, Saturdays and for Sunday lunch so do give them a call on 01283 812838. With consistently great reviews on tripadvisor they have managed to get themselves into the #5 spot out of 132 restaurants in Burton On trent, despite the current owners having only been there for just over a year. I personally think this speaks volumes. To get to The Bell you can use the postcode DE13 9QD, but it really is so easy if you are staying with us; turn left out of our car park and stay on the road for 1.2 miles where you will come across The Bell on your right handside. Have a look at a typical outing at The Bell here andhere

There are plenty of other places to eat nearby and if our favourites don’t cover what you are in the mood for, simply ask us for a recommendation and we will be happy to try and come up with some ideas for you. Have you found another great pub/restaurant near to us that isn’t on the list? Let us know so we can give it a try.

Contact us on 07725403070 or email sarah@peakesretreats.co.uk

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