FULLER STREET, Fairstead, CM3 2BB
Known locally as The Stokehole, this beautifully restored 17th-century village pub is set in lovely countryside but is just 10 minutes from Chelmsford. Originally two farm cottages, the privately owned and run free house still retains its original beams and inglenook fireplaces, with antique furnishings. The locally sourced food is straightforward, served alongside a good selection of ciders and ales. As well as pub classics, the daily-changing seasonal specials might include a starter like pan-fried scallops with pea purée and truffle infused oil, followed by mains such as whole grilled dover sole; pan-roasted duck breast with pea and smoked ham risotto. For your dessert what better than spotted dick with custard or ice cream; or lemon tart with lemon crisps and syrup? There is a picket fenced front garden affording views of the Essex Way, and Mediterranean-style decking area.