STACKPOLE, nr Pembroke, SA71 5DF
This traditional inn is a walker's delight, set in pristine gardens at the heart of the National Trust's Stackpole Estate and close to the spectacular Pembrokeshire coastal path. There's a rare George V postbox in the mellow stone wall outside, a survival from the time when one of the two original stone cottages was a post office. Nowadays the pub offers facilities for walkers, cyclists, fishermen and climbers, as well as those who simply prefer to relax and do nothing. Once inside, you'll find a slate bar, ceiling beams made from ash trees grown on the estate, and a wood-burning stove set within the stone fireplace. The pub's free house status means that there's always a guest beer from around the UK to accompany two Welsh ales, a couple of real ciders and a varied wine list. Chef Mark Dowding oversees the creation of menus that use the best of local produce from the surrounding countryside and fish from the coast. Three-course appetites might begin with duck confit terrine with red onion marmalde; home hot-smoked salmon with duo of beetrrot; or roasted red pepper houmous with charred pitta bread. Main course options range from roast rump of Welsh lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, butternut squash purée, kale, carrots and rich lamb jus, to creamy tagliatelle with Madeira, roasted onions and mushrooms. Round things off with a light vanilla pannacotta served with poached rose-scented rhubarb; indulgent sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and clotted cream ice cream; or rich Belgian chocolate, pecan and cranberry slice with cherry yogurt ice cream. Walkers may enjoy the 'Walkers lunch', a selection of local Welsh cheeses, ham, pickles, salad and bread.