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 woodburning 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 three Welsh ales, a couple of real ciders and a varied wine list. Local produce from the surrounding countryside and fish from the coast play a major part in the homecooked menu. A lighter lunch menu offers freshly baked Couronne loaves with an appetising selection of fillings that includes Welsh brie with locally cured bacon, and tuna with tarragon mayonnaise. Three-course appetites might begin with creamy Welsh blue cheese on bitter leaf salad with pickled walnuts and poached grapes, or smoked salmon on potato blini with herb crème fraîche. Main course options range from seared Welsh lamb with Moroccan couscous and tomato jus with seasonal vegetables; to wild sea bass fillet with fennel and saffron risotto. Round things off with caramelised lemon tart and passionfruit sorbet, or creamy rice pudding with cinnamon and apple.