Occupying a stunning position on the east bank of the River Wye where it flows into a steep wooded gorge on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean, The Saracens Head can be reached by the inn’s own ferry, which still operates by hand, just as it has for the past 200 years. Symonds Yat East (‘yat’ being the local name for a gate or pass) was named after Robert Symonds, a Sheriff of Herefordshire in the 17th century, and has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. There’s a relaxed atmosphere throughout the 16th-century inn, from the bar (serving Wye Valley ales), the cosy lounge and stylish dining room, and two sunny terraces overlooking the Wye. If you come at lunchtime, try roasted topside, horseradish and watercress sandwich, or bacon, brie and cranberry baguette. Seasonal menus and daily specials boards offer both the traditional and modern: ham hock, prune and fennel terrine, ginger breaded quail’s egg, and cognac poached cherry jelly could be followed by hand-made Monmouthshire faggots, mash, mushy peas and red wine gravy. Main courses at dinner might include Toulouse sausage and duck cassoulet; or trio of Welsh lamb – garlic and rosemary lamb cutlet, sweet potato shepherd’s pie and lamb frickadella. Complete your meal with one of the home-made desserts on the blackboard or you might opt for a slate of three local cheeses – Hereford Hop, Per Las and Tintern – served with grapes, crackers, and quince and rose petal jelly. A stay in one of the ten en suite bedrooms is a must if you’re exploring this area.