The creeper-clad Bricklayers Arms evolved from early 18th-century cottages that, in 1832, the former Benskin’s brewery had part-converted into an alehouse. Additional conversions took place in the 1970s, with remaining outbuildings and barn becoming the restaurant more recently. Like The Nags Head 10 miles away in Flaunden, it’s owned by the Michaels family. Featuring in many films and TV programmes, the pub is a favourite with locals, walkers, horse-riders and, well, just about everyone, an obvious reason being the array of locally brewed real ales and locally sourced produce. Past the ivy-covered façade is an immaculate interior, with low beams, exposed brickwork, open fires and candlelight, although on a warm, sunny day a drink or a meal in the terraced, flower-filled garden would be hard to beat. Traditional English and French cooking in the award-winning restaurant is masterminded by head chef Claude Paillet, whose starters include pan-fried Scottish scallops on a courgette fritter with a sweet and sour jus; or maybe share a charcuterie board. Follow with sea trout loin cooked with pearl barley, pea and celeriac puree and tomato cream; guinea fowl breast and shredded leg with confit red onions and a marsala jus; or the risotto of the day. A good variety of puddings includes rhubarb and apple crumble with ice cream; layered coconut and white chocolate slice with coconut ice cream; and several sorbets. With nearly 140 wines and champagnes to browse, the ideal accompaniment for your meal will jump off the page.