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. 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 Pallait, whose starters include pan-fried tiger prawns with crayfish salad and cockles in Pernod flambé with warm potatoes, Puy lentils and mixed chicory leaves; or maybe share a charcuterie board. Follow with pan-fried grey partridge breasts with lovage, wilted courgettes and chestnut jus; steak, mushroom and ale pie with chive mash and vegetables; or lemon sole and Scottish salmon medallion, fennel and chardonnay cream and yellow courgette fritters. A good variety of puddings includes rhubarb and apple tart with ice cream; crème brûlée; and several sorbets. With nearly 120 wines and champagnes to browse, the ideal accompaniment for your meal will jump off the page.