When a day out in Newcastle or Durham is over and you fancy a drink or meal out of town, a 30-minute drive will get you to this former coaching inn. As the stone walls, low-beamed ceiling and massive timber support in the bar might suggest, it was built in the mid 18th century. From its lofty position, there are great views of both the Derwent Valley and reservoir. Jostling for real ale drinkers’ attention are Old Speckled Hen and local brews. The restaurant is divided into two and the larger area welcoming families with children. Most produce is local and includes game and wild fish from hereabouts. Suggested dishes include toasted walnut, red wine poached pear and Stilton salad; and premium Cumberland sausage and mash, garden peas and rich onion gravy; and crispy real ale battered cod with home-made chips. There’s an annual beer festival at the end of August.