Local lad Mike North grew up dreaming of owning this thatched 15th-century free house overlooking the pond. Some 10 years ago his dream came true when he and Imogen, then his fiancée, bought it. Oak beams, wood-burners and unusual carvings are the setting for a range of ales, one of which from Tring delights in the name of Side Pocket for a Toad. But, as the Norths point out, real ales and an award-winning list of world wines don’t pay the bills. So Mike and his team have built an excellent local trade and an enviable destination dining reputation for cooking that has won two AA Rosettes. Commitment begins outside, where two thirds of an acre of the pub’s grounds are devoted to a kitchen garden. A typical menu promises diver-caught Scottish scallops with cauliflower couscous, followed by roasted breast of Tidenham duck ‘Marco Polo’; ginger pannacotta with poached Yorkshire rhubarb ends an excellent meal.