10 Autumn walks with pubs
Is there anything better than a beautiful autumnal walk ending in a pub lunch? Stroll and scoff your way across Northants.
The sun may have gone in, but there’s plenty of day time left for a crisp autumn walk – followed, of course, with vino or lunch in a cosy pub! Here’s my pick of 10 pubs with great walks nearby, but clearly it’s just a start as there are soooooo many. Feel free to add your recommendations in the comment box below – the more the merrier.
The White Horse, Kings Sutton
Yes, Oxfordshire, we are definitely claiming this one for Northants. Set in the loveliest rural surroundings on the Northants/Oxon border, The White Horse is perfectly placed for a country ramble, rounded off with Chef Hendrick’s locally sourced delicacies. Now more than ever, The team here are dedicated to supporting local producers, so try their Support Local set menu. There’s a good 3-4 mile circular walk from the pub to Cobbler’s Pit Spinney and back along the Oxford Canal, but, whatever you do, don’t look any of the local livestock in the eye before heading back to the pub for your Sunday roast.
The Crown Inn, Weston
One of our favourites and cited by Muddy interviewee, MasterChef judge and food critic, William Sitwell recently as one of his top places in the county, The Crown Inn is a tucked away little country bolthole dishing up some fabulous fare. Try the circular route between Weston and Weedon Lois, which follows a winding stream across rolling farmland and through pretty stone villages for a perfectly English vibe and finish off with one of the Crown’s famous pies beside a roaring log fire.
Tap and Kitchen, Oundle
Oundle is one of the dreamiest little towns in Northants, with pretty cobbled streets to meander through and the impressive architecture of Oundle School at its heart, but the surrounding countryside is some of the loveliest around, with the River Nene flowing gracefully around the outskirts. Stretch your legs at Barnwell Country Park, where you’ll find nature trails, walking paths following the river and lakes and an adventure playground for the tiddlers, then refuel at the amazing waterside Tap and Kitchen at Oundle Wharf. It’s not a traditional country pub, more a funky modern restaurant and bar with a passion for local produce, and the food is really good, from traditional Sunday roasts to plant-based burgers and moules frites. Romesh Ranganathan is rumoured to be a fan.
The Falcon Inn, Fotheringhay
Fotheringhay is one of our top spots for soaking up some local history. The castle that once stood here was the site of Mary Queen of Scots’ execution and where Richard III was born. Pretty impressive. It’s now a big hill with lovely views across the River Nene. There are some more challenging circular walks around the village, or you can stick to a potter around the castle and follow up with lunch at The Falcon, which is a top notch gastro pub with a lovely orangery restaurant and local produce including Burghley Estate lamb and Deene Park venison.
The White Horse, Silverstone
As the nearest pub to the internationally famous Silverstone Circuit, it’s quite remarkable that The White Horse has managed to remain an unpretentious and welcoming village pub at the heart of the community. Have a stomp around Hazelborough and Bucknell Woods, which are great for foraging at this time of year, and then pop in to the pub for a drink or a lovely roast dinner from new head chef Mark, whose local cider braised pork belly is in pole position.
The Fox, Farthinghoe
The Fox is one of our newest finds and we’re not alone, turns out Pete Doherty and his Libertines pals have been spotted here on occasion too. What? You say, Pete? In a boozer? Never! We get all the glamour in Northants. I wonder if they’ve done the Farthinghoe Nature Reserve walk too? Celebs aside, though, The Fox has been a stalwart of the local community through the pandemic, pivoting to supply local produce and even transform into a mini garden centre, as well as a cosy community pub serving great roasts and boasting a pretty impressive burger menu.
The Rose and Crown Bistro, Yardley Hastings
A perfect place to start and finish a circular potter to Castle Ashby, where you can have a bit of a pitstop and a coffee at the Rural Shopping Yard and, if time allows, a visit to the lovely Castle Ashby Gardens. Back in Yardley Hastings, the Sunday lunch menu at The Rose and Crown is pretty spectacular. From local Brixworth pâté and slow cooked ox cheek, to nut roast or vegan tofish and chips. If you chat to the owners, Tara and Claire, you can even arrange to leave your car here and use the “facilities” before setting off on your walk, as well as ordering your food in advance so it’s ready for your return.
The King’s Head, Spratton
Muddy favourite The King’s Head bills itself as a champion of Northamptonshire produce and one look at the menu will tell you why. From the wild pigeon breast to the venison burger, every dish is prepared from scratch using seasonal, local produce in abundance. It’s a foodie’s dream in a country chic setting, the perfect place to warm your cockles after a circular walk around Holdenby, and with the historic gardens and Falconry Centre at Holdenby House having extended their opening into October, try a walk along picturesque country lanes and footpaths past Holdenby Mill to Holdenby House and back to Spratton via Teeton.
The Griffin’s Head, Mears Ashby
The Griffin’s Head is part of a bit of a Northants foodie empire, run by Tom Hewer of Hibiscus, Frank’s, The Artizan and John Franklin’s, so expect amazing food with a welcoming, unstuffy vibe – perfect for coming back from a long walk looking a wee bit dishevelled. Just outside the village, Sywell Country Park has a lovely 4km walk around the reservoir and kids’ play areas.
The Three Conies, Thorpe Mandeville.
Okay, we said 10, but we had to add a bonus pub walk in, as our latest find, The Three Conies in Thorpe Mandeville, is an absolute corker. The decor is fabulously dark and the amazing food is unlike any other pub we can think of of in Northants, from seafood chowder to buckets of boat trash. It looks like a traditional village pub from the outside, but inside it is irreverent and fabulous. Start your walk at the pub and head towards Edgecote (loads of Civil War history here), loop around to Upper Wardington and back to Thorpe Mandeville across the old railway line and indulge yourself in a well earned lunch.