Many of the best local pubs in Berkshire have historic roots, ranging from game cottages and hunting lodges to those with links to WWI. Many of the pubs hark back to the Old World with low ceilings, wooden beams, and roaring open fires. The pubs mainly serve British food and contain classics ranging from fish and chips or Eton mess to modern interpretations such as Guinness ice cream.

    With a selection of awards won between them for their food – some even with Michelin stars – the food is top quality. Most pride themselves on their real ale, wine, and cocktail collections, and you can be sure to enjoy both the food and the drinks. We’ve picked a selection of local pubs, which we rate as the best in Berkshire.

    1

    The Hind’s Head, Bray

    A cosy historic hunting lodge with a Michelin star restaurant

    The Hind’s Head is known for its unique food and luxurious cocktails. First, enjoy a pre-dinner handcrafted cocktail upstairs in the Royal Lounge Bar. You’ll be seated in a relaxed and calm environment surrounded by the dark green interior and references to its hunting lodge past on the walls. If you’re hungry before dinner, try the scotch egg, an English classic that’s given a boost of sophistication.

    The restaurant itself, set in the 15th-century hunting lodge, has a menu celebrating British food. The menu has reimagined British classics and new interpretations, which is what you’d expect from its experimental chef, Heston Blumenthal. All dishes are presented and finished with skill and flair. The British Sunday Roast is also available with a 3-course lunch. Ring ahead and ask about one-off events, from learning how to cook game to historical cocktail-making.

    Location: High St, Bray SL6 2AB, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 11.30 am to 6.30 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1628 626151

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    • History
    • Food
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    photo by James Emmans (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    The Royal Oak, Littlefield Green

    Non-pretentious British Food set in a stylish, yet nostalgic pub

    The Royal Oak’s menu changes regularly, incorporating local seasonal ingredients. It showcases British food that’s both comforting and high quality from a Michelin-starred chef. Adaptations are available for vegetarian and vegan clients, meaning the menu can cater for all dietary needs.

    The pub itself is owned by TV personality Sir Michael Parkinson and his son. The interior of the 17th-century pub features exposed wooden beams, giving it the classic British pub atmosphere. Make sure to admire the eclectic mix of artwork on the walls. Join the occasional Art Party to enjoy a guided tour of the collection.

    Location: Paley St, Littlefield Green, Maidenhead SL6 3JN, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from midday to 3 pm and from 6 pm to 11 pm, Sunday from midday to 4 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1628 620541

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    • Luxury
    3

    The Belgian Arms, Holyport

    British pub with WWI connections set in a pretty village

    The Belgian Arms is a local favourite in the small village of Holyport. The pub had its name changed after WWI from The Eagle to The Belgian Arms. This was because a prisoner of war camp was located in the village, which meant German soldiers would salute at the Eagle. It had its name changed after the war due to Holyport locals serving in the country during the war.

    The food itself intends to be simple, yet delicious, focusing on fresh and seasonal ingredients. This means the menus change regularly to ensure the quality of the food. The pub has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere year-round. 

    Location: Holyport St, Holyport, Maidenhead SL6 2JR, UK

    Open: Daily at 11 am (closing times vary)

    Phone: +44 (0)1628 634468

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    • Food
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    photo by Len Williams (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    The Boatman, Windsor

    Windsor’s only pub on the River Thames

    The Boatman is a pub in Windsor with its location as among its main selling points. You can relax on the waterfront terrace overlooking the River Thames and be only moments away from Windsor Castle and Eton village.

    The food is typically British, serving seasonal and local dishes. The most famous perhaps being its Eton mess – a traditional English dessert of strawberries, meringue and whipped cream all mixed together. The dessert is believed to have been first served by Eton College at their annual cricket match against Harrow School back in 1893.

    Location: 10 Thames Side, Windsor SL4 1QN, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 11.30 pm, Sunday from 11 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1753 620010

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    • Food
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    5

    The White Oak, Cookham

    Village pub with a string of awards for its good-value food

    The White Oak has been awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2012. The award champions ‘good food and service but at a reasonable price’, meaning you can be sure to find something on their a la carte or set menus within your budget. It also features in many food publications, so you can be sure you’re getting delicious food.

    The pub also has regular steak nights on Mondays, where you can also bring your own wine. This makes it possible to enjoy a night of great food without going over your budget. 

    Location: The Pound, Cookham, Berkshire, SL6 9QE, UK

    Open: Daily at noon (closing times vary)

    Phone: +44 (0)1628 523 043

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    6

    The Duchess of Cambridge, Windsor

    A relaxed pub next to Windsor Castle

    The Duchess of Cambridge aims to give a traditional, fuss-free dining experience by serving good food, a selection of beers, and great service. They serve award-winning real ales from the McMullen Brewery in Hertford. 

    The food menus cater for all, whether it’s lunch, brunch, nibbles or dinner. Traditional favourites include posh whitebait with homemade tartar sauce, sausage and mash (mashed potato), and chicken, ham and leek pie.

    Location: 3-4 Thames St, Windsor SL4 1PL, UK

    Open: Monday–Wednesday from 11 am to 11 pm, Thursday–Saturday from 10 am to midnight, Sunday from 10 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1753 864405

    Map
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    photo by Matt Brown (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    The Crown at Bray, Bray

    Traditional pub food and a wide selection of drinks

    The Crown at Bray is an Old World beamed inn that prides itself on serving traditional pub food with exceptional quality. The roaring fires in winter and large beer garden in summer make this pub inviting for families, couples, dog owners, and local regulars. The food on the menu mimics the seasons. But the firm favourites, the Crown traditional beer-battered fish and chips and Irish beef burger are available throughout the year. 

    If you like beer, make sure to try the unique Guinness ice cream, just one of the creations by the pub’s owner, experimental chef Heston Blumenthal. The beer/wine selection at the crown changes regularly, so you can always find locally sourced and international varieties to suit your taste.

    Location: High St, Bray, Maidenhead SL6 2AH, UK

    Open: Daily at 11.30 am (closing time varies)

    Phone: +44 (0)1628 621936

    Map
    • Food
    • Nightlife
    8

    The Spring Inn, Reading

    Traditional country pub with an almost 100% gluten-free menu

    The Spring Inn intends to cater for all with a good selection of vegetarian and dairy-free dishes that are nearly 100% gluten-free. Their Sunday roast is served with all the trimmings and is one not to be missed. You'll also find gastropub mains and burgers on the menu.

    The pub has a homely interior with high wooden ceilings and a nice outside seating area for long summer evenings. Drinks-wise, their shelves are stocked with top-shelf whiskeys ports, pudding wines, beers and ales, as well as old and new world wines.

    Location: Bath Rd, Sulhamstead, Reading RG7 5HP, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm, Sunday from midday to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)118 930 3440

    Map
    • Food
    • Nightlife

    photo by P L Chadwick (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    The Oxford Blue, Old Windsor

    Pub with a perfect combination of modern sophistication and traditional roots

    The Oxford Blue pub has a modern interior in a building with historical roots. The pub originally was 2 gamekeepers’ cottages, which have been combined to create a relaxed, sophisticated dining experience. The building’s origin inspires its unique menus – the “gamekeeper lunch” and “gamekeepers tasting”. 

    The pub also has its own herb garden, so you'll find homegrown herbs and edible flowers in many dishes. After you’ve finished your meal, you’re encouraged to have a walk around to explore all the different varieties growing in their garden.

    Location: 10 Crimp Hill, Old Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 2QY, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Saturday from midday to 9.30 pm, Sunday from midday to 4.30 pm (closed from Mondays to Tuesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)1753 851900

    Map
    • Food
    • Nightlife

    photo by David Howard (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    10

    The Rowbarge, Woolhampton

    For diverse gins, real ales, and whiskies

    The Rowbarge has rows of shelves stocked with a large variety of whiskies, gins, and 6 real ales. This means you’ll always be able to find the perfect tipple to accompany your meal. The food is a combination of British classics, but with a contemporary style, taking influences from all over the world.

    Their Elevenses menu, which throws back to the 19th century, contains British classics such as scones and tea cakes. The large garden areas next to the River Kennet are excellent settings to sit and enjoy their BBQ menu in the summer months.

    Location: Station Road, Woolhampton, Berkshire, RG7 5SH, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 10.30 pm

    Map
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    photo by Simon Burchell (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Natasha Crofts | Contributing Writer

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