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Dylans The Plough, Sleapshyde

Muddy says: This 17th century ale house has been given a new lease of life as a go-to gastropub for bona fide foodies and craft beer connoisseurs

Nestled in the hamlet of Sleapshyde in St Albans, this lovingly restored old boozer (and we mean oooold – it dates back to 1690!) is packed with character, from the wooden beams and low ceilings (don’t forget to duck if you’re taller than average!) to the original fireplaces, giving it that coveted cosiness that should, quite frankly (in our humble opinion) come as standard in any pub worth its salt. And this one certainly is…

Park yourself at the bar and take your pick from the ‘beer wall’ of ales, ciders and stouts – there’s a strong focus on craft beers from independent microbreweries – but, if that’s not your bag there are over 30 gins to choose from, as well over 50 wines from small independent vineyards. We are all in favour of a pub that supports local producers. On that note, we’ll seamlessly segue to the food…

Head Chef Liam Goldstone is a whizz with local and seasonal ingredients, whipping up pimped-up versions of pub classics, such as Slow Roast Topside of Bridget B’s Beef with roasties and Yorkshire puds for Sunday lunch. There’s even a vegan ‘bill of fare’ and a mini menu (with not a nugget or baked bean in sight) for little ones with more refined tastes, or smaller apetites. If you’re not in for a hearty meal, you’re sure to find something on the snacking menu to tickle those tastebuds (Celeriac Pasty with Chick Pea Dal sounds fab, as does the Sriracha & Coriander Scotch Egg).

Work it all off afterwards with a ramble along the Alban Way, which conveniently passes right by the door and is just a 45-minute walk from Hatfield and an hour into St Albans City Centre. Or you could just bask, full and happy, in the pub garden on a warm summer’s day… But we’ll leave that decision to you.

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Herts & Beds