Possibly the most idyllic pub on the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list, the Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire, is a real treat.
The venue has maintained a position on the list for several years and in 2017 was awarded Highest Climber after shooting up a whopping 35 places from 48th to 13th. Then in 2020 it sprung into 7th place before climbing to 4th last year. Now the site sits in second place, making a strong and steady bid for the top spot. What a stunning performance.
It is testament to chef-patron Stosie Madi and her business partner Kathy Smith’s dedication to making their pub one of the best in the country.
The pub’s isolated location works in its favour, commanding stunning views of rolling hills whether you visit in summer or winter.
Madi and Smith took on the Parkers Arms in 2007 and have amassed an equally adoring local and national following, with gourmands travelling on occasion the length and breadth of the country to sample Madi’s cooking.
The food here is honest, putting flavour and experience above all else, which should always be the case. This is a true gastropub, taking pride in the local produce – foraged and sourced – from the surroundings and the best suppliers.
Instead of foams and gels, expect plates of food served with the intention of filling you up and offering a flavour experience like no other.
The pub also offers a selection of local cask ales and draught lagers as well as a wine list that caters equally to cheerful lunches or long, indulgent suppers.
Over the past 12 years, Madi has grown the business to dizzying heights with her family and business partner. Anyone who has met Madi will agree the three words that best describe this whirlwind of a chef are passionate, talented and inspiring. It’s as simple as that.
Madi is clear about what she is trying to achieve: “The Parkers Arms is a country pub that welcomes everyone and their dog,” she says. “It’s all about food and local sourcing and what grows around here and on our doorstep.
“Our menu is also ruled by what’s local. We made a decision a long time ago that, if it doesn’t grow in the area or within a 30-mile radius, apart from something like chocolate, vanilla or spices, we don’t want it on the menu.”
It is not only the local produce available in the area that Madi holds dear, she is clearly in love with the majestic landscape surrounding her unassuming gastropub. It is an environment, she explains, that offers something new every single day.
The pub also has a handful of rooms available to let throughout the year, giving guests the opportunity to lollop around the stunning landscape Madi loves, while of course being able to dine and drink in the outstanding pub itself for several nights.