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The 16 best Sunday lunches on the National Cycle Network

Photo of bicycle outside entrance of The Magdalen Arms restaurant and pub

The Magdalen Arms in Oxford is one of our favourite places to eat near to the National Cycle Network | Photo credit: Lisa Made It ©2018

Photo of Sustrans volunteers eating at a pub

We've asked our teams across the country for their recommended places to stop and eat on the Network | Photo credit: Jonathan Bewley ©2016

Photo of Family enjoying a walk alomg riverside, traffic-free path to the city. Bute Park, on the Taff Trail, Cardiff (National Route 8).

What better way to earn your lunch than getting out on the National Cycle Network for a cycle or walk | Photo credit Jonathan Bewley ©2018

On a lazy Sunday afternoon is there anything better than sitting down to a roast lunch?

And what better way to earn your lunch than getting out on the National Cycle Network for a cycle or walk. 

We've asked our teams across the country for their recommended places to stop and eat on the Network (extra gravy and potatoes are always optional).

For further information on dietary options (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and others) please refer to the pub and restaurant links below. 

Here are some of our favourite pubs and restaurants from across the country:

1. The Continental, Preston on Route 622 - Preston Guild Wheel

Situated on the banks of the Ribble, just a brief walk away from the city centre and adjacent to picturesque parkland, The Continental boasts a great location with lovely views. An award-winning pub that serves restaurant-quality fresh food. 

2. The Waggon & Horses, Oxspring, South Yorkshire near The Trans Pennine Trail (West) (part of the Trans Pennine Trail

The Waggon & Horses prides itself on the quality of locally-sourced ingredients throughout their menu. Sunday is roast-day (naturally), but this cosy and intimate pub also has theme nights throughout the week; check their website for further details.

3. The Railway Inn, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire on Water Rail Way

Anywhere that boasts to have the biggest Yorkshire puddings in the region is always good in our books, and this 19th-century guest house does exactly that.

Situated by the River Witham and a former railway line that forms part of National Cycle Network Route 1, The Railway Inn attracts people cycling, walking and fishing all year round. 

4. Doddington Hall, Doddington, Lincolnshire near Harby to Lincoln

The beautiful Doddington Hall estate and garden (of which there are five acres) include not only a restaurant, cafe and coffee shop but also an on-site bike shop. The restaurant is a firm favourite with locals as well as visitors from further afield, and on a Sunday it serves local Doddington herd Lincoln Red roast beef.

5. The Dirty Duck, Grantham, Lincolnshire on Route 15

We love a pub that provides adequate facilities for people who love to walk and cycle, and the Dirty Duck most certainly does. There are plenty of secure bicycle racks and they are happy to take orders in advance if you are planning to go for a walk.

The large garden overlooking the canal is a great place to sit and enjoy the view of Belvoir Castle on the horizon, especially in the summer. 

6. The Bulls Head, Wilson, Derbyshire near the Derby Canal Path and the Cloud Trail

This well-loved local pub offers a wide range of locally sourced foods daily and roasts on a Sunday. Set in the rural region of Derbyshire, the friendly staff will make you (and your dog companion, if you have one) feel right at home. 

7. Hatfield House, Hatfield, Hertfordshire near the Alban Way

Having recently partnered with food writer and campaigner, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and his River Cottage team, Hatfield House promises to offer great food from light-bites to full three-course seasonal meals. 

Other routes our regional team recommended near to Hatfield House include the Hertfordshire Greenways (Wheathampstead to Ware) and the Great North Way.

8. The Railway Inn, Sandford, Somerset on The Strawberry Line

This traditional country pub in the heart of a Somerset village offers expertly-executed food and is always busy, so you may have to book ahead (which is usually a good sign for any eatery!).

Why not enjoy a cycle or walk through the Thatchers Orchards before stopping off for lunch or a refreshing drink. 

9. The Magdalen Arms, Oxford near Route 57

This very popular pub on the Iffley Road in Oxford has a reputation for great food and service all within a relaxed atmosphere; perfect for groups of friends or the whole family. Serving up hearty, unpretentious meals with a variety of sharing platters (if you are a fan of sharing that is), all ideal for a Sunday lunch. 

10. The Isis Farmhouse, Oxford near the Thames Valley

The Isis Farmhouse is ideally located on the banks of the River Thames, just a short walk from the centre of Oxford. With large gardens at the front and back of the pub and beautiful riverside and meadow views, it certainly feels off the beaten track.

There's even entertainment, including live music on Sunday evenings - a great way to finish off your weekend if you want to hang about after your lunch. 

11. Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taf on The Taff Trail

'The Bunch' in Pontypridd, is a multiple award-winning pub (including Best Pub in Wales) that butchers its own meat, bakes its own bread and grows veg on-site to create unique, inventive seasonal dishes with an emphasis on locally-sourced, sustainable and seasonably fresh ingredients. 

12. The Fox and Hounds, Llancarfan, Vale of Glamorgan near Route 88

A family-run pub (a husband-and-wife team) in the secluded village of Llancarfan with the historic St Cadoc's Church as its neighbour. This destination pub and guest house is rated No.1 on Tripadvisor for Restaurants in Llancarfan - it is also the only restaurant in the area (we did tell you it was secluded).

Well worth the half-a-mile detour off Route 88.

13. The Queen's Head, Glanwydden, Conwy on the North Wales Coastal Cycle Route

A quintessentially Welsh village pub nestled in the charming North-Wales village that offers warm welcomes all year round in a rustic setting. The menu is a mix of classic British dishes and also some more interesting modern dishes with an international influence.

14. The Bridge Inn, Ratho, Edinburgh on the Union Canal (Edinburgh to Falkirk)

There are many good reasons to walk or cycle the seven miles down The Union Canal from Edinburgh to Ratho, and The Bridge Inn is definitely one of them. The staff of this community pub situated on the canal prepare their own homegrown vegetables and home-bred pork in their menu. 

15. The Waterside Bistro, Haddington, East Lothian on Route 76

A family-run business (between 1985 and 2001 local businessman James Logan Findlay ran the restaurant, and now his sons, James and Jack, have been in charge since 2017) on the banks of the River Tyne, serving well-presented bistro classics and sharing platters as well as freshly sourced seafood.

16. The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore near Lochs and Glens North

Sitting on the banks of the River Spey, on the edge of Cairngorms National Park, this converted riverside cottage is a relaxed, cosy and candlelit setting where all are welcome to enjoy the fresh and delicious menu, far from the beaten track. As well as offering traditional dishes, there is also an ever-changing vegan menu. 

Discover more places to eat and drink on the National Cycle Network