The Woolpack Inn, Slad
Muddy says: It’s impossible to resist the bohemian charms of this cool, old-school, independent pub hanging out in the stunning Slad Valley.
This fabulous inn made famous by Laurie Lee, whose local it was, is a rare bird. Yes, it serves up superlative food that the British public now expect from their pubs, but it also has the kind of authentic atmosphere that pubs either have or they don’t. And it has it. In spades.
Located in the idyllic Slad Valley, its unique patina is partly down to its 300-year storied history, but its owner, artist Daniel Chadwick, who acquired The Woolpack 20 years ago, has also been instrumental in preserving it as one of the last independent gems of a British country pub. Passing fads don’t feature and entering The Woolpack is like stepping back in time. “It’s like you’ve died and gone to heaven,” one reviewer wrote.
Food is courtesy of head chef Adam Glover and features locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. The menu changes daily and Sundays nights are devoted to pizzas cooked in ingenious ovens that Chadwick designed himself (yes, he’s one of those multi-hyphenate types).
And as well as being a gastro destination, it’s also a proper, old-school boozer where you’ll always find regulars chewing the fat over a local real ale, walkers slaking their thirst after a weekend ramble, families enjoying the super-relaxed vibe (kids are welcome but not the focus). It’s also got a reputation as a bit of a party animal, with general manager Harry Wynne-Morgan presiding over events, including live gigs and a summer music festival, that always deliver fun with a side order of cool.