1 | Best For Beef: Hawksmoor, London
It’s already got legendary status for its steaks, but the branches of Hawksmoor around London also do outstanding roast beef Sunday lunches complete with crunchy potatoes, and bone marrow and onion gravy. Tim Wilson, founder and farmer of The Ginger Pig farm in North Yorkshire, where Hawksmoor’s beef is sourced from, says: “Our beef will always come from slow-growing grass-fed cattle, whether it’s from our own herds, or selected from one of our collaborative partners. We carefully dry-age each rump to ensure unbeatable succulence and flavour, and this cut is simply superb for roasting to serve medium-rare.”
2 | Best For Real Ale: Grain Barge, Bristol
Ray Bailey and Jess Boak, founders of the influential Boak and Bailey Beer Blog, rave about this pub, a converted barge moored in the Severn Estuary. “The beer here is from local brewery, the Bristol Beer Factory”, they explain. “It’s always interesting, and in tip-top condition... Try a pint of the BBF Bitter Kiwi (made with hops from New Zealand) with a cut of roast beef – it’s a nigh on perfect match.” We’d also recommend sampling the Barge’s top deck, which boasts a near- panoramic view of the harbour and Brunel’s SS Great Britain.
3 | Best For Overnight Stay: The Cat, West Hoathly, Sussex
High on a spur of the Sussex Weald, this classic village pub (think oak beams, fireplaces and gossiping locals who would struggle to leave their favourite bar stool if their house was on fire) has four charming rooms upstairs. Fiona Duncan, hotel reviewer for The Daily Telegraph is a huge fan: “Breakfast in the morning is worthy of a luxury hotel and Sunday lunch is the real deal: it’s just a question of foregoing, it being a Sunday, one of chef Max Leonard’s wonderful steak, mushroom and ale pies for a helping of roast sirloin of Angus beef or roast lemon and thyme chicken and all the trimmings, cooked to perfection.”
4 | Best For Foodies: Cornish Tiger, London
"We want to serve the best Sunday Roast in London" say the people behind Battersea's Cornish Tiger, a restuarant that sources all its ingredients from England’s southwestern tip that is quickly itself as one of the hottest tables in SW11. One mouthful of their braised shoulder of lamb with rose Harrissa jus, and you'll be wondering if they're not there already. Small flourishes on the classic roast selection, made with real love and care, set this place apart - as does the laidback, intimate interior and friendly staff. Well worth a visit even if you don't live in the area.
5 | Best For Live Music: The Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
Scouse meets the Deep South at this unique Liverpool venue, where music on a Sunday afternoon can range from soul and funk DJs Yellowtone Sounds to live local garage bands such as The Wytches and Big Ups. James Longmire, a tour guide in Liverpool says, “This is where I take just small groups of visitors who want to see a modern bar but with some old Liverpool atmosphere. The roasts are American-style and really popular – I always go for the salt beef brisket with cajun spices and bourbon gravy.”
6 | Best For Proper British Puddings: The Inn at Whitewell, Lancashire
Coogan and Brydon ate in this lavish country pub in the first series of The Trip, but locals in this neck of the Forest of Bowland (home of numerous witch trials in centuries past) have long known that the main draw here has nothing to do with celebrity. David Hancock, editor of the Alastair Sawday Pubs and Inns of England and Wales, says, “The puddings here are wholesome, traditional and deliciously stodgy, just what you need to top off a fantastic roast. Think gooey sticky toffee pudding or melt-in-the-mouth treacle tart and you get the gist.”
7 | Best For Cheese Boards: The Crooked Billet, Wokingham, Berkshire
It might be tucked away in the depths of the Berkshire countryside but this bucolic gem of a pub’s mammoth Sunday roasts are worth hunting down. The cheese boards however, are on another level entirely. Regular winners at the British Cheese Awards, Juliet Harbutt of the Cheese Web (thecheeseweb.com) explains its numerous accolades are due to, “offering a small range of well kept local cheese at an excellent price and without too much clutter. They also describe their cheeses well, along the lines of a wine list. This is essential today as Britain makes over 750 different cheeses.”
8 | Best For Log Fires: Pandora Inn, Mylor Bridge, Cornwall
Right on the waterfront next to a long jetty, this 13th century thatched roof inn has books, crannies and three large log fires (one in each room), all of which have strangely high hearths. Pub chef Tom Milby, who’s been working at the pub since he was 16, is passionate about using fresh, local produce, and the man in charge of a full-on, old-school Sunday carvery session replete with two different cuts of meat and some sensational fresh seafood starters (the fish is all supplied by Matthew Stevens and Son in nearby St. Ives), including a knockout duo of seared Cornish scallops and black pudding. Worth the trek alone.
9 | Best For Walking Off The Roast: The Pheasant, Burwardsley, Cheshire
Nestled among the Peckforton Hills and with unimpeded views out across the Cheshire Plain to Liverpool, The Pheasant is a beguiling spot to gorge yourself on a superlative roast – don’t miss their venison haunch with polenta chips and figs for a break from the standard issue beef. Pete Evans, a local rambler who has been walking in the region for 40 years, says, “This pub has legendary status as it falls right onto the Sandstone Trail route. If you don’t fancy a roast, try the sharing platters: bread boards with scotch eggs, chicken liver pate, homemade bread and chipolata sausages. If you can’t eat it all, they’ll bag it up so you can take it with you.”
10 | Best For Yorkshire Pudding: The Star @ Sancton, Yorkshire
Dating back to 1710, and surrounded by the undulating Yorkshire Wolds, the Star (the @ came later) is every bit the Yorkshire village boozer updated for the 21st century – regulars are more likely to be clutching iPads than pipes. David Hancock, an author on pubs and inns, is no doubt of its main attraction: “The Star has won awards for their Yorkshire puddings two years in a row. Chef and owner Ben Cox even lists the winning recipe on their website. For a twist on the roast, try Ben’s Yorkshire pudding with confit of oxtail and onion gravy.”
11 | Best For A Splurge: The Goring, London
A long-standing favourite of the Royal Family (the Queen Mother came to eat Eggs Drumkilbo for decades), the Sunday roasts here are predictably opulent, and at £47.50, not exactly a bargain. But what you get is worth every penny: a heaving plate of roasted Ross Country sirloin beef carved straight from the trolley, alongside honey-roast parsnips, buttered spinach and Yorkshire pudding. Lisa Richards from high-end travel and food online magazine Civilian, says, “The beef is expertly sawn by the white-jacketed waiter, and served in decent quantities with homemade horseradish. The Yorkshire puds are almost as big as the plate, and expertly light. Puddings are fattening and rich – the baked Alaska is a sensation.” For the Rolls Royce of roasts, look no further.