Hollington Cross, Andover Road, Highclere, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 9SE
“I always look forward to my next visit”, confesses a regular who drops into the revamped Yew Tree Inn every fortnight. It’s easy to see the attraction: the pub’s ancient charms remain very much intact, right down to the bare walls, scrubbed timbers and stained glass panels that mingle with tartan fabrics, leather sofas and thick white candles – although there have been big changes on the food front. The seasonal menu is now divided up into ‘graze’, ‘small’ and ‘large’ dishes peppered with British ingredients: nibble on crispy squid with smoked paprika aïoli or lamb ‘scrumpets’ with caper and onion mayonnaise before tackling calf’s liver with bacon, lettuce, peas and sherry vinegar sauce or whole grilled plaice with runner beans, broad beans, baby turnips and seaweed butter. For afters, try baked peaches with honey, Oxford Blue cheese and toasted walnuts or go flash with one of the luscious ‘liquid desserts’ – perhaps cookies and cream. With its warm welcome, “really friendly staff”, well-kept ales and extensive wine list, this place scores on all counts.