M1, Junction 24; 8 mins
Free WiFi for visitors
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
This cosy gastro pub in picturesque Long Whatton is a great spot for dinner or a fly-by coffee after depositing the kids back at Loughborough Uni, or if heading off to the airport or for a Donington Race Circuit experience. Brothers Chris and Alex have kitted the place out with tartan carpets, high-backed booths, mismatched chairs and an inglenook fireplace, around which you can join the locals for a pint of Vixen from nearby Charnwood Brewery.
At The Royal Oak (with its 12 cottage-styled bedrooms and new self-catering escape), the service is excellent, the portions generous and the plate artistry advanced. Light bites include sourdough rarebits with pickled wild mushrooms, and Cajun-spiced sweet potato cakes. Pub classics like crispy fish and chips or juicy burgers happily co-exist on the menu next to inventive options like haggis-stuffed pheasant breast or pulled jackfruit shepherd's pie; the roasts are renowned. To end on an exotic note, have the sticky ginger pudding with cardamom custard.
Buy The Extra Mile Guide
The Extra Mile: Delicious Alternatives to Motorway Services is your essential glovebox guide to good food on the move. The guidebook is a great gift for motorists and foodies who prefer to avoid motorway services and boring, big-brand food. Find independent cafes, pubs, local coffee and tea shops and lovely farm shops near motorway junctions and main roads. To improve your journey, support small businesses and discover real local flavours, order your copy today (edition 4 published March 2023 and available now).