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 local 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.
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