M1, Junction 30; 10 minutes
Mon, Weds-Sat noon-9pm
Vegetarian or vegan options
Parking available onsite
Swathed in ivy with two gabled windows peeping from the roof, the Elm Tree is a welcome sight during a long journey. When Chris and Jean took it over some years ago, it was a standard pub serving standard, ready-made food, but they have ploughed heaps of energy into reviving it with fresh ingredients and decent cooking, and they’re reaping the rewards.
Regulars and visitors alike find a friendly reception in the low-beamed, cosy inn, and in summer can take a seat on the terrace outside, rustic with its chunky tables and festoon lighting.
The food is pub classics done well, perhaps prawn cocktail with lemon grass, gammon steak with triple-cooked chips or leek, pea and spinach risotto. At lunchtime there’s a good value set menu as well as stuffed sandwiches featuring the kitchen’s own bread and chutneys. Portions are generous so you won’t go hungry.