M1, Junction 29; 5 minutes
Sun: Stable Bar from 10am; restaurant from noon.
Food served all day
Parking available onsite
If grand driveways that deliver you to handsome country pubs with latticed windows and original features are your thing, leave the M1 for this worthy five-minute detour (it neighbours the National Trust's dramatic Hardwick Hall estate).
The traditional, 16th-century Hardwick Inn is built from local sandstone and has been in the same family since 1928. They've honed their pub grub-making skills to bring you comforting classics from full breakfasts to breaded brie, fresh soups and home-smoked salmon; a warming favourite is the pub's own steak and Black Sheep Ale pie. There are steaks, sandwiches and salads too, and the desserts are homemade (by someone dressed in Victorian clothing in a scullery, we like to think).
The inn's large, landscaped beer gardens and outside Stable Bar come into their own in summer; in winter, cosy open fires roar. Download the pub's guide to circular walks around the estate; they'll loop you back to the car park ready for your onward journey.
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).