Cosy pubs with local fayre

by Sara Barton, 30th November 2022
The Allanton Inn | Scottish Borders
Cosy pubs with local fayre

What could be nicer on a frosty day than to finish off an autumnal or wintery walk in a cosy pub with a delicious seasonal lunch or dinner? Nowadays we are all looking for local ingredients and the South of Scotland has an abundance of excellent produce.

Salivate over locally reared beef and salt-marsh lamb or the world famous Scottish smoked salmon. Let your tastebuds marvel at the amazing local cheeses (many organic) and appreciate freshly caught shellfish. In the growing season there is an abundance of excellent fruit and veg.

Sample the best of our cosy pubs with local fare in our round up of favourites for your Pubs to Try bucket list….

The Steam Packet Inn

Where: Isle of Whithorn

The Steam Packet Inn in the Isle of Whithorn in Dumfries and Galloway has undergone a transformation and teamed up with Callum & Toni Fraser of No 1 Fleet Street. With Toni offering guests a warm welcome and Callum in the kitchen, it complements beautifully the scenic setting on the edge of Wigtown Bay. The Steam Packet has been a local favourite for years and its owner, Alastair Scoular has branched out, creating the Five Kingdoms brewery to provide local ale on tap for the pub. If you feel the need to work up an appetite first, there’s a wonderful coastal walk from St Ninian’s Cave along the Burrowhead Path that finishes at the Isle. At the inn, there is excellent food, local ale and a view to die for – a worthy addition to your list.

Cosy pub with local fayre is on offer at the Steam Packet Inn at the Isle of Whithorn.
Picturesque harbour views at the Isle of Whithorn are yours while dining at the Steam Packet Inn.

Ancrum Cross Keys

Where: Ancrum

Resting beside the Ale Water is the Ancrum Cross Keys, a characterful pub and an institution in the pretty town of Ancrum. This is not just everyday pub food, these are pub classics. The chefs specialise in the very best – amazing fish and chips, delicious, meaty burgers, tasty succulent steaks. Excellent ingredients locally sourced with bold flavours and innovative delivery – chips arrive in a tankard not a bowl! On tap expect local ales, beers and whiskies at this watering hole. To work up an appetite worthy of this feast, how about taking in the breathtaking view from the Waterloo Monument? Park at Harestanes Visitor Centre and follow the Peniel Heugh walk to reach the Monument.

External Front, Born in the Borders
Excellent pub grub with sense of fun is on offer along with local ales at the Ancrum Cross Keys near Jedburgh.

The Globe Inn

Where: Dumfries

Not only was this Rabbie Burns’ favourite howff but it should be one of yours too! The experienced hands in the kitchen at the Globe Inn ensure excellent food accompanies the historical experience of eating where Scotland’s National Bard once frequented. For a real feast, treat yourselves to a 7-course meal at the very table where Burns himself ate. This would make a great final stop if you want to follow in the footsteps of Burns around Dumfries.

Restaurant, Globe Inn
Excellent food is on offer in the restaurant and you can book to dine in the room where Burns himself feasted for the ultimate historical cosy meal.

The Allanton Inn

Where: Allanton

Here is a place that prides itself on sourcing the very best of local Borders’ produce. The Allanton Inn uses its local connections to source quality products which are allied to best farming practices. Such as Preston Farm Beetroot & Standhill Tomatoes (Scotland’s only tomato producing commercial glasshouse). Local farmer, butcher & friend, Adam, supplies pork products from Reivers Foods. While David from Edington Mains down the road ensures a supply of organic, free range eggs. Fresh fish comes regularly from Eyemouth. Homemade daily bread uses flour milled locally at Heatherslw Mill. In the winter there is locally sourced game and venison.

A whole host of awards attest to the fact this is a wonderful place to sit back, enjoy a pint of real ale or even their homemade ginger beer and wonderful plateful of excellent Scottish fayre. This will be even more gratifying if you’ve put in the effort of a walk, perhaps the Allanton Circular?

Bar, Allanton Inn
After a winterly walk you will be ready for the locally sourced feast inside the Allanton Inn in the Scottish Borders.

Burts Hotel

Where: Melrose

While it is true this is a hotel and not strictly just a pub, the Bistro Bar at Burts Hotel with its roaring fire would certainly tick the cosy box after a wintery walk. Perhaps you have just wandered around the grounds at Abbotsford or climbed to take in the view from the Eildon Hills and are in need of sustenance. Locally sourced ingredients are in evidence on the menu, with Teviot Smokery Smoked Salmon, local Border lamb and local ice creams and sorbets all featuring. This is a family-run enterprise and the team are on hand to offer excellent advice on what to see and do around the area. If you’re willing to forsake the fire, the Restaurant at Burts Hotel has held two AA rosettes for over 25 years so definitely worth a sample of their excellent cuisine.

Elegant dining room with excellent food or cosy fire and pub fayre in the Bistro Bar? It’s your choice at Burts Hotel in Melrose.

Where: Auldgirth, near Dumfries

Enjoy the literary connection of knowing you sit where Robert Burns once sat as he sheltered against winter’s icy blast in the inglenook at the Auldgirth Inn near Dumfries. When Burns lived at Ellisland Farm, this was his local and the recent take over by award winning restaurateur and chef Robert Macaleese is putting the inn back on the map.

Three AA rosettes and a mention in the 2022 Michelin guide give you some idea of the quality of food in store. Talented chefs use healthy, local Scottish produce to produce mouthwatering results. And if you can’t leave that fire behind, just retire to one of the modernised, beautifully furnished bedrooms for a relaxing night’s rest.

Take note of the food – Michelin has already included the Auldgirth Inn in this year’s guide.

Where: Ettrickbridge, Scottish Borders

This recently refurbished historic coaching inn offers exactly what you are looking for in a cosy pub – real ales, excellent pub food and a warm welcome. This is ideally situated to explore the stunning Ettrick and Yarrow Valleys where there are walks and cycling aplenty. Climb the rolling Borders hills to discover the Three Brethren, a set of impressive cairns marking the spot where three ancient estates meet. Or head over to the Bowhill Estate to enjoy a more leisurely stroll on one of the many walks on the estate. Then reward your exertions with an excellent Sunday roast, washed down with some local ale and perhaps a friendly game of darts. Or spend a Saturday night relaxing listening to live music before retiring to one of the seven bedrooms offering a snug escape.

The Cross Keys Inn in Ettrickbridge offers traditional pub food, local ales and rooms with a warm welcome.