By the nature of things, the following is generally personal preference, with some input from cabin guests. Pubs and restaurants change in quality, so these recommendations may well get out of date, but they were last updated in February 2018.
For some time now we’ve recommended the Jolly Frog (www.jollyfrogpub.co.uk), about 8 miles away, just outside Leintwardine. We’ve been back regularly, and have always really enjoyed it – main course is about £15 – 20, there’s a wood oven, and the menu changes most days, but normally includes a great choice of fresh fish. Quite often busy – it’s better value if you order before 7pm, so it can be lively early on.
In Ludlow, The Green Cafe, on the outskirts of town on the Millennium Green near Dinham Bridge, is good for lunchtimes, but not open in the evenings – best to book a table – at the time of writing it’s about to change hands, so there could be a change of quality. If you’re happy to take a chance on finding enough room in a couple of small but lively places, I would highly recommend the Cicchetti in Broad Street, for breakfast or a lunchtime snack, and The Dog in Corve Street for a beer and local chat (you’ll need to ask a local just to find it, and it has limited opening hours). Just next door to the Cicchetti in Broad Street is the Angel wine bar, run by the same team, in part of the old Angel Hotel, a lovely building with 2 gorgeous bay windows on the first floor overlooking the street – a great place to have a drink and get the feel of Ludlow.
There’s an excellent Indian takeaway/restaurant in Broad Street, called ‘Golden Moments’. If you like Thai food, there’s a lively Thai bar in the centre of town (park and walk) just off Castle Square in the old Globe pub – the bar has some sofas and also tables and chairs, and you can eat either in the bar or the restaurant – there’s also a separate takeaway a short walk away. For pub food in Ludlow there’s also the Unicorn – this has changed hands in the last year, and we haven’t eaten there ourselves since the change, but cabin guests are positive.
As for drinking, the South Shropshire area has some fantastic small breweries with some of my all-time favourite real ales. These are:
Wood’s Shropshire Lad, brewed about 10 miles away at Wistanstow. Wood’s brew a good few other beers, but if Shropshire Lad is in one of the handpumps, that’s first choice. A darkish, unusual bitter.
Three Tuns XXX. This brew can be difficult to find in Ludlow – some of the pubs sell Cleric’s Cure from the same brewery, which is also excellent, but strong enough to shorten your evening (5% or so). XXX is a light golden colour, very hoppy, and delicious. The Three Tuns, next to the brewery in Bishop’s Castle, is also a great pub, and not bad for a meal. They also own a pub in the middle of nowhere – the bridges at Ratlinghope, an hour or so away from the cabin, but a lovely drive on a summer’s evening over or around the Long Mynd
Hobson’s Twisted Spire (3.8%). The brewery is about 15 miles away in Cleobury Mortimer, and if you want a pint fresh from the brewery, try the King’s Arms. Hobson’s Bitter is also excellent.
Ludlow Brewery is an excellent addition to the choice, especially ‘Best’, and the stronger ‘Stairway’. The Brewery is in an old Engine Shed near the station, and it’s a temptation towards daytime drinking, as you can go for brewery tours or try beers at their bar, usually till about 5pm. The Brewery also has regular evening dos, music, beer festivals and plays etc.
There’s a similarly wonderful choice of locally brewed ciders – I’d particularly recommend Dunkerton’s and Dragon Orchard ciders.
If I had to single out a favourite pub, it would have to be the Sun at Leintwardine (www.suninn-leintwardine.co.uk). I don’t often get there, as it’s a challenge for us – it’s about 9 miles away, so expensive for a taxi, but if you can manage to get over this hurdle, it’s wonderful. It used to be a ‘parlour’ pub, simply furnished, with Hobson’s out of the cask, a genuine welcome for strangers, and, up until recently, run by a landlady in her 90s with lots of good-humoured volunteer help from the community. The pub’s undoubtedly different now – a lot of good thought has gone into building an extension at the back, but the 2 front parlour rooms are still as they were, and the welcome and feel of community is just as strong. You can buy fish and chips 3 doors down and eat them in the front parlour or garden.