As the weather turns colder there’s nothing like spending a few cosy weekend hours enjoying a proper roast dinner. Here’s our guide to the best places to enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch in Harrogate. We’ve widened the net to take in a few of the surrounding village pubs, too.
Main St, Scotton, Knaresborough HG5 9HU
Sunday lunch served 12-7pm
If you’re looking for a traditional family run village pub that serves proper home cooked food The Guy Fawkes Arms in Scotton is for you. You’ll need to book well in advance for Sunday lunch and arrive hungry. It’s also worth knowing that the car park is small which might mean parking on a nearby street if you arrive at peak time.
The Guy Fawkes is a free house and serves a good selection of beers and wines including Black Sheep, which was our drink of choice. There’s the option of one course for £12, two for £16 or three for £19.
We opted for roast beef. The beef is supplied by Weatherhead’s butchers in Pateley Bridge and can be served pink or well done. Ours was beautifully tender and served with a really nice mix of steamed vegetables that included leeks, mangetout, carrots and peas. It also came with a large Yorkshire pudding, fresh beef gravy, buttered new potatoes and golden roast potatoes. It was delicious.
The staff really can’t do enough to help. They’re really welcoming and extremely efficient, which is just as well because this place is heaving on a Sunday right through from midday until early evening. Despite the number of diners, everything ran like clockwork.
Having prepared ourselves for a feast, we managed to find a tiny bit of room for dessert and were glad we’d saved a space for it. The sticky toffee pudding with toffee sauce and custard was the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
Overall verdict 5/5
Atmosphere – 4/5 – This isn’t a trendy gastro pub by any stretch, it’s more of a classic country pub with a warm, welcoming feel.
Service 5/5 – incredibly friendly staff who can’t do enough for you.
Food 5/5 – Faultless. Made fresh to order with local ingredients.
Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate
01423 546 111
Sunday lunch served 12 noon-3pm
Throughout the week the Fodder farm shop at the Great Yorkshire Showground serves up dishes cooked on the premises using locally sourced seasonal produce. However, if you want to try its Sunday lunches you’ll have to arrive early. Bookings aren’t taken so it’s first come first served and at £9.95 per person for a traditional Sunday roast it’s really good value so expect to wait a while for a seat if you arrive midway through lunchtime.
Choose between beef, lamb or pork served with Fodder’s signature giant Yorkshire pud, roast potatoes, vegetables of the day and gravy. We had the lamb and have to say this is one of the best value Sunday lunches in town. If a classic roast isn’t your thing there’s a wide selection of other dishes such as mushroom wellington, chargrilled chicken Caesar salad and Fodder burger with hand cut chunky chips.
As a farm shop café, Fodder isn’t the cosiest place for Sunday lunch but it more than makes up for it with the quality of the food and great value.
Overall verdict 4/5
Atmosphere – 3/5 – This is a café rather than a cosy pub and the bright lights and bustle won’t be for everyone.
Service 4/5 – The staff at Fodder are always friendly and they cope well with the busy Sunday rush.
Food 4/5 – Good locally sourced meat, seasonal veg and plenty of choice if you don’t like roasts.
Cold Bath Road, Harrogate
Sunday lunch is served 12 noon-5pm
William and Victoria – or Will and Vic’s as it’s affectionately known – is run by David and Jo Straker and is a well known independent haunt amongst locals who appreciate bistro style home cooked food. Needless to say, the Sunday lunches are popular and booking is definitely recommended.
The downstairs wine bar area has a country pub feel despite its town centre location. Anyone who has experienced it on a busy Friday night might wonder if they are in the same place on a Sunday lunchtime when there’s a far more sedate vibe.
All the usual Will & Vic’s favourites, like Lamb Henry, are on the Sunday menu plus a few specials but we were here for the traditional Sunday lunch so we opted for the roast beef. The beef itself was nicely pink and came with a decent sized Yorkshire pudding and gravy. The accompanying veg was some of the best we’ve tasted on our Sunday lunch tour and included Cauliflower Cheese (light and golden, not too heavy), red cabbage and carrot and swede mash.
At £13.95 per person for the roast beef and veg it isn’t the cheapest lunch in town but it’s a cosy place and a good central location.
Overall verdict 4/5
Atmosphere – 4/5 – A casual bistro feel with a relaxed Sunday vibe.
Service 4/5 – If there’s one thing you can always rely on at Will and Vic’s it’s a warm welcome and great service.
Food 4/5 – Some of the best vegetables sides we’ve tasted.
Main Street, Kirkby Overblow
Sunday lunch served 12 noon – 7pm
A couple of miles south of Harrogate lies Kirkby Overblow, a fairly small village which nevertheless boasts two pubs. We stopped off for Sunday lunch at the Shoulder of Mutton, long known around Harrogate as a great place to eat. That reputation is well-founded, it seems, because the food was excellent.
There’s a special Sunday menu in operation, featuring three different roast options: the eponymous shoulder of mutton, beef, or the more unusual choice of honey roast ham. Alongside those, there are several traditional pub dishes including fish and chips, and steak pie, and something a bit more unusual in the form of a chicken kohlpari biryani. Many of the dishes can be served as smaller portions if required.
The mutton, served with a mint and redcurrant gravy, was delicious: tender and juicy, but with just the right amount of bite. Combined with the gravy and dauphinoise potatoes, it was a rich and very satisfying lunch. The ham, meanwhile, was lighter and had a more summery feel, the saltiness of the ham sitting well against the parsley sauce. The broccoli, mashed carrot, and red cabbage also proved a hit and we could easily have eaten more of the latter two.
The pub itself is charming: creeping ivy on the walls outside, and a cosy interior with lots of nooks for a feeling of privacy when you dine. We were lucky to visit on a warm day and sat outside, where there’s a large sunny garden with plenty of benches. The meal was finished off with a rich, nutty dark chocolate brownie, served hot with chocolate sauce and ice cream. We also enjoyed a quick wander around the village and surrounding footpaths afterwards – definitely worth doing if you can spare the time.
There’s nothing pretentious about the Shoulder of Mutton: it’s traditional pub food, but delivered to a high standard that means you know you’ll have a good meal every time you go.
Overall verdict 5/5
Atmosphere – 5/5 – A traditional but stylish pub with a good beer garden too.
Service 4/5 – Friendly staff and quick service even when it was busy.
Food 5/5 – Fantastic meat, well-cooked veg and a Yorkshire pudding cooked just as we like it.
The Malt Shovel Inn, Brearton
Tucked away down a country lane in the tiny village of Brearton, the Malt Shovel has been serving up traditional pub food for many years.
Its weekday menu is recognisably that of an English country pub, and Sundays are no different – with a few little twists. The starters include the sorts of ingredients you would expect: black pudding, prawns, parsnips and more, but there are some surprises on there. We tried the Bang Bang Chicken Salad, made up of crispy chicken strips on a bed of lettuce with a nutty dressing.
When it came to the main event, there were two meats on offer as part of a traditional roast, along with three other main courses. They included a vegetarian tart, calf’s liver with mash, and in another surprise, wienerschnitzel. Despite being intrigued, we were here to talk Sunday roasts, so we opted for chicken and beef.
When they arrived, the dishes were more than generous – the plates were heaving with food. There were two large roast potatoes, helpings of carrots, broccoli, green beans and parsnips, and a portion of cauliflower cheese. Naturally, there was a large crispy Yorkshire pudding too, and plenty of gravy on the plate plus an extra jug on the side just in case. The chicken was moist and well cooked, and the beef was still rare in the middle.
This is Sunday lunch how your gran used to make it: big portions to fill you up for the rest of the day. Throw in a glowing fire and a long wine list, and you’ve got the recipe for a relaxed Sunday afternoon.
Overall verdict – 3.5/5
Atmosphere – 4/5 – You can’t beat a good wood burning stove in a country pub, and its series of small rooms means this place never lacks atmosphere.
Service – 3/5 – A little on the slow side, probably because the small team was looking after a busy pub, but perfectly friendly and helpful.
Food – 3.5/5 – If you want big helpings of food that reminds you of Sunday lunches at home as a kid, this is the place to go.
Of course, there are plenty more places we could have tried – these are just some of those which have been recommended to us over the years. Even since writing we have heard that Timberlakes in the Montpellier Quarter knock out a mean roast. If you have another recommendation let us know by commenting below.