Saracen's Head Bar & Restaurant

Church Lane, Shirley, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 3AS

The Saracen's Head dates back to 1791 when it was run as a farm and hostelry, and while the owners have retained lots of original features they've cleverly brought the place up to date with no small amount of pizzazz. Inside is a mix of old and new; some lovely vintage pieces sit next to contemporary chunky tables and chairs, the odd wall painted a vibrant duck egg blue. It's a supremely stylish and comfortable place, with a menu to match – expect the likes of fresh cod and coriander fishcakes with chilli syrup, rack of lamb, chorizo mash, olive and garlic jus and a divine blueberry and almond tart, served warm with custard sauce. Well-kept local beer and a dartboard ensure this still feels like a proper pub.  The village of Shirley can be traced back as far as the early 1100s, and this part of south Derbyshire is woefully under-visited, so it's worth a wander around before you get set in for the day. Talking of which, they've got a fab cottage out back, very reasonably priced and just as stylish as the pub, so why not make a night of it?

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