Britain is a country with a rich history and a long relationship with ale - so it's no surprise that pubs with a story to tell litter the landscape from Land's End to John O'Groats. Among our very favourites anywhere is The Dundas Arms, and we headed out for a visit recently. Built in the heart of Berkshire on the banks of the picturesque Kennet & Avon Canal, The Dundas Arms is a Grade II listed building built in the late 1700s.
Taking its name from Charles Dundas - the man whose idea it was to build a great waterway linking London with the west - it has been famous for feeding and hydrating locals and passing tourists for hundreds of years.
From first glance, the pub is pure British countryside charm - a bright white building set within toppling distance of the canal where tall reeds sprout, lush green trees overhang the water and colourful barges chug slowly past. Or at least the ones who don't have time to stop for a pint do anyway.
Bathed, as it is during our visit, in bright wintry sunshine, it looks beautiful. In summer, it is even more spectacular. Inside, it's just as special. The decor is all mixed woods and countryside staples - antlers and old prints and gardening paraphernalia hang from the walls. Everything looks lived-in and comfortable, but elegant and stylish with it.
All of which is just the decorative side of the pub. The awards the pub has racked up - from the Good Pub Guide, the AA and the like - aren't just because The Dundas is a pretty place to stop and sit. The food and beers are locally sourced, made with love and care and excellent across the board. The wine cellar is pretty exceptional too.
We tucked in to crispy pork belly with black pudding and tarragon jus, then took ourselves off the the pub's Library with the bartender's pick of a Cognac and the roaring fire for company.
Should you ever find yourself in this particular part of Berkshire, head for The Dundas at once - to be honest, if you are within 100 miles we would recommend taking a detour away from wherever you're headed and pitching up. Just mind the edge of the canal if one bottle from the cellars quickly turns into two...