Rural Lincolnshire is dotted with sleepy villages in the rolling countryside, characterised by their friendly communities, farm shops and homely pubs. Tealby, tucked away in one of the prettiest parts of the county, is one of the most picture-perfect examples. We stopped off to try out the Kings Head, a 14th-century pub with a glowing reputation for its hearty, locally sourced food. It turned out to be just the fix we needed on our day hike in the Lincolnshire Wolds. Want to know more? Here’s a little recap of our experience at the Kings Head Tealby.
The Kings Head Tealby: setting the scene
Dating back to 1367, the Kings Head in Tealby is believed to be Lincolnshire’s oldest thatched pub. The building has been preserved and restored immaculately, and still carries all the charm and nostalgia you might imagine of a centuries-old village pub.
The thatched cottage-style building is almost enshrouded in the trees that circle the grounds, creating a pleasant sheltered atmosphere. On clear days the dazzling whitewashed walls and pale green painted doors and windows catch the glare of the sun at midday, standing out proud. A swinging sign in the corner welcomes passers-by in traditional fashion.
Outside is an ample beer garden, with plenty of choice between tables in sunlight and shade. Its borders are decorated with flowers set in ornamented olde-farm features, including a colourful horse-drawn plough and feeding troughs. Every aspect is designed to emanate the earthly charm of the countryside.
So, we immediately felt at home when we arrived at the Kings Head mid-way through a day hike in the area. And so did our canine companion Regan – dogs are welcome, and the staff quickly befriended him!
How to get to the Kings Head Tealby
The Kings Head is very easy to reach by road. Tealby is about three miles from Market Rasen, a short drive along a scenic B road. From Lincoln it is less than a 40-minute drive, mostly on the A46.
For the more adventurous types, Tealby is also conveniently located along two of Lincolnshire’s most popular walking and cycling trails: the Viking Way and the Lindsey Trail. As we found, the pub makes for a satisfying interlude during a day’s walking.
We were hiking the North Route of the Lindsey Trail on our visit, a 16-kilometre loop walk. Check out our guide to the Lindsey Trail north route for more about that.
Lisa’s parents, Sharon and Mick, drove across from our campsite near Market Rasen to join us for the meal.
Getting started with some beers in the sun
Once we had settled on our table in the sunshine, we were chuffed to find an excellent selection of ales on offer. With a choice of various regular and guest ales, there were plenty to choose from.
I had a Lancaster Bomber amber ale from Bank’s Park Brewery, Lisa and Mick had a Hobgoblin Gold, and Sharon a refreshing lager.
Home cooked, locally sourced food
Of course, the real test of any gastropub is the food. It’s no good having a building full of character with an enthralling backstory, wonderful ambiance and great service if your food is bland and overhyped.
Thankfully, we found that the food at the Kings Head matched up to the rest of the experience. It was superb!
We decided to skip starters to make sure we would leave enough room for desserts (and because we’d noticed the generous main portion sizes being served to other tables!).
Lisa and Mick both ordered the Kings Head homemade steak and ale pie. The pastry was baked to crispy perfection, the meat tender, and the gravy rich and full of flavour. The chips – which can so often be unexceptional in pub lunches – were mouthwateringly good, rounding off the dish to perfection.
Sharon went for a lighter lunch, ordering a prawn sandwich, also served with homemade chips. As a prawn enthusiast this might have given me food envy, but…
I decided to go all-out and ordered the fish platter – the most expensive thing on the menu at £17.95. I immediately felt vindicated for this decision when the plate arrived. What a spread! Smoked salmon, two types of prawns (yes, two types), crab meat, battered fish goujons, mussels in a creamy sauce, olives and homemade bread. It looked incredible.
And with the seafood sourced from just down the road in Grimsby, the quality was excellent too. Eighteen quid very well spent!
Still room for dessert…
Despite being gratifyingly full, we couldn’t say no to the dessert menu. I went for the Eton mess, as I always do whenever I see it among the options. The Kings Head had a slightly alternative take on it, a little more intensely blended than is common and served in a bowl rather than a glass. It worked really well.
Lisa went for the chocolate brownie (predictably!), and Mick the cheesecake. Extra marks for the garnishes and presentation here…
The Kings Head Tealby menu
The owners at the Kings Head have done a fantastic job curating a varied menu of countryside pub classics with a few curveballs thrown in, and regular changes to keep up with seasonality.
There is a strong emphasis on sourcing locally, making the most of the outstanding fresh produce in the vicinity, from the docks of Grimsby to the farms of the Lincolnshire Wolds. This shines through clearly in the quality.
Starters range from £5–£9, mains from £10–£18, sandwiches around the £7 mark, and desserts £5.50 (all variable depending on specials). You can check out the full menu on the pub’s website.
Verdict: the Kings Head Tealby is a countryside gem
We have been to heritage pubs before where the folklore factor has been overplayed to attract tourists, leaving an underwhelming experience with overpriced food. That’s not what we found at the Kings Head in Tealby.
This is not a gimmicky pub by any means. The quality of the food is first and foremost. Everything else adds up to make it a charming and memorable weekend lunch destination – the quirky building, the history, the gardens and the welcoming service.
The Kings Head deserves its status as a destination pub. We will be more than happy to go out of our way for more weekend lunches here in future!
Where to stay nearby
Market Rasen is the closest town to Tealby. In our guide to hotels in Market Rasen and other places to stay nearby we pick out some of the best accommodation options for exploring the area.
Have you tried the Kings Head Tealby? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.
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