When our best friends came over to Lincoln for a birthday weekend, we decided to go out together for a Sunday carvery. The Railway Inn in Thorpe on the Hill had been on our radar for a while, but we hadn’t gotten around to trying it, so this was the perfect opportunity.

We don’t write a full review every time we go out for food in Lincoln, but we wanted to on this occasion, as this was genuinely some of the friendliest customer service we’ve experienced anywhere, from start to finish. So, here’s our five-minute writeup about it.

The Railway Inn, Thorpe on the Hill: first impressions

Thorpe on the Hill is a small and sleepy Lincolnshire village just a few miles outside Lincoln. We quite often find ourselves in the area, as Lisa’s parents live in nearby North Hykeham, and we often take our dog Regan for walks at Whisby Nature Park, which is walking distance away.

The Railway Inn is actually about a mile outside the main village, standing (naturally) next to the railway line. It’s right on the edge of the west side of Whisby Nature Park, and just a few paces away from one of the lakeside trails, so it works perfectly as a place to stop for lunch while out for a walk.

The place has all the hallmarks of a typical, no-nonsense, countryside village pub. It hasn’t taken the gastropub or finer-dining route that some rural Lincolnshire pubs have, preferring instead to stay true to its authentic roots.

That much was clear to me immediately from the down-to-earth, welcoming tone of the woman I spoke to when I first called to book our table. She cheerily talked us through the options to sit inside or out in the new marquee area. (I don’t recall the names of all the people who served us, but as you’ll read below, every interaction was a very pleasant one!)

The Railway Inn Thorpe on the Hill
The Railway Inn is located by the tracks about a mile outside Thorpe on the Hill village

Trying the Sunday Carvery at The Railway Inn

We arrived and took our seats in the bright and airy marquee, which was laid out with large round tables, perfect for socialising in our group.

One of the team at the inn came over and asked “have you been here before – do you know how the carvery works?”. When we told her that we hadn’t been before, she eagerly took a seat at the table with us to talk us through it. Another little moment of friendly, personable service.

The traditional Sunday carvery is the showpiece at The Railway Inn. You can order plates in three sizes: small (£13.95), regular (£14.95) or large (£15.95).

All of our group either ordered large or regular. As is usually the case with this kind of menu, I couldn’t resist ordering the large, especially as it’s only a quid extra!

In standard carvery fashion, we were given a ticket to go up and choose which meats we’d like (beef, pork and turkey, or all of them!). The kitchen staff then spooned generous helpings of veg onto our plates, including both mash and roasties, and various other options.

I particularly liked the cheesy leeks as an alternative to cauliflower cheese. Big fluffy Yorkshires and stuffing balls were also included, regardless of which meat we chose.

Finally, we helped ourselves to the classic sauces to go with our meats. I’m a bit of a horseradish addict, so I took a big spoonful of it to go with all three.

The Railway Inn carvery
My large plate of carvery – three meats buried beneath all the veg and gravy!

Delicious, satisfying food

A plate of carvery food isn’t always pretty to look at. But we were all really impressed with the quality of the meat. When you’re mass catering like that, it’s difficult to achieve a texture to everyone’s liking, and I thought they struck the balance nicely – just a little bit of tenderness.

It was a mountain of food that filled a hole more than adequately. If you can’t quite finish your plate, then the staff will wrap up the leftover meat in some foil to take home. (I did this and had enough for lunch the next day, as well as some scraps for the dog!).

There’s an option to add dessert for a fiver extra, but we simply didn’t have room for it. A huge plate of roast dinner washed down with a pint of ale, with the company of friends, was all we needed for a perfect Sunday out.

Sunday carvery large plate
The Sunday carvery at The Railway Inn won’t leave you hungry

Friendly service every step of the way

Every interaction we had with one of the team at The Railway Inn was enjoyable. There’s a special local friendliness about the place. It isn’t a trained, artificial, silver-service kind of friendliness; but rather a genuine, welcome-to-my-home kind of friendliness. The food was lovely, but this was why I really wanted to write about it.

The kitchen staff serving the food were charming and helpful. Typically, I ran out of horseradish sauce, and when I went back to get some more, one of the team brought out a little bowlful just for me. Helpful and convivial all the way.

We noticed an advert for a quiz night at the pub. So, a few days later, I dropped a message to the pub’s Facebook page find out more and see if I could add it to our guide to every pub quiz in Lincoln. I had a quick reply from Sue, with the warm friendliness I’d come to expect, to tell me that’s it’s usually a monthly quiz but not yet on a fixed date.

Staying the night at The Railway Inn

Our trip to The Railway Inn was simply for a Sunday lunch, but it caught our attention that accommodation is available too. (Inn by name, inn by nature.)

En-suite rooms are £48 per night, and camping spaces £23 per night. You can book by emailing the team or giving them a call on 01522 681499.

We also noticed there is an £11 deal for a two-course lunch on weekdays. We will be back to try that soon!

The Railway Inn is also featured in our guide to the best Sunday Roasts in Lincoln. If you have any recommendations for us to try, please get in touch or let us know in the comments below.

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We review the Sunday carvery at the Railway Inn in Thorpe on the Hill, where we experienced the friendliest service in Lincoln!

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