The Harvey Arms, Finningley: A great pub with an enviable beer garden

The setting couldn’t be better. The Harvey Arms is set well back from a road and away from the carriageway that, after a sharp bend, skirts the soon-to-be-reopened (everyone hopes) Doncaster-Sheffield airport. Across the way is the little village green and beyond that, the ancient pond.

The pub has been here, in one shape or another, for many generations, and along the lane is the medieval parish church. Inside, at least three spaces have been opened out into one, and there is a single bar that serves them all. Outside is where you definitely want to be when there are milder, warmer days, for the Arms boasts one of the best courtyards in the county, a huge grassed and cobbled space with any number of tables and benches, all enclosed by a latched gate, so that toddlers and pets cannot escape onto the pavement and beyond.

Indoors, there are three main banquette areas, two of them to the front of the room, and an arrangement of big, deep comfy settees, as well as dining tables and chairs. Lighting comes from large contemporary chandeliers.There’s a good kitchen here (with changing daily specials) but it’s wise to check in advance for opening and service hours – they can vary. The plates all seem to be ample, and the wine-list, for once, is sensible – and varied. Tea or coffee is there for the asking, and while there’s a limited hand-pulled selection (Theakston’s XB is the mainstay here) there’s a nice range of other beers, lagers and ciders.

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Canines are very welcome and so are their owners. For it’s an amiable place, spotlessly clean, with its own charms. The walls are adorned with sepia pictures of the old Finningley of yesteryear. Before the RAF arrived at the start of WWII, it was clearly a very rural corner, and indeed, much of the area still is. The Arms was at its heart, and that’s where it still wants to be. The Arms has survived, and continues to thrive, but that courtyard is certainly the gem in its crown.

The Harvey Arms, Old Bawtry Road, Finningley, DN9 3BY. 01302 770200

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