Pub of the Week: Elephant and Castle, Hemingfield

The Elephant and Castle, near Barnsley
The Elephant and Castle, near Barnsley
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Stop for a while at this delightful former coaching inn, and you are stepping back some centuries into a rich social history. Many drinkers and diners have walked over the stone-flagged floors and on a very cold winter’s afternoon, as the log fire roars at one end of the bar, it’s a pleasant refuge from the outdoors.

A very jolly crowd, including our little trio, tucked in to warming food. In our case, some of the biggest roast pork baguettes that you have ever seen, with lashings of delicious gravy and some roast spuds thrown in for good measure. The designated drivers went for generously large mugs of freshly brewed coffee, missing out on a pint of Hardy and Hanson’s very best.

The place is stylishly, but sympathetically decorated, in light greens and pastels, the furniture is comfortable and on the traditional side, and there are lots of nice wee touches – the tea-light holders on the tables are all in the shape of an elephant. Strangely, there isn’t an outside hanging sign-board, but there is a lovely old stained glass window with a cheery-looking jumbo right by the main door.

The staff are nearly all youngsters, smartly dressed, polite but outgoing, and the emphasis is on efficient service without hurrying anyone along. We hadn’t booked at a busy time of the week, but we were immediately offered a space, and very pleasant it all was.

The only fly in the ointment is that the wine prices are, for hereabouts, a tad on the steep side – they start at £15 a throw for a not very distinguished label.

• Tingle Bridge Lane, Hemingfield, Barnsley, S73 0NT. 01226 755986.