The Talbot Inn, Mells, Somerset
Celebrating a birthday? Or just feeling properly carnivorous. We love the Grill Room at The Talbot in Mells where for £14 you can eat your bodyweight in a platter of grilled meats, leg of lamb, chicken, beef, pork plus roast pots and veg.
Whole sea bream cooked over the fire or baked camembert for the fainter hearted. Huge tables are shared so book with a group of friends or try out the pub restaurant - anchovy and wild garlic brisket of lamb with mash? The menu changes frequently and there are pub staples including a perfect burger, fish and chips and ploughman's. The food is outstanding, the vibe is laid back, the Bloody Mary's spot on. Basically your perfect Sunday lunch spot in the exquisitely pretty village of Mells.
Sam's on the Beach, Polkerris, Cornwall
We're massive fans of Sam's, which has sunsoaked Sundays written all over it but works just as well in winter cosied up inside with a view of the lashing waves. On a warm day, cadge one of the non-bookable tables right on the sand and you'll never want to leave. The food is great here - huge crispy pizzas which the kids will go nuts for, vast pots of Thai style mussels or a shared seafood platter of crab claws, prawns, sardines, mussels and clams. For meat-eaters slow roast belly of pork and rib eye steak. Sam's on the Beach is housed in an old RNLI lifeboat station and is decked out in traditional seaside whites and blues. We love.
The Swan at Wedmore has gone from strength to strength since opening 18 months ago under ex River Cottage chef Tom Blake. It's a laid-back and unpretentious pub serving serious food and, we'd say, a perfect spot for Sunday lunch. Check out the summer menu, you'll be hard pressed to choose. Wood roasted loin of Old Spot with mustard sauce? Organic burger, Keen cheddar, spring slaw and hand cut chips? Beetroot pakora with curried potatoes and Dorset black garlic & kohlrabi tzatziki - not your staple veggie fare. Or perhaps a classic steak and chips with garlic and parsley butter. Puddings are legendary here - home made ice creams, chocolate brownie with beetroot and orange sorbet, elderflower pannacotta, macerated strawberries and honeycomb. The beautiful Mendip hills are just a few miles away if you need to walk off the excess.
Hix Oyster & Fish House, Lyme Regis, Dorset
Ok it's a bit spenny for your average Sunday lunch so save this one for birthdays, anniversaries and lottery wins. It's worth it. Mark Hix has created a beautifully lit, lo-fi space with knock out views over Lyme Regis Harbour. A chilled-out backdrop for his spectacular fish, about as fresh as you can eat and treated very simply so the ingredients speak for themselves. Since blowing out is order of the day rude not to start with half a dozen Rock oysters or steamed River Exe mussels. Whole fish with hollandaise or green sauce, a totally stunning fish pie, lobster and chips, monkfish and butternut squash curry - the cooking here is truly stellar. By the way carnivores, there's perfect steak too. Worth knowing that there are ping pong tables and crazy golf handily located outside for kids while you finish off the Chablis.
In summer when the sun shines there is literally nowhere better than this oasis, recently revamped to allow more seating and shabby-chic antique furniture everywhere (much of it on sale). Head here for coffee and the Sunday papers followed by one of Mitch Earl's work of art Bloody Mary's (he won't share the recipe). The menu changes frequently to reflect the garden produce but expect delicious soups, risottos, paella, barbecued lamb from Pythouse estate or try one of the sharing platters with a little bit of everything. The spectacular garden is the star of the show and now, thanks to 2 woodburning stoves and a glass panelled conservatory, you can enjoy it all year round.
The Albion, Clifton Village, Bristol
Sunday lunches are an institution at this enduringly popular pub in the heart of Clifton Village. Incredible overnight roast sirloin of beef is the star of the show with goose fat roasted potatoes and mouthwatering Yorkshires. They also do a memorable roast chicken. Non meat eaters won't miss out with delicious fish and vegetarian options. A special mention must go to the unbelievable sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream. Service is relaxed and friendly and on a summer's day it's worth tipping up early for one of the tables in the courtyard. Not the cheapest option but hard to beat. Another great place for Sunday lunch in Bristol is The Lansdown on Clifton Road.
The Magdalen Chapter, Exeter, Devon
We wouldn't normally recommend a hotel for Sunday lunch, even an uber-cool one, just feels a bit Saga-ish somehow. But we have to make an exception for the restaurant of Exeter's Magdalen Chapter Hotel - a spectacular, very cool room serving inventive and truly delicious food. We'd be tempted to save this one for a group of friends with the possibility of walking along the canal first (or testing out the inhouse REN spa). Start with small tapas plates of grilled chorizo, grilled flatbread and hummus and crisp cauliflower and yoghurt which were collectively mindblowing when we tried them. Set menus are a reasonable £13.95 for 2 courses - ham hock terrine with remoulade and sourdough, followed by Catalan fish stew with ailoi? Blow out with some chilled vanilla rice pudding and rhubarb afterwards. Not surprising to learn that renowned chef Simon Hopkinson advises on the menus. The cocktails here are sublime incidentally but that's a whole other story and one that's not suitable for lunch time.
The Beckford Arms, Fonthill Gifford, Wiltshire
We pretty much moved to Wiltshire on the strength of this pub which has since burnt down and been lovingly restored to an even higher standard. This is the ultimate for Sunday roasts - whole chickens delivered to your table, with spot-on gravy, crunchy roast potatoes, perfectly cooked veg. Or try roast rib of aged beef and yorkshire pudding, slow roasted shoulder of locally reared lamb with cauliflower cheese, roasted pork belly and crackling. It has the vibe of a Sunday lunch cooked yourself without any of the mess (or the chopping, peeling and washing up). Delicious clarets by the glass, roaring fires in winter and a huge, sloping garden in the summer with a sand pit for younger kids and hammocks for older ones. Your ultimate basically.
Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives, Cornwall (April to October)
There are so many brilliant beach restaurants in Cornwall these days, but Porthminster, one of the first and much copied, always delivers. Head here for fish and chips with tartar sauce (sustainable haddock cooked to perfection) or mussels steamed with Cornish cider, sorrel, nettles, tomato and creme fraiche. Salt and spice squid is legendary. There's meat here too but always with a twist- loving the sound of sticky Cornish pork belly, jasmine rice, cucumber salad and sesame. Your offspring can wolf down some (golden and perfectly crunchy) chips, then play on the beach below while you sip a cold beer. Makes you feel like you're in the South of France (but glad you're not).
The Bull Hotel, Bridport, Dorset
The Bull is an oasis in the heart of Bridport, no other word for it. They get everything right here but the Sunday lunches deserve special mention. The menu is eclectic and crowd-pleasing. How about a rib of beef to share with all the trimmings or tempura-battered hake and chips, lamb tagine with cous cous or The Bull's fish pie hake, salmon, prawn topped with a gruyere glaze. And if that seems too full on (which it definitely isn't) you can always hit the cider house at the back of the pub for jugs of cider and serious stone-baked pizzas. We need to mention the Bloody Mary's which are awesome and come by the jug, not to mention the Guinness (we're talking Dublin standard) and the delicious hot chocolates. The vibe here is cool and laid-back, you'll wish you were staying in one of the beautiful bedrooms and a lock-in at the after-hours Venner Bar. Afterwards a stroll among Bridport's fantastic second hand book shops or perhaps the beach, just a stone's throw away at West Bay?