Winter arrives at Rutland's oldest pub

A new Winter menu featuring game, warm homemade bread and local charcuterie has launched at the oldest pub in Rutland.

83198C4B-29E3-4559-93A3-5118085D0A5B.JPG

Cosy by the inglenook

- The Blue Ball

The Blue Ball in Braunston-in-Rutland has been offering weary travellers a place to stop and enjoy hot food and a cosy atmosphere since 1640 but the thatched inn has been baffling customers with its unusual name for the latter part of its history.

Managers Pip Nall and Dominic Way believe it comes from an old tradition whereby a blue ball was placed outside a coaching inn to let coach drivers know to stop there for passengers.

Pip said: "It has always been an inn and at one point this would have been the main road running through the village, so coaches would have stopped here.

"The village would have been in a circular shape with livestock kept in the middle and the pub is three cottages knocked into one, so it will have changed a lot over the years but the original features such as the inglenook fireplace are still here."

The new menu features plenty of seasonal local produce, such as venison haunch and Rutland Charcuterie and the specials menu is constantly changing to reflect what produce is available.

Pip added: "We've run some of the dishes such as our homemade soups over as they're often vegan and our burger is always very popular.

"We use fresh, seasonal and local produce as much as possible so the Sunday menu is always changing."

The pub even has its own Blue Ball Brown Bitter brewed by Marston's which visitors can enjoy by the open log fire.

The menu, which launched in November, has already proved popular with regulars and tourists.

Pip said: "People are used to seeing things like game on the menu at this time of year and it's always a popular choice but we will always have pub classics on the menu for our regulars like ham, egg and chips."

Food is served at The Blue Ball Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm (5.30pm to 9.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays) and Sundays 12pm to 3pm.

Megan is the owner of Rural Roots PR & Journalism, specialising in rural tourism, where her passion for travel, heritage and a great visitor experience inspired her to start 'The Rural Travel Guide'.

Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.