Near the Motorways – Affordable Alternatives to Service Stations

 “How much?!”

  – everyone who has ever stopped at a motorway service station, probably.

Understandably, for anyone who frequents the nation’s motorways, the idea of spending yet another tenner on a soggy sandwich and cold coffee at a soulless service station can make a future journey down the M1 seem somehow even less appealing.

Thankfully, someone who understands this struggle has done us all a favour and put together a bible of better, more affordable alternatives to the service station in the form of – what else – pubs!

Near the Motorways, by Hugh Cantlie, features over 200 ‘personally selected’ pubs, hotels and restaurants within 5 minutes of Britain’s motorways. From the A1 to the M90, this glove-box guide offers inspiration for travellers who endeavour upon any of the 30 routes covered.

Each entry comes with a standard list of essential details including; the postcode for your Satnav, contact details and an indication of the prices you can expect.

Each also boasts its own watercolour image painted by Cantlie himself, and a brief description of the outlet, giving the guide a charming personal touch that your standard guide would likely lack.

As indicated by the edition (this is the 11th) Near the Motorways is regularly updated, both from Cantlie’s experiences and reader suggestions (you can fill out a form at the back of the book or email if you know a particularly good one).

The guide is £15.95 in good old-fashioned paperback form, and £6 for the e-Book version. As Classic Car Weekly put it, “You’ll make back what the guide costs through the savings you’ll make in pub meals.”

To give you a taste of what the guide has to offer we’ve put together a list of some of our favourite spots from the book. Happy travels!



Premier League 2018/19

As if we needed another reason to look forward to Friday – the Premier League is back! With the weekend opening and closing with the league’s two mighty Mancunian teams. First up, the one that did not win last year’s title kicking-off the season at home to Leicester City, live on Sky Sports.

Sunday will then see things wrapped-up by the one that did, as they travel down to that London Town to face newly-managed Arsenal, also live on Sky Sports. There are, of course, many games in between, all of which you can find below, and most of which will likely be shown in these pubs.

Happy new season to all!


Manchester United v Leicester City – 8pm (Live on Sky Sports)


Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur – 12:30pm (Live on Sky Sports)

AFC Bournemouth v Cardiff City – 3pm

Fulham v Crystal Palace – 3pm

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea – 3pm

Watford v Brighton & Hove Albion – 3pm

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton – 5:30pm (Live on BT Sport)


Liverpool v West Ham United – 1:30pm (Live on Sky Sports)

Southampton v Burnley – 1:30pm

Arsenal v Manchester City – 4pm (Live on Sky Sports)

Happy Yorkshire Day!

Ey up, it’s Yorkshire Day! And to celebrate we’ve taken a moment to appreciate just some of the reasons us pub lovers must be grateful to this magnificent county. By ek, there’s some good’ns.

1. Beer!

There are a whole host of fantastic breweries in Yorkshire producing some of the best and most-loved beers in the business. From small, independent craft brewers

to internationally recognised beer brands, Yorkshire is currently at the forefront of one of the country’s most booming industries. The small market town of Masham, West Yorkshire, boasts the T&R Theakston and Black Sheep Breweries, family-run businesses and creators of Old Peculiar and Black Sheep Best, respectively. Meanwhile, up in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, other famous brewer sites include; the Molson Coors Tower Brewery, John Smith’s, and the oldest brewery in the county, Samuel Smith’s. Who, it’s worth noting, still make beer deliveries in and around the town by horse and cart, which is almost too charming to bear. Other popular Yorkshire producers include York Brewery, Timothy Taylor & Co, and Pennine Brewing Co. Now, you wouldn’t be disappointed walking into a pub and seeing a line-up from that lot on the bar, would you?

2. Great pubs

Yorkshire is home to over 5000 pubs and bars, but it’s not only quantity they’ve got to offer, because there’re some pretty interesting boozers amongst the back-drop of those rolling hills. The Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire, is the highest altitude pub in the UK and draws visitors from all over the world to enjoy a pint sitting 1,732ft above sea level. They are renowned for becoming snowed in for days, sometimes weeks, during the winter months. The Bingley Arms, Leeds, is a strong contender for the title of oldest pub in the UK. Recognised as such by the Guinness Book of World Records, the inn reputedly dates back to 905AD and at one time served as a place of refuge for persecuted Catholic priests under the reign of Henry VIII. Then there is The Black Swan  in Oldstead, famously awarded the title of Best Restaurant in the World in 2017 by TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Awards, beating out competition from, well, the whole world apparently.

3. Otley

The historic pub town of Otley, West Yorkshire, prides itself on the number of pubs per head their small corner of the world has to offer. In its heyday Otley had 30 or so pubs

for a population of less than 14,000 – that’s just over 460 people for every pub. Currently, there are 21 pubs operating, meaning one for every 680 residents. And while that’s still not bad going, the drastic fall in pub numbers lead the town to become the first in Britain to list each one as an asset of community value. So, if one goes up for sale, the residents of Otley have 6 months to put together a bid and purchase it for themselves before its broken up and sold for parts by corporates. A town after our own hearts, we feel.

You can find out more about the Otley Pub Club and their historic pub trail, here.

4. Yorkshire Puddings

The crowning glory of any proper British pub roast, the Yorkshire Pudding was gifted to us by the housewives of Yorkshire, who traditionally served them up as a starter to stop their greedy husbands eating too much of the expensive stuff during the main course. But they were not bestowed upon us without condition, there are rules. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry (yes, seriously) a Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall. This requirement was established following an enquiry from an Englishman living in the USA who emailed the RSC ‘seeking scientific advice on the chemistry of the dish following a string of kitchen flops’ (yes, still serious). As a result, the RSC created the guidelines and have even produced an official recipe for the perfect pud. Useful for any of us heathens born outside the Yorkshire borders who do not possess the natural born skill.

5. Sean Bean

Nowt to do with pubs, really, we just love him.



So, ere’s t’you, Yorkshire. We think you’re bloody marvellous!