The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside

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The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside

Something I am asked time and time again is, 'Where is good to eat near Gibside?' and now I'm pleased I can recommend this gem of a pub. The Woodsmans Arms is just a 6 minute drive from Gibside and the perfect place to relax with the family after a walk around the popular National Trust estate. Make sure you build up an appetite as the portions are super generous and you'll want to leave room for their sticky toffee pudding.

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - exterior

My first impression of The Woodmans Arms was that it was huge and busy. They're obviously very popular and I'd recommend booking in advance where possible. There's a large car park, beer garden (we'll be back in the summer), bar and restaurant area. We were booked into the shed which is available for private dining or small get-togethers - a cute little nook which is just the right spot for a family meal. 

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - floral design

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - interior design

The interior won't be to everyone's taste and it's floral and botanical vibe very much reminded me of The Botanist, I personally loved it and with roaring fires, flower walls and arches, mismatched furniture and an open pizza oven, the pub feels warm, welcoming and like a place you can really kick back and relax in. I would say it's an Instagrammers dream too but on a late December lunchtime, the low and intimate lighting was difficult to work with and too much for my DSLR to cope with (thank goodness for Steve's iPhone X which is much better in low-light situations). If you're after some beautiful photographs, I bet this place really comes into its own in summer (anyone else yearning for natural light again??).

The bar stocks a wide range of drinks with gins seeming to be a bit of a speciality, I went with my go-to Sunday lunch drink of choice and ordered a large Merlot to enjoy whilst browsing the menu. The venue feels high-end but this isn't reflected in the drinks prices with a large glass of wine coming in at £5.50. 

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - merlot

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - sunday menu

The Woodmans Arms serves a small but perfectly formed Sunday menu and as everything is prepared in-house, their chefs are more than happy to adapt dishes too. Sunday Roasts are priced at £11.95 which is a pretty standard gastro-pub price and their portion sizes are pretty big. I think offer really good value for money. 

We sorted the kids out first (the lovely staff brought their mains out with our starters - always a winner). Heidi and Harry both went with log fire pizzas (which are available in full size or child size portions) and both loved them. It's not often you'll find pizza on a Sunday lunch menu in a pub so they were chuffed to be able to indulge in one of their favourite treats. Their pizzas looked lush and despite my hints, they wouldn't let me try a bite so you'll just have to take their word for it that they're good. Jack went with his go-to fish and and chips. The Woodmans Arms have recently been shortlisted for a national fish and chips award. Jack also takes reviewing fish and chips very seriously and ranks these ones as the 4th best he's ever had (behind Coastline Blyth, Evan's Bistro and randomly the Christmas market at Edinburgh). Jack has eaten a lot of fish and chips in his life so 4th place is pretty respectable. Ordering a smaller portion and switching mushy peas to garden peas wasn't a problem at all. 

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - kids meals and pizza

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - log fire pizza

Steve ordered the Haggis Scotch Egg with Herby Mayo to start and really enjoyed it - he said the haggis wasn't too overpowering and it's a great dish to try in January if you're celebrating Burn's Night but don't want to go OTT. 

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - haggis scotch egg starter

I ordered one of my favourite starters - King Prawns with Sweet Chilli Sauce. It's a dish that's fairly difficult to get wrong and this one hit the spot. 

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - king prawn starter

There was a bit of a wait between our starters and mains. We'd brought some activity books for the kids to keep them occupied and if we hadn't have done this, they would have been a bit bored so I'd recommend you come prepared if you're visiting during peak times. The pub was full to the brim with lots of big family tables and I can only imagine how busy the kitchen was. Sometimes slower service does get my back up, especially when staff just seem to ignore you but they handled it really well at The Woodmans Arms. The staff were so lovely and kept checking on us and asking if we needed any more drinks/apologising for the delay and letting diners know they were really busy today and there would be a little wait plus updating diners on how long it was likely to be. On leaving I checked my watch and it had taken 2 hours for 3 courses for the 5 of us which isn't bad at all actually. I'd say service was at a leisurely pace rather than slow but if you're looking for a quick bite to eat on a Sunday, I'd maybe stick with just one course or eat outside of peak times. 

Sunday lunch was more than worth the wait......

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - beef brisket sunday dinner

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside - sunday roast

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - roast beef and yorkshire pudding

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - side of vegetables

I ordered the slow-cooked beef brisket and it is the best beef dinner I've eaten in a long time. The beef is slow cooked and so tender that it was literally falling apart as I cut into it. So, so good. Steve ordered the pork and enjoyed that too but it was all about the beef for me. If you like your beef beautifully tender, you must try it. Served with a homemade Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, root mash, greens, carrots and parsnips and an extra jug of gravy, it quite literally was the Sunday lunch of dreams. Everything was home-cooked, full of flavour and how a proper Sunday lunch should be.  Steve ordered extra Savoy cabbage on the side but I'd say this probably wasn't needed as there was more than enough to go around. The Woodmans Arms pride themselves on supporting local farms and butchers and the quality really shows. 

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - sunday lunch

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - roast dinner

Once we'd finished our mains, the kids were dying for dessert and we'd heard good things about their Sticky Toffee Puddings so all went for the same. Steve and I decided to split one which I kind of regret now as they were nice and light and I easily could have had a full one (greedy much!).

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - sticky toffee pudding

My boys are pros at taste-testing Sticky Toffee Pudding and Jack gave this one 10/10. Harry wasn't too keen on the aftertaste (which I couldn't taste but it's important to give a rounded review I think - also, he had just wolfed down a large pepperoni pizza which isn't exactly the best match to sticky toffee pudding). I loved it - the toffee sauce really brought the best out of the sponge and I'd have no hesitation in recommending this dish as the perfect way to end your Sunday lunch. In fact as I type this now I am craving another bite.

The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside  - sticky toffee pudding

We were really impressed with The Woodsmans Arms. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a proper Sunday lunch with the family near Gibside. What really stood out for me (alongside that amazing roast beef) was just how passionate and friendly the staff were about providing a great dining experience. The service we received was outstanding and it wasn't just for us as we were there as bloggers. I watched as the owner welcomed back guests as old friends and was actually visible and checking on tables himself, spotted the young waiting staff helping with pushchairs and honestly the staff never stood still - they were constantly checking everyone was happy. The pub is independently owned which seems to be a bit of a rare thing these days and there were lots of small details such as the basket of deodorants, sanitary towels and hairspray in the ladies loos which show just how welcoming the team are.

Disclosure : The Woodsmans Arms invited us along to enjoy a meal on the house and share our honest opinion. We have not been paid to write this post and The Woodsmans Arms have had no editorial control. 


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The Woodmans Arms Review | Sunday Lunch near Gibside

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5 comments

  1. I can't believe we didn't discover this place until a few weeks ago, it's crazy! I never would have known it existed if it wasn't for Instagram (I get all of my greatest North East discoveries from Instagram!) - I had a delicious festive pizza (full Christmas dinner on a pizza - amazing) when I went but I can't wait to go back and try a Sunday lunch after a brisk hike at Gibside.

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    Replies
    1. I can't wait to try their pizzas in the summer x

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  2. Sunday's are my favourite day of the week for this very reason. Love a roast! And you've definitely just sold this to me - it's going on the list x

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    Replies
    1. Definitely one to add to your list - it's lush!

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  3. The food looks and sounds great. We have never been to Gibside so I'm adding that and this onto my hit list for things to do in 2019. I love that Jack rated it 4th for fish and chips knowing how much he loves his fish and chips! We both love a sticky toffee pudding and are always on the look out for a good one so I know Papa G will want to visit here!

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