YOU don’t have to go far to enjoy good food and drink, and a warm welcome.

The Mowden Pub, Darlington, is a friendly and welcoming community pub with a focus on relaxed dining and social drinking.

It has everything you could wish for if you’re looking for a delicious, home-cooked meal and a fine selection of ales, wines, spirits and soft drinks.

Don’t worry if you have fussy eaters in your group - the extensive menu includes interesting selections for all dietary requirements, including gluten free, vegetarian and vegan.

Whether you’re pushing the boat out and having a full, three-course meal, or if you just want a quick and tasty light lunch, The Mowden can cater for everyone.

Since the licence was taken over by Simon and Rachel Leadbetter, just a couple of years ago, they’ve created a versatile hostelry that accommodates social drinkers, as well as customers who want to enjoy what’s on the menu.

Having identified that two separate rooms – one as a food and drink area and one as a function room – weren’t working so well, they knocked through to increase the dining area. However, by installing bi-fold doors, they have maintained the flexibility that allows the space to be turned back into two separate rooms.

Simon says: “We have a very experienced team in the kitchen, and we offer home-cooked food that isn’t pretentious. Our philosophy is: ‘If we can’t make it, we don’t serve it’ – so everything is home-made.”

They have been delighted to see an increase in the dining side of the business, but they haven’t lost sight of the fact that The Mowden is a traditional pub for drinkers, and part of the newly extended area is still a ‘no food’ zone.

A private function room with bar, for up to 60 guests, is also available to be hired for meetings, parties and celebrations, with catering by The Mowden arranged as required.

Never ones to rest on their laurels, and always keen to offer their customers something new, Simon and Rachel have already arranged their Christmas Fayre menu, which will be available from September.

Future plans include an improved exterior with a large decked area to the rear, and a revamp of the beer garden at the front.

Staindrop Road, Darlington, Co Durham, DL3 9BE

Telephone: 01325 488740