Lincolnshire Pride

Dining Out at The Queen’s Head

What better way to celebrate your third anniversary than with a visit from the AA to award your restaurant its first rosette!  The Queen’s Head country dining restaurant, at Kirkby la Thorpe near Sleaford, has been under the ownership of Francis & Erin Taylor since June 2021 with Head Chef Barry Liversidge in the kitchen since its opening… and we reckon that its latest accolade is very well-deserved!

Whilst out walking in Scotland, a tourist once passed the late Queen Elizabeth II and remarked ‘you look just like The Queen,’ to which the monarch, who was renowned for her wit and sense of humour replied ‘how reassuring.’

Speaking of familiar monarchs, next month represents three years since Francis & Erin Taylor and their Head Chef Barry Liversidge took over The Queen’s Head, in the village of Kirkby la Thorpe just a stone’s throw from Sleaford.

Since then the building itself, its interiors, menus and Barry’s dishes themselves may have given the place a totally new identity, but the familiar values of quality dining, an appreciation for seasonality and local suppliers, plus an understanding of what local diners enjoy all remain very much in evidence. As The Queen said, that sense of familiarity is reassuring.

When Francis and Erin Taylor purchased the place in June 2021, they embarked on a full refurbishment, reopening it with a fresh new look and a more contemporary silver colour scheme. Head Chef Barry Liversidge has been in post ever since the place reopened and has very consciously noted his diners’ preferences over the time, gradually evolving his menus to ‘give the public what they want.’ And what they want, Barry says, is a country dining restaurant with well-executed dishes, confident flavours, provenance and consistency.

The AA concurs, too, for just after our visit The Queen’s Head was visited by the group, and presented with their first rosette. The accolade denotes a restaurant that ‘achieve standards that stand out in their local area, and ‘serves food prepared with care, understanding and skill, using good quality ingredients.’ We’re happy to underwrite that assessment, and Barry is proud, too.

“We’re weren’t chasing an award, but it is very flattering – we don’t aspire to a Michelin star and we reject terms like gastropub,” says Barry. “Our real measure of success is happy diners, and for us that’s achieved with authentic food prepared with skill, well-presented and fairly priced.”

The Queen’s Head comprises of a 40-seater restaurant with white table linen, low ceilings and a comfortable, intimate feel, perfect for evening dining. There’s a conservatory too and a covered outdoor terrace which is ideal for those seeking fresh air dining in summer.

In terms of menus, there’s a single, simple, daytime menu with five starters, five main courses and four desserts, optimised for prompt service with lighter dishes and a choice of two or three courses for £24.95 and £29.95 respectively. A dinner menu during evening service provides à la carte dining and adds a couple of extra dishes per course. 

There are several specials on offer each day too, supplier-led and dictated by ingredients that Barry sees are especially good that day and offer scope for creativity. Two chefs work alongside General Manager Kevin Bligh who provides friendly, attentive and well-organised front of house service. 

Barry and the team create their own speciality bread in-house but also work with family-run Bloomsbury Bread in Grantham, and source produce like traceable, free range pedigree and rare-breed meat from Helpringham’s Corner Farm, eggs from Ruskington’s Priory Free Range Foods, and rapeseed oil from Hogsthorpe’s R G Taylor on the  East Coast.

Barry, though favouring local suppliers, isn’t shy about venturing further afield for the best suppliers either. Nottinghamshire’s Gelston Lamb and Price & Fretwell of Derbyshire provide butchery, whilst ice creams and sorbets are from Retford’s Thaymar.

Other points to note include the provision of discounted dining for senior citizens during both lunchtime and evening service on Mondays and Tuesdays – happily, the place is open seven days a week – whilst a quiz night on a Tuesday evening is helping to ensure The Queen’s Head remains a favourite with villagers whilst also proving popular with diners from Lincoln, Boston, Newark, Horncastle, Woodhall Spa and of course Sleaford’s outlying villages.

One intriguing idea that’s set to return (on an as yet unconfirmed date) is the restaurant’s Dining in the Dark evenings. These are best described as mindful dining experiences with really subdued lighting encouraging diners to enjoy a tasting menu where the experience of different flavours is enhanced by dining, not quite blindfolded, but certainly without testing the adage that ‘one eats with his eyes first.’  

Looking further ahead, The Queen’s Head team also has future plans for the restaurant. They’re still very much under wraps at the moment, but should prove to further enhance the opportunity to dine at one of Lincolnshire’s most established country dining rooms later in 2024.

For now, though, summer dining is a compelling prospect thanks to Barry and the team’s efforts to ensure The Queen’s Head remains absolutely at the top of its game. A great recommendation for summer dining!

On The Menu: The Queen’s Head, Kirkby la Thorpe

Ham hock terrine, Granny Smith and caper jam, crispy pork £8.50.
Marinated heritage tomatoes, whipped goats’ cheese, crouton, tomato water, basil £8.95.
Confit chicken and spring onion terrine, mushroom ketchup, and sourdough £8.50.
Cream of watercress soup, poached egg, bakery bread £7.50.

Main Courses
Pan-roasted chicken breast, Piccolo parsnip, black cabbage, Parmesan croquette, wild mushroom butter sauce, £18.50.
Pan-fried pollock, buttered leeks, spring onion, new potatoes and smoked mussel butter sauce £18.95.
Corner Farm of Helpringham pork chop, butterbean mash, roasted apple, black cabbage, cider sauce £22.50.
Pan roasted chicken breast, dauphinoise potato, charred corn, pak choi, spring onion, wild mushroom butter sauce £18.75.
Lincolnshire pan-roasted trout, garden pea, spinach, baby onion, herbs, baked potato sauce £18.95.


Dark chocolate cremeux, and ginger shortbread with caramelised banana £7.50.
Sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch sauce, vanilla ice cream, £7.95.
72% chocolate brownie, raspberry compote, raspberry sorbet £7.95
Warm treacle tart, clotted cream, pear, caramel £7.95
Lincolnshire Poacher, Colston Basset, Red Fox, Baron Bigod, Dazel Ash celery, grape chutney, Lincolnshire plum bread, water crackers £9.50/three £12.95/five.
NB: This is a sample menu, and featured dishes are subject to availability and change.

The Queen’s Head, Kirkby la Thorpe, near Sleaford

The Pitch: The Queen’s Head enjoys a long-standing reputation as a top Lincolnshire dining room and remains synonymous with great dining under chef Barry Liversidge.
Lunchtime: 12:00 – 14:15, Mon-Sat. Evening Service: 17:30 – 19:45 Mon-Sat. Sunday lunch service from 12:00 – 15:45.

The Queens Head, Church Lane, Kirkby La Thorpe, NG34 9NU Call 01529 300750 or see