Pubs are deeply rooted in English culture, whether it be for an after-work drink with colleagues or a comforting Sunday lunch with family and friends. And while your local pubs may be great, here are some exceptional pubs that distinguish themselves from the rest of the crowd.
1. The Horse and Groom (££-£££)
Photo Credit: The Horse and Groom, http://horseandgroom.info
Address: Bourton on the Hill, Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9AQ
The Horse and Groom is more than just a pub, it is also a B&B, making it awfully convenient if you’re looking for somewhere to stay overnight that also serves incredible food. The secret behind this gastropub’s tasty food is the locally-sourced ingredients the chefs use to cook with, and what’s more, they have a great selection of wines and ales to go with your meal. If you are in the area, definitely pay a visit to this warm, cosy and family friendly pub. To book a table (or a room) call 01386 700413 or go online.
2. The Porch House (££)
Address: Digbeth Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, Cheltenham GL54 1BN
Originally a hospice in 947AD, The Porch House is a hotel as well as an award-winning pub, serving locally-sourced dishes and a wide array of cask ales. Wooden tables, soft cushioned chairs and leather banquettes make for a truly authentic experience, and the traditional pub food is simply delicious. Paired with a great selection of wines and ales from all around the world, what more could you want from a pub? To book, go online or call 01451 870048.
3. The Grainstore (££)
Photo Credit: The Grainstore, https://www.grainstorebrewery.com
Address: Station Approach, Oakham LE15 6RA
Located in a converted railway grain warehouse just next the Oakham train station, The Grainstore opened its doors in 1995 and is recognised as one of the best pubs in Britain. There are plenty of beers on offer- all brewed on the premises- as well as tasty food, that you can enjoy whilst listening to the live performers that the pub hosts on a regular basis (mostly Jazz, Blues and Rock). The décor is very much wood and red bricks, and the premises are decked with wooden chairs and tables, a pool table and many other furnishings that make this pub feel genuine. To book, call 01572 770065 or make a reservation online.
4. The Fat Cat (£)
Photo Credit: The Fat Cat, https://www.facebook.com/fatcatpub/
Address: 49 West End Street, Norwich NR2 4JJ
Dating back to 1991, The Fat Cat is renowned for its wide range of high-quality beers, and stocks over 30 varieties of ales. Chequered floors, dark wooden counter-tops and wooden stools give this pub a characterful feel, as does the staff that works there. This pub is very popular with locals, and tends to get quite busy so it may not be best to bring kids along if you intend on going. To contact the pub, call 01603 624364.
5. Black Bull (£-££)
Address: 1 Yewdale Road, Coniston LA21 8DU
Nestled in the shadow of the Old Man of Coniston mountain, this pub not only serves great beer straight from the on-site micro-brewery, but also offers guests a wide range of food to choose from, as well as a room to stay in overnight if they wish to. Black Bull’s dining room features a red carpet that is decked with polished wooden tables and chairs, and there is also a patio for those who wish to sit outside to take in the views. To book, call 015394 41335 or visit their website.
6. Woods Dulverton (££)
Address: 4 Bank Square, Dulverton TA22 9BU
Woods Dulverton is a pub on the edge of Exmoor, serving great food (of which some is sourced from the pub’s own farm) and wine. This place’s extensive wine list features vintages and fortified wines, and has won them many awards. In effect, this pub has been awarded National Wine Pub of the Year from 2012 to 2016, so if you’re a wine enthusiast, you should definitely stop by the Woods Dulverton. What’s more, the log-cabin type décor works very well to create a cosy atmosphere. To book, call 01398 324007.
7. The White Lion Inn (££)
Photo Credit: The White Lion Inn, http://whitelionbarthomley.co.uk
Address: Audley Road, Barthomley, Cheshire, CW2 5PG
This fabulous Tudor pub dates back to 1614AD and is the epitome of an olde english pub if there ever was one. The church settles that deck the dining room and open coal fires make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. The traditional food served here is home-cooked and locally sourced, and there are six traditional cask ales to choose from. To contact the pub, call 01270 88 22 42.
8. Fleece Inn (£-££)
Photo Credit: The Fleece Inn, https://thefleeceinn.co.uk
Address: The Cross, Bridge St, Bretforton, Evesham WR11 7JE
This historic country pub dates back to the early 15th century, when it was originally built. Now part of the National Trust, the pub attracts locals as well as visitors from all over the world. The Fleece Inn hosts various events throughout the year, such as vintage car gatherings and folk sessions, making it a very lively place. To book, call 01386 831173 or visit their website.
9. The Green Man (££)
Photo Credit: The Green Man, https://www.galvinrestaurants.com/s/315/the-green-man
Address: Main Road, Howe Street, Great Waltham CM3 1BG
The Green Man is one of Essex’s oldest pubs, originally being built in 1314. However a £3 million makeover has rejuvenated the place, turning it into a bright, contemporary space. The menu concentrates on classic pub dishes, and the bar emphasises on high-quality ales, working in close partnership with local craft brewers. To book a table, call 01245 408820 or go online.
10. The Mariners Public House, Rock (££-£££)
Photo Credit: The Mariners Public House, https://nathan-outlaw.com/mariners-rock/
Address: The Mariners Public House, Rock, Cornwall, PL27 7LD
Located in the heart of Rock, this pub overlooks the Camel Estuary, making for beautiful vistas to enjoy whilst you tuck into some traditional pub food, or one of The Mariners’ seasonal specials. The pub has a partnership with Sharp’s Brewery, enabling them to serve a range of well-balanced ales, which the staff are happy to help you pair with your meal. If beer isn’t your thing, there is also a wine list featuring a range of wines to choose from, either by the glass or the bottle. To book, call 01208 863679 or go online.
11. The Hind’s Head (£££)
Photo Credit: The Hind's Head, http://hindsheadbray.com
Address: High St, Bray SL6 2AB
First established as a hunting lodge and coaching inn in the 1400’s, The Hind’s Head has been serving all kinds of visitors. This gastropub owned by Heston Blumenthal serves classic English food with a twist, and also has an impressive wine list with labels from all over the world. The atmosphere is dark and cosy, with big wooden pillars, dark red bricks and stained glass windows contributing to the décor of the pub. To book, call 01628 626151 or go online.
12. The Wigmore (££)
Address: 15 Langham Place, Regent Street, London W1B 3DE
Situated in England’s capital, The Wigmore is a modern take on what classic pubs looked like in the past. The aim was to open a social drinking and eating place that reflected historical British taverns. Beer and Wine are on tap (as well as bottled), and The Wigmore even serves its own beer, brewed in collaboration with Bermondsey’s Brew By Numbers. This place is usually filled with after-work drinkers and buzzing with people who are out for the night. Call 020 7965 0198 to book a table or go online.
13. The Star at Harome (££-£££)
Photo Credit: The Star at Harome, http://www.thestaratharome.co.uk/index.htm
Address: Main St, Harome, near Helmsley YO62 5JE
This 14th century thatched inn is home to a high-class restaurant, awarded with a Michelin Star. The appetising menu is complemented by The Star’s comprehensive wine list, and places emphasis on using regional and seasonal ingredients. The classy tables and beautiful padded seating create a wonderful ambiance for any guests choosing to visit this pub. To book a table, call 01439 770397.
14. The Pony and Trap (££-£££)
Photo Credit: The Pony and Trap, http://theponyandtrap.co.uk
Address: Chew Magna, Bristol BS40 8TQ
This award-winning country pub is run by brother and sister Josh and Holly, who have managed to achieve and retain a Michelin star since 2011. This gastropub promotes local food sourcing, and has a ‘field to fork’ ethos meaning that all dishes are made with fresh, regional ingredients. The casual décor caters for both locals and food lovers alike, so the pub is usually bustling with guests. To book, call 01275 332627 or go online.
15. The Pipe and Glass (£££)
Photo Credit: The Pipe and Glass, http://www.pipeandglass.co.uk
Address: West End, South Dalton, Beverley HU17 7PN
The Pipe and Glass is a renowned gastropub serving pub classics as well as extravagant restaurant-style dishes. This 15th century inn also has an award-winning wine list that offers a vast variety of bottles to choose from, and a great range of ales on top of that. The traditional, olde interior makes for a very pleasant atmosphere, and attracts customers from all over. To book, call 01430 810246.
16. Black Swan (£££)
Photo Credit: The Black Swan, http://www.blackswanoldstead.co.uk
Address: Oldstead, York YO61 4BL
Owned and run by the Banks Family, the Black Swan has a Michelin star and was recently awarded the title of ‘best restaurant in the world’. The plates and bowls are all made to order by a ceramicist in York, and the restaurant grows a lot of its ingredients in-house (almost all the fruit and veg is grown at The Black Swan). Unsurprisingly, the food is terrific and the wine list is extensive, offering great pairing possibilities. To book, call 01347 868387 or go online.