Travel in England: English pubs

English pubs - The Rising Sun, Berkhamsted

If there is one thing I miss when I’m not in England it is English pubs. A “public house” (from a house that is “open to the public”) is often the focal point of a community and indeed Samuel Pepys described the pub as the heart of England.

So it stands to reason that when you are embarking on your dream trip around England you will want to factor in a few visits to some of these wonderful institutions.

Oxfordshire pub, England

Perhaps the oldest pub in England? Unfortunately the title is disputed. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, Hertfordshire is currently in the Guinness Book of Records but both Ye Olde Man & Scythe in Bolton and Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham claim to be hundreds of years older.

Ye-Olde-Fighting-Cocks-St-Albans

Regardless, the Fighting Cocks is worth a visit for its lovely setting between the Abbey and the Roman ruins, and for its unusual octagonal shape (it was originally a pigeon house). Apparently there may still be tunnels between the Abbey and the beer cellars of the pub – very convenient for the monks.

Pub names can often be entertaining (as above) but there are some firm favourites: There are no fewer than 518 pubs called the Red Lion in England. Crowns, Royal Oaks and White Harts are also very popular. I think perhaps my favourite pub name in England is The World’s End in Camden, London.

The Full Moon pub, Hertfordshire

Some pubs have evolved from original coaching inns, some were linked with independent and commercial breweries in the 18th century.

Whether you stand at the bar or sit in the ‘snug’, what you have come for is the traditional English ale. Brewed from malted barley and Kentish hops, cask-conditioned and slow pumped at the bar, ‘real ale’ is a real pleasure.

Marlow ale at the Stag & Huntsman

Many pubs offer food, from the basic to the gastronomic, and a favourite of mine is the Ploughman’s Lunch. It is as English as roast beef or fish and chips and consists primarily of cheese, chutney and bread. I also love a few extras like a fresh apple and some pickled onions.

English pubs - Ploughman's Lunch

Later this month I will be travelling to Northern Ireland and I intend to conduct a serious comparative study between English and Irish pubs – look out for the update post!

Natasha

 

The following two tabs change content below.
Natasha von Geldern is a travel writer, editor and blogger who is passionate about making the pages of the atlas real by travelling the world. Her big dream, apart from travel blogging world domination, is to launch her own e-magazine. She is a contributor to Travel Wire Asia, Wild Junket Magazine, Yahoo! Total Travel and Travelbite. You can find her on World Wandering Kiwi. Natasha’s post day is Saturday.
If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

Latest posts by Natasha von Geldern, Travel the World (see all)

  • That looks like such a great time. With warm weather here, this post makes me wish we had cool pubs to check out. Guess I’ll have to get over there!

  • ImanWoods

    I want to go. All your posts and photography make me want to go.