UK Pubs - More Than a Pie and a Pint
Going to the pub. It’s a British tradition. Even in the 21st-century, UK pubs are still a social hub – especially in the countryside. And as many serve traditional British food, as well as real ales, a visit to a few UK pubs is a must on any culinary tour.
Rural Retreats - Country Inns and Pubs
Your best chance of a finding a traditional – and picturesque - pub in the UK is in the countryside. Country inns can be just as lovely. In case you’re wondering, inns differ to pubs in that inns offer accommodation – often with plenty of character. Historic coaching inns, where horse-drawn mail coaches would once have stopped, are well worth investigating. And although many
UK pubs and inns
have sadly closed in recent years – or been turned into bland bars by major chains – it’s still possible to find a cosy village pub with a roaring fire, horse brasses on the walls, real ales and a friendly atmosphere. You just need to know where to go.
They may not have the picturesque charm of rural pubs and inns, but there are many traditional city pubs in the UK that are well worth investigating. Certain London pubs, for instance, are full of history – like the Jerusalem Tavern, which dates back to the 14th-century, or Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, where Charles Dickens once drank. And there are plenty more historic pubs in other UK cities, such as Manchester – try the eccentrically named The Britons Protection; the wonderfully ornate Philharmonic in Liverpool, or the
in Edinburgh – where Ian Rankin, and his literary creation Inspector Rebus, drink. Many city pubs also offer live music or good food.
A number of UK pubs have become ‘gastro pubs’ in recent years. Here the food is the focus, rather than the beer. Some celebrity chefs, including Gordon Ramsay, have opened their own gastro pubs and traditional British food – often with a contemporary twist, is generally on the menu. So that means you’ll have a chance to try old favourites such as steak and kidney pie, sausage and mash – maybe even spotted dick! The prices can be higher than in other pubs, however, so check them out first if you’re on a budget.
If you visit UK pubs, be sure to try some real ale – the more traditional pubs, rather than trendy bars, are the best place to find it. Real ales are brewed in traditional fashion: they’re made with hops, malted barley, yeast and water and fermented in a cask. They won’t be gassy – and yes, they’re served at room temperature. The
Campaign for Real Ale
(CAMRA), which started in the early 1970s, has been very successful in encouraging pubs to stock real ales. They even produce an annual guide to pubs that serve good beers in a great atmosphere – The Good Beer Guide. There are some great historic pubs too - including one close to Bosworth Field, the battlefield where Richard III, the 15th-century king whose body
was recently discovered buried under a car park,
Country Inns and Pubs
Pubs in Scotland
Pubs in Wales