In 21st Century Britain, chain pubs and bars are ten a penny – and as a consequence, traditional pubs are becoming scarcer, making it increasingly difficult to find a unique pub experience.
With that in mind, HotelClub have taken a step back in time and found seven of the oldest pubs in Great Britain – the best way to travel the country enjoying not just a pint, but a bit of history too.
The Clachan Inn (Scotland, est. 1734)
Officially the oldest pub in Scotland, dating back to 1734, the Clachan Inn is your classic traditional pub, serving a range of beers and a welcoming atmosphere, allowing visitors the opportunity to enjoy their favourite tipple in a relaxing and cosy environment.
With charming staff, a fabulous menu and a roaring log fire to warm your toes after a day walking round nearby Loch Lomond, you’ll never want to leave.
The Sheep Heid Inn (Edinburgh, est. 1710 – or possibly 1360…)
The Sheep Heid Inn resides in the heart of Edinburgh and (unofficially) claims to be the oldest tavern in Scotland, established in 1360 – although this point is disputed.
Rivals for the record argue that while records show that some form of drinking establishment existed at that time, it is unlikely to have been named The Sheep Heid Inn, which may have been established some time later – the earliest confirmed record of the pub’s name was in 1710.
Boasting an old-fashioned skittle alley and award-winning food, this charming traditional pub has remained a hit with both natives and tourists for anywhere between 300 and 650 years - depending on who you believe - and has played a small but significant role in Scotland’s history, hosting the Jacobite army in the 18th Century.
The Old Ferryboat (Holywell, est. 12th Century approx.)
This detached pub in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire is right by the river Ouse, and is said to have been built in AD560, which would make it the oldest pub in Britain.
However, the first record of the pub’s existence dates to around the start of the 12th Century – which, in fairness, still means it’s approaching its millennial!
After a long day walking along the banks of the Ouse, there’s nothing better than enjoying a quiet pint in this charming, rustic inn.
The Man and Scythe (Bolton, est. 1251)
Though it is uncertain exactly when Ye Olde Man and Scythe first opened, records show that it dates back to at least 1251, over 750 years ago.
This charming tavern has enjoyed a fantastic reputation among locals and visitors alike for many years thanks to its traditional design and quality beer, but has enjoyed even greater popularity in recent years, ever since it took on the title of “Britain’s most haunted pub” after tourists spotted a mysterious figure at the upstairs window.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (Nottingham, est. 1189)
Another pub whose opening date is unconfirmed, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem claims to date back as far as 1189. Known to locals as the Trip, what sets this old-fashioned inn apart is its location – set into the side of a cliff, with caves underneath the building, the pub has capitalised on its awe-inspiring locale, offering a tour of the cellars with a potted history of the local area.
With a celebrated menu – the Trip is famous for its steak – and a number of seasonal ales, this traditional pub makes the most of its long history.
The Skirrid Inn (Abergavenny, est. 1110)
The Skirrid Mountain Inn, better known as the Skirrid Inn, is generally considered to be the oldest pub in Wales, with references to the pub cropping up in records from over a thousand years ago – although the current building was constructed in the 17th Century.
Those with an interest in the occult may be interested to know that it is also one of the most haunted pubs in Wales, at least according to the locals – legend has it that the Abergavenny inn was used to hang criminals, with rope markings still visible on various beams around the pub, and the ghost of the judge who dished out the death sentences is said to roam the premises to this day.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks (St. Albans, est. 795)
Situated in the heart of rural Hertfordshire, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks dates back to the end of the 8th Century, making it the oldest pub in England according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The current building was erected around a thousand years ago, making it one of the oldest taverns on our list – a point highlighted by the pub’s low ceilings, which are very much of that era – and the pub has been a local landmark ever since Oliver Cromwell spent a night at the inn during the 17th Century.