Ever fantasised about your dream pub? Whether it’s somewhere to cosy up with Sunday lunch and cask ales or sip an ice-cold brew in a sun-drenched beer garden, the UK has it all. We’ve scoured the country to find the best pubs of the bunch; read on for some holiday inspiration.
1. The Punch Bowl
Best for: An epic Sunday lunch
Completely surrounded by Cumbria’s Lakeland scenery, The Punch Bowl is the perfect choice for a pint after a country walk. And after building up an appetite, their immaculate menu has something to tempt all taste buds. Dishes include locally-sourced Lakeland lamb and peanut parfait.
2. The Old Coastguard
Best for: Sea views
The Old Coastguard is one of those rare pubs in Cornwall that caters for the community, rather than the summer swarm of tourists. But in doing so, the team have created a pub that’s worth visiting year-round. They keep Cornish ales and ciders rotating on tap and have a wine list that the chicest London cellar would be proud of.
3. The Square and Compass
Best for: Centuries of history
The two buildings that make up The Square and Compass were once a pair of tiny fisherman’s cottages overlooking a Dorset bluff. In the late 1700s, they became an alehouse and have been one of the most atmospheric pubs in the county ever since. Live music and festivals bring the pub to life during the summer months.
4. Euston Tap
Best for: Real ale in a quirky setting
Of the thousands of specialist beer pubs in London, Euston Tap’s location sets it apart. Two small guardhouses, the only remnants of Euston’s old station, play home to almost 50 lines of beer and cider from London and beyond. Seating is limited, so from 4pm a sea of suited commuters can usually be found out front, pints in hand.
5. The Jolly Fisherman
Best for: Locally-caught seafood
The award-winning Jolly Fisherman attracts locals from all over Northumberland, who come in search of a walk to nearby Dunstanburgh Castle before a superb pub lunch. As well as serving up classic fish and chips, you’ll be treated to Craster lobster, crab soup or one of the best seafood platters in the UK.
6. The Clachaig Inn
Location: Scottish Highlands
Best for: Bagging a Munroe
The Clachaig Inn, in the Scottish Highlands, has been frequented by climbers and walkers for almost 300 years and offers superb hospitality with a side of good Scottish craic. Their hyper-local food and drink menu ranges from Aberdeen Angus beef burgers and Highland game pies to 260 different malt whiskies. Perhaps the mountains aren’t calling after all…
7. The Old Hall Inn
Location: Peak District
Best for: A traditional country pub with a modern twist
The people running The Old Hall Inn clearly care deeply about the tradition of a country pub. The roaring log fires and wooden beams creak with history, and the atmosphere is friendly and charming, welcoming Peak District locals and tourists alike. Despite this, their menu is fresh and modern, with updates on pub classics. Nothing pretentious, just great food, with a twist.
8. North Bar
Best for: Craft beer lovers
Address: 24 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU
In the heart of Leeds City Centre, North Bar was one of the pioneers of the city’s craft beer revolution. The pub is on a mission to serve some of Yorkshire’s greatest real ales and craft beers, with a playlist that music aficionados will love. If you’re heading to Leeds for your next city break, put North Bar on your list.
9. The Thatch
Best for: Eclectic clientele and an outstanding beer garden
As you might expect from its name, The Thatch is a seriously characterful old barn, which dates back to the 16th century. The large dining rooms and open fires are warm and cosy in cold weather, while the enormous beer garden is perfect in summer, attracting everyone from local Devon surfers to holidaying families.
10. The Wheatsheaf Inn
Best for: Fine dining
The gorgeous ivy-clad Wheatsheaf Inn offers fine dining in a picture-perfect setting. This 17th century coaching inn is close to some of the Cotswolds’ top visitor spots, such as Bourton-on-the-Water and the rococo gardens at Painswick. Their small but perfectly-formed menu offers everything from Sunday lunches to beautiful desserts.
11. Port St Beer House
Best for: Beer aficionados
Address: 39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ
In Manchester’s still achingly hip Northern Quarter, the unassuming Port St Beer House welcomes beer lovers with open arms. The staff here know their beer, and it really shows. Despite this, there is nothing pretentious about the atmosphere – the pub is warm, friendly and has a clientele as diverse as its beer menu.
12. The Weeping Willow
Best for: Winter drinking in their outdoor tipi
While this listed pub is housed in one of the oldest buildings in Suffolk, their modern glass-fronted dining room does an amazing job of bringing the outdoors in. The Weeping Willow prides itself on using East Anglian ingredients in its inventive menu, and the grounds are ideal for active children who want to play while you eat.
13. The Boat Inn
Best for: Exploring the River Wye
Address: Lone Ln, Penallt, Monmouth NP25 4AJ
If you want a pub with a view, this one is hard to beat. Right on the banks of the quiet Welsh side of the River Wye, The Boat Inn has a banked terraced garden that is just magical in hot weather. Kayakers navigating their way through the Wye Valley in Herefordshire may be able to stop here for a mid-paddle pint, while saner folks will stay for a home-cooked meal.
14. The Gunton Arms
Best for: Dog-friendly dining
A meal at Norfolk’s The Gunton Arms has a spectacular location within Gunton’s 1,000-acre deer park. After a good stomp around the park, the pub welcomes four-legged friends as well as muddy boots and has both cosy dining rooms and a large outdoor space. Whether you just want a simple scotch egg or a venison dinner, their food is well worth the journey.
15. Falcon Inn
Location: Yorkshire Dales
Best for: A friendly Yorkshire welcome
The Falcon Inn guarantees a Yorkshire Dales welcome to all of their punters, with a log fire and a traditional and cosy setting. It has a real old-world charm, with real ale still being poured out of the jug, as well as out of the more modern pumps. The location in Skipton is ideal for exploring the castle or hiking and biking in the Dales.