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21 Pubs You Must Visit Before You Die

Time for a pint.

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1. Clachaig Inn, Glencoe

Not only is the 300-year-old Clachaig Inn in one of the most obscenely beautiful bits of the Scottish Highlands, it also has a bloody brilliant whisky selection to try alongside its beer. There are rooms to stay in too, which I would recommend – get hammered on good whisky and beer in the evening, then wake up and soothe your head with idyllic Scottish scenery. I can think of no better way to spend a weekend.

2. Old White Swan, York

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OK, first things first, you must know that pretty much every pub in York is SO GOOD. Special shoutouts go to the House of the Trembling Madness, the Golden Fleece and the Snickleway Inn (still my favourite pub name). But the Old White Swan will always hold a special place in my heart, mainly because when I lived in York I spent so many afternoons nursing a hangover there with a roast. It's cosy, it has a great selection of ales, and the food is stellar – trust me, a meal there will make you feel alive again.

3. The Pandora, Falmouth

This 13th-century inn is in prime position to explore the beautiful Cornish surrounds. It's sat on the edge of the Restronguet Creek, which is a particularly lovely body of water. From the pub you can have a pint, watch the boats, and have a slap-up dinner if you fancy it too.


4. The Fat Cat, Norwich

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Beer is the name of the game here. This specialist beer tavern has over 30 real ales and a smashing range of imported beers. They also have some highly attractive barmen working there. Just sayin'.

5. Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon Beacons

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No, that is not a picture of a pub. It is a picture of the views in the Brecon Beacons – the Welsh national park the Felin Fach Griffin is right next to. The whole park is just SO. DAMN. BEAUTIFUL. There are wild horses. There are freshly picked raspberries for breakfast (naturally you must book a room at the pub). And there is free-flowing wine, beer, sherry, and brandy to be had. What a life.

6. Crown Posada, Newcastle

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In Newcastle's second-oldest pub you'll find a vintage record player spitting out classic tunes, cheap-as-chips sandwiches and crisps, and exquisite Grade II listed interiors. I'm talking stained glass and wooden panels by the boatload, baby. No better spot for a pint of Newcastle Brown.

7. Monty's Inn, Beaulieu

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Just look at it. It's all so bucolic. This picture alone makes me want to quote Wordsworth and Keats and wander lonely as a cloud. The pub is located next to the Beaulieu River in the New Forest National Park, which explains the scenery. It's also full of very nice beer and a ploughman's that comes highly recommended.


9. The Pot Still, Glasgow

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Scotland is packed with beautiful pubs: the Stein Inn in Skye, the Ardview Inn in Port Ellen, and the Last Drop in Edinburgh to name but a few. The Pot Still in Glasgow is my top pick though, because 1) it's in Glasgow where my mum was born (NEPOTISM. IT'S EVERYWHERE), 2) it's a rip-roaring good time, and 3) beer is great, but you know what's also great? Whisky. And they have one of the best selections of whisky here I've seen.

10. The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn

More a beautiful hotel than a pub these days, this County Down inn is still well worth a visit for a pint of Guinness at the bar. I've been going here with the Northern Ireland side of my family since I was small and it's unchangingly fantastic. There are cosy fireplaces round every corner, stunning traditional decor, and tons of history. The thatched portion of the building has been standing in its present form since 1614, and the inn itself is on one of Ireland's most ancient highways.

If you eat in the the restaurant, I recommend you order the chilli chicken – it was my beloved Grandfather's favourite, and I've had enough stolen bites to confirm it is very very good.


12. The Woods, Dulverton

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A former bakery, The Woods is still every bit as warm and comforting as any building filled with cake and bread. The decor is all rich woods and exposed stone walls, with various bits of hunting paraphernalia here and there. The drinks are at the heart of the place though, with both the wine and spirits menus lauded with more awards than you can shake a stick at.

13. The Shipwright’s Arms, Faversham

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A classically British pub, set in a remote part of Faversham in Kent. It's on the same stretch of coast as Whitstable, which means you'll be getting similar views and similar seafood, but without the hordes of tourists.

FYI, if you'd like more great Kent pubs, there's a full list here.

14. The Fleece Inn, Evesham

Instagram: @fleeceinnbretforton

A pub now under the protection of the National Trust, it's easy to see why this little slice of England was selected. It's a half-timbered medieval farmhouse that's been fully restored to all its days-of-yore glory: There's a pewter collection and witches' circles, and they can't seem to get people to stop Morris dancing nearby.


16. The Blue Lion, East Witton

The Blue Lion is an 18th-century building set in a particularly lovely part of the Yorkshire Dales, which only helps cement its standing as a must-visit pub. There are loads of roaring log fires, and the food is great too – make sure you stay on a Sunday so you can have a proper roast.

17. Hand & Heart, Nottingham

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This pub has a long beer-related history – the building was originally a brewery, first opening in 1866, before becoming the public house it is today. Much of it is still in its original condition, and the whole place is full to the rafters with character. Add to that more than a few CAMRA awards and you've got a recipe for a stonkingly good pub.

18. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans

One of several pubs that claim to be the oldest in England. I don't know how solid this claim is, but I can vouch for this pub being one of the prettiest at least. The building is unusual thanks to its octagonal shape (it used to be a pigeon house), and the nearby Hertfordshire greenery is a treat.

19. The Spaniards, London

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Is there such a thing as too many pubs? London tests that theory every day. If there's one pub you must visit in the city though, it's The Spaniards. Out on the edge of Hampstead Heath, it's not central, but well worth the trek. It's got history up to its ears, with Dickens, Byron, Dick Turpin, and Karl Marx all rumoured to have quaffed a pint of two at the bar (Dickens even sent a few of his Pickwick Papers characters to this pub too).


20. The Cock, Hemingford Grey

The beer here is good – that's a given. But it's the food that's truly spectacular. A 17th-century pub in Cambridgeshire, the restaurant inside serves up British fine dining that will not disappoint. They have over 100 kinds of sausages. I think that should tell you enough.

21. BrewBot, Belfast

Instagram: @brewbotbelfast

Not that I'm biased or anything, but let me tell you folks, Belfast is very much on the up and up. Their first ever craft beer bar proves it – they invented a robot (casual) that you can control with a smartphone app to brew your own beer. THE FUTURE IS NOW.

If that's all a bit too modern for you, fear not: They also have 12 taps filled with incredible local and international brews, over 250 bottles of beer in the back, and a menu of beer cocktails. Great craic or what eh?