Go with Ted

Travel, trains, drinking and cooking with Ted

Good UK Pubs 2021

Steve and Ted’s Good UK Pubs List 2021

cofThe Seven Stars, Falmouth, Cornwall

These are the pubs throughout the UK (and the Isle of Man) that Ted and I have visited and enjoyed since 2016. We have also visited some very ordinary pubs and a few terrible ones, and they are most definitely not included. Some of the pubs listed have been visited only once, though we enjoyed them and will go back if we are in the area again. Others we have visited often and seek them out whenever we are in the vicinity. The very best are in blue text. The focus is on the beer and the atmosphere rather than food. Our favourites tend to be traditional pubs with a good local trade, unchanged over many years, though we have enjoyed every pub on this list. It can be sometimes be difficult to tell at very quiet times of day, what a pub will be like on a busy evening, but many years of practice can help to spot a good pub.

cofThe Old Port Bar, the Port Askaig Hotel, Islay, Argyll

A few caveats: 

  • Full details of our favourite pubs in the parts of the country we visit most regularly are in the separate guides for Northumbria and Edinburgh and Glasgow.
  • There are many places where we used to have favourite pubs that aren’t included. Pubs, towns and regions that we haven’t visited since before 2016 have been dropped from this years list. Since the 2020 list we have lost the entries in Kent, Outer London, East Sussex, South Yorkshire, Angus, Fife, Scottish Borders and the Isle of Man. A combination of lockdowns and visits to Spain mean that the only new entries this year (for Dundee, Perth and Kinross and Stirling) come from two visits to Scotland. Hopefully we will be able to add many more next year.
  • There is only so much time for travelling (and for drinking – I still have a liver to protect), so there are many places we have never visited. There are others where we have been unlucky in our choice of pubs.
  • Of course we are unable to confirm when these pubs will reopen and there is a real risk that some of them may never reopen. Quite a number have no outside drinking area and there are a few where social distancing is impossible. When you can travel, please check in advance.

All of the pubs except for a small number (mainly in Scotland) serve cask ale. Those that are in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2021 are marked GBG. New additions to the list are marked NEW and those that we visited in 2017-2020 are marked. For places not listed the best guides are CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide and www.whatpub.com website. We hope that you can enjoy some of these fine pubs in 2021.

Steve Gillon  March 2021

ENGLAND

1Herts3             The Horse and Groom, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

1Cambs2BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Chesham: Queens Head, GBG

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

Cambridge: Flying Pig, GBG, 2019

Cambridge: Live and Let Live, GBG, 2019

Cambridge: Mill, 2019

Newton: Queens Head, GBG, 2019, pictured with Ted. 

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CORNWALL

Albaston: Queens Head, 2018

Calstock: Tamar Inn, GBG,

Crowlas: Star Inn, GBG, 2018

Falmouth: Oddfellows Arms, GBG, 2018

Falmouth: Seven Stars, GBG, 2018

Falmouth: The ‘front, 2018

Helston: Blue Anchor, GBG, 2018, cofpictured

Lizard: Top House, 2018

Mousehole: Ship Inn, 2018

Penzance: Crown, GBG, 2018

Penzance: Dock Inn, GBG, 2018, pictured

Polperro: Blue Peter Inn, GBG, 2018

Polruan: The Lugger, 2018

St Austell: Seven Stars, 2018

St Ives: Castle Inn, GBG, 2018

ecumbria1

St Mawes: Victory Inn, 2018

Truro: Old Ale House, GBG, 2018

CUMBRIA

Broughton in Furness: Manor Arms, GBG, pictured

Foxfield: Prince of Wales

Kendal: Castle Inn

Kirkby Lonsdale: Orange Tree, GBG

cofDEVON

Kingswear, Steam Packet Inn, 2018, pictured

Paignton, Henry’s Bar, GBG, 2018

Salcombe: Victoria, 2018

Totnes: Bay Horse, 2018

Totnes: Royal Seven Stars, 2018

Co. DURHAM

See the separate Northumbria Pub Guide for details.

HERTFORDSHIRE

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Ayot St. Lawrence: Brocket Arms, 2019

Digswell: Cowper Arms, 2019

Hatfield: Horse and Groom, GBG, 2019

Welwyn: White Horse, 2019

Wheathampstead: Reading Room, GBG, 2019, pictured

Wildhill: Woodman, GBG, 2019 

LANCASHIRE

Lancaster: Sun,

Lancaster: Three Mariners, GBG

LEICESTERSHIRE

Leicester: Ale Wagon, GBG, 2017

Leicester: Blue Boar, GBG, 2017

Leicester: Kings Head, GBG, 2017

IMG_20200512_1548162020-21 The lockdown alternative

LONDON (CENTRAL)

EC3 Bank: Swan Tavern

N1 Kings Cross: Parcel Yard, GBG, 2017, 2018, 2019

N1 Kings Cross: Scottish Stores, 2018

SE1 Southwark: Founders Arms

SW1 Belgravia: Star Tavern, GBG

SW1 St James’s: Red Lion, GBG

SW1 Westminster: Speaker, GBG

W2 Paddington: Mad Bishop and Bear, GBG, 2018

WC1 Bloomsbury: Swan, GBG

WC1 Kings Cross: Queens Head, GBG

WC2 Charing X: Harp, GBG

WC2 Covent Garden: Coach and Horses

WC2 Covent Garden: Lamb and Flag, GBG, 2017, 2019

sdrGreater MANCHESTER

MANCHESTER

Manchester: Circus Tavern, 2019, pictured

Manchester: Peveril of the Peak, GBG, 2019

WIGAN

Wigan: Raven Hotel, GBG, 2018

MERSEYSIDE

eliverpoolLIVERPOOL

Liverpool: Belvedere, GBG, 2018

Liverpool: Crown Hotel, GBG, 2018

Liverpool: Dispensary, GBG, 2018

Liverpool: Lion Tavern, GBG, 2018

Liverpool: Philharmonic, 2018

Liverpool: Roscoe Head, GBG, 2018

Liverpool: Ship and Mitre, GBG, 2018, pictured

NORTHUMBERLAND

See the separate Northumbria Pub Guide for details.

SOMERSET

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oznor

Bath: Bell

Bath: Couer de Lion, GBG

Bath: Old Green Tree, GBG

Bath: Raven, GBG

Bath: Star Inn. GBG

Curry Rivel: Firehouse, 2018, pictured

Glastonbury: Hawthorns, GBG, 2018

Huish Episcopi: Rose and Crown (Eli’s), GBG, 2018, pictured

Midsomer Norton: White Hart, 2018

Pitney: Halfway House, GBG, 2018

Wells: Full Moon, 2018

Wells: Just Ales, 2018

Wells: Rose and Crown, 2018

Weston Super Mare: Off the Rails, 2018

               Yeovil: Pall Inn, 2018

TEESSIDE

HARTLEPOOL

See the separate Northumbria Pub Guide for details.

MIDDLESBROUGH

Middlesbrough:Dr Phils Real Ale House, GBG, 2018

Middlesbrough: Sherlocks

Middlesbrough: Twisted Lip, 2018

REDCAR and CLEVELAND

Guisborough: Anchor

STOCKTON

See the separate Northumbria Pub Guide for details.

TYNE and WEAR

See the separate Northumbria Pub Guide for details.

WILTSHIRE

oznor

Avoncliff: Cross Guns, 2018, pictured

Bradford on Avon: Bear Inn, 2018

Bradford on Avon: Castle Inn, 2018

Bradford on Avon: Stumble Inn, 2018

Westbury Leigh: Hollies, 2018

YORK City

York, City Centre, Ackhorne, 2017

York, City Centre: Blue Bell, GBG, 2017

York, City Centre: Maltings, GBG, 2017

York, City Centre: Phoenix, GBG, 2018

York, City Centre: York Arms, 2018

York, City Centre: York Brewery Tap, 2017

York, City Centre: Yorkshire Terrier, 2017

York, York Station: York Tap, GBG,  2017, 2019

YORKSHIRE (EAST RIDING)

Bridlington: Station Buffet, 2017, 2019

Flamborough: Royal Dog & Duck, 2017, 2019, pictured

oznorYORKSHIRE (NORTH)

Harrogate: Hales Bar

Harrogate: Harrogate Tap, GBG

Richmond: Castle Tavern, 2018

Richmond: Ship, 2018

Robin Hoods Bay: Dolphin

Scarborough: Stumble Inn, GBG, 2017

Skipton: Boat House, GBG, 2017

Skipton: Woolly Sheep, 2017

Whitby: Jolly Sailor

Whitby: Station Inn, GBG

YORKSHIRE (WEST)

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BRADFORD

Bradford: Jacob’s, GBG, 2017

Bradford: Record Café, GBG, 2017

Shipley: Fox, GBG, 2017

KIRKLEES

Holmfirth, Nook, GBG, 2017, pictured with Ted

LEEDS

City Centre: Adelphi, 2017

City Centre, Angel Inn, 2017

City Centre, Duck and Drake, GBG, 2017

City Centre, Whitelocks, GBG, 2017

Otley: Junction Inn

Otley: Old Cock, GBG

SCOTLAND

oznor

The Comm Bar, Lochgilphead, Argyll

oznor

ABERDEEN CITY

City Centre: Aitchies Ale House, 2019

City Centre: Prince of Wales, GBG, 2019

ARGYLL and BUTE

Bute, Rothesay: Black Bull, GBG,

cofBute, Rothesay: Macs Bar, 2018, pictured

Campbeltown: Black Sheep Bar, Royal Hotel, 2017

Easdale Island: Puffer, 2019

Islay, Port Askaig: Boat House Bar, Port Askaig Hotel, 2019

Islay, Port Charlotte: Port Charlotte Hotel, 2019

Lochgilphead, The Comm 2017

Oban: Lorne Bar, 2017, 2019

Oban: Oban Inn, GBG, 2019, pictured

Seil, Ellenabeich: Oyster Bar, GBG, 2019

North AYRSHIRE

Arran, Brodick: Brodick Bar, 2019

DUMFRIES and GALLOWAY

smoffatDumfries: Cavens Arms, GBG

Dumfries: New Bazaar, GBG, 2017

Kippford: Anchor Hotel

Moffat: Star Bar, Star Hotel, pictured

DUNDEE CITY

NEW Broughty Ferry: Fisherman’s Tavern, GBG, 2020

NEW Broughty Ferry: Ship Inn, GBG, 2020

NEW City Centre: Bank Bar, GBG, 2020

NEW City Centre: Market, GBG, 2020

rhdr

NEW Hilltown: Frew’s, 2020

RE-ENTRY Perth Rd: Phoenix, GBG, 2020

RE-ENTRY Perth Rd: Speedwell (Mennie’s), GBG, 2020, pictured

EAST RENFREWSHIRE

Eaglesham, Swan Inn 2017

EDINBURGH

shebrides

See the Edinburgh and Glasgow Favourite Pubs Guide

Na h-EILEANAN SAR

Barra, Castlebay: Castlebay Hotel Bar, 2017

Lewis, Stornoway: Criterion Bar, 2017, pictured

Lewis, Stornoway, Edge O’ the World, 2017

FALKIRK

Falkirk: Wheatsheaf Inn, GBG

GLASGOW

See the Edinburgh and Glasgow Favourite Pubs Guide

HIGHLAND

Aviemore: Old Bridge Inn, GBG, 2017

Grantown on Spey: High St Merchants, 2017

Inverness, Castle Tavern, GBG, 2017

Inverness, Gellions, 2017

Inverness, Phoenix Bar, 2017

Mallaig, Steam Inn, 2017

NORTH AYRSHIRE

Millport: Frasers, GBG, 2018

oznor

PERTH and KINROSS

NEW Almondbank: Badgers, 2020

NEW Bankfoot: Bankfoot Inn, GBG, 2020

RE-ENTRY Blair Atholl: Bothy Bar, Atholl Arms Hotel, GBG, 2020

Blairgowrie: Ericht Alehouse, GBG, 2019

Blairgowrie: Stormont Inn, GBG, 2019

rhdr

Bridge of Earn: Cyprus Inn, GBG, 2019

NEW Dunkeld: Perth Arms, GBG, 2020, pictured

Dunning: Kirkstyle Inn, GBG, 2019, pictured

Perth: Kirkside, 2019

Perth: Old Ship Inn, GBG,  2019, 2020

STIRLING

NEW Dunblane: Tappit Hen, GBG, 2020

WEST LOTHIAN

Linlithgow, Platform 3, GBG, 2017

WALES

imag1890The Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd

oznorBRIDGEND

Bridgend: Coach, GBG, 2019, pub sign pictured

CARDIFF

Cardiff: City Arms, GBG, 2019

Cardiff: Goat Major, 2019

CARMARTHENSHIRE

wconwy

Llandeilo: White Horse, GBG, 2019

Whitland: Station House, GBG, 2019

CONWY

Conwy: Y Bont/Bridge Inn, 2017, pictured

Conwy: Albion, GBG, 2017

Llandudno: Kings Head

Llandudno: Snowdon, GBG

DENBIGHSHIRE

wtycoch1

Llangollen: Corn Mill

Llangollen: Wynnstay Arms

GWYNEDD

Bangor: Patricks, GBG, 2019

Barmouth: Royal Hotel, GBG

Dolgellau: Cross Keys

Dolgellau: Torrent Walk, GBG

Porthdinllaen: Ty Coch, GBG, pictured

sdrPorthmadog: Australia, GBG

Porthmadog: Ship Inn

Porthmadog: Station Inn

Tremadog: Union Inn, GBG

PEMBROKESHIRE

Fishguard, Royal Oak, GBG, 2019, door pictured

Haverfordwest: Pembroke Yeoman, GBG, 2019

cofHaverfordwest: Three Crowns, 2019

Pembroke Dock: First and Last, GBG, 2019

St Davids: Farmers Arms, 2019, pictured

Tenby: Crown Inn, 2019

POWYS

Machynlleth: Red Lion

Machynlleth: Dyfi Forester, GBG 

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YNYS MôN

Beaumaris: Bull, 2017

Beaumaris: Castle Court, GBG, 2017, 2019

Beaumaris: George and Dragon, 2017, 2019

Beaumaris: Liverpool Arms, 2017

Beaumaris: Midland Tapas Bar, 2017, 2019

Cemaes: Stag, 2017, pictured

Menai Bridge: Liverpool Arms, GBG, 2017, 2019

Menai Bridge: Tafarn Y Bont/Bridge Inn, 2017, 2019

Moelfre: Kinmel Arms

Red Wharf Bay: Ship Inn, GBG, 2019

A note about Wetherspoon’s.

There are Wetherspoon’s pubs virtually everywhere – they share the same plusses (good choice of beer, cheap beer) and minuses (slow service, the atmosphere of a canteen rather than a pub) so, unless they are exceptional, they haven’t been mentioned in this list, or in the other guides. The quality of the beer can vary tremendously, depending on the skill and enthusiasm of the staff and how much real ale they sell. Some of the pubs are in architecturally magnificent and well-restored old buildings. Do not assume that all Wetherspoon’s pubs are not worth a visit – there are plenty of small towns where they have the best selection of beer in town and are forcing the other pubs to up their game or close. In the past few years I can think of examples in Ayr, Crook, Kirkcaldy, Llandudno, Sheerness and Spennymoor. And despite the owner’s politics we still call for breakfast from time to time at half the price of a hotel breakfast.

A few of the breweries we’ve passed on our travels: Hook Norton in Hook Norton, Wadworth’s in Devizes and Elgood’s in Wisbech.

scraigellachie

Finally, one that got away may be coming back. This is the unspoilt Fiddichside Inn, Craigellachie, Moray, which closed in 2017 following the death of the long serving landlord. However, it reportedly reopened (at weekends only) with new owners in January 2020. We’ll check out what has happened since once pubs reopen.

Copyright: © Steve Gillon, 2021

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