Go with Ted

Travel, trains, drinking and cooking with Ted

Good UK Pubs 2020

Steve and Ted’s Good UK Pubs List 2020

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 2015. 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 every pub on this list we have enjoyed. 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 miss out on this Pubs, towns and regions that we haven’t visited since before 2015 have been dropped from this years list (for example Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Oxford, Dorset, Suffolk, Norfolk and Northern Ireland). South Wales is in this years list once more following recent visits and others will be added if planned visits in 2020 go ahead.
  • 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.

All of the pubs except for a small number (mainly in Scotland) serve cask ale. Those that are in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2020 are marked GBG. New additions to the list are marked NEW and those that we visited in 2017,2018 and 2019 are marked. For places not listed the best guides are CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide and www.whatpub.com website. Enjoy.

Steve Gillon  February2020

ENGLAND

1Herts3             The Horse and Groom, Hatfield, Hertfordshire

1Cambs2BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

Chesham: Queens Head

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

NEW Cambridge: Flying Pig, GBG, 2019

NEW Cambridge: Live and Let Live, GBG, 2019

NEW Cambridge: Mill, GBG, 2019

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

sdr

CORNWALL

Albaston: Queens Head, 2018

Calstock: Tamar Inn, GBG, 2018

Crowlas: Star Inn, GBG, 2018

Falmouth: Oddfellows Arms, GBG, 2018

Falmouth: Seven Stars, GBG, 2018

Falmouth: The ‘front, GBG, 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, 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, GBG

Kendal: Castle Inn

Kirkby Lonsdale: Orange Tree

cofDEVON

Kingswear, Steam Packet Inn, 2018, pictured

Paignton, Henry’s Bar, GBG, 2018

Salcombe: Victoria, 2018

Totnes: Bay Horse, GBG, 2018

Totnes: Royal Seven Stars, GBG, 2018

 

Co. DURHAM

See the separate Northumbria Pub Guide for details.

HERTFORDSHIRE

sdr

NEW Ayot St. Lawrence: Brocket Arms, 2019

NEW Digswell: Cowper Arms, 2019

Hatfield: Eight Bells

Hatfield: Horse and Groom, GBG, 2019

NEW Welwyn: White Horse, 2019

NEW: Wheathampstead: Reading Room, GBG, 2019, pictured

NEW: Wildhill: Woodman, GBG, 1Kent2019 

 KENT

Birchington on Sea: Wheel  Ale House

Canterbury: Dolphin, GBG

Canterbury: Foundry, GBG

Canterbury: Unicorn, GBG

Dover: Mash Tun, GBG

Dungeness: Pilot Inn

Maidstone: Flower Pot, GBG

Maidstone: Swan, pictured

LANCASHIRE

Lancaster: Sun, GBG

Lancaster: Three Mariners, GBG

LEICESTERSHIRE

Leicester: Ale Wagon, GBG, 2017

Leicester: Blue Boar, GBG, 2017

Leicester: Kings Head, 2017

LONDON (CENTRAL)

elondon1

EC1 Hatton Garden: Olde Mitre, GBG

EC3 Bank: Swan Tavern

EC4 Fleet St: Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

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

NEW 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

NEW W2 Paddington: Mad Bishop and Bear, GBG, 2018

WC1 Bloomsbury: Swan, GBG

WC1 Holborn: Cittie of Yorke, pictured

WC1 Holborn: Princess Louise

WC1 Kings Cross: Queens Head, GBG

WC2 Charing X: Harp, GBG

WC2 Covent Garden: Coach and Horses, GBG

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

WC2 Holborn: Seven Stars

LONDON (OUTER)

LB Islington, Dalston, Railway Tavern

LB Tower Hamlets: Albion in Goldsmiths Row

sdrGreater MANCHESTER

MANCHESTER

NEW Manchester: Circus Tavern, 2019, pictured

NEW Manchester: Peveril of the Peak, 2019

WIGAN

Wigan: Raven Hotel, GBG, 2018

MERSEYSIDE

eliverpoolLIVERPOOL

Liverpool: Belvedere, 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.

oznorSOMERSET

sdrBath: Bell

Bath: Couer de Lion

Bath: Old Green Tree, GBG

Bath: Raven, GBG

Bath: Star Inn. GBG

Curry Rivel: Firehouse, GBG, 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

eeastsussex

Yeovil: Pall Inn, 2018

SUSSEX (EAST)

Rye: Ypres Castle, GBG, pictured

Uckfield: Alma Arms, GBG

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.

oznorWILTSHIRE

Avoncliff: Cross Guns, GBG, 2018, pictured

Bradford on Avon: Bear Inn, 2018

Bradford on Avon: Castle Inn, GBG, 2018

Bradford on Avon: Stumble Inn, GBG, 2018

Westbury Leigh: Hollies, GBG, 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, 2017, 2019

eeastyorks

YORKSHIRE (EAST RIDING)

Beverley: Chequers, GBG

Beverley: Tiger Inn

Beverley: White Horse (Nellies), pictured

Bridlington: Station Buffet, 2017, 2019

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

oznorYORKSHIRE (NORTH)

Harrogate: Hales Bar

Harrogate: Harrogate Tap, GBG

Ribblehead: Station Inn, pictured

Richmond: Castle Tavern, 2018

Richmond: Ship, 2018

Robin Hoods Bay: Dolphin

1YorksN

Scarborough: Stumble Inn, GBG, 2017

Skipton: Boat House, GBG, 2017

Skipton: Woolly Sheep, GBG, 2017

Whitby: Jolly Sailor

Whitby: Station Inn, GBG

YORKSHIRE (SOUTH)

DONCASTER

Doncaster: Corner Pin

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Doncaster: White Swan

YORKSHIRE (WEST)

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, GBG

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

ANGUS

Montrose: Market Arms

ARGYLL and BUTE

Bute, Rothesay: Black Bull, GBG,

cofBute, Rothesay: Macs Bar, 2018, pictured

Campbeltown: Black Sheep Bar, Royal Hotel, 2017

NEW Easdale Island: Puffer, 2019

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

NEW Islay, Port Charlotte: Port Charlotte Hotel, 2019

Lochgilphead, The Comm 2017

Oban: Lorne Bar, 2017, 2019

NEW Oban: Oban Inn, GBG, 2019, pictured

NEW Seil, Ellenabeich: Oyster Bar, GBG, 2019

North AYRSHIRE

NEW Arran, Brodick: Brodick Bar, 2019

DUMFRIES and GALLOWAY

smoffatDumfries: Cavens Arms, GBG

Dumfries: New Bazaar, GBG, 2017

Dumfries: Tam O’Shanter, GBG

Isle of Whithorn: Steam Packet Inn, GBG

Kippford: Anchor Hotel

Moffat: Star Bar, Star Hotel, pictured

Newton Stewart: Black Horse

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

FIFE

Dunfermline: Commercial Inn, GBG

St Andrews: Central, GBG

St Andrews: Criterion, GBG

St Andrews: Whey Pat Tavern, 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 Blairgowrie: Ericht Alehouse, GBG, 2019

NEW Blairgowrie: Stormont Inn, GBG, 2019

NEW Bridge of Earn: Cyprus Inn, GBG, 2019

NEW Dunning: Kirkstyle Inn, GBG, 2019

Perth: Greyfriars, GBG, 2019

NEW Perth: Kirkside, 2019

Perth: Old Ship Inn, GBG,  2019

SCOTTISH BORDERS

Melrose: Kings Arms

WEST LOTHIAN

Linlithgow, Platform 3, GBG, 2017

WALES

imag1890The Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd

oznorBRIDGEND

NEW Bridgend: Coach, GBG, 2019, pub sign pictured

CARDIFF

NEW Cardiff: City Arms, GBG, 2019

NEW Cardiff: Goat Major, GBG, 2019

CARMARTHENSHIRE

wconwy

NEW Llandeilo: White Horse, GBG, 2019

NEW 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

NEW 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

NEW Fishguard, Royal Oak, GBG, 2019, door pictured

NEW Haverfordwest: Pembroke Yeoman, GBG, 2019

cofNEW Haverfordwest: Three Crowns, 2019

NEW Pembroke Dock: First and Last, GBG, 2019

NEW  St Davids: Farmers Arms, GBG, 2019, pictured

NEW Tenby: Crown Inn, 2019

POWYS

Machynlleth: Red Lion

Machynlleth: Dyfi Forester 

cof

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

NEW Red Wharf Bay: Ship Inn, GBG, 2019

iomportstmary

ISLE OF MAN

Castletown: Castle Arms, GBG

Castletown: Sidings, GBG

Douglas: Old Market Inn, GBG

Laxey: Mines Tavern

Peel: Creek Inn

Port Erin: Bay Hotel

Port St Mary: Albert Hotel, pictured

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 is coming back. 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 this out once pubs reopen (April 2020 update)

Copyright: © Steve Gillon, 2020

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