Top 5: Historic English pubs

With the cold nights drawing in, nothing beats cosying up in a historic English pub. Here are five of the most fabled places to pull up a pew.

By Sarah Barrell
Published 8 Oct 2015, 09:00 BST, Updated 5 Jul 2021, 11:30 BST

01 Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, Nottingham
Dating to 1189, this inn — built into the rocky outcrop on which Nottingham Castle stands — offered soldiers a fortifying pint before fighting in the Crusades. Get stuck into its craft beers, or if your battle spirit is improved by stronger libations, there's a cocktail list, too. 

02 The Eagle and Child, Oxford
The 13th-century Bear Inn nearby may be older but the Eagle and Child has a better backstory: a Royalist playhouse during the Civil War and, later, the drinking den of CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien's Inklings writers' group. Settle back in its timbered nooks and soak up all that history. 

03 Adam & Eve, Norwich
Built to serve thirsty stonemasons working on the cathedral, this 13th-century pub (Norwich's oldest) comes with four cask beers, decent grub and resident ghosts, including what's said to be the spirit of Lord Sheffield — killed by a cleaver during a rebellion. T: 01603 667 423.

04 Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans
It may have embraced such modern frills as a pop-up cinema but this medieval pub in Hertfordshire's cathedral city has its roots in the distant past. Listed in the Guinness World Records as the UK's oldest, it borders a lake in an ancient park that in Roman times was the stomping ground of Queen Boudica. 

05 The Spaniards InnLondon
Is this the most myth-laden boozer in London? Probably.  Next to Hampstead Heath, this 16th-century pub has seen pints sunk by the likes of Dickens (it's named in The Pickwick Papers) and Keats, inspired scenes in Bram Stoker's Dracula, and has a pistol ball allegedly fired by Dick Turpin hanging on the wall. 

Published in the November 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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