The tenth month of the year is finally upon us and it’s always noted in the calendars of beer lovers. October celebrates the worldwide festival of Oktoberfest. The festival has been celebrated by beer fanatics since 1810 and Germany is the hotspot for celebrations, inviting over 6 million tourists every year.
The celebration has been cancelled due Covid restrictions this year, but at Porter we want to give you a taste of the festive atmosphere with our selection of the best English pubs you should visit (at least) once in your life. Our shortlist draws upon the main reasons for visiting a pub:
- A good mix of the above
Before we get into our recommendations, let us give you a quick background on the English pub.
Historically, the Roman’s first presented taverns to the UK, although it was Henry VII who declared that Britons called alehouses or taverns, public houses. Of course, over the years the latter has been shortened to ‘’pubs’’ — the commercial name we know and love today. The first licences were in fact issued in the middle of the 15th century.
Since the Middle Ages, pubs have played an important role in our society. Pubs are the heart of the community, a social hub, an indulgent meal and a symbol of nostalgia. Many are like time-capsules, trapped in the 1970s, but this is somewhat forgivable given they remain our favourite places to grab a pint and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.
Canal House, best pub for beer
Beer is normally the main attraction when it comes to traditional English pubs. In fact, in England there are more breweries per capita than anywhere else in Europe.
With this in mind, finding a decent pub doesn’t seem that difficult but nothing could be more untrue.
The Canal House in Nottingham holds the perfect combination of personality and well-crafted beer. We can’t guarantee you’ll spot Robin Hood, however, we can assure you that you’ll have a great experience in this pub. Close to the train station and right next to the canals, you’ll find a well-stocked bar with more than 250 beers to choose from.
With one of the widest selections of beer in the country, this is definitely the place to be for beer-lovers.
The Fordwich Arms, because food matters
40% of us Brits consume food and drinks in pubs every fortnight. More pubs are beginning to offer much more than traditional ‘’grub’’, with many introducing succulent dishes to draw greater attention.
It’s now common to find sophisticated Sunday lunches, special dishes with superb ingredients or Michelin Starred recipes.
The Fordwich Arms is located in the smallest village in England. Fordwich has a reputation for providing the all-round experience. The village is well-known for its culinary excellence and The Fordwich Arms is no exception. The decor, whilst very traditional offers a premium experience, the oak-walled rooms and fireplaces give this pub a warm, cosy atmosphere, the perfect place to retreat after a wintery walk. They offer an avant-garde menu of 3, 5 or 7 courses. Their offers go from venison, scallops, Cornish caviar to parfait or oysters. You can end this gastronomical adventure with a tasty cheese board. Bangers and mash don’t seem so exciting now!
Tan Hill Inn, the highest English pub in England
Fancy a pint in the clouds? The highest pub in England provides visitors with the opportunity to have a pint 1,732 feet above sea level.
Located in the Yorkshire dales, The Tan Hill Inn has been serving beers and greeting their customers for more than two centuries. Guests highlight the cosy fireplace, the restful rooms and the location, all of which make this a precious and unforgettable gem.
The traditional atmosphere and extraordinary views have given this place a reputation as being one of the most popular alehouses in the world. If you stay during the winter dark nights, you might even be able to spot the Northern Lights.
You won’t get thirsty here as they serve a good range of ales and draught beers. Just a note, check the weather before you head there!
Peter Kavanagh’s, where history meets beer
History and pubs have well-established relationships — every pub is full of secrets and stories.
If you want to travel back in time, you need to visit Peter Kavanagh’s. Located in the Georgian quarters of Liverpool, it might not tell you much from outside, but as soon as you step through the door, it’s clear to see why it was considered the best pub in the city back in 2019 by CAMRA.
Their English pub decor and murals are within the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors as the walls were originally painted by the Scottish painter Eric Robinson (rumour has it they were done to pay a debt) and it hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years. The whole place has maintained a unique interior that’ll make you feel like you’ve landed in a different time.
In terms of beverages, they serve different styles of ale, and they change their 4 pumps once per week.
King´s Head, the real meaning of an English Pub
This is our last #porterpick. It was tough to decide on the last one, but we think this needs to be included.
King´s Head or Low house (it has two names, how special) at Laxfield, is a small pub which has been nearly untouched for the last 400 years. They are a free house, and they serve their magnificent real ales straight from the casks. They offer a community and friendly spirit and it is run by a bunch of locals who are passionate about keeping the pub running. At the end of the day, pubs are the heart and soul of many communities so it’s great to see one being run by theirs.
They have different real ales and gorgeous home-made food to make the most of your visit.
We really hope our top 5 English pub recommendations have brought you some Oktoberfest vibes. Make sure to follow us across our social media channels to stay updated and let us know what you love about old English pubs!