British pubs gradually stop their existence. This pitiable conclusion was made by the British Association of Beer and Pubs on the basis of the fact that since the beginning of this year 52 pubs are closed every week, this is one third more than last year. Unfortunately, the smoking prohibition in the public places and constantly growing overhead expenses do not leave chances for small bars to survive. The British themselves are sure that if it keeps going that way then it will have a bad impact on the national self-consciousness of the citizens. So, if you want to manage to see the legendary British pubs, you have to hurry with the visit to Foggy Albion. By the way, there is a chance that the pubs, which are in the list of the best ones, as the British edition of The Times states, will remain safe in any situation, thanks to the creative approach and endless optimism of their owners.
The Thomas Lord
West Meon, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 1LN.
Main courses £12.50-£18; sandwiches from £5
Named after its founder, this pub is proud of not only its cuisine but also of its interior. The darkly beamed and half-paneled walls are decorated with different kinds of attributes: old bats, caps, pads and associated prints. All this is in a good harmony with spiral leather sofas and armchairs. For illumination, besides the electricity big fat candles are used, and they make the interior more mystic. The public here is mainly constant and rather amicable. The meat which predominates in the menu is cooked with vegetables and herbs, from the large vegetable patch of the pub’s owner. The best dish is the lamb in rosemary sauce.
Brown Horse Inn
Winster, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NR.
Main courses £9.50-£14.95; bar snacks (lunch) from £4.75. Doubles from £80-£90
It is not so easy to notice this pub which is situated far from the main streets. But it is worth searching for. Settled down in the tavern of the 18th century, the pub keeps its interior with the stone floors and wooden ceiling beams. The picture is supplemented with the open fire, traditional oak chairs and monumental candelabras. The walls are decorated with the contemporary artists’ creations.
On your plate will appear vegetables from the back garden, poultry and eggs from the surrounding farms. Don’t doubt to order homemade black pudding with quails’ eggs and mustard sauce or duck breast with sweet layered potatoes, and for desert a layered marmalade, candied lemon with homemade ice cream.
There is a hotel attached to the tavern with four rooms where huge beds are covered with glamorous textiles, and there is a very good view on the surrounding hills.
The Bell Inn
Aldworth, Reading, Berkshire, RG8 9SE
Bar meals £2.50-£6
The pub, existing for 200 years, retained the style of ancient British pubs. You can find plain benches, venerable dark-wood paneling and the atmosphere of those years here. In one of the rooms you can sit near the fire, though the public prefers to gather around the glass bar cheek. Fifty years ago the regulars were agricultural workers; today the public is more intellectual but the piped music and mobile phones are not welcome here.
The food fits the image and they keep it simple: choose from hearty warm rolls filled with thick slices of home-baked ham, ox tongue or good old cheddar, treacle sponge and winter soups of the day.
The beer of the local Arkell’s and West Berkshire breweries is available for good prices. You can also sit with a glass of beer in a big garden, which belongs to the pub.
12 St Paul’s Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire, PE9 2BE
Main courses £6.75-£12.95
The house built in 1280, remodeled in 1663 and again, superbly, in 2006, the Tobie Norris will take you back to the old days close to – Oliver Cromwell. Just when entering you will immediately forget about the noisy market outside it and darting in and out cars, you will be surrounded with the stone-wooden interior and the smell of trees. Find a wooden pew or a nice leather armchair and sit back doing nothing with a pint of beer or a glass of wine which you can also get here. You can have a bite here of an excellent pizza or smoked salmon.
Park Street, Stoke-by-Nayland, Colchester, Suffolk, CO6 4SE
Main courses £10.95-£17.95. Doubles from £70-£170
The pub attached to a same named hotel is decorated in pastel colors and contains chaotic rooms spilling over one into the other. This space is for conservative public and idle talks with a pint of beer. At the same time, the menu of the pub can boast of both the dishes of traditional cuisine and of cooks’ novelties.
Several chefs spend their time to have a chance to suggest the visitors toasts with bacon and mussels, or a pheasant shot in the local woods with prunes and leeks sauce. The desserts from quince and ginger pudding are not less magnificent. On sunny days you can sit on the terrace with a bottle of wine from the huge collection of the pub.
West Hatch, Taunton, Somerset, TA3 5RS
Main courses £10.75-£16; bar meals £5.50-£10.75. Doubles from £125-£150
If you ever find yourself in the heart of Somerset County, don’t doubt to drop into that pub, since only in such places you can see real Britain. The surrounding landscape will please you with cows in the fields, colorful cockerels and a friendly public inside it will meet the newcomer with an interest, suggest a seat at the fireplace or a high chair at the bar. Thanks to the changes made by the owners of the place, the rooms fluently spill over one into the other, presenting the newcomers a feeling of comfort because of the open area and the quantity of colors and light. Imagine terracotta floors and ceilings covered with cracks. The wall panels decorated with yellow tongues of flame, old pine tables, on which are pots with rosemary, and high piles of logs not far from the fireplace. Specialties of the place are considered sardines on grill, different steaks, and also chocolate and mint mousses. In summer all that can be tasted on the terrace.
Turtley Corn Mill
Avonwick, South Brent, Devon, TQ10 9ES
Main courses £9.75-£16.95. Doubles from £89-£110
The mill, repaired in 2005, is of six acres of land sloping down to the lake. The space is suggested as a place for picnics. There are so many people here that it is necessary to order a table in advance. It is also possible to play croquet, or chess here.
The inside of the mill has been transformed into a number of spacious inter-connected areas: the bar with its dark slate floors and doors leads to the blooming garden; the floor of the library is made of wood as well as the floor of the reading hall, whose virgin white walls are decorated with engraving and eastern carpets and here you can read both love novel and morning newspaper with the same pleasure.
The food here is traditional and mainly is made from local products. Here you can try beef in red wine or sea bass with minted pea sauce. Every day a new menu is printed off. As a drink Princetown Jail Ale and several sorts of wine are offered.