This post was sponsored by the Royal Oak Foundation, the American affiliate of the National Trust. Anglotopia Readers can get a discount on joining – details at the bottom of the post!
Pubs are a cornerstone of British society, with even the smallest villages hosting a pub and the largest cities having one on almost every street. The earliest pubs also served as inns, giving travelers a place to rest while providing locals with a social gathering place. Plenty of these pubs and inns are centuries old and have been turned over to the National Trust for their upkeep, though they are rented out to the businesses that operate inside. The National Trust owns approximately 60 pubs and inns throughout the UK, and we’ve outlined ten that you can visit for a pint or an overnight stay.
George Inn – London
The George Inn is one of the oldest pubs in London and the last galleried inn in the City. In its history, the George has managed to survive where many of its contemporaries fell, and during its time as a coffee house, it was a frequent spot of author Charles Dickens. Today, it features a handsome menu and a nice selection of ales and lagers to please anyone seeking history or a nice drink.
Buckinghamshire Arms – Blickling
Also known as The Bucks Arms, this coaching inn dates back to the 17th Century and is gorgeous without and within. The inn features four rooms to stay in while the pub has a number of real ales and a varied menu for breakfast, small meals, lunch, dinner, and specials. The Bucks Arms sources all its meal ingredients locally for an added sense of authenticity.
Fleece Inn – Bretforton
The Fleece Inn is one of the oldest pubs in the UK having been open for over 600 years. As such, it still features its timber framing from when it was a longhouse and home to a family and farm animals. In addition to the classic food and drink, the pub features traditional performances in the courtyard, and you can even find “witch circles” drawn around the fireplace to keep out evil spirits.
Ship Inn – Alnwick
The Ship Inn has one of the most beautiful views of any pub on this list, is situated along the coast of Embleton Bay in the Northumberland Coast Area of Natural Beauty. It’s been around since the 17th Century and now run by a mother-and-daughter team, it sources all its food locally just like the Bucks Arms and continues to feature a variety of British beer to wash it all down.
Sticklebarn – Ambleside
Sticklebarn is one of the only pubs in the National Trust’s portfolio that isn’t run by someone other than the Trust itself. Smack in the middle of the Langdales, Sticklebarn is surrounded by the pikes and miles of trails, providing a good base camp to anyone needing a place to stay, a good meal, and some hearty ales. The Trust also has a room upstairs with comfy couches and a big screen TV that often shows films for free.
Crown Bar – Belfast
While doing research for this article, I found the Crown to be unarguably the most beautiful pub of the lot. Also known as the Crown Liquor Saloon, the Crown is a refurbished Victorian gin palace that features Italian woodwork, stained glass, and intricate tiling. The pub is run by Nicholson’s and as such, features a number of their ales as well as great spirits as befitting its past.
Castle Inn – Bodiam
Close to Bodiam Castle, the Castle Inn is a special pub that features a traditional menu and architecture that will really help you feel at home in the middle of Britain. The interior is a mix of quality dining rooms and old-fashioned pub rooms with food that is locally sourced and all made from scratch. It’s worth stopping here either before or after visiting the castle itself.
Manor House Hotel – Studland
Certainly, one of the most beautiful inns on the list, the Manor House Hotel in Studland was constructed in 1825 as a “marine villa” and serves today as a very elegant hotel. Nearly every room offers a great view and will help you feel like you belong to a great family. The dining room features a number of excellent dishes from the lunch and dinner menus.
George Inn – Lacock
Lacock’s George Inn is certainly one of the oldest properties on this list, having been built back in the 14th Century. As such, the interior is very traditional and well-kept, making you feel as if you stepped back in time. The George mostly serves Wadworth brand beer and has a menu that includes options for those who need to go gluten-free.
Hardwick Inn – Chesterfield
Located near the National Trust-managed property of Hardwick Hall, Hardwick Inn has been in the area since the 15th Century, and the landlords have been running the place for three generations. The pub features a number of taps, a great menu, and a lawn with picnic tables to enjoy the natural surroundings.