5 of England's most distinctive pubs

Author Andy Hamilton has travelled the length of Britain in search of the perfect pint – here he lists the most unique pubs he came across on his quest

5 mins
Philharmonic toilets (Londonmatt via Flickr)Flickr: londonmatt

1. Best pub toilet: Philharmonic Dining Rooms

Corner of Hope and Hardman St, Liverpool, L1 9BX

Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, ornate wood panels across the walls, an intricately patterned bar and stain glass windows, this pub is dripping with luxury and drinking here is like drinking in a stately home. 

Yet it's not just the pub that is worthy of your time but also its toilets, which are Grade 2 listed and made of a rosette marble. The downside? The door keeps opening with women who want a peek at the world-famous gents'! The ale list is well-curated too and ever changing.

The Falcon bar, Clapham (The Falcon, Clapham)

2. Longest bar: The Falcon

33 Bedford Rd, Clapham, London SW4 7SQ

There is nothing worse than standing three-deep at a bar waiting to be served on a busy Saturday night. Except perhaps joining an orderly but ravenous queue for food in a pub on a Sunday afternoon. Not so at the Falcon, which holds the record for the longest bar in the UK. Plenty of room then to spread out and wait your turn. What's more, they always have a fine selection of ales on offer.

3. Highest pub: The Tan Hill Inn 

Reeth, Richmond, Swaledale, North Yorkshire Dales, DL11 6ED

Standing at 528m above sea level, the Tan Hill Inn is the highest inn in the British Isles. This isolated pub is a must for walkers and bikers crossing the Pennine Way. And if you are too tired (or drunk) to walk any further there are plenty of rooms available. With live music every Saturday and Black Sheep or Theakston on tap, isolation never felt so welcoming!

Ye Old Man & Scythe, Bolton (Shutterstock.com)

Ye Old Man & Scythe, Bolton (Shutterstock)

4. Most haunted pub: Ye Old Man & Scythe

6-8 Churchgate, Bolton, Lancashire BL1 1HL

Ye Old Man & Scythe, the oldest pub in Bolton, dates back to 1251. It has seen a lot of action with hundreds of soldiers killed in front of it, such as the Earl of Derby who, in 1651, was executed outside this pub for his part in the Bolton Massacre. It is said that he now haunts the pub, along with at least 25 other spirits including an 8 year old girl and a phantom dog! 

As for its living clientele, just as you'd imagine in a traditional northern pub, they are friendly and welcoming. I'd recommend the Tim Taylor Landlord if you are after a tipple.

Ye Olde trip to Jerusalem (Shutterstoock.com)

Ye Olde trip to Jerusalem (Shutterstock)

5. Oldest pub: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

Brewhouse Yard, Nottingham, NG1 6AD

There are a few pubs that claim to be the oldest in the country, including one (The Bell) that is a stone’s throw from 'The Trip'. But The Trip is special for a number of reasons. It sits comfortably outside Nottingham Castle wall and has a cursed galleon that's covered in dust and cobwebs. The last three people who cleaned it died shortly afterwards. 

The pub also has a number of caves, some used for cock fighting, and one that is said to have "an evil air" – it housed the condemned castle prisoners. A modest but good selection of beer is also available. Try to avoid it at the weekend when it's full of tourists.

Andy Hamilton is the author of Brewing Britain, a handy how-to guide for home brewers, with guides to British beers, beer shops, festivals and more. You can order your copy on Amazon now.

Main image: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (Shutterstock)

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