There’s nothing more British than popping out for a pint down the local – and the more eccentric the pub the better! To help you find a suitably strange hostelry for a tipple, Do Not Disturb has picked five of the best around the country.
The Nutshell, Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk
There have long been passionate debates about which is the smallest pub in the country – but after a drink in this bijou boozer, you won’t want to find anything more minuscule. Capacity is around ten and if that weren’t cosy enough, punters have to sup their pints in the company of a mummified cat, hanging from the ceiling, an aeroplane propeller hung on the wall and a disproportionate amount of dirt – tradition dictates that nothing is ever dusted.
The Old Forge, Inverie, Scotland
A pub with no locals? Only in the wilds of the west coast of Scotland. This is the remotest pub in mainland Britain. The only way to get here is by a seven-mile boat ride or an 18-mile hike. Luckily, you can stay the night.
Former landlady Jackie Robertson claims: ‘It’s a very beautiful place and a very hard one to leave.’ She’s not joking – especially when there’s a storm…
The Crooked House, Gornal, West Midlands
The boozy equivalent of the leaning tower of Pisa, this former farmhouse, built in 1765, slumps at a quite alarming angle that makes you feel more than a little tiddly the minute you step though the door.
Built on top of a mineshaft, subsidence has caused the pub to sit 15 degrees off kilter. It’s been buttressed and made safe but drinking is still a rather Salvador Dalí-esque experience. Probably best not to order the soup…
The Frog And Toad, Gillingham, Kent
Be prepared to temporarily lose one of your shoes if you fancy a quick swill in this Medway pub. The beers are served in miniature versions of glass ‘yards of ale’ tubes and can only be sipped when placed in their wooden holders. They cost more than a fiver each, so to stop customers making off with a souvenir, they’re asked to remove one of their shoes.
The shoe is placed in a box and hoisted to the ceiling of the pub, where it stays until the boozy contraption is returned. When Do Not Disturb visited, one patron said: ‘You’d be amazed how many people take the glass anyway and hop off shoeless.’ You have been warned.
The Barley Mow, Bonsall, Derbyshire
Scientists believe that chickens have a memory of just three minutes. So hopefully they won’t feel humiliated if they come last in the Chicken Racing Championships held every August. Alan Webster, landlord of the pub, is convinced that these birds have got more between the ears than many believe: ‘People think chickens are stupid, but they have a strong competitive ethic.’
And some of Best Western’s best pubs…
*The BEST WESTERN Beamish Hall Hotel in Beamish, County Durham, has its own microbrewery – try its wares at The Stables bar.
*Les, the landlord of Alexander’s The Pub at BEST WESTERN Castle Green Hotel in Kendal in the Lake District, is passionate about real ales and locally-sourced food.
* The Ramblewood Inn at BEST WESTERN PLUS Orton Hall Hotel in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, is a pretty hostelry in converted stables.
* The Jacobean Pub at BEST WESTERN Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel in Badsworth, West Yorkshire, is a family favourite, with a range of cask beers and a popuar Sunday carvery.