Want to find some of the oldest pubs in Britain? The country of Britain is an old and historic place. Our history and culture dates back for thousands of years through bronze and stone ages and beyond.
Being as old as Britain brings with it an inherent history; famous locations, historic buildings, monuments, and ancient structures can stick around for hundreds of years.
Not least of those is the traditional British pub, also known as Inns or Taverns in olden times. The humble pub has played a part in British culture since time immemorial and has become intertwined with the people and history of the country.
Let’s take a look at five of the oldest British pubs that are well worth a visit.
Ye Olde Man & Scythe
Ye Olde Man & Scythe is a historic and very old British pub and claims to be the most haunted in the country. It’s located in Bolton, England, and has been around since the year 1251. Over seven centuries!
It’s certainly one of the oldest pubs in Britain on this list, and not only that, it’s the most ancient pub in the city of Bolton.
It was rebuilt in the 1600s and supposedly, in 1651, the Earl of Derby was killed and executed outside of the establishment.
The Porch House
The Porch House has a history dating back over a thousand years. Located in Cheltenham, and in existence since 947 AD, it is by far one of the oldest pubs in Britain on this list. According to the records, it’s been around for almost 1100 years if the official dates are accurate.
While it’s not always easy to determine origination dates, the wood that the Porch House was built from has been carbon-dated to 1000 AD, which pretty much ensures that the establishment isn’t lying about its age. A truly ancient British pub!
The Skirrid Inn
The Skirrid Inn has roots going all the way back to the 12th century. It’s located in Llanfihangel Crucorney and claims to be one of the oldest pubs in all of Wales. The Inn is host to a number of folklore, legends, and rumored hauntings, making it a popular tourist spot.
Visitors make their way there to see the historic building and hear the ghostly stories. The legend has it that criminals were tried, judged, and hanged at the inn giving rise to the tales of the otherworldly inhabitants.
Ye Olde Fighting Cocks
Located in St Albans, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks boasts a history stretching back to the 8th century, making it nearly 1200 years old and undoubtedly one of the oldest pubs in England. It was rebuilt in the 11th century, and now claims to be ‘Britain’s Oldest Pub,’ and it has a long history.
It is supposedly the place where Oliver Cromwell slept at one time, and hundreds of years ago the pub was a location for cockfighting to take place.
This gave rise to the name ‘Ye Olde Fighting Cocks’ which it has remained until this day, even though the practice is now outlawed. It’s truly one of the oldest pubs in the whole of Britain!
The Old Ferry Boat Inn
This ancient inn claims to have been around since the 6th century—the year 560 to be exact, making it one of the oldest pubs in Britain. It is located in St Ives, Cambridgeshire next to the River Ouse. The Old Ferry Boat Inn sits on a beautiful location that is popular with locals and tourists.
Visitors and regular patrons alike come to have a drink and relax by the river. As with many of these old British pubs it has tales of its own legends and ghosts.
The Old Ferry Boat Inn’s ghost is that of a woman that was rejected or scorned. She reputedly haunts the inn and even has a grave underneath the establishment marked by a slab.
This list is just a few of the many historic British pubs that you can visit. There are many more around the country. It demonstrated the culture, traditions, legends, and stories that can last and persist throughout centuries.
Some of these historic establishments pre-date medieval times and some have outlasted governments, kings, and queens. To this day, each one of the old British pubs on this list is operational and frequented by customers and patrons.
They are lasting bastions of culture and social gathering places that are well known locally and are regarded affectionately by the people that live near them. Long live these historic British pubs!