The best pub in Britain, according to Twitter

The Great Western, Wolverhampton.

On Saturday night, Tony Naylor declared the Old Bridge, Ripponden, ‘arguably Britain’s best pub’:

That prompt­ed us to ask our Twit­ter fol­low­ers, slight­ly mis­chie­vous­ly, we must admit, to place their votes for Britain’s best pub.

When the replies start­ed to tum­ble in, we realised the results might actu­al­ly be some­what mean­ing­ful, as cer­tain pubs got mul­ti­ple votes, and the names of cool-sound­ing pubs we’d nev­er vis­it­ed popped up.

So, we’ve decid­ed to sort through the answers and turn them into a to-do list.


We dis­count­ed pubs that nom­i­nat­ed them­selves, obvi­ous­ly.

There were a sur­pris­ing num­ber of votes for Orwell’s the Moon Under Water, or sim­i­lar­ly whim­si­cal per­fect pubs of the imag­i­na­tion. Love­ly stuff but basi­cal­ly a smart-arsed way of cop­ping out of answer­ing.

Where peo­ple named mul­ti­ple pubs, we’ve ignored all but the first one men­tioned in their Tweet. That’ll teach ’em.

We noticed one satir­i­cal answer – the Wether­spoon in Pre­ston that was con­tro­ver­sial­ly named best pub in town last week – but oth­ers might have slipped through the net.

The list

First, here’s a list of all the pubs that got more than one nom­i­na­tion – a very decent list, which over­laps with our per­son­al favourites to some degree.

  1. The Great West­ern, Wolver­hamp­ton
  2. The Hope, Car­shal­ton
  3. The Grove, Hud­der­s­field
  4. The Free Trade Inn, New­cas­tle
  5. The Bell, Ald­worth
  6. The Old Ship, Sea­hous­es
  7. The Ship & Mitre, Liv­er­pool

(We real­ly must get to the Hope. This is get­ting embar­rass­ing.)

Now, here’s the full list.

You might not like every pub sug­gest­ed but the point is, to some­one, some­where, these pubs were spe­cial enough to war­rant a response, which means they’re prob­a­bly at least worth stick­ing a nose into if you find your­self in the area.

11 thoughts on “The best pub in Britain, according to Twitter”

  1. The Hang­ing Bat 😂 It’s not even in the top 20 best pubs in Edin­burgh. I’m guess­ing that was­n’t nom­i­nat­ed by a local.

  2. Being Man­ches­ter based, I can vouch for the Mar­ble Arch, and the Pil­crow. Stock­port has at least two fan­tas­tic pubs in the Hope Inn and the Old Vic. Great beers in great pubs. The lat­ter is near the sta­tion, very handy. I’m in my late 50s but I like to choose between good cask and good keg, all things bright and beau­ti­ful. Foot in both camps. I want a par­tial Brex­it too, keep the best bits! We don’t have to be staunch­ly stuck in one camp, unable to appre­ci­ate the qual­i­ty on both sides. More pubs could sur­vive if they offered old and new, reduce the hand pulls to keep the cask offer­ing rotat­ing quick­ly, and offer some keg taps. More choice and bet­ter qual­i­ty, attract old and young, and broad­en tastes. It’s hap­pen­ing any­way, go with it.

  3. With the caveat of ‘prob­a­bly not a sta­tis­ti­cal­ly viable sam­ple’; hav­ing been in pubs # 1,3,4 & 6. I can agree that these are all wor­thy of inclu­sion on a top what­ev­er list of pubs. The Ship at Sea­hous­es is def­i­nite­ly on my top ten, prob­a­bly the Great West­ern too. I’m sure the oth­er pubs are very good too.

    Oth­er peo­ple will have oth­er ideas, and dif­fer­ent isn’t wrong. I use the ‘Pub Pyra­mid’ to eval­u­ate pubs, some­thing that devel­oped from the ‘Pub Tri­an­gle’ devised by Etheridge and Per­sighet­ti and which they used in their excel­lent Pub­lic House instal­la­tion as part of the recent Com­pass Arts Fes­ti­val, some­thing I was priv­i­leged to have col­lab­o­rat­ed, devel­oped and been involved in.

    Essen­tial­ly the Pyra­mid recog­nis­es that pubs can be mea­sured through the ele­ments of peo­ple, place and beer, and they change with time. A pub that might be on a top ten now may change. What was good may no longer be and vice ver­sa. A pub long demol­ished could be on a top ten so long as we recog­nise the lim­its of time. If the Ship at Sea­hous­es were ever to leave the stew­ard­ship of the fam­i­ly who own it, it may well trans­form into the sou­less beery desert of the Bam­burgh Cas­tle across the road. Oth­er peo­ple may dis­agree with me here, that’s fine by me.

    My point being what suits one per­son does­n’t suit anoth­er, and long may that last.

  4. The small num­ber of respons­es makes this a slight­ly dubi­ous poll, but I’d have vot­ed for the Great West­ern any­way (I have nev­er been on Twat­ter so obvi­ous­ly did­n’t see the poll). It also has a rea­son­ably priced Novo­tel almost round the cor­ner and my last overnight stop in Wolver­hamp­ton basi­cal­ly involved just the RAILWAY sta­tion, Hotel, Sains­burys and Great West­ern.

    It would make an inter­est­ing con­trast to ask which pub do peo­ple most often vis­it (home or away?), and in my case ‘home’ would be the local Wether­spoon. I know it’s been fash­ion­able for years to dis­par­age the chain but they must be doing some­thing right giv­en that they sell 10% of the cask beer in the coun­try and I sus­pect that a num­ber of eco­nom­i­cal­ly mar­gin­al micro brew­eries might not be viable with­out their orders. In fact, the local CAMRA pub of the year is just round the cor­ner but the deaf­en­ing juke­box often dri­ves me out.

  5. The Mar­ble Arch aside, the Man­ches­ter nom­i­na­tions are a touch eccen­tric. I’ve lived in Man­ches­ter for 30 years and would­n’t be able to tell you where the Jol­ly Angler is, let alone if it’s any good. The Turn­pike, cur­rent­ly closed for ren­o­va­tion, is (was?) a keg-only Sam Smith’s pub (which has or had a beau­ti­ful inte­ri­or, admit­ted­ly); the Cas­tle used to be a great spec­i­men of mul­ti-room dark-wood city-cen­tre booz­er­dom, but has been let down in recent years by the clo­sure of the upstairs room and a frankly dull beer range (lots of Robin­son’s, no Old Tom).

    Con­sid­er this a belat­ed – and split – vote for the Smith­field (Man­ches­ter) and the Peters­gate Tap (Stock­port).

    1. Every time I go to Man­ches­ter I traipse to the Jol­ly Angler and stand in front of a locked door because I keep for­get­ting that they still do after­noon clos­ing. So I have only been there once, some­time in the late 1990s. Hydes beer IIRC.

  6. I did­n’t respond to the tweet but would like to add a +1 for the Star & Garter in Brom­ley – incred­i­ble range of cask, keg and bot­tles, good prices, a very laid back atmos­phere and love­ly staff! Very lucky to have it as my local.

  7. I’m not a Twit­ter user (obvi­ous­ly) but sur­prised The Three Fish­es in Shrews­bury has not been nom­i­nat­ed.

  8. the front, Fal­mouth. Every day’s a beer fes­ti­val! 9 beers on the go and I have nev­er had a mediocre, let alone bad, pint. Hats off to Matt!!

  9. The Bell Inn, Ald­worth is West Berk­shire CAMRA Pub of the Year 2019. Among beers avail­able are: Old Tyler (a ver­sion of West Berk­shire Brew­ery’s Good Old Boy) and a draught mild usu­al­ly from West Berk­shire Brew­ery (Mag­gs’ Mag­nif­i­cent Mild) or Indige­nous Brew­ery (based in Chad­dle­worth, Berk­shire). The pub is includ­ed in the Nation­al Inven­to­ry of His­toric Pub Inte­ri­ors. The (out­side, no roof) Gents is referred to as the Plan­e­tar­i­um! The vil­lage of Ald­worth was the first to organ­ise a Con­corde char­ter flight in 1978. There is an arti­cle about this on dis­play in the pub. Con­corde used to fly over the pub dai­ly as it was on the flight path. Heather Macaulay recalls the ‘Bell Air’ trip in a radio inter­view –

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