Sadly, the days of relaxing in the beer garden with a chilled cooler or two are now over, but worry not, the UK still has a number of fantastic traditional pubs which are perfect for the colder months. We’ve taken a few hints from the recent Campaign for Real Ale Good Beer Guide and put together a shortlist of award winning English and Welsh pubs which will provide the perfect pint for you and your mates this autumn. Check out our list of the five finest.
Crown and Kettle, Manchester
With an ale-driven clientele and a wide range of ever-changing ale options available, the Crown and Kettle is one of Manchester’s most popular traditional pubs and one of CAMRA’s pubs of the year in 2015. The pub places a lot of emphasis on local produce which means the majority of guest ales are brewed locally from a host of independent brewers.
The building itself is a sight to be seen as it has a beautifully ornate ceiling and is believed to date back to at least the 19th century, if not earlier. The pub is renowned for its regular beer festivals and is used to hosting lively live music nights all year round. When it comes to food, the menu is very traditional with pork pies available at the bar in an unusual range of different flavours. The Crown and Kettle is definitely worth a visit if you’re stopping over in Manchester at our popular Manchester hostel, YHA Manchester.
Bunch of Grapes, Pontypridd
CAMRA insists that the Bunch of Grapes is one of the best pubs in all of Wales, so it’s unlikely to disappoint fans of real ale. The Bunch of Grapes was also the AA’s Welsh Pub of the year in 2014/15 and it has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere with fantastic ales and foods, as well as their own deli so you can enjoy their produce at home too.
In terms of ales, the Bunch has 10 hand pumps, 8 for beer and 2 for cider and even offers visitors the chance to try beers from the owner’s own Otley brewery. The food has a traditional country pub feel with daily changing menus and has everything from your casual burger to poached crayfish. The Bunch of Grapes is proud of its status and strives to offer more and more to its punters, both local and visiting. If you’re planning a trip to the area, staying in Cardiff is usually a great idea, with our YHA Cardiff Central hostel making a great base for those exploring Southern Wales.
Plough Inn, Little London
The history of the Plough Inn dates back centuries, 450 years in fact, and is renowned for being cosy and unpretentious. The pub features a large, imposing bar, solid oak beams and has a welcoming, traditional feel to its interior.
The Plough Inn draws in local hikers and visitors to nearby Roman ruins and its range of ales includes two changing beers from regional breweries and excellent real cider. The food is kept simple and the menu is inspired by locally sourced meat, cheese and veg. The Plough Inn has proudly won the North Hampshire Pub of the Year Award for three years in a row and is a great place to visit if you’re staying at our YHA Holmbury.
Drovers Rest Inn, Carlisle
Situated very closely to Hadrian’s Wall path, the Drovers Rest Inn is a particularly alluring spot for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts during the winter months. With a roaring fire, cosy dining rooms, pool table and a rustic interior, the pub provides an excellent retreat for weary travellers. Home cooked food and a great range of real ales on tap ensure there’s something for everyone but the pub also has a great reputation for serving truly unique and obscure guest ales. The food is locally sourced and the owners are proud to be a heart of the local community in the village of Monkhill.
A break in Carlisle or the surrounding area will be even better with a stop at an award-winning pub like the Drovers Rest and our YHA Caldbeck Bunkhouse is a great accommodation choice for your trip to the area.
Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield
A friendly and bright atmosphere welcomes patrons into the Kelham Island Tavern, which has all the spirit of Sheffield but also offers a traditional take on classic ales and craft beers. The tavern serves a range of real ales including mild, porter, stout and even gluten free options as well as the usual range of European and American lagers.
This pub has a huge array of accolades behind it, including National Pub of the Year in 2004, 2008and 2009 and is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, the Good Pub Guide and the AA Good Pub Guide. It is also on the latest CAMRA list and remains one of the best pubs in the country, embracing both microbrewery principles and the diverse palates of its wide range of customers. The food too has a classic pub feel, with sandwiches, locally made pork pies and lunchtime only hot meals too. The pub isn’t too far from our YHA Hathersage hostel on the edge of the Peak District, so we would highly recommend a visit if you’re looking for a top notch pub to unwind in after a day’s walking or cycling.
Pictures by Adam Bruderer and Roger Blackwell