The British pub is often considered to be the heart and soul of a community, and is regularly used as the local meeting place for friends and family.
In the UK, people have been drinking alcohol since the Bronze Age, but many people may not know the history behind the ‘pub’. It was the arrival of the Roman Empire in the 1st century which started off the trend and the first ever inns were named tabernae. After this, it’s believed that the Anglo-Saxons created alehouses, which quickly evolved into meeting houses where people would come to socialise.
Today, there are over 50,000 pubs in the UK, and many hold stories and tales dating back thousands of years. So here at Parkdean Resorts, we’ve rounded up some of the oldest and most historical pubs in Britain.
The Sheep Heid Inn, Edinburgh
Local historians believe that The Sheep Heid Inn in Edinburgh has been licenced since 1360, making it Scotland’s oldest surviving public house.
The origin of the pub’s name has been a subject of debate for years. Some claim it derived from sheep that were kept in the park behind the pub, and others believe it came from a gift of a decorative ram’s head from King James VI of Scotland in the 16th century.
The Sheep Heid Inn is also the venue where Maggie Dickson ‘came back to life’. Legend has it, after she was hung in 1724, a man heard knocking and banging coming from within the coffin. The coffin was then opened and Maggie jumped out. The law saw it as ‘God’s will’ and she was released and later became something of a local celebrity, nicknamed 'Half Hangit' Maggie’. However, it’s believed Maggie flirted with and manipulated the ropemaker, to ensure a weaker noose.
Throughout the years, the Sheep Heid Inn has welcomed a number of famous people including Mary, Queen of Scots, James VI and more recently, Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the pub in July, 2016. The Sheep Heid Inn is only an hour away from Eyemouth Holiday Park and is definitely worth a visit.
Ye Olde Man & Scythe, Bolton
Dating back to 1251, Ye Olde Man & Scythe in Bolton is said to be the fourth oldest pub in the UK. As well as its traditional design and wide range of beers, it has gained the title as one of Britain’s most haunted pubs. Over the years, a lot of customers claim to have ‘seen’ the ghost of James Stanley, the Seventh Earl of Derby, lurking around the building. Stanley was part of the family who originally owned the tavern, and it’s believed that he spent his final hours at the pub.
However, the ghost is believed to have been ‘stolen’ from the pub in August 2016, after a Chinese artist claimed he bottled it up. The bottle is now on display at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester.
If you’re staying at Todber Valley Holiday Park, Ye Olde Man & Scythe is just under an hour’s drive away, meaning you can visit the pub for yourself and see the famous chair that Stanley sat in.
Video sourced from ConsultGreenwood
Adam and Eve, Norwich
Located just outside the city’s cathedral walls, Adam and Eve is believed to be the oldest pub in Norwich, with parts of the building dating back nearly 800 years.
Inside the pub, the interior maintains its sense of rootedness, with cushioned benches, antique settles and a Saxon Well underneath the floor. Visitors will find a low-ceilinged oak-beamed bar accompanied by a smaller area, which is often reserved for events.
The pub is also well-known for its spooky stories. Staff at Adam and Eve have said they have felt sensations of people tapping them on the shoulder, and bells would regularly ring ‘by themselves’.
If you want to experience tasty food, ale and up to 40 different malt whiskies, then Adam and Eve is definitely worth a visit, and it’s only half an hour away from five of our holiday parks in East Anglia.
The Clachan Inn, Drymen
Just north of Glasgow in the village of Drymen, sits one of Scotland’s oldest pubs, The Clachan Inn. The inn was registered as a licenced pub in 1734, when it was made famous for distilling its own whisky to sell to customers.
Owned by the Plank family since 1981, the pub takes pride in its traditional Scottish hospitality, and it’s the perfect place to take a break after walking in the Highlands. The pub serves delicious food which is made fresh onsite from high quality locally sourced produce.
Centuries ago, Drymen was a market and collecting point for cattle that had been raised in the Highlands. The Endrick River, which flows nearby and into Loch Lomond, was the lowest point for the driven cattle, which were on route to the meat market at Smithfield in London.
Today, the village is extremely popular with tourists and walkers who are walking the West Highland Way. If you’re staying at Wemyss Bay Holiday Park, The Clachan Inn is only an hour away, meaning there’s no excuse not to go and enjoy this traditional pub and the charming village of Drymen.
If you happen to visit any old and historical pubs in Britain, we’d love to hear all about it on our Twitter page.