The pub is one of Britain's oldest and more enduring traditions, and there are so many different ones to choose from that it's often tricky to root out some of the best from the average, and then the just-plain-awful. Luckily there are plenty of great pubs throughout Great Britain that'll give you a true taste of local culture and history as well as serve up the best in local fare and brewed ales and beers.
They've been called watering holes, taprooms, beer or ale rooms, drinking holes, and taverns, yet the humble pub has very old and important beginnings. Hearkening back to the days when pilgrims and travelers journeyed over long distances (think Canterbury Tales) they would rest at night at the town's local inn and eat and drink in the communal downstairs hall. These taverns eventually also became known as pub, from the words "public house" for drinking (as opposed to in a private house).
It wasn't just pilgrims either — rumor has it that knights leaving to follow Richard I on the crusades would stop by Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, a pub in Nottingham built into the side of a sandy cliff, to swap stories before they resumed their journey.
That storytelling tradition persevered with authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis scribbling down their most famous works while enjoying a pint at the Eagle and Child in Oxford. It's a tradition that still exists today… think of how many of your favorite local pubs have writers holed up in the corner penning the next great novel.
With such a solid history there are indeed many good pubs to choose from, but what makes a great one? Historical significance is a must, so a beautiful interior, quality ales and beers on tap (preferably local offerings and some boutique options), and great pub grub.
We've scoured what Britain's watering holes have to offer and narrowed it down to this list of some of the best… read on to find out which are Britain's Best Pubs.
10. The Royal Oak — Borough, London
Voted one of the U.K.'s top 10 pubs by the Daily Telegraph, the Royal Oak is a true Victorian-era gem built just a stone's throw away from Chaucer's Tabard Inn. To honor its legacy, the pub also recreates the local drinking traditions recorded in the Canterbury Tales, but in a more contemporary setting. Today it's an authentic city beer house with plenty of local ales on tap.
9. The Thatchers Arms — Mount Bures, Essex
An authentic rural country pub that boasts its own stunning views of the Stour Valley in Suffolk, Essex, The Thatcher's Arms serves award-winning local ales as well great food sourced locally too. It's the perfect place to get a taste of the old country while enjoying the best lager and food the English countryside has to offer.