10 great British pub walks
Many of the best walks end in a pub
1. Broadhembury, Devon - The Drewe Arms
Plenty of villages compete for the title of ‘prettiest in Devon’. But Broadhembury, tucked beneath the Blackdown Hills AONB, is a hot contender, with arguably the county’s loveliest thatched and cream-washed gem. Enjoy a moderate 5-mile circuit from this sleepy hamlet along quiet lanes, across fields and through woods. Climb the hills’ south-western edge to watch gliders soaring on thermals, then follow the escarpment past old flint workings and back to the village. There you’ll find a handy playground to delight children, and the charming Drewe Arms. This 16th-century cottage gastropub has the feel of a traditional country inn, and a warm welcome for all. Soak up the sun in the lovely garden, or warm yourself by woodburners in winter.
2. Chess Valley, Hertfordshire - The Red Lion & The Cricketers
For an easy escape near north-west London, explore the idyllic valley of the River Chess on a mini-adventure along this short but precious chalk stream. The area’s hub is the time-stood-still hamlet of Chenies. Its beautiful Tudor manor house is a favourite TV and film location. An easy 7-mile loop follows the Chess Valley Walk from the timber-framed village of Latimer through wildflower-strewn Frogmore Meadows Nature Reserve. You might spot herons, kingfishers, wagtails and even water voles among the watercress beds. On a nearby hillside, Sarratt’s lively Cricketers pub makes a fine pitstop, overlooking the classic village green. Amble back across a footbridge and through leafy woods to Chenies’ Red Lion, known for hearty food and real ales. It’s easy to trim off a few miles by omitting Latimer. Chorleywood and Chalfont & Latimer underground stations are both under 2 miles’ walk from Chenies.
3. Porthdinllaen, Llyn Peninsula - The Ty Coch Inn
For clear waters, white-sand beaches, fine rockpooling and a hearty pub, head to Porthdinllaen. This tiny fishing hamlet is perched on an outcrop of north Wales’ Llŷn Peninsula. A rewarding 2.5-mile loop around the gnarled headland starts from the National Trust carpark in nearby Morfa Nefyn. Keep eyes peeled for grey seals as you stride north to the picture-postcard village along the sand past abandoned brickworks. You’ll find a warm welcome at the Ty Coch Inn, ideal for a cooling pint mid-walk. Climb past the lifeboat station onto the cliffs for views across the bay to Yr Eifl hills, known as ‘The Rivals’.
4. Birks of Aberfeldy, Perthshire - The Schiehallion Hotel
Scottish poet Robert Burns fell for the birch woods (‘birks’) and cascades of Aberfeldy when he visited in 1787. “O'er their heads the hazels hing, The little birdies blythely sing,” he wrote. To find out why, follow the Rob Roy Way south from the town alongside the Moness Burn, on shady paths through the birks. In summer the wood is shady and lush, before its leaves flame gold and red in autumn. Watch for red squirrels and listen for the crashing Falls of Moness. Then cross the burn and return to Aberfeldy. Toast your 2.7-mile jaunt with a pint of Schiehallion beer in the namesake hotel.
5. Ranworth, Norfolk - The Maltsters
The Norfolk Broads is Britain’s largest protected wetland, known for its diverse and thriving birdlife. It’s also a haven for great pubs. An easy 4.5-mile stroll introduces both local specialties. Footpaths snaking south from Ranworth village skirt South Walsham Broad. Look for the lonely tower at Panxworth, remnant of a medieval church left to romantic ruin. Quiet country lanes lead back to Ranworth and its nature reserve, managed by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Around the reed-fringed broad, watch for marsh harriers, warblers, waders, wildfowl and, if you’re very lucky at dusk, otter. Relax at the Maltsters, a traditional local pub with tempting food and a popular waterside garden.
6. Llangollen Canal and Castell Dinas Brân - The Berwyn Arms
Llangollen is a fascinating town with a rich industrial heritage. Together with nearby Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, its famous canal is a World Heritage site. It’s also the main southern hub of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This encompasses a range of habitats hosting otters, butterflies and rare birds including curlew and black grouse. Discover the region’s rich human and natural history on a 5.5-mile walk north and west of the town. You’ll explore Castell Dinas Brân, the tumbledown remains of a 13th-century fortress within an Iron Age hillfort. You’ll also roam spiritual ruins at Valle Crucis Abbey, in a lovely streamside location, and cool off at Horseshoe Falls. Cross the canal to reach The Berwyn Arms, a 17th-century gastropub. Then return to Llangollen along the scenic towpath between the canal and the River Dee.
7. Sycamore Gap, Northumbria - Twice Brewed Inn
Hadrian’s Wall has been attracting tourists for most of its 1900-year existence. Today, lots of them are walkers enjoying the 84-mile national trail alongside the ancient barrier. Try a shorter historic hike instead, looping 2.5 miles from the curiously named hamlet of Once Brewed. At the eastern end of the steep-sided Peel Crags, you’ll find the remains of Milecastle 39. This atmospheric Roman ruin overlooks Sycamore Gap, named for the tree made famous in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Toast ancient engineers and soldiers with a pint of house ale at the Twice Brewed Inn.
8. Long Mynd, Shropshire - The Bridges
There’s scenic spectacle in every direction from the isolated little Bridges pub at Ratlinghope. You could lope north-west to the Stiperstones, a lumpy hill topped with quartzite crags like a stegosaurus spine. Even better, tackle an 8-mile circuit ascending onto the Long Mynd, the heather-purpled roof of Shropshire. Wind back down the lovely Golden Valley and along the wood-shaded path by the Darnford Brook. Soon you’ll be relaxing back in the pub or its breezy garden.
9. Aros Park and Tobermory, Mull - The Mishnish
Is Tobermory the most colourful town in Scotland? It just might be. This historic fishing port in the Inner Hebrides boasts a photo-friendly parade of rainbow-coloured houses along its harbour. Make up your own mind on a 2.5-mile stroll south from the waterfront past the distillery. Trace the shoreline beneath Sput Dubh waterfall to Aros Park and serene Lochan a’Ghurrabain, looking back for million-dollar views of the harbour. At the northern end you’ll find the yellow-fronted Mishnish, famed for seafood and a warm welcome.
10. Hampstead Heath, London - The Southampton Arms & The Spaniards Inn
You don’t have to leave the capital to enjoy sweeping views and historic hostelries. There’s a great pub at either end of a 4-mile walk through Hampstead Heath. Delve onto the greenery at Parliament Hill Fields Lido near The Southampton Arms in Kentish Town, known for real ales and ciders. Drink in the vistas from Parliament Hill, then take your pick of the paths through the Heath to Kenwood and Hampstead Lane. Here you’ll find the 16th-century Spaniards Inn, where infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was reputedly born. True or not, its shady beer garden is the place for a refreshing tipple.
We’ve got ideas for hundreds of wonderful walking routes across England, Scotland and Wales, long and short, easy and challenging. Search for routes on our website. Or join a guided walk with a local Ramblers group. Find your nearest Ramblers group and choose a walk that suits your pace, fitness and interests.
All images © Getty
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