Not the catchiest post title I know but my publishers have been pushing me for another piece of work. The clamour has been greater than the surge to buy either Michael Owen or David Cameron’s book so I have finally bowed to public pressure.
Of course, in my last post I was waxing lyrical about how this blog never makes up stories but I think that first line might just have blown that theory out of the water.
(Swadlincote High Street)
Whilst Owen has a war of words with Alan Shearer about excerpts from his book I promised Martin, Mudgie, Ian, Duncan and Mark that I will keep all of their secrets under wraps, in exchange for a pint of Bass at the next Beer and Pubs Forum bash!
Nonetheless, on with Part 3 of the most predictable much heralded series where I fill in during a quiet week identify ten pub towns/suburbs/villages that should be on the lips of every holidaymaker in the Midlands.
(Knowle & Dorridge CC)
Part 1 and Part 2 of this series saw me recommend must visit places with at least three boozers of repute in their postcode and whilst one or two of these might be familiar, there should be the odd gem to uncover.
So, in no particular order….
A suburb on the outskirts of Solihull next to the much better named Birmingham suburb Acocks Green, Olton is my boyhood town.
A couple of classic estate pubs The Highwood and The Lyndon are good survivors whilst a new addition – Platform 3 means it now has a bona fide station boozer. Well worth a visit and a railway station makes it more accessible than Dave Southworth’s favourite town of Ashby De La Zouch.
One of those gloriously overpubbed Derbyshire villages on the edge of the Peak District very close to some legendary pubs such as The Holly Bush and the King William,. But this is worth a visit in its own rights as a train station mean you can see a Cricket club, GBG Tap House, a backstreet locals classic, a riverside pub and another couple just for good measure.
One of the grittier towns in the Midlands with a cracking mining history, a dry ski slope and refers to itself as Swad in the same way Alan Winfield’s home town of Stapleford refers to itself as Stabbo.
A new boozer known as Bodell’s in reference to boxing legend Jack Bodell is the new kid on the block and a real leftfield addition alongside The Forresters Arms and The Railway which are proper estate style locals either in the town centre or on the outskirts. A spoons is also the focal point in the middle of this town.
Not quite as pubby as its near neighbour Knowle but it still has a GBG regular in The Railway, a smart estate pub known as The Drum and Monkey as well as a station hotel pub known as The Forest, which is now upping its game in terms of cask ale. It’s also got a GBG cricket club Knowle & Dorridge CC which is within walking distance of the station so a real mixed bag of goodies.
An absolute classic throwback of local boozers, Hi viz jackets and top class beer in this suburb of Stoke on Trent. Something for everyone as long as you like a lively time and one of the friendliest suburbs in the Midlands.
Red Lion is a stand out pub as a prime example of a backstreet boozer.
This town on the edge of Staffordshire shares a train station with Hatton, which is in Derbyshire but has much better pubs than its railway sharing neighbour.
A micropub, a fantastic 500 year old half-timbered building and a couple of tucked away locals’ pubs as well as a castle mean there is plenty to see here with The Cross Keys pick of the bunch.
Most people will of course have heard of this place as it is home to the Baggies – the second best team in Birmingham (well, at least half of their stadium). The Wheatsheaf is an absolute belter whereas The Vine is possibly the best football ground in the country?
Sow and Pigs is probably classed as Hill Top but for the purposes of this blog it is the oldest pub in West Brom and therefore means I can include this pub town.
A suburb of Derby that is having an incredible amount of homes being built on it or nearby. Nasty supermarket giants Lidl knocked down the Rose And Crown but there are still three boozers on this stretch of the A514 and with the dormant Corner Pin set to come back to life under Derby Brewing Company next year then there is even more reason to visit.
The Lawns and R ’n’ R’s Sports Bar are livelier than you’d imagine on a Friday night.
A fantastic little town on the outskirts of the Peak District. It’s a thriving little place with plenty of pubs and one of the best Micropubs I’ve ever been into whilst The Royal Oak is an absolute classic.
One of those self-sufficient places like Belper or Ashbourne but a little smaller.
If you’ve ever read this blog before then you’ll know what a great pub town this is. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it I the first two instalments but there is so much to like about Coalville if you like traditional pubs.
If you only ever visit one pub in the Midlands then make sure it is The Stamford and Warrington which is untroubled by any modernity apart from Sky Sports as it will transport you back – in the nicest possible way – to seventies boozers in Britain.