Top 9 Historic Places Competing for the Title of Oldest UK Pub

Have a Pint in the Oldest Pub in UK. Know Which One That Is?

There is a competition over which pub in the UK is the oldest. And there are a lot of contenders to the title. Debates exist because there are no documents to attest the ages claimed by some of the owners. Also, in some cases, former establishments have burnt down or have been destroyed only to have other pubs open in the same location.

Managers tend to add the years before to the year the new locations were established. This creates confusion then this information is matched to maps and records. But let’s see which are 9 of the strongest competitors for the title.

9 of the oldest pubs in the UK

The Skirrid Mountain Inn in Abergavenny, dating back to 1110

The Skirrid Inn – Image source:

There are references to the establishment as early as 1110 although the building it is in was only built in the 17th century. The place used to be a courthouse and an execution place. Many of the accused were hanged on the premises with markings of the rope being still visible to this day. It is said that the ghost of a judge is still roaming the halls.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham, dating back to 1189

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – Image source:

The pub received its name as it was the last stopping point before soldiers headed off to the Crusades. The place is also thought to have been the Nottingham castle brewery. There is no historical evidence to back up this claim and the location appears mentioned in documents as early as 1751. The building itself seems to have been erected in the 17th century.

Man and Scythe in Bolton, Lancashire, dating back to 1251

Man and Scythe – Image source:


Only the vaulted cellars remain from the 1251 original construction. Otherwise, there has been a pub on this exact location since that time and the current establishment was rebuilt in 1651, which is nothing to sneeze at either. Apart from it being 750 years old, the pub also has a reputation of being a haunted pub as visitors and locals alike have spotted a mysterious figure at an upstairs window.

Clachan Inn in Drymen, Scotland, dating back to 1734


The Clachan Inn – Image Source


While it is still in the race for the oldest pub in the UK, the Clachan Inn surely is the oldest pub in Scotland. It is situated in the vicinity of Loch Lomond and it is just the place you need to warm your feet after a long and healthy walk. It has a nice fire, friendly personnel, a well drafted menu and a fine selection of wines all visitors can enjoy. Among the interesting facts about this place is that the sister of famous outlaw Rob Roy was once a landlady here.

The Old Ferriboat Inn, Cambridgeshire, dating back to 460

Although records point to the fact that people have been drinking ale at this location since 560, the staff at the Old Ferriboat Inn are actually claiming that even then the place was an establishment with 100 years tradition, as it has been around since 460. Does it seem incredible? It sure does! Best way to find out the truth is to go and check things out yourself.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St. Albans, dating back to 795

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks – Image source:


Guinness book recognized the St. Albans Ye Olde Fighting Cock pub as the oldest pub as it dates back to 795. The record was contested as there are voices claiming that the real date is closer to 1485. Either way, the landmark has become famous since the 17th century when Oliver Cromwell spent a night at the inn.

Adam and Eve in Norwich, dating back to 1249

The Adam and Eve Inn in Norwich – Photo credit: Elliott [email protected]


According to what the staff told the Business Insider magazine, the Adam and Eve pub in Norwich dates back to 1249. It is said to have been a monastic brewery frequented by the people working to build the cathedral nearby.

Bingley Arms in Leeds, dating back to 953

The Bingley Arms pub in Leeds – Image source:


The original name of the pub was The Priest’s Inn, it appears in records as early as 905 and it functioned as a court as well. It was also used as a place for monks to rest on their way to St. Mary’s Abbey in York. Official numbers mention the year of 953 and the place was rebuilt in 1539.

Sheep Heid Inn in Edinburgh, Scotland, dating back to 1360

The Sheep Heid Inn in Edinburgh – Image source:


We do not know for sure whether this is the oldest pub in the UK but we do know that it has a lot of history connected to it. A public house may have existed at this location since 1360, while contesters claim that is was only established around 1710. Among the most famous patrons of the Sheep Heid Inn there are Mary Queen of Scots and James VI.

You can trust the records, you can trust what the pub owners and patrons say or you can trust your own gut. The best way to know for sure is to go there, get a seat in a corner and imagine what the place must have looked like so many years ago. And you can do this while savoring some amazing local dish and having a refreshing drink.