Pubs with a Unique Story 

Each pub tells a unique story. In this blog, we delve into the heart of nine charming pubs, each distinguished by a captivating narrative that transcends the ordinary. Whether rooted in medieval origins, transformed from a different purpose, or proudly claiming the title of the highest in England, join us on this exploration where we unearth tales of battles, royal connections, and refurbishments that breathe new life into centuries-old walls. 

Pubs with a Unique Story 

The Porch House  

Stow-on-the-wold, Gloucestershire 

The Porch House  

Steeped in history dating back to the 10th century, The Porch House proudly holds the title of England’s oldest inn, welcoming travellers for over a millennium. Originally established as a hospice by Saxon Duke Athelmar in 947 AD, this establishment transitioned through various roles, serving as an inn, possibly with a dog fighting pit, and later evolving into a hotel known as The Royalist. 

The inn’s history is evident in its architecture, with timbers carbon-dated to approximately 1000 AD. Above the 16th century fireplace are witch marks, put there to ward off evil spirits. One of the bedrooms has a curious plaster frieze carved with mythical beasts and medallions of lions heads. One theory is that this is a medieval ‘houris’ frieze dating from the time of the crusades. 

The inn’s past is further highlighted by a 3-feet deep pit discovered beneath the present-day restaurant. This is  believed to have been a site for medieval blood sports like dog fighting. 

Divided into two sections, The Porch House combines tradition and modernity. One side houses a stylish restaurant within a traditional whitewashed building. Whilst the other features a cosy pub adorned with twisted beams, toasty fireplaces, and an elegant pavilion extension. 

Find out more information and book The Porch House 


The Tan hill Inn 

Swaledale, North Yorkshire 

Perched atop a hill in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales, the Tan Hill Inn stands as a famous pub, proudly claiming the title of Britain’s highest public house at 1,732 feet (528m) above sea level. This unique inn, dating back to the 17th century, beckons travellers with its exposed beams, stone-flagged floors, delectable cuisine, and the inviting warmth of a crackling fire. 

Nestled in the scenery of Swaledale, near Keld, the Tan Hill Inn is a warm and welcoming meeting place. Renowned internationally, this establishment draws a diverse crowd. It is where walkers and cyclists brush shoulders and converse with people from the realms of media, arts, music, film, and theatre. 

Find out more information and book The Tan Hill Inn 


The King’s Arms  

Dorchester, Dorset 

The first records of an inn on the site of The King’s Arms date back to the 16th century. However, it is doubtful whether any of this earlier building survives, with the current building dating from 1720. In the 19th century The King’s Arms under-went a major refurbishment, under the ownership of the Earl of Shaftesbury. Remnants of this effort can be seen today with a porch with Doric columns; cast iron railings; and large bow windows. 

Thomas Hardy, renowned novelist, not only featured the inn in his works but also dined, wrote, and entertained literary friends like Robert Louis Stephenson here. 

Through various ownerships, including stints under large breweries, the pub faced challenges, losing many original features during the 20th century. In 2015, The Stay Original Company intervened, rescuing the historic gem from receivership. After a refurbishment, The King’s Arms was reanimated, reopening its doors in September 2020, breathing life again into the property and restoring it to the grandeur it deserves. 

Find out more information and book The King’s Arms 


Old Mill  

Hordle, Hampshire 

The Old Mill Hordle - pub unique story

Constructed in the 18th century, The Old Mill originally served as a functional flour mill, operating until just after WW1. Today, it stands as a charming riverside pub, situated on the banks of the Avon within the charming hamlet of Gordleton, in the heart of the New Forest. 

Upon entering the restaurant, guests are greeted with a blend of historical charm and modern interior design. Exposed bricks and remnants of machinery take you back to its industrial roots. The Old Mill seamlessly weaves together its diverse heritage, to creating a unique and captivating atmosphere. 

Find out more information and book The Old Mill 


The White Hart 

Overton, Hampshire  

The White Hart Overton - pub unique story

Nestled in the historical town of Overton, The Hart tells a tale dating back to 1205 when Bishop Peter des Roches was appointed Bishop of Winchester. Bishop Peter des Roches set about increasing the revenues of the region by establishing seven new market towns across Hampshire. Overton was one of them and the bishop owned the entire parish. This lead to the creation of The White Hart as part of the new town. 

During Richard II (1377-1399) reign he declared that every inn should have a sign outside. His armourial symbols include a pair of white stags or harts, The White Hart innkeepers chose the white hart as their inn sign. 

In the first half of the 16th century the inn underwent a rebuild. The refurbishment included building a stone fireplace adorned with a Tudor rose motif, a mark of quality and affluence. 

In the late 1700s with the turnpiking of the London-Exeter road and the advent of mail coaches, The Hart thrived with more business. Using the opportunity to refurbish, through concealing ancient timber frames beneath plaster to align with contemporary tastes.  

Today, the inn stands as a testament to Overton’s resilience, echoing the spirit envisioned by Bishop Peter des Roches over 800 years ago. 

Find out more information and book The White Hart 


The Bearslake Inn 

Sourton, Devon 

Bearslake Inn - pub unique story

Nestled between the charming towns of Tavistock and Okehampton, Bearslake Inn emerges as a historical gem in Dartmoor. Dating back to the 13th century, this Grade II listed Dartmoor Inn with its quintessential thatched charm, makes it one of the most photographed pubs in the National Park. 

The origin of the name Bearslake intertwines with Devon’s old language, where “be-re” denotes a wooded place, and “Lake” represents the hamlet where the farm is situated. Speculations about the name date back to the Civil War, with tales of a battle between the nearby Royalist-supporting Sourton and Parliamentarian-backing Bridestowe. 

The Inn features a secret garden, boasting a babbling brook, moorland views, and an added outdoor bar area. 

Stepping inside, the bar and its adjacent room, once a Devon Longhouse, reveal the oldest part of the inn. Originally a dual-purpose structure for both humans and animals, the Shippen now serves as the bar.  

Find out more information and book The Bearslake Inn 


The Guy Fawkes Inn 

York, North Yorkshire 

guy-fawkes-inn-york-north-yorkshire-bar-lounge - pub unique story

Nestled in the historic city of York, The Guy Fawkes Inn is a medieval gem, marking the birthplace of the notorious plotter, Guy Fawkes. This inn stands on the very site where Guy Fawkes was born in 1570, and he was baptised just across the street at St. Michael Le Belfrey.  

Despite the passage of centuries, this historical inn remains preserved. Offering a variety of characterful en-suite bedrooms and an AA Rosette candle-lit restaurant. The ambiance is rich with history, making it one of the most characterful and iconic city centre inns in York. 

Stepping into The Guy Fawkes Inn are gas lamps, roaring fires, timber floors, and exposed timbers. Ascend the slanted wooden staircase to the bedrooms and behold views of the York Minster.  

Find out more information and book The Guy Fawkes Inn 

Wynnstay Arms

Ruabon, Clwyd

Wynnstay Arms, Wrexham, Outside

The Wynnstay Arms, built in the 18th century, was originally used as a coaching inn. In 1841 the pub was extended but retained the 18th century stable block that still stands today.

The Football Association of Wales was renowned for holding meetings in The Wynnstay Arms and it is believed that the name and constitution of the football club were established at the pub in 1876. The pub also served as a venue for meetings of the Association for Prosecution of Felons and hosted various chess matches featuring the renowned chess player Joseph Blackburne in the late 19th century.

Find out more and book Wynnstay Arms

Turtley Corn Mill 

South Brent, Devon  

Turtley Corn Mill - pub unique story

The Turtley Corn Mill tells a unique story rooted in its rich history. Initially the establishment was built as a mill, before serving as a chicken hatchery. Since the 1970s it was transformed into a delightful pub we now cherish today. The exterior of the pub proudly showcases the remnants of its milling past, notably featuring the well-preserved wheel that once powered its operations. 

Beyond its fascinating history, this enchanting pub has many other special qualities. The pub is nestled alongside the picturesque river Avon and is surrounded by six-acre grounds, the setting is nothing short of idyllic. Turtley Corn Mill accommodation is equally unique, featuring six stylish bedrooms and two luxurious lodges. Each lodge boasts its own balcony with a scenic view of the river Avon.

Find out more information and book The Turtley Corn Mill 


Written by Issy Matthews