Pubs We Like


In no readily apparent order, below is a list of pubs which we have visited and liked. Unless otherwise stated, these are pubs where, at least at lunchtime, you can happily take along all members of the family and eat and/or drink in some comfort. And, as we are both CAMRA members, they are all pubs that serve good, well-kept real ale.


•The Black Horse, Great Missenden: Known for a long time as the ballooning pub; used to host the annual All Fool's Balloon Meet. Sadly, that landlord has moved on. Good swings, slides and wooden climbing frame in big garden.

•The Cross Keys, Great Missenden: Biggest fireplace for miles. Full range of Fuller's beers, well kept. (But don't take the children). Excellent bistro attached.

•The Lions of Bledlow: Very big pub that is rarely crowded, so children can move around fairly freely. Varied menu. Grassy area outside that is not enclosed from the road, but traffic is next to non-existant.

•The Magpies, Amersham: Well known family pub, geared for children. Big, well-stocked play area outside, (though little for very small children). Highchairs. Good children’s menu. Beer acceptable, if not exciting. Unfortunately, we have since had a report as follows: "Magpies at Coleshill gone down hill a lot. Have found garden filthy recently with lots of broken glass. Staff not helpfull".

•The Bell, Chartridge: A summer's day pub. Garden with trampoline. Animals in paddock beyond. Friendly dogs. Food pretty good.

•The Blue Bell, Asheridge: Another one for a summer's day. Brilliant slide built into a grassy bank. Huge garden, but open onto carpark. Fairly standard pub food.

•The Barley Mow, Hyde Heath: Child friendly, though not especially child-geared. Recently done over as a bistro decorated in provencal style, but still serves excellent beer. Food is wonderful. Walled garden, no children's play area.

•The New Inn, Buckingham: An excellent pub with a good children's room (entered via the stairs heading down at the left hand end of the bar). The best pint of Greene King I have had for a very long time. Food also very good. Whilst in the area, visit Buckingham Nurseries and buy some raspberry canes, a mulberry bush, a few herb plants, or a tree.


•Ratty Arms, Ravenglass: A conversion of the old station buildings. Not a lot to keep children entertained, but they are allowed inside. Next door is the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, worth catching for a trip to Boot and a drink in the Burnmoor Inn.

•New Hall Inn (Hole In T'Wall), Bowness, Windermere: Old pub with real fires on a wet day in August. Children allowed inside downstairs, if well behaved. We didn't try the family room upstairs. Serves Robinsons beers and good food.


The island is nine miles long, has twenty-seven beaches and two breweries (The Guernsey Brewery Co. (1920) Ltd., and R W Randall Ltd.). The bars seem to have for sale lots of keg bitter and Dutch lager, especially if intended for holiday-makers. Finding real ale is easier in locals' pubs. Despite this, it is worth the hunt. The following list gives a couple of pubs which we tried and liked.

•Captain's Hotel, La Fosse, St Martins

•Queens Hotel, St. Martins. Good beer, a beer garden, and try the lobster salad.


•Tavern Fayre, 398 Garstang Road, Preston: A chain pub. Perhaps not necessarily the place for a sunny day. Children allowed inside, colouring sheets and crayons are available. Next door is a children's activity centre (similar to KidZone or Zoom) with free entry if you have eaten in the pub.


•The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row: It's a while since we've been able to get there; so our gen might be out of date. But this one was a gem. Hidden away on a single track road behind the main village, it serves Brakspear's beers straight from the wood. And the food - oh, the food! It had all the characteristics of a 5 star restaurant, except they served double the portions for half the price. Fresh fish in summer, game in winter. The menu (hand-written and photocopied) changed once a fortnight. One page dense-packed main courses, nearly as many starters, and puddings chalked up on a board. The best recommendation I can think of is the quote from a friend to one of the waiters: "You'll have to excuse my friend, he's having a gastronomic orgasm." Again, child friendly, but not especially child-geared.


•The Boat, Gravel Path, off Ravens Lane, Berkhamsted: Fullers pub. Children outside only, but they will find plenty to keep them amused watching the boats going up and down the canal. Barbecues in summer.

•The King's Arms, King Street, Tring: The pub that is 'hard to find but impossible to miss'. Don't be put off by external appearances - this place is something else. Excellent range of draft and bottle-conditioned beers, including from the local Tring brewery. Generous portions of food not from your standard pub grub dial-a-menu. Family eating area by a real fire. Tolerant atmosphere, though little room for children to run around. Minute walled garden for summer only.

•Robin Hood, 1 Brook Street: Fullers pub, with paved courtyard. An impressive menu of fresh seafood.

Great British Beer Festival

For those of you who have children and think that your beer festival days are over, think again. If you haven't already discovered it, you can take the kids to the Great British Beer Festival (held each year in August). Ever since they moved to Olympia, they have taken over one of the side halls as a family room. Each year it is filled with an amazing variety of toys. They provide a children's entertainer, a video corner, a soft-drinks bar, etc. Our two children regard it as one of the great days out of the year.

The trick, we find, is to go in as big a group as you can, so that there are always at least two adults available to keep an eye on the kids, and to keep each other company. That leaves the rest of you free to take turns going on beer runs, food runs, or generally mosey about. One great plus point - there are tables and chairs to sit at! Hey, I bet you never thought you'd get to sit down at the GBBF!

So make a date for the first week in August, Kensington Olympia, London. If you come on Friday we might even see you there.