The Real British Pubs Behind Your Favourite Films and TV Shows
British period dramas have something of a fascination with pubs and taverns. Perhaps it’s because pubs hold historic interest with all the tales and folklore passed down through the generations by landlord after landlord. It’s easy to imagine the many interesting people who have sat there before as you appreciate a pint of real ale and admire the original features.
But some of our best-loved pubs actually inspired script writers and directors to delve a little deeper into pub history to create the nation’s most-loved characters. Whether you’re a detective at heart, enjoy an eerie thriller or a dark comedy, we’ve got just the pub for you to kick back and relax with your favourite characters.
1. The Garrison Pub, Birmingham
With the much-anticipated new series of Peaky Blinders coming back to our screens next week, we thought we’d take a look at the real life history behind the Garrison pub in Birmingham, home of the real life Peaky Blinders gang. We wanted to know more about the building’s history and whether it really was the hangout for a notorious and notoriously well-dressed criminal gang of Brummies.
And yes, the real life Peaky Blinders frequented The Garrison in Small Heath at the end of the 19th century. Sadly, The Garrison is no longer pulling pints. It closed shortly after Peaky Blinders started and sold at auction in 2014. We hope the new owners will reopen soon!
2. The Beehive, Hertford
(The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)
This Hertsford pub is where our unlikely hero Arthur learns over a pint that his best friend Ford is an alien and that the end of the world is imminent. Now that’s some serious bad news, but at least he was already sitting down with a drink in hand!
This charmingly British pub is a grade II listed building set in the middle of stunning Hertfordshire countryside. You might not find any aliens inside today, but roaring log fires, black beams and ornamental brasses give The Beehive plenty of character.
3. The Royal Standard of England, Buckinghamshire
The Royal Standard of England in Buckinghamshire is reportedly the oldest free house in Britain. As such it has a magnificently rich history featuring ghosts, murders, Roundheads and Cavaliers, royalty and even the cop duo Sergeant Nicholas Angel and PC Danny Butterman.
This beautiful period property was the location for the final shoot-out scene from Hot Fuzz. Luckily, no timber beams or wattle and daub were harmed in the epic battle between one man and an entire village of conspirators. The Royal Standard has plenty of its own stories to tell too, including the tale of illegal beer! At over 7% proof, “Owd Roger” became so popular that people from far and wide began travelling to this small village near Beaconsfield to sample the local ale.
4. The White Horse, Oxford
There’s something about Colin Dexter’s detectives, Inspectors Morse and his protegee Lewis, when it comes to pubs, they seem to know every landlord in and around Oxford! The White Horse in Oxford city centre features in several episodes of Morse, seeing the detective duo visiting suspects and unwinding over a round or two.
This tiny pub is an intimate space where you’re bound to brush arms with the locals, and maybe one or two of Dexter’s detectives! This grade II listed building is one of the oldest pubs in Oxford. Stretching back to 1591, it has remained a licensed public house although its ownership and name have changed many times. With Blackwell’s newer and older shops lining either side of The White Horse, why not bob next door for some reading material to accompany your beer?
5. The Kings Arms, Salford
If you want to relive your student days, start with a trip to The Kings Arms in Salford, the local pub for the characters of Fresh Meat. Like most student areas, Bloom Street has a reputation for being a bohemian centre, with The Kings Arms proudly declaring itself “Britain’s most bohemian back-street boozer”. The pub regularly hosts art exhibitions and community art projects.
Licensed in 1807, The Kings Arms has always been a seat for community effort and empowerment, hosting various different clubs over many years and many drinks! More recently, the upstairs room was developed into an art studio and performance space. So if you’re looking for a pub with plenty of character and a host of events, be sure to stop by.