8 Oldest Pubs in England

All of the pubs on this list claim to be the oldest in England and since very few have actual evidence to back up their claims, it can hard to declare which one is actually the oldest. Most of the dates on this list come directly from what each of these pubs say is their official history (unless otherwise noted), so the dates should be taken with a grain of salt. In addition to being ancient establishments, nearly all of these pubs also claim to be haunted by various ghosts, with stories being passed down by owners and locals.

8. Ye Olde Man & Scythe

Year Established 1251
Location:  Bolton, England
Still Open: Yes

Ye Olde Man & Scythephoto source: Wikimedia Commons

Ye Olde Man & Scythe has proof that it is one of the oldest pubs in England as it’s name is first mentioned in a charter from 1251 – the pub is mostly like dates back further, but the date of its original construction is unknown. Like nearly all of the pubs on this list, Ye Olde Man & Scythe claims it is haunted. Unlike the other pubs, this one has video evidence of its ghost as an apparition was captured on video in 2014.

In 2016, the pub made international news when its current owner claims that its famous ghost, the Earl of Derby, James Stanley, was captured in a metal canister by Chinese artist Lu Pingyuan.


7. Adam and Eve

Year Established 1249
Location:  Bishopgate, Norwich, England
Still Open: Yes

Adam and Evephoto source: Wikipedia

The Adam and Eve alehouse has records dating back to 1249, when workmen building the nearby Norwich Cathedral were the pub’s first recorded customers as they were housed there and were paid with bread and ale.

Although the 1249 records were the first time the pub’s presence was noted in documents, the pub probably dates further back. The pub’s first owners were monks from Great Hospital, which is located down the road. Adam and Eve has a reputation for being haunted by a medieval French-speaking monk, whose remains were found during a cellar excavation in the 1970s.


6. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

Year Established 1189 (according to the pub)
Location:  Nottingham, England
Still Open: Yes

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalemphoto source: Geograph

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem claims that the pub was established in 1189, however there are no records verifying this date. There is evidence that the earliest parts of the pub’s building only date back to 1650 and that the earliest record of a pub in the building’s location is from 1751, when it served as an inn called The Pilgrim.

The pub is famous for its cave rooms, which are part of nearby Castle Rock – these caves were used as a brewhouse for the castle and date back to when the castle was constructed in 1068. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is another pub/inn that is reportedly haunted and home to a cursed model ship.


5. The Royal Standard of England

Year Established c.1086
Location:  Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England
Still Open: Yes

The Royal Standard of Englandphoto source: Geograph

The Royal Standard of England is one of the only pubs that claims it is England’s oldest to have actual proof of its history. The pub says that its history goes back to at least 1086 because its existence as an alehouse, called The Ship Inn, is documented in the Domesday Book.

The Royal Standard of England got its name from Charles II, who frequently met his mistresses in the rooms above the pub – he granted the pub’s landlord permission to change the name from The Ship to its current name. Like several other old English building’s, The Royal Standard claims that it is haunted by various ghosts.


4. The Bingley Arms

Year Established between 905 – 953 (according to the pub)
Location:  Bardsey, Leeds, England
Still Open: Yes

The Bingley Armsphoto source: Geograph

The Bingley Arms, which used to be called The Priests Inn, says that it has a known history that dates back to 953 when a man named Samson Ellis brewed in the central part of the building. The pub also says that there is evidence that suggests the pub may be even older than it is – it may go as far back as 905 and could have been standing before nearby All Hallows Church was built in 950.

In the past, the inn was a popular resting spot for traveling monks as it is located on what used to be a main route between Kirkstall Abbey and the Abbey at St Mary’s in York.


3. The Porch House

Year Established c. 947 (parts of the building, according to the pub)
Location:  Stow-On-The-Wold, Gloucestershire, England
Still Open: Yes

The Porch Housephoto source: Geograph

The Porch House is another old pub that lays claim to the title of oldest pub in England. Although The Porch House has been renovated in recent years, it claims that parts of the building were once a hospice built by order of Aethelmar, Duke of Cornwall in 947. In the 1970s, when the pub was receiving renovations, some of the building’s timber were dated to 1000 ± 50 years, which backs up the pub’s story of its history. Today, The Porch House still serves as both a pub and an inn and although it has modern features, it still retains its old character and history.


2. Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

Year Established c.793 (according to the pub)
Location:  St Albans, Hertfordshire, England
Still Open: Yes

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks is one of several pubs on this list that claims it is England’s oldest pub. According to the pub’s own history, it dates back to the 8th century and the pub’s foundations were part of the Palace of Offa, King of the Mercians, dating back to around 793.

Although Ye Olde Fighting Cocks places its founding around the 8th century, it does admit that the pub’s current building was built sometime in the 11th century. The main structure of the pub is octagonal due to its history as a pigeon house. Locals believe that there are several tunnels connecting the pub’s beer cellar to St Albans Cathedral, which were used by monks in the past.


1. The Old Ferry Boat Inn

Year Established 560 (according to the inn)
Location:  Holywell, Cambridgeshire, England
Still Open: Yes

The Old Ferry Boat Inn photo source: Geograph

The Old Ferry Boat Inn claims that it is England’s oldest inn. According to legend, the inn has been serving alcohol on its premises since 560, which would make it the oldest pub in England. No one knows for sure if the Old Ferry Boat Inn is as old as it claims as the building’s age has been hard to date. In addition to its claim as England’s oldest pub and inn, the Old Ferry Boat is reportedly haunted.

Local legend says that a young, heartbroken girl named Juliet committed suicide near the town’s church and that the inn was built over her grave. On the floor located on the south west side of the inn lies a stone slab marking her grave.

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