What makes a traditional English country pub so special?

The charm of a traditional country pub is still one of the biggest pulls to visit the countryside. Nestled among rolling hills and quaint villages, they’re a huge part of our culture here in the UK. 

English country pubs are so full of history and character and steeped in tradition - They are held dear by locals and visitors alike. Join us as we explore what makes our traditional country pubs so special. 

What is a traditional English country pub?

Country pubs are more than just a place to grab a drink. They are gateways to our country’s beautiful nature, brimming with culture and history. Places where friendly faces welcome you for hearty food, refreshing drinks and relaxed times with your loved ones. They also typically boast a range of distinctive features that set them apart from pubs in towns and cities.

Often, the architecture of a traditional country pub is a reflection of its colourful history and rural surroundings. They may have lower ceilings, beautiful exposed wooden beams and cosy nooks and crannies in which to tuck yourself away. Many also boast large open fires, perfect for those bitterly cold days. Wander in and warm yourself by the crackling fire, because traditional country pubs are the epitome of cosy comfort.

Scenic beer gardens

A huge factor in what makes a traditional countryside pub so special is their beer gardens. They give you the chance to soak up the sunshine and a pint at the same time. Whether it's a view of lush, verdant hills, a babbling brook or little village square, sometimes you just can’t beat a beer garden with your friends or family.


Steeped in history

Many English country pubs are housed in historic buildings, from centuries-old coaching inns to converted barns. These places are steeped in history, with lots of character to match.  It’s strangely comforting to sit down in a place that has stood here long before you arrived and will most likely stand long after you leave.


Enjoy the charm of the countryside

On the hunt for a traditional country pub near you? Here at Chef & Brewer, we have a vast selection of gorgeous country pubs to settle into and enjoy the British countryside. Among these gems, the Little Harp in Clevedon, stands out for its stunning views of the River Severn while the Maenllwyd Inn in Rudry is housed in a 400-year-old former farmhouse.

Obviously, no talk of our beloved English country pubs would be complete if we didn’t mention the delicious pub food and drinks on offer. At our traditional country pubs, we take enormous pride in serving up the best in authentic British pub grub, including classics like fish and chips or steak and ale pie – all made with locally sourced ingredients.

A roast dinner on a table next to a glass of red wine.

What is typical English pub food?

English pub food is nourishing, comforting and traditional. It reflects our culinary heritage. Like pies, which hold a very special place in the hearts of us Brits. From steak and ale to chicken and mushroom or meat and potato, pies will warm your cockles and keep you full. 

Fish and chips is perhaps the most iconic of British dishes. This delicious option is battered fish, usually cod or haddock, served with chunky chips. It’s a British staple you’ll find on the menu of most traditional country pubs – including the Hand-Battered Atlantic Cod we serve with tartare sauce, chips and a choice of mushy or garden peas. 

The Sunday roast comes close in terms of stature though. A quintessential British tradition, this hearty feast is usually the highlight of many English country pub menus. Look out for all the trimmings, like crispy roast potatoes, fluffy Yorkshire puddings and lashings of gravy. 

Looking to savour a delicious Sunday roast in a traditional country pub near you? We have a range of charming choices, not least the Hollybush in Lichfield, just north of Birmingham. Creeping ivy, wooden beams and traditional furniture make this a wonderfully cosy option in which to enjoy your Sunday lunch.


What is the most popular English pub name?

The Red Lion is the most popular pub name in England. There are more than 500 pubs with this name across the UK, with the vast majority of those found in England. 

The naming of pubs began in the 12th century and because most of the population couldn’t read, signs had to be used instead. King Richard III made it law that all inns had to have a sign, in order for patrons to identify the pub.

Among all those Red Lion pubs, two of them are ours. One sits snugly in the charming village of Todwick on the outskirts of Sheffield, while the other is in Iver just a few miles from the stunning Chiltern Hills.

Exterior facade of venue

What is the oldest Chef & Brewer country pub?

The Barley Mow in Oxfordshire dates all the way back to 1352. Almost seven centuries old, it proudly holds the title of our oldest country pub. 

It sits on the tranquil banks of the River Thames, just across from the idyllic village of Clifton Hampton. It’s a beautifully quaint location deep in the heart of the gorgeous Oxfordshire countryside. The dream backdrop to a leisurely pint or tasty meal.

Stepping into the Barley Mow is genuinely like stepping back in time. It’s chock full of lovely traditional features. Aside from its wonderful thatched roof, it boasts low beams and fireplaces so huge they stretch across two different parts of the pub. 

Like something from an old English fairytale, the Barley Mow truly is a treasure trove of rich history. Peaceful and serene, pop by and settle in for a visit.

Discover your nearest English country pub

Traditional country pubs continue to delight us with their warmth, delicious pub food and relaxing atmosphere. They’re often brimming with history, which is a real plus if you want to explore our British heritage. And of course, endless comfort, with crackling fireplaces and breathtaking landscapes on the doorstep. 

Whether you're in search of a cosy village inn, riverside retreat or a peaceful escape deep in the hills, we’ve got you covered. Start planning your next outing and discover the best English country pub near you