19 October 2017

10 Welsh pubs with serious cwtch appeal

If there’s one thing Wales does well, it’s pubs. We may well be regarded as the land of song, but we can certainly sink a few pints too. Join in with the locals and enjoy a drink or two at one of these breathtaking Welsh pubs. Iechyd da! (or cheers if you like…)

1. Albion Ale House, Conwy

Outside the Albion Ale House
Albion Ale House, Conwy, North Wales by @conor.adam
Voted CAMRA’s North Wales pub of the year in 2014, 2015 and 2016 the heritage listed 1920s Albion Ale House has rave reviews on TripAdvisor and is a serious beer drinker’s nirvana. The pleasing result of a collaboration of four Welsh craft breweries (Purple Moose, Conwy, Nant and Great Orme) the Albion is low on pretension and high on comfort and contentment. And when you’ve drunk that last drop, you’ll have Britain’s best preserved walled town- the walls of the World Heritage site of Conwy- to explore.

2. The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon

Griffin Inn sign
The Felin Fach Griffin, South Wales by @thefelinfachgriffin
Located right on the A470 (making it a perfect pit stop when travelling north to south across Wales, or vice versa), The Felin Fach Griffin is beautifully situated between The Black Mountains and The Brecon Beacons, not far from the market towns of Abergavenny and Crickhowell. Think chunky sofas, log fires, wood beams and all kinds of comfort food. It also has rooms if you fancy staying for a while and exploring the regions stunning natural assets.

3. Brown’s Hotel, Laugharne

The front of Browns Hotel
Browns Hotel, Laugharne, Carmarthenshire by @his_story214
You can’t put together a list of Welsh pubs without referencing poet and playwright Dylan Thomas, so one of Thomas’ favoured watering holes, Brown’s Hotel, had to make the grade. It’s said that Thomas befriended landlady Ivy Thomas, and she supplied him with stories and gossip, which ended up as source material for Under Milk Wood. But Thomas isn’t the only famous patron of this Laugharne pub. Over the decades U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Elizabeth Taylor, Patti Smith and Mick Jagger have all swung by for a pint. 

4. Stackpole Inn, Pembroke 

Food platter including sliced bread, apples and salad on an outside table in front of the Stackpole Inn
The Stackpole Inn, Pembrokeshire by @the_stackpole_inn
Within spitting distance of the Stackpole Estate, the Lily Ponds of Bosherston and the heavenly Barafundle Bay and Broadhaven beach, the picture postcard perfect Stackpole Inn has got as many awards as it’s got barrels. The good news is, there’s no need for a designated driver. Book yourself one of the beautifully serene bedrooms to complete the country pub idyll. 

5. Bessies, Pontfaen 

The front of the Dyffryn Arms, or Bessies
Dyffryn Arms, Pontfaen, Pembrokeshire by PubRover
If you’re looking for an eccentric night out then look no further than Bessies (aka The Dyffryn Arms). A ‘pub’ like no other, Bessies is a simple room in the front of a house that is the stuff of Welsh pub folklore legend. The beer is poured from a jug (by Bessie herself) and tastes like proper ale should. You’ll love it or hate it, but it will certainly be an experience. 

6. Plough & Harrow, Monknash 

View of the Plough and Harrow from outside
Plough & Harrow, Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan by Plough & Harrow
It has the feel of somewhere truly ancient and smells like log fires; the 14th century Plough & Harrow is the very definition of a tumbledown country pub. The ceilings are low, the portions are hefty, and it’s exactly the sort of place you want to spend a Sunday afternoon warming up after a ramble around the coastal path discovering secret beaches.  

7. Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon

Outside of the Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon
The Black Boy Inn, Caernarfon, North Wales by @jun_koh
Dating back to 1522 the Black Boy Inn is one of the oldest surviving inns in North Wales and has been a mainstay of town life for almost 500 years. Sitting within the medieval walls of Caernarfon, a few hundred yards from Caernarfon Castle, the pub (which also has numerous rooms to stay in) has the kind of homely, old school atmosphere (think nooks, crannies, beams, wood burning stoves) you’d hope for from a pub that pulled its first pint when Henry VIII was on the throne. 

8. Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen

View over the roof of the Ty Coch Inn towards the sea
Ty Coch Inn, Porthdinllaen, Llŷn Peninsula by @enlliann (Instagram)
It’s been named as one of the best beach bars in the world and you can only reach it on foot. Or by boat. With USPs like that it’s hardly surprising that the Ty Coch Inn on the Llŷn Peninsula is rightly regarded as one of Wales’ top public houses. The pub sits in the shadow of the Snowdonia National Park on National Trust owned land overlooking the Irish Sea, so it’s fair to say that it enjoys natural beauty in abundance, come rain or shine. In fact it’s probably even better when the weather is atrocious, it all adds to that feeling of being ever so slightly marooned. 

9. Corn Mill, Llangollen

The outside of the Corn Mill from across the River Dee
The Corn Mill, Llangollen, North East Wales by @worldwidewriter
Located on the picturesque banks of the River Dee the Corn Mill boasts serious #views. The cleverly restored watermill has retained much of the building’s old machinery, including the huge waterwheel (which still turns) and the raised deck at the front overlooks the rushing rapids below (which really come into their own when the weather is wet). And over the other side of the river, steam trains come and go from the beautifully restored station

10. The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Abergavenny 

Outside the Skirrid Inn

The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Abergavenny, South Wales by @cottamb
Pub fans with a taste for the noir should check out the Skirrid Mountain Inn which dates back to at least 1100 (giving it a rank among the oldest pubs in the UK). In a previous life it served as a court room that saw 200 convicts executed by hanging over the stairwell. It was also used by Welsh warrior prince Owain Glyndwr as a rallying point for his men. As a result, tales of hauntings are commonplace. Fast forward a few hundred years, and the atmosphere is warm and engaging, the surroundings spectacular and the menus and selection of real ales well worth getting goose-bumps for.