The 10 oldest Pubs in Cornwall
Whether it is a refreshing drink on a warm summers afternoon, a filling Sunday lunch, warming drink by an open fire on a cold winters evening or simply a social occasion with friends and relatives the pub has been a central part of all of our lives in the UK for centuries.
Many of the oldest pubs can trace their origins back to times when they were rest stops for drovers or traders making their weary way across the country on business and some still perform this function now! Although few of us travel by carriage now!
The West Country is blessed with some of the oldest pubs in the country which are packed with history, culture and character.
They are beloved by locals and tourists alike and everyone has its own unique story to tell.
In this blog we list the 10 oldest Pubs to be found across Cornwall, next time we will look at Devon which has an equally rich heritage and culture surrounding the pub!
The Pandora Inn, Mylor (13th Century)
Although currently called The Pandora Inn (named after a naval ship of the same name sank off the Great Barrier Reef in 1791) there has been a pub on this site since the 13th century using various different names across the centuries.
The history is evident in the flag stone floors, low-beamed ceilings and thatched roof giving this pub real character and charm.
Outside the decking extends right onto Restronguet Creek providing stunning views and a very relaxing atmosphere.
Victoria Inn, Penzance (12th Century)
Perfectly located near Marazion in South West Cornwall this Pub can trace its origins back to the 12th century. A friendly a warm welcome awaits anyone who wants to take a break from the nearby South West Coast Path which is only a mile or so away from the pub. It is also close to the world famous St Michael’s Mount and the Minack Theatre and St Ives.
With an award winning menu as well as a great selection of local wines, ciders and ales this is a pub not to be missed!
The Crown Inn, Lanlivery, Near Bodmin (12th Century)
This pub was originally built in the 12th century to accommodate the workers building the nearby church. Part of the workers payment was made in accommodation, food and “mash” a simple fermented drink. What the workers didn’t drink the locals did which led to the building becoming a pub!
Apart from a brief period as a private dwelling then a butcher’s shop between 1926 and 1975 it has always been a pub.
The hearty welcome given the original church builders can still be found today with The Crown Inn offering Bed & Breakfast, fabulous local food and of course the odd ale!
The Sloop Inn, St. Ives (14th Century)
Located right next to the beach in the picturesque seaside village of St. Ives, The Sloop Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall and serves food as well as drinks and also offers accommodation for your stay. The pub offers food all day with breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and has a modern feel in the restaurant and a much more classic pub feel at the bar, they also have great live acoustic music played there regularly. The pub was created circa 1312 and is one of the most well-known Inns in Cornwall.
The Old Inn and Restaurant, St Breward, Near Bodmin (11th Century)
Another pub built to accommodate the builders of a nearby church! This time the builders were monks and the pub’s origins can be traced back to the 11th century!
Located in the village of St Breward, the area has became infamous lately due to stories of the “Beast of Bodmin Moor” which has reputably been sighted around the village. The village can however trace its heritage back to around 8000 years BC with evidence of Mesolithic settlements in the area.
The pub itself is full of charm and original features (including a granite fire hearth dating back to the original build in the 11th century.
Nowadays this historic pub is more popular among workers at the quarry who take rest after a long day of work. This is one of, if not the oldest pub in Cornwall and has a huge roaring fire and low-beamed ceilings, which really gives it the feeling that it is an old pub and gives it an abundance of character.
The Old Ferry Inn, Fowey (13th Century)
The current Old Ferry Inn can be traced back to the 17th century and it has operated continually as a pub since that date. Built to service the trade coming to the village due to the ferry crossing the pub and the ferry were often under the same management. The Bodinnick to Fowey Ferry is still in operation today!
There has been a pub on this site however since the 13th century.
Today the Old Ferry Inn offers bed & breakfast accommodation excellent food and a very welcoming atmosphere including stunning views across the river.
The Bush Inn, Bude (13th Century)
Located just off of the beautiful coastal path that runs from Bude to Hartland this Inn is the perfect place to get refreshment and have some rest. The Inn used to play host to smugglers and wreckers and is quintessentially Cornish. Although the current pub can trace its lineage back to the 13th century the site itself was a point of rest and accommodation dating back as far as 950A.D when minks provided hospitality for weary travelers. From the pub you can appreciate beautiful views of the Atlantic while enjoying real Cornish ale.
The pub offers self-catering accommodation as well as Bed & Breakfast.
Treguth Inn, Newquay (13th Century)
Although the building has only been operated as a pub since 1963 take a step inside and you are transported back to the 13th century where the building can trace its origins. Perhaps, given its great age, it’s not surprising that the pub is reputedly haunted. There are numerous accounts of a “shadowy figure” causing pictures to move around, flowers to be thrown across the room and artefacts to be mysteriously broken. Supposedly the ghost of a 17th century man who was stabbed in the back whilst wearing a long black coat. Apparently the ghost is more active when a certain type of music is played!
The Turk’s Head, Penzance (13th Century)
Claiming to be the oldest pub in Cornwall this pub takes it’s rather gruesome name from 1233 when, during the crusades, the Turks invaded Penzance. The pub has a wealth of original features including priest holes and even a smugglers tunnel leading directly to the harbour which was used to bring illegal cargo ashore.
The Turk’s Head may be the oldest pub in Cornwall but it has not lost any of its charm. They boast some of the best, real ales in Cornwall and have an annual Ale festival in December.
Weary Friar, Saltash (12th Century)
As the name suggests this is another ancient pub first built to accommodate the builders of a nearby church, in this case the Church of St Odolphus which was built in the 12th century.
Despite being located close to the Tamar Bridge step into this pub and you step away from the hustle and bustle of modern life!
As well as excellent food the pub also has 14 letting rooms if you want to immerse yourself in the history if the building for longer.
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