The Oldest Pub in Town

Bluebell
You just don’t find old buildings in the US like you do in the UK. I mean really old. While visiting my in-laws in the Midlands last week, my husband and I went to dinner at a pub that dates back to the late 15th century.

Bluebell columnsThe Bluebell Inn, on the main drag in a lovely town called Henley-in-Arden, still has the oak beams from the original building. The owner told us proudly about the building’s 500-year-plus history, and how it was the oldest building — not in the country, or even the county — but in the village.

But the Bluebell isn’t flanked by fast food establishments, drug stores or other garish reminders of modern life. The tudor style architecture on the town’s main street make you feel like you’re walking into the 1500s.

But the pub’s age isn’t unusual for these parts. Not too far away, there’s a drinking establishment that makes the Bluebell look young.

There’s a pub in Nottingham — Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem — that is said to date back to 1189.

I miss these ancient watering holes. What they lack in modern amenities (like, for instance, air-conditioning) they make up for in character. There’s nothing like sitting in the Bluebell, eating the signature comfort food (we enjoyed their fondue) and pretending the reason your cell phone doesn’t work is because it wasn’t invented yet (actually, there just wasn’t reception in the place. A nice, if accidental, anti-modern touch).

I’ll take culture over convenience any day.
Bluebell seat

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