Cornwall has some of the oldest inns and pubs in England, steeped in history with many going back to the days of pirates and folklore. They’re an essential part of British culture, a place where people since the 10th century have gone to enjoy hearty food and drink. The oldest historic pubs in Cornwall have a character that no other pubs match with imperfections that entice you like the old creaky floors, low wonky ceilings, roaring fires and tales of piracy. If only the walls could talk! There are many great pubs in Cornwall, but these ten are the oldest (in no particular order)
The Pandora Inn, Mylor (13th Century)
The Pandora Inn is a classic Cornish pub with decking leading right onto the Restronguet creek. In March 2011 a fire threatened to level this beautiful 13th century pub when a fire started in the chimney. Firefighters battled and managed to save this historic pub. Restoration began in September 2011 and by March 2012 they were back up and running restoring the pub to it’s full glory.
Today it’s like the fire never happened. You can eat and drink on the decking and fully appreciate the beautiful scenery and weather. The pandora regularly has live music so you can sit in and relax with a drink and enjoy some really good, local musicians. Although there is a car park, you can also visit them by walking there, cycling and even by boat.
Victoria Inn, Penzance (12th Century)
The Victoria Inn is located in the small coastal village of Perranuthnoe and is only half a mile from the beautiful southwest coastal path. They also have two en-suite rooms if you have tried too much of the local ales and fine wines. Not only do they have a great selection of drinks, they also have an award-winning menu. They also are very child friendly and allow for dogs, which gives it a really personal feel and differs from the more corporate chains of pubs.
The Crown Inn, Lanlivery, Near Bodmin (12th Century)
The Crown Inn is a fantastic pub that offers a small bed and breakfast and award-winning food served at both lunch and dinner time. The Inn was originally built during the 12th century to accommodate the masons and builders engaged to construct the original church (pictured below behing the pub).
Not only is their food award-winning, it is also all local produce, the Crown Inn supports local, Cornish farmers, so you can be certain that the food you’re eating is fresh and the people that deserve the money are earning it.
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.
Just around the corner from The Sloop Inn is St Ives Gallery, a fantastic art gallery where the brillaint artisit Donald MacLeod works from his studio to create paintings like this featuring The Sloop Inn back when all was right with the world, you could get a decent pint of ale for ‘tuppence’, and hopefully not wake up on one of Her Majesty’s ships the next morning.
The Old Inn and Restaurant, St Breward, Near Bodmin (11th Century)
The Old Inn used to be a place where the monks who were building the church next door. Evidence of flints and other artefacts have been found on the moor which indicates that there were settlements as long ago as the Mesolthic period (8000 – 4500BC). The village came along much later and the original church was built in the 11th Century and there is still evidence of the original construction even after restoration in the 15th Century. There are buildings in the village which are listed in the Domesday Book which reports that population in 1086 was around 60. The pub is the highest inn in Cornwall and sits on the edge of Bodmin Moor between Bodmin and Camelford in North Cornwall. The village and moor are steeped in history, most recently being infamous for the ‘Beast of Bodmin Moor’ stories and sightings.
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)
Sitting just off the River Fowey this pub is a ferry crossing and offers some beautiful views from the dining area. The pub is filled with old memorabilia and photographs; it also offers a wood burner and a classic slate floor, which gives it a really traditional feel. The inn has 12 rooms so that you can take your pick when you arrive; they serve food all day and obviously have some great drinks, from ales to wines to spirits.
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. From the pub you can appreciate beautiful views of the Atlantic while enjoying real Cornish ale. During the winter the pub starts the wood fire to keep you warm when the weather outside is cold and wet, and during summer they have a large garden where you can enjoy the best of the British weather.
Treguth Inn, Newquay (13th Century)
Treguth Inn is just what you imagine when you hear about old pubs, a thatched roof with great beers and it is only a five minute walk from the beach at Holywell Bay. It is also located in Newquay, which is one of the most popular destinations in Cornwall, whether you go there just to enjoy some of the various bars, and clubs they have or if you are visiting some of the fantastic beaches, which are not in short supply.
The Turk’s Head, Penzance (13th Century)
The Turk’s Head is 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. They also serve some great food, but only do lunch and dinner; however the food they serve is hearty and classic pub grub. The Turk’s Head is quite a common pub name across the UK, but this was one of the first.
Weary Friar, Saltash (12th Century)
Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you will be transported to an age ago when you go into the Weary Friar; it has managed to maintain the warm character from its beginnings in the 12th Century. The Inn used to give accommodation to church builders and has been a place of rest for many people over the past 9 centuries. Although it prides itself as being one of the oldest pubs in Cornwall it has moved with the times and put carpet in, in some rooms and has a television.