The Oldest Pubs in Britain – Part 2

The Sheep Heid Inn, established in Edinburgh in 1360/1710

Residing in the centre of Edinburgh, The Sheep Head Inn has made the unofficial claim that the venue is Scotland’s oldest tavern. They state that the pub was established in 1360, although some disagree with that statement. 

Other pubs that claim they instead hold the crown as Scotland’s oldest tavern say that while there are records that show a form of venue for drinking was around in that period, it isn’t very likely that it would have been called The Sheep Heid Inn, which could have been given its name some years down the line. The earliest date that has been confirmed for the pub’s name is 1710.


With its award-winning cuisine and old-time skittle alley, this charming pub has continued to prove popular with both tourists and natives for between 300 and 650 years, depending on which side of the story you believe. It also held an important part in the history of Scotland in the 18th century when it played host to the Jacobite army.

The Skirrid Inn, established in Abergavenny, 1110

More commonly referred to as the Skirrid Inn, the Skirrid Mountain Inn is largely believed to be Wales’ oldest pub. There are references made about the pub in records dating back from more than a thousand years, although the building as it is was built in the 17th century.

Anyone who holds a fascination for the occult would be interested in the fact that it’s one of Wales’ most haunted pubs. At last that’s what the locals believe, The legend is that the Abergavenny inn was once used as a venue for hangings. In fact, there are rope markings clearly visible on a number of beams in the pub. The ghost of the judge who served out the fatal sentences is also believed to still be making his way around the premises.

The Man and Scythe, established in Bolton, 1251

While the opening date for Ye Olde Man and Scythe is far from clear, records show the date to be 1251 at the earliest, more than 750 years ago. The charming tavern continues to enjoy a great reputation among both visitors and locals and has done for a long time due to its fine beer and traditional aesthetic. In recent times, however, it’s enjoyed even more popularity. That’s in no small part down to the fact that it’s now known as “Britain’s most haunted pub” after visitors claimed to see a figure lurking at the window upstairs.

Adam and Eve, established in Bishopgate, 1249

The records for this Norwich alehouse date back to 1249. At the time, workers were constructing the Norwich Cathedral. These workmen are regarded as the first customers recorded to have been at the pub. They even lived there, with payment in the form of ale and bread. While the records show that the pub has been around since 1249, it’s likely older than that. The original owners were monks from the nearby Great Hospital.