The Crooked House, Dudley
This quaint little pub in South Staffordshire leans to the side like one of its patrons, who’s had one too many. It first tilted during the 18th century, when landowner Earl Glynne mined too much of the coal that was buried underneath the foundations. Over 200 years later, one side is still 4 feet lower than the other.
The Crooked House was scheduled as structurally unsafe in the 1960s, but its popularity among residents and visitors ensured that it was saved from demolition. The new owners used buttresses and girders to make it safe for habitation, while retaining its lopsided charm. Visitors in the modern day may also notice strange ‘gravitational’ effects in which glasses and other objects may appear to roll uphill across tables – without any drinking required!
The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds
This pint-sized venue claims to be Britain’s smallest public house, with a teeny bar that’s just 15ft by 7ft. First opened in 1867, The Nutshell has been pulling drinkers in for over 150 years – and once squashed 110 people (and a dog) on a record breaking day in 1984.
But the small size isn’t the only attraction. A host of weird and wonderful objects await you inside, including a 300-year-old partially fossilised dead cat (certainly a conversation piece) and a preserved three legged chick in a jar. International visitors have also covered the ceiling with foreign banknotes over the years, making The Nutshell one of the more interesting public houses to visit for a pint – in a nation that is packed full of them.
The Marsden Grotto, South Shields
The Marsden Grotto, near Newcastle, is the only pub in the country partially built into a cave under cliffs – and one of only three cave bars in all of Europe. Legend has it that way back in 1782, a local man, affectionately known as Jack the Blaster, didn’t want to pay extortionate rents on existing properties, so instead he stole some dynamite from the local quarry and literally exploded himself a new home under the cliffs. Such a story caused a fuss even back then, and the home was soon converted into a makeshift drinks dispensary as people flocked to visit.
You can still visit The Marsden Grotto today, although it is now a much classier venue – fully kitted out with all modern amenities. The cave bar truly is a sight to behold and well worth a visit if you’re ever in the Tyne & Wear area.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem claims to be Britain’s oldest pub, dating back to at least 1067 – when records show Nottingham Castle expanded to include a Brewhouse on the exact spot where the pub stands today. Whether it was a public house in the modern sense of the term is debatable, but drinking has been going on here since that time at least! The foundations of today’s building were laid around 1650 and some of these parts can still be visited today.
Steeped in old lore, The Jerusalem also has a legendarily cursed model boat in a bottle in its upstairs viewing room. Local rumours suggest that the last three people who cleaned it died in mysterious circumstances shortly afterwards. In any rate, the landlords haven’t let anyone dust the ship down in hundreds of years and it is now covered in a thick layer of grime. Come for a pint here and you can taste the history!