“If you wanna be the best, and you wanna beat the rest, dedication’s what you need, if you wanna be a record breaker!”
You might be too young to remember TV’s long-running kids’ show, Record Breakers. But there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition, so here are some of the biggest and best of the UK’s bar world. All verified by those terribly clever chaps over at the Guinness Book of Records of course.
With a bar measuring only 15 ft by 7 ft, the Nutshell pub in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, is Britain’s smallest bar – and despite various other contenders to the title, this has been verified by the Guinness Book of Records, so it must be true.
Open since 1867, the bar has become a bit of a tourist attraction over the years, so actually squeezing in might prove a challenge.
Crammed with quirky curios, from a mummified cat to military memorabilia and bank notes from all over the world plastered on the walls, minimalism is not a design concept that has unduly concerned the owners of the Nutshell.
But if you do manage to battle your way to the bar, you’ll find yourself ensconced in a tiny, cosy space, just perfect for an intimate tete a tete. Coach parties need not apply
The Traverse, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1BJ, 01284 764867
The Moon Under the Water in Manchester walks off with the biggest bar accolade. Measuring a vast 8,800 sq metres, (about an eighth the size of the average Premiership football pitch), the Moon is a converted cinema on two levels, giving you an idea of its grand scale.
A typical Wetherspoons pub , complete with swirly beer stained carpets, the only original remaining part of the cinema is the decorative ceiling. Packed at the weekends, this is one of Manchester’s most popular pubs. Don’t come expecting gastro food, but good old fashioned pub grub.
There are a number of pubs in the UK which lay claim to being the oldest establishment in the country, although in several cases the original buildings have been demolished and rebuilt on the same site.
However, the accolade of oldest pub in England has been granted to Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans in Hertfordshire.
The 11th century building sits on the eighth century site of the Nottingham Castle Brewhouse, while the present building dates back to 1650.
St Albans Cathedral and grounds are just across the road and there are tunnels which run from the beer cellar to the Cathedral, allegedly used by Monks. Cock fighting took place in the main bar in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hence the name of the pub. And it’s had its fair share of prominent guests over the years, including one Oliver Cromwell, who is said to have slept at the inn for one night during the Civil War of 1642-1651.
16 Abbey Mill Lane, St Albans, Herts, AL3 4HE, 01727 869152
Nipping out for a quick pint to the Old Forge pub in Inverie isn’t really an option unless you’re prepared for a strenuous hike over a number of Munros (Scottish mountains over 3000 feet), or a choppy sea crossing from Mallaig.
Britain’s most remote pub, situated in the far north-west of Scotland on the wild Knoydart peninsula, has no roads in or out, and is only open between April to October.
However, it’s the place to come if you want to get away from it all, (there’s no mobile signal and patchy wi-fi. With views to die for, the food couldn’t be fresher, with all sea food caught within a seven mile radius.
It may be far removed from urban life, but that doesn’t mean the locals don’t know how to enjoy themselves; the ceilidhs at the Old Forge are legendary, with many visitors finding themselves reeling the night away, fortified by the local brew.
Inverie, Mallaig, Inverness-Shire PH41 4, 01687 462267