Weston Super Mare is an average seaside town, and I don’t just say that because I missed out on Dismaland tickets. It’s a bit like Great Yarmouth without the Dickensian bits, and the pubs are pretty much what you’d expect (great Spoons apart).
That’s what I thought last night anyway. This morning it took on a new light, particularly in the north of town towards the Old Pier, storm damaged 25 years ago and again last week. The views across to Cardiff and (yes) Barry were superb in the early light; indeed Weston has some of the best views in all directions I’ve seen.
It’s still quite rundown in parts though, particularly in the areas emblazened with some superb modern street art around the pier area. Whether the short-term boost of Banksy‘s temporary theme park can be maintained is debatable. The property seems to be more expensive than comparable sites in Thanet, which is seeing an explosion of creative activity (and not just micro-pubs).
Sis was taken with the grand rows of Victorian properties, like the crescent and Upper Church Street, home of some attractive terraced pubs. The properties could shine with investment, but the old hotels remind you of the worst of Blackpool at present. Many of the bars seem to cater exclusively for stag and hen parties from Bristol.
There’s quite a contrast a couple of miles east; the Mendips starts on the very edge of town. Steep lanes and good pubs abound close to the M5, particularly if you like Butcombe. I wasn’t a fan, but had a bit of a conversion to their Boring Brown Bitter last Summer in North Dorset.
The Queen’s Arms at Bleadon is the best of these pubs.
We loved the layout. Not quite multi-room with dividing walls largely removed, but offering very different atmospheres. Very simple seating in four rooms housed a family group, hardened drinkers, us, and some diners, with some proper pub banter that I wasn’t quite able to interpret.
Sis prefers dark beers, but we agreed their absence was the only thing against this Butcombe house (Bitter NBSS 3.5, Seasonal NBSS 3).
Just north, the Woolpack in the suburb of St Georges was more foody but with similarly excellent Butcombe, which along with Otter and Bass are becoming my stock beers.
Not essential of course, but the outside toilets at the Queen’s Arms are a national treasure. You’ll just have to imagine those for yourself though.