A little while ago Pub Curmudgeon conducted a poll on the UK’s best region. Unfortunately, this rather implied that there was room for debate.
As the storms descended over the South-east yesterday, the Welsh Marches enjoyed magnificent sunshine and were clearly the best place to be anywhere in the world (I confess I’ve still to go to Forcheim and the Neder-Keller).
Tenbury Wells isn’t the big tourist draw in the region, and it’s a fair few miles from Offa’s Dyke, but it has that same timeless feel of border towns like Presteigne and Knighton.
Compared to Ludlow or Cleobury, Tenbury looks a bit worn, not helped by traffic flow through the main streets. For a town smaller than my own village, it has a magnificent collection of buildings though, and some pungent farmyard smells.
This was my third stop in a year, and even in that time seems to be on the up, with some new art gallery/ cafes, unfussy delis and a generally tidier feel. A fair few OAPs on day-trips (or coffee stops en route to Ludlow) was an encouraging sign. It’s a place for an aimless stroll and a cheap lunch, with only a tiny museum with tinier opening hours to add variety.
Like Market Drayton, the town has plenty of attractive black and white half-timbered pubs selling lager and Banks, but it may be optimistic to expect Joules to open up here just yet. Half a dozen pubs for 3,300 folk and a few visitors isn’t bad for 2016.
And now it has a Beer Guide entry, it’s first for many years. Pub Curmudgeon wrote about the rise of newer keg ciders like Robinsons, and at the gorgeous Pembroke House the trademark flagon is a dominant feature.
The Pembroke is a spectacular building with unpretentious OAP dining trade and a few drinkers in the attractive garden. Inside not much is changing very fast.
I liked it a lot, and just hoped the bar section (with pool table) got a few drinkers at night. The Hobsons was OK (NBSS 3), but suffered the slight warmness of slow turnover. At some point I’ll try that Robinsons.
The bench seating and general cheery feel was even better than a corner of brewery memorabilia (top), but the call of the Bass mirror was strong.