Perhaps I expect too much of Thirsk, but my latest stop again failed to find much sign of life, with a notable exception.

As a prominent looking market town (gateway to Middlesbrough !) with racecourse, Herriot  fluff and Wetherspoons hotel, it’s easy to forget a population of less than 5,000, a third the size of Ripon with it’s fully fledged circuit of great pubs.

I’ve yet to go to a Beer Guide pub in Thirsk, though some CAMRA branches would undoubtedly lump the contiguous village of Sowerby in with the main town.

Proper shop, Thirsk

Sowerby is a stately Front Street with a proper pub in the Crown and Anchor. Thirsk appears to be a  Market Place full of cars and adverts for bicycle races. I can’t fault the effort of the pubs though, some superb floral displays to draw in the OAP mystery coach tours from Doncaster. The singular sweet shop helps too.


Ten pubs in a small area, none of them remarkable, though of course I’m a fan of unremarkable pubs selling one beer.  If you’re looking for Theaskston, or Black Sheep,or John Smiths, or Mansfield (!), this is the place for you.  It’s like Barnsley in the ’90s.


The Three Tuns is a decent Spoons hotel, and an average pub. Friendly, a decent Hop Studio Dubbel (NBSS 3) and the liveliest atmosphere in town. Clearly plenty of regular customers well known to staff, which isn’t always a feature acknowledged in Spoons.”You’re looking very smart today Phil, meeting a lady ?” isn’t something you hear from staff in other chain pubs.

QUIZ TIME – Who was Phil meeting ?

Reading Simon’s account of children’s pub banter in a nearby Spoons reminded me of an animated conversation between toddlers about the merits of respective boyfriends.  No doubt Simon would have got to the heart of the four-year old Emily’s (possibly) woes; I was just left in wonder at the mess four people could make in half an hour:-


This was temporary Detritus; pleasant staff cleared up the battle scene within minutes. I’m a fan of children in pubs, particularly if they drink the guest ales.  Turnover, it’s all about turnover folks.


  1. Although it’s less than 20 miles away I don’t visit Thirsk any more. I have terrible memories of it and remember puking up when I was there once, a long, long time ago. This was not down to the beer, but to the fact that RAF Dishforth had no swimming facilities and we were bussed into Thirsk baths. 6.00am start, tea and toast and a real bastard of a PTi called Alwyn – pronounced Alewin. Why are you climbing out Mr Coldwell? F F F F eeling sick Sarnt. Get back in and f-ing swim! So I did and left a substantial slick of brown water and little floaty bits for the paying customers coming in at eight o’clock. I may not have spent his name correctly but if you are reading this Mr Alwyn, you were not a nice person at all. PS the entire squad thought that.


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