Another year, another train to Leyland, another chance to be surprised at how big this town is. 35,000 people and I’m certain only 4 people in Cambridgeshire (3 of them farmers) could place it on the map.
We took our children to the commercial vehicle museum once, back in the days when children could be fobbed off with places without Wi-Fi. It’s a little gem, a companion piece for Coventry’s Transport Museum. Apart from that, and I cannot tell a lie, there’s not a lot here to distract you from the tourist honeypots of Preston and Chorley, or even Ormskirk.
Plenty of Victoriana though, and an imposing parish church, but this is the best I could do photo-wise (and I nearly got run over taking it). A valiant attempt to copy the Sandbach crosses and provide a drinking fountain in the middle of the B5254.
You can see the Withy Arms in the centre, but the plain exterior hides a curiously modernised interior with a little too much blackboard action. You can’t criticise transparency of pricing, anyway. In a pub with too much choice, it was inevitable the bargain Wainwright was off-par (NBSS 2). Disappointing, as Leyland feels like the place to drink Thwaites.
QUIZ TIME – I’ve just entered the pub. What beer should I have had ?
Much better awaited in the Market Ale House, the inevitable micropub. More high tables I’m afraid, but I can forgive them anything for the stellar customer service (making sure the beer was OK before serving it) and views of diggers. A really lively mix of customers too, something not always seen in micros.
A proper choice of beer styles, pints below £3 and pub chat (club cricket). One of the best micros, and a companion to Chorley’s Shepherds’ Hall. Martland Mill’s Arctic Convoy another winner that I doubt I’ll see again all year though.
Leyland doesn’t look over-pubbed, and the new micro and Spoons are doing good business on the town’s quaint pedestrianised shopping street. Wetherspoons has done a good job of incorporating the town’s heritage into the design of the Leyland Lion (see top), a bright and cheerful place with cool beer. One of Spoon’s stars.
Apart from decent beer, Leyland’s other plus point is it’s proximity to the hills. Ten minutes away you’re on the edge of Bowland, where you’ll find proper pubs;
Luckily for me in a Prosecco Pub, The Boar’s Head scored highly for happily telling me which beers they’d actually served that day (none of the Copper Dragon), meaning I got a decent Cross Bay Blonde (NBSS 3) at least.
Appropriately for a Prosecco Pub, entertaining chat about boutique hotels in Bristol (grief, whatever next) and stealing someone’s metal arm. I missed the context for that last one.