Camping has it’s drawbacks, but if the rain holds and you have a footpath from the campsite to the pubs it can be the way to go. Foxholes also provided an immaculate little site for £8, which is pretty much as good as it gets. No new Guide pubs in Castle but you do need to revisit the old classics occasionally, just to see if the Welsh Marches have got Brewdog on handpump before Cambridge.
This is the footpath into town;
and these were the views.
Rather like Hay, Bishop’s Castle seems to be busy in bursts, with a packed festival programme meaning there’s just a few days when the campsites and pubs revert to their pre-gentrification solitude.
It might be unfair to say the Three Tuns has been gentrified, but it’s certainly more equipped for the 20th century than when I first visited.
It was the busiest place in town on a quietish week night, with a good mix of family dining and drinkers, but I preferred the outside smoking area by the bins to enjoy a half of the excellent treacly stout (NBSS 3.5). This also gave me the chance to acquaint myself with a star of Pub Curmudgeon’s recent blog;
Most of the town’s (often basic) pubs have been in the Beer Guide at some point, but this year it’s just the Six Bells Tap.
At the other end of the attractively hilly High Street, this is a proper locals pub with chat and beer and a big dog. Here’s the big dog.
Simply decorated in the style of Durham’s best places last week, this is the place to read your copy of National Geographic with the sun streaming through the windows, in the company of cheerful professional drinkers.
Bishop’s Castle was looking as good as I’ve ever seen it, and like last Shrewsbury recently, seemed to have retained the independent enterprises of old. I can vouch for the Chinese takeaway in the Market Square, and the breakfast in the Happy Bap is worth walking from the Anchor for.
Unspoilt by progress.