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 Bishops 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; look at these 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.


Classic pump clip design

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;

Mudgie will be back soon mate

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.

Basic brilliance

At the other end of the attractively hilly High Street, this is a proper locals pub with chat and beer and a 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.

Ow Do !  NBSS 3

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.



  1. Going back forty years, the Three Tuns was *far* more basic than it is now – just two plain little rooms on either side of the door facing the street. I once saw the late Ronnie Lane of Small Faces fame in there.

    That cat’s a star, isn’t he?


    1. The cat’s the star. I had a cat like that called Sally 20 years ago, sadly missed. Yes the Three Tuns was strikingly basic, though I remember visiting Risbury on that trip which put it into context !


  2. It must be close to 40 years since I made my first, and so far only, visit to Bishop’s Castle and the Three Tuns. The XXX was fantastic on that occasion, and both town and pub have long been on my wish list of places to return to.

    A college friend of mine, drove us there, and back, all the way from Rugeley, in Staffordshire, where he lived with his parents.


  3. Cats should be banned from all pubs and public spaces. Some people are allergic to them (me!) and the Hay fever and Asthma type symptoms are triggered just by touching where the bloody things have been sitting or rubbing.

    Why have a cat when you can have a dog? I mean dogs can hunt, attack/protect, guide the blind, help the hard of hearing and lots more useful things, whereas a cat just craps in a tray in the kitchen?

    I have little terrier who loves cats , unfortunately he is getting a little too old at 15 to properly patrol the grounds.


    1. This is one argument I’m keeping out of ! I do think publicans should have the choice a bout who/what they let in and then be clear about it so customers can make a choice. I’m pet-averse myself.

      Liked by 1 person

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