No new Beer Guide pubs in Burton this year, which means no trips to the spiritual home of Bass, run brilliantly by Joules. I’ll find an excuse.
Some rare new ticks in the east though, and some good walking on the edge of the National Forest.
The Forest is coming along nicely two decades in, though the closure of Snibston Discovery Museum is almost as sad as that of the Earth Centre. Perhaps.
Mrs RM probably wishes Conkers had never opened after her (hilarious) trauma on the assault course a few years back. Good job she doesn’t read this blog.
A first GBG entry for little Repton, a village dominated by its famed independent school to the same extent as Uppingham or Oundle. If the main danger to life in Cambridge is from cyclists using footpaths, here it’s from a surge of 13-18 year olds crossing the road looking at their I-Phones. Something I’d never do, of course.
That odd mix of youthful vigour and ancient history is always compelling, as well as making the survival of four decent looking pubs quite a surprise. A shame that one of them isn’t a Joules house.
There was enough to detain us for, ooh, ten minutes, even with a few decent art displays. Pleasingly, the Boot opened at 11am, clearly as much to cater for a few local drinkers as to meet my own demanding schedule. I know I went in here a few years ago when it served Marston’s, but I didn’t recognise it since a transformation into a boutique hotel.
Boutique and home-brew aren’t my favourite words of course, and the beer choice was a bit wide for my brain at 11am, but I eventually got the answer to my usual question (“What have you just pulled“). It was Carling, of course.
The Boot Bitter was nicely presented, floral and cool. If NBSS did quarter marks it would be a 3.25. Classy loo, which I’ll show you in my upcoming classy loos post.
Wetherspoons have classy loos too. But I’d struggle to use the word boutique in connection with Swadlincote. It’s vastly more interesting though, with an impressive pottery museum the highlight of its industrial history.
Rather like Nailsworth, this is one of those towns known as much for its intriguingly named suburbs as the pedestrianised centre. Whatever happened to Gresley Rovers ?
As ever, you need to look up when you’re walking round town to see the history, as eye-level isn’t a happy sight. Because I need to have a point of comparison, I’m calling this Ripley-on-the-cheap.
The shops were busy though, and the sweet shop lady called me “babes“. Anyone who has met me will know I’m as far from “babes” as you’ll find, but thanks anyway love.
I’ll be keen to know whether our intrepid pub explorer Alan Winfield has visited all of the pubs round here. The Spoons was my first tick in Swadlincote proper, and presented one of those key life choices – Pedigree or Plum Porter ? It would have been a choice, but I hadn’t had the Titanic in Stoke, and the Porter was a great choice (NBSS 4).
I hope it lasts in the GBG. Simon will love this place with its classic Spoons conversation. Model answers;
“Benidorm in March. Same place”
“Two euros a pint”
“It’s always Happy Hour”
One of the happiest Spoons I’ve been in ever.
My previous boss lived on the edge of Swadlincote, which always attracted some surprise though of course Cambridge folk think Derbyshire is just the Peak District. He’s a clever bloke. Apart from proper pubs he had this art deco classic to enjoy every morning;
21 thoughts on “TOUGH CHOICES IN REPTON AND SWADLINCOTE”
Coopers is one of the pubs I lay awake at night thinking about. And I didn’t even know about the Balti Towers. Good reason to head back.
Change your holiday plans (no don’t !). A pint of Bass in Balti Towers (or the new one next to Coopers) is one of the wonder of the world.
Burton was a place that exceeded my expectations. Really enjoyed the brewery museum and a lot of the pubs were really great. People were really friendly as well.
It’s a cheery place. I always assume that with lower housing costs folk have a bit more cash for eating and drinking, but that may be a bit arrogant of me.
The football ground serves faggots. Did I say that before !
Burton makes for a great visit, except for lodging. I heard there might be a B&B story… Definitely on the return list.
Landlady washed her teeth in the sink while preparing breakfast, which was unimaginable – eggs cooked in the microwave, chicory tea etc.
And then there were the dirty socks left in the bed.
Mrs RM can give you the address if you want to stay there…
The address might be nice to have so we can avoid it!
It was on Rosliston Road in Stapenhill suburb. Bound to be gone. Travelodge is basic but v clean.
Where is this one written up? If this happened with my wife, I wouldn’t have a wife post event. Amazing.
This was 1994, well before pens, let alone computers. This was our first “take the beer from the pub to the Balti” experience, but what sticks in the mind is the locals drinking vodka from plastic bags. On a Sunday.
I’ve seen people drinking out of bags, but not plastic ones. Pretty amazing trip you had. I would like to see the denture cleaning episode in a movie sometime. Truly hard to believe. How could anyone think that is a good idea.
Dentures ? She was brushing her teeth !
By the way, we’ve been to a worse “hotel”, in Los Angeles. May look it up.
The way you phrased it I pictured her cleaning dentures:) Not sure which is worse!
The answer to your question Martin is yes,
I have pretty much done most in the area but there are a few not done including the Wetherspoons in Swad.
Castle Gresley 2 done on 18th February 2006
Church Gresley 6 done 11 March 2006
Newhall 7 done 11 March 2006
Swadlincote 8 done 7 on 27 July 1987 and 1 done 11 March 2006
I did Repton with the wife while doing a Villager bus pub crawl but only did 2 there,the Boot was a nice proper pub when we did it,i am sure one has reopened in the town in the last couple of years.
I lost my rough pub book while doing a crawl round Ashby, Measham,Linton and Castle Gresley which was done by bus,i noticed i had lost it when in my second to last pub so no chance of retracing my steps to pubs already done.
When i got home my wife said ring the last few pubs done and see if they have it,i did and the Drum and Monkey in Castle Gresley had it behind the bar,i said i would go down to pick it up but they said”it was great looking through it and posted it back to my home,that was the early days of this small but very thick rough pub book that i still take out with me to this day,i started writing in it on 4th December 2004 while on a London crawl and my last pubs written down was on the 3rd December 2016 in micro pubs in Eastwood and Kimberley,there is still about a third of space left to write my new pubs done.
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“The Football ground serves faggots”
I realise the connotation of that but i do like faggots and many years ago my mam used to send me to the local butchers which was over a busy main road with a bowl to get their home made faggots with gravy,they were really nice.
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No connotation other than the proper meaty one intended Alan ! You still see faggots and gravy in the Black Country e.g. at the Great Western in Wolves.
I notice the exclamation mark at the end,
I have done the Great Western while on my mission to do all of Holdens tied estate,i found it quite hard to find even though it is very close to the train station.
You’re not the first person to say that Alan, very hard if you dont know where it is.
One can say that about any number of things.
Incidentally Martin, when did you last go to the Alfred in Burton? On a recent visit it seemed to have fallen on hard times.
At least 5 years since last trip to the Alfred, the beer in the Devonshire next to Balti Towers was great a year ago. Any idea bout the future of the Burton Bridge pubs now ?