About time I had a moan about opening hours again; I can’t have you thinking all that top beer in Scotland has cheered me up.Duncan had warned me about “inconsistent opening hours” one of my cluster of remaining Durham GBG targets.  I won’t name it but it’s got a big waterfall.  Dave will guess it.

I gave that one a miss and headed for Whorlton‘s Fernaville Arms, just east of busy Barnard Castle and a couple of minutes off the A66.

Barnard Castle.PNG

From Guide and What Pub it sounds like an upmarket food-led “pub with rooms” in a picture book village, with opening times to match;

12-10 Mon-Thu; 12-11 Fri & Sat; 12-5 Sun

But on a sunny Wednesday lunchtime in Half-Term week, it was closed.  Actually, the door opened as I walked up to the door and I was met by a chap taking a dog for a walk.

Can I help you ?”

I was after a drink

Oh.  We don’t open at lunchtimes

And indeed, looking now, their website does indeed say

Open everyday from 5.00pm’ish…”

If you look hard enough.

As I’ve said before, pubs can open when they want, and clearly the inconvenience is entirely my fault for not phoning ahead to check the details in the Guide are still correct (I’ve advised the change via What Pub).

I’m more surprised a dining pub would give up entirely on lunchtime opening, apparently at weekends as well.  That really is a sign of the times.


Luckily, there’s still life in Barnard Castle.


The town seems to get a new “solid town local” in the Guide each year or so, and this was my first trip to the Golden Lion.

I do like town centre Marston pubs; look at that lovely glop of Pedigree.


It was gorgeous (NBSS 3.5), surviving our latest mini heatwave surprisingly well.  A small scale food trade, but really this is one for the professional drinkers, who treated me to a political analysis that would have persuaded you to changed your vote, either way (unless you had Lord Buckethead to vote for, of course).


And look at this seating.




  1. Did you find the new micro, tucked down an alleyway behind the Moody Baker? No signage from the street, when it’s open the snicket gate is open, when it’s closed you’d never know it was there!


  2. If they’ve given up on lunchtime opening even at weekends, and if they close at 5.00pm on a Sunday, then Sunday must have quite a restricted window of opportunity.
    Do you think that only pubs opening “proper” hours should be allowed in the GBG ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was about to try a funny reply to that, along the lines of I know a pub – albeit not on the Isle of Lewis – that secretly opens on Easter Sunday between 3 and 4am. But as it is a secret, I cannot tell you about it !

    However, having re-read your post, it is ambiguous. Would the secret opening be its only opening of the year, or a one-off in an otherwise normal timetable ? If it was its only opening of the year, I can imagine you, Tandleman et al moaning if you got the first pint pulled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s very important you take that secret pub in Lewis with you to the grave, Fred.

      Failing that, can you be there at 3am sharp so I get a pint that’s already been pulled. Ta.


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