A rare treat, an overnighter in Llandrindod Wells, featuring the inevitable new micro pub and rather older Conservative Club. A bit disappointing, but still two more GBG entries than neighbouring Builth, though Llan.Wells has the more unpronounceable name. And the one I’m most likely to spell wrong in this post.
You really need the Philip Navigator page to appreciate these two. Note the A-roads not yet travelled. One day, they will be.
No Guide pubs in Builth, but a town always worthy of exploration as the Rough Guide to Wales now devotes a whole six lines of its 480 pages to it. It’s worth at least a page.
For a start, it looks like it welcomes your visit. Compare that with Maidenhead. Free street parking and a stroll across the town bridge into town.
Where you’re greeted by a superb mural of Prince Llewelyn, who stopped the invasion of craft into Builth in 1218.
It’s a two-street affair, packed with Elvis tat and Chinese takeaways. My sort of town, in fact. Plenty of good-looking boozers, complete with bikers.
Chain-free too, and a beef stew at the Strand Café was as old-fashioned and “hearty” as you’d hope. Goodness knows how the town had coped with the tens of thousands who’d descended for the Royal Welsh Show that week.
If Builth is Wales’s Stourport-on-Severn, then Llandrindod is it’s Leamington Spa (Hay, of course, is it’s Southwold).
Rarely will you see such an immaculate collection of old garages.
I had even less recollection of a lone trip here years back to enjoy the Llanerch Inn, once the town’s famed ale house but now looking a little forlorn by the station.
The whole town looked a little quiet for late July, with the High Street deserted, but still stately and presentable.
In parts, around the rock park and lake, it’s rather idyllic, and with a few more good pubs and eateries could be quite a draw.
Arvon Ale House opened on the dot of 4pm, as micros are instructed to do by Herne Law. It’s very pleasant, a dead ringer for Moston’s Malt Dog,
I’ve loved Otley beers, in busy pubs anyway, so I had that. It was decent (NBSS 3), though the pub’s reputations rests as much on cider as the ale.
Remarkably, a succession of folk in their 30s then came in, and one after the other ordered the Otley. Actually, the blokes asked for “Ot-ly“, delivered in a West Yorkshire accent. “It’s a Welsh beer !” I whispered under my breath. The landlord corrected them politely. It’s a polite pub, and clearly the centre of Llandrindod’s 30-something world.
In sharp contrast, the Cons Club offered the usual opportunities to observe octogenarian high jinks and pass judgement on Pedigree, the house beer (a perfectly presentable NBSS 3). Actually, the only beer I saw here ’till I caught sight of a Dragon’s Heart on the way to the loo.
No other ale drinkers in evidence, and mini wine bottles and coffee were paying the electricity bills. That, and a huge pile of cobs/baps/rolls for a quid each, plonked underneath portraits of Her Majesty and Phil.
Some great reading in the local papers,
But that was no match for some classic pub “bants”, scandalously delivered in English, mostly about the Club matriarch’s deficiencies in parallel parking, and the antics of a chap with a pronounced Scouse accent.
“She accused me of stealing her burgers”
“I had stole her burgers, of course. But I’d had 2 pints by then”
That’ll make the front page of the Powys Proclaimer.
No-one drinking at the bar, and I was hardly going to join a table and start talking about the Wells pubs scenes, was I ? A few folk stared at the scruffy bloke trying the odd “real ale” the Bar Steward insisted on, but generally they ignored me.
As they do everywhere else, in fact.