SPOILER : Contains rare praise for Greene King, so move on now if that upsets you.

If you’re American and travelling the Cotswolds on the Fodor (or even the retiredmartin) recommended route, I bet that Burford looks like that “Lil ol’ England” of your dreams. Or of any Richard Curtis film, anyway.

Chocolate box
Note Cobbler’s Bottom, Russ


It’s very hard to find much to say about Burford, which seems to exist purely as a collection of pleasant small hotels, ladies boutiques, tea shops and antiques emporia for charabancs to visit on the way from Cheltenham to Oxford.

Cream teas

There may be a “Stockport of the Cotswolds” somewhere, but this isn’t it.  At least there’s a hill.

Not Navigation Hill

I don’t think Burford has a Winters (RIP) or Olde Vic anyway, though in fairness it does have a decent collection of Wadworth, Hook Norton and Greene King houses amongst ten “pubs”.  Tiny Rebel have yet to make much of an impression unfortunately.

Joules (sorry)

Faced with that competition, Greene King’s Golden Pheasant looks the least Olde English of the lot.  That’s why it’s in the Beer Guide, the first change here for a decade or more.

Greene King

Inside, it looks very Greene King “Olde English“, with Champagne happy hour (I was too early), red Chesterfields and low beams.  The fact it’s Champagne rather than Prosecco tells its own tale.

Not bench seating


It knows its audience, a collection of retired gentlefolk and, er, retired gentlefolk.  Service was exceptionally cheery, just as retired gentlefolk expect.

I thought I was the youngest until I came across a couple hiding in the corner. Obviously on an illicit midweek break from Maidenhead.

Far too many beers for a place where at least three of those would be seen as “exciting“, so I play safe with Britain’s second favourite beer.

How much longer must we tolerate thin glasses ?

“Oooh, Olde Trip”

To be fair, the IPA was more than decent, as it often is. Please don’t ask why I resisted the Daleside, you know the answer. You could smell the real fire from the bar.  If technology ever allows, I’ll add an “scratch’n’sniff” feature to this blog.

A middle-aged fop came in and perused the hand pumps.  Pointing at the Olde Trip, he asked a series of questions;

Is that an ale or a lager ?”.  (I snorted silently)

I really shouldn’t do this before 12 you know” .  It was ten past.

Are you showing the quarter-finals of the tennis later ?”

Tennis !

No-one believes me, but there are vast swathes of the pub world which have never seen Harvey’s or Titanic,  let alone Hopdaemon and Tyne Bank. I like that in a town. And those proper hand pumps.















    1. Certainly beautiful, though traffic runs through it and not a great deal off the side streets.

      Haven’t been to Black Bear, but have a report on another Donnington pub (very) nearby coming up. You’re not going to like it !


      1. I really dislike GK IPA, I think mostly because it’s an IPA in name only IMO, but then generally, I’m not a GK fan; I find there’s a distinctive GK taste I’m not that keen on. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed a weekend in GK Central, and did like some of their beers that you never see here in the Midlands.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a sorry tale of a gallon of Abbott Ale consumed in the Cheshire Cheese in the company of a subsequently famous female newsreader who was obliged to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre on me later that evening.
      But I’m keeping it for my memoirs.
      Always very fond of GK despite all the negative vibes it receives.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Quite rightly so, I’ll vote for Mr Rebel or whatever his name is. I’d vote for Mudgie as well, of course. Not quite sure what the Nat Executive do, and I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way. I mean, what powers do they have. Sorry, thinking I was on discourse.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Are they still going on about “wenches”, scared I’ll comment by mistake on that one.”

        I can help you there… but you’d probably wiser to not let me. 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I’m steering clear of the sexist debate. Although I never understood what’s wrong with being sexy anyway. Enough fun just focusing on beer dispense, I’ve just had an RD claim that some CAMRA festivals sell British keg beer, which is so against official policy it’s hilarious.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It has become quite entertaining in a car-crash kind of way. That comment about most festivals selling keg beer was quite jaw-dropping. Both you (Scott) and I have now put her right, so stand back and wait for the response…

        By the way, if you didn’t know who Mudgie was on there, you do now. You would probably have guessed already from the avatar of a Bass logo 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      4. I think I’ve become over-associated with Draught Bass to the extent tat anyone who sees a Bass mirror or drinks a pint of Bass copies me in on Twitter, which is nice.

        There are other quality beers beside Bass, you know. We just need to CAMRA to define them.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. BTW Mudgie, have you heard this rumour that what really freaked out the NE from the revitalisation results was that the number of members who were going to become inactive/leave, due to the proposed changes being implemented, was disproportionately biased towards younger members?

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Yup, we are the Youth wing.
        I don’t know for sure, but I believe it just came across that the older members were less resistant to change than the younger ones. The younger members who had bothered joining allegedly came across as more fundamentalist in attitude. Which I guess would be the same as any organisation, the more recent converts are likely to be more evangelical?

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Really interesting. I do think a great pint of real ale, whether Squawk or Bass or Bathams (all NBSS 4.5 recently) is a wonderful thing, but given that’s a rarity I can understand the appeal of the stronger keg beers. Nearly all the older pub folk I meet are quite receptive to the new beers as well.


      8. I think it’s in the details somewhere. What is doesn’t cover at all though is how much the proposed changes will reduce activism by the really active (branch committees, GBG surveyers, etc).
        20% of respondents were under 50. 50% were between 50 and 65, so 25% over 65. Only 10% under 40. But if 60% of those under 40 lapse or stop volunteering?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “and travelling the Cotswolds on the Fodor”

    Good Lord. I remember ‘Fodor’ and ‘Let’s Go’ books back in the 80’s when I was backpacking around Western Europe. 🙂

    “Note Cobbler’s Bottom, Ross”

    That’s Russ to you, Martan. 😉

    And I missed that completely as soon as I spied Upton farm, hoping there were photos of Kate Upton to follow. 🙂

    “The fact it’s Champagne rather than Prosecco tells its own tale.”

    Yes, but it does say Prosecco for 15 quid right under the Champagne for 20 quid on the sign.

    “Not bench seating”

    I hesitate to ask what the bloody hell that thing is between the two seats!

    “Tennis !”

    My wife’s former assistant cook was getting up this week I believe at 3am our time to watch the tennis from Australia. 🙂

    And in the last photo, what the bloody hell do those letters mean?

    ” Y C J C Y I P – F H F H T Y”


    Liked by 1 person

      1. “It’s not Martan, it’s Martian.”

        It appears to be a day for slow golf claps.

        (slow golf clap)

        Well done sir! (doffs hat)


    1. “I hesitate to ask what the bloody hell that thing is between the two seats!”

      Top secret prototype for new CAMRA keg for dispensing ‘good beer’……

      “And in the last photo, what the bloody hell do those letters mean?

      ” Y C J C Y I P – F H F H T Y”

      Complementary eye tester for old gentlefolk…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “And then it’s probably wromh”

        Good heavens! He’s typing in code!*

        * – either that or he got so excited at typing “Legover” and “Abbot” his fingers slipped. 😉


  2. Almost thirty years ago, I made a pilgrimage to the churchyard in Burford where the Leveller soldiers were shot in 1649 by the Parliamentary army (there used to be annual procession to it, got up by Tony Benn iirr) which is now my Facebook cover photo.


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