I thought I’d get that little bit of Oswestry disappointment out of the way before I got onto the rave review.


What a town this is.

It’s not just the “micro in a treehouse” *

Hidden hand pumps

Mr T Irvin Esq will no doubt appreciate the dead railway station with it’s excellent collection of Thomas and Percy models, as did the young children enlivening my walk into town alongside the disused track.

Thomas !!!

There’s some great black and white loveliness in the centre,


and the series of life-sized models I saw a couple of years ago (photos lost) are still here, enlivening the chicken shop (top), the Dunbobin Room and the gruff Griffin.

The Griffin.  A Proper Pub

Street art is patchy, but striking.

Not a pub, sadly

A look at the What Pub map might suggest a chain town; Spoons, Costa, Sports Direct, Wilko etc.


But I find a lot more character than that.

Could be in the Black Country Living Museum or Beamish
Not really a 1621 gastro pub, I suspect

On to the new GBG newbie. I actually passed the Bailey Head in 2016 and it looked really appealing, but I don’t begrudge a dedicated visit.

The Bailey Head

It stands resplendent in the Salop sunshine, opposite the Town Hall and castle mound.

View from Bailey Head to the Town Hall

A small cask range from Proper breweries, but you sense from the Oakademy guff that Oakham is the house beer, and a wise choice it is.

Citra rarely disappoints, does it ?

It was a gorgeous cool, textured drop of Citra (NBSS 4), and no, I’ve nothing against tulips for halves.

A really cheery welcome, a mix of afternoon shoppers and the odd old boy, weird dub music, fresh flowers and some proper seating.


Almost as if some intelligent people had taken micro pubs principles (the good ones, obviously) and stuck them in a proper pub with a “Come on in” on the door, rather than a list of what you can’t do inside.  The same thing the Dove has done in Bury St Edmunds, in fact.

Best of all, a filling home-made venison stew for £4.50. With proper butter.

As good as pub food gets, say I

And that value is reflected in the drinks list. The Citra was £3 a pint, the bottles half the price of a certain Cambridge craft bar. A cup of Welsh tea was 90p. Let that sink in.

Two ladies with bags of shopping peruse the gin list; one gives the other a £20 note.  “I won’t need all that !” she said. Two specialist Salop G&Ts were £8.80. You’ll know how much I paid in That London recently. £10.45 for one.

Mind you, the competition from the Spoons is fierce.

£2.99 for Punk. Now that’s what I call Craft !
£1.05 for Adnams ! Cheap beer killing cask etc etc

Yes, I could have had a pint of Southwold’s finest for £1.05 with voucher, though presumably not if I was Scottish.  At the bar the regulars were complaining about a child with a particularly noisy Nintendo DS, which has just arrived in Oswestry.

Elsewhere, still quite a bit of Proper Pub for the Proper Pub enthusiast,


and the only other Beer Guide entry is a pub retaining Boddington signage. 

Boddies ? Even now ? Always !

Shropshire gets a raw deal in terms of GBG entries, compared to some counties that start with “L” that I won’t name, and Oswestry has far more than two pubs worth visiting. Even if the treehouse isn’t yet one of them.


*Strictly, under licensing laws, only the owner can take his bottle of Mikkeller Breakfast beer up there, so phone ahead.


18 thoughts on “O WOW ! OSWESTRY !

  1. Time moves fast in Oswestry. Yesterday the map shows a double track railway right through the town. Today it’s just a single track northwards and nothing southwards.
    Two nice cats painted upstairs for Peter though.
    That venison stew looks nearly as nice as the beef stew in the Stile but there’s surely there’s no justification for it being over double the price even if there are two rolls.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve heard good reports about the Bailey Head. Did you ever get into the Oak at the south end of town, with its Draught Bass, when it was in the GBG? That’s a cracking little proper pub.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did, a decade ago. I know there’s no trains there, but Oswestry would have made a good Proper Day out, as I doubt the pubs have gone downhill since dropping out of the Guide.


  3. “Dunbobin”

    Time to see if you need new glasses. It’s Dunbabin. 🙂


    “Not a pub, sadly”

    Of course not. It’s a wine bar silly. 🙂

    “And that value is reflected in the drinks list.”

    My kind of place. 🙂

    “Elsewhere, still quite a bit of Proper Pub for the Proper Pub enthusiast,”

    Agreed. A quick view of Google Maps (trying to find that bloody Dunbabin thingy) shows that to be true.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhh. So either they’ve:

        – washed ashore (bobbing about themselves)


        – have washed their hands of Halloween (bobbing, for apples)


        Liked by 1 person

    1. I disagree with that statement Richard.
      I have been for a drink in loads of towns and have never found any to be the same, different street layouts different pubs and pub names, different churches.
      I love visiting a town i have never been to before to see what it is like and do the pubs there, i have never been to Oswestry a bit too hard for me to do in a day on public transport, which is a shame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think Richard was referring to the shops, rather than the towns themselves, Alan. He’s quite a fan of exploring new towns in my experience. It is noticeable how towns of Oswestry size tend to have the same household names, though the buildings that house them vary wildly.


      2. I know what you mean Alan and I would agree. However I get fed up of going to new towns and just finding the same national chains. If it weren’t for the architecture and other local characteristics a lot of the UK would be the same left to the major retailers. We need more places like Hebden Bridge, only 1 commercial chain and that’s the Co-op, there are others about.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Featuring ‘life size models’ in Oswestry I’m surprised that you didn’t mention the town centre ‘Borderland Farmer’ statue which I’m told is of him on a Saturday night out.

    Liked by 1 person

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