BISHOP’S CASTLE – A FINE OFFA

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The second new GBG pub on our trip was what we tickers call “an irritating b****r“.

Not just because Bishop’s Castle is tucked so far away from civilisation (well, Newtown).

Bishops Castle

I just KNEW we’d been in the Castle Hotel before; we must have done the whole town (1,630 souls, six pubs, 347 coffee shops) back in the ’90s.  But the Castle wasn’t in the Guide then, and therefore it’s omission from The Spreadsheet rankled with me.

As is now necessary, I’d done my research to establish it was open, would serve us, and didn’t require us to eat.

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Up the small hill

But we decided that we WOULD eat, healthily of course, and were directed to the top of a landscaped garden I would confidently place in my Top 5 beer gardens (see also : Duke of Cumberland, Henley, West Sussex).

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Name those flowers
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Remove those cars and it’s perfect

The downside is being seated where you don’t want to sit, so you can’t quite hear the conversation on Table 5 about pashmina futures markets in Halifax (poss. misheard) or see the top of the Mynd. But as a spot for lunch your Mum/Aunt/Sis would love it.

You’re also not allowed to visit the bar, unless you put your hand up and ask teacher if you can go to the loo, which I did after eating my healthy (but dull and pricey) lunch.

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3 days worth of veg

The nice lady with the plastic visor had read out a long list of “ales“; I’d heard Clun and Tuns and had those.  Mrs RM had the lion’s share and found them “nice”, and she’s a self-accredited beer somellier.

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Should have gone Hobsons and Salopian

All your pale favourites.  Nice and cool and immaculate looking, if a bit sweet and floral for me.

Mrs RM wanted to go to sleep, but I made here walk the whole of Bishop’s Castle.  It’s only a couple of streets and one of them is downhill.

Look how the houses look like your favourite dolly mixtures.

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Downhill
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The pink and brown one
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The orange and black one
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The out-of-date one

The highlights are the houses made out of jigsaw pieces bought over Offa Dyke in the famous jigsaw shop in Hay on Wye.

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Unique

In Yarborough House, the famed bookshop/greetings card emporium/cafe we wondered whether face coverings were necessary as we asked for excellent coffees.  The scowl on the faces of the vast family who crowded round the counter, a bigger offence, suggested they were.

A lady from the shop next door came in with a pashmina a customer had left, enquiring whether she’d popped in for cards for National Pashmina Day or something.

It was a lady with auburn hair, with a Brummie accent” she said, hopefully.

Well that narrows it down” we agreed. Finding someone without a Brummie accent would be harder.

A delight, whatever you think of the homebrew, speaking of which;

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Three Tuns
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Six Bells

The pubs aren’t posh, Castle apart, and you’ve even got TWO Indian restaurants and a recommended Chinese takeaway and chippy.  Even Waterbeach can’t match all that.

The only thing missing on this visit was an appearance from my Cat of the Year for 2016, which seemed to live about here;

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Cat last spotted here

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16 thoughts on “BISHOP’S CASTLE – A FINE OFFA

  1. We’ve probably all used the Three Tuns most but the Castle Hotel might be a nicer pub though it’s quite a while since I’ve been to the town.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Probably not as long a while as me, t’other Paul. My one and only visit to Bishops Castle was in 1977. The only pub visited was the Three Tuns and, as it was an evening visit, we didn’t see much of the town.

      A friend from uni, drove us there and back from Rugeley! I really must return, once this pandemic eases off further.

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      1. T’other Paul,
        My branch had a minibus trip about eighteen years ago that included the Three Tuns ( which wasn’t brewing ), Six Bells, the Sun at Corfton and a few other Shropshire pubs,
        I’ve been to Bishops Castle with Mrs TSM since then.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Castle is very much a hotel but with the many redeeming features Martin lists. Six Bells I believe is closed, certainly the microbrewery has been out of action for more than a year.
    Did you not visit the honeypot that is Church Stretton?
    BTW if you can find my furloughed blog, there is a Sunday visit to Bishop’s Castle from 3 years ago.

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    1. Indeed it is. Book somewhere in Shrewsbury (plenty to go at there) and you can visit Church Stretton and Ludlow by train. Some of the rural gems are tough to get to without a car but Bishop’s Castle is a must.

  3. If you curate your Top 5 Beer Gardens the way you do your Top 100 Pubs, I think that means the list includes around twenty of them. 😉

    I love that Three Tuns Brewery building, though I think the sign painter might have consumed a pint or two of their brew prior to painting that second ‘E’!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Clun Valley is a favourite for me, and Bishops Castle is a not unreasonable cycle ride away, so I’ve been there a few times but haven’t done the Castle Hotel for ages (possibly 2007). Hope the Six Bells Brewery isn’t permanently closed. WhatPub said the pub was due to open a week ago Wednesday, but looking at their Facebook page they seem to be doing lots of food with no mention of beer at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’d have thought that all of that (first) lockdown would have given them a chance to paint some of those wooden beams.

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