Not much to say about the Rivers Arms at Cheselbourne, bar the fact it was OPEN on a Monday in September, a period when most pubs move smoothly to “winter hours“.

In fact, I’d been surprised to see how many pubs shut up shop a week before on the sunniest Bank Holiday Monday in living memory.

On a sunny Monday, half the pubs I tried in touristy Dorset were closed, some violently closed (“When are you open, please ?”, “NEVER !”).

So well done Rivers Arms, even if you were the most dining of dining pubs.

I’m tempted to say you can trust a pub with an Old Speckled Hen clock, but I doubt even Mark C would fall for that.

The sign said “OPEN”, the door ajar, but no-one was about to serve me.

A chap appeared, looked shocked at my appearance (Mrs RM will sympathise), and called for female assistance (Mrs RM will sympathise).

Can I HELP you”. “Can I have a beer please ?” . etc etc etc etc etc

It seemed that a gurgling ice machine was distracting their attention from selling beer. Luckily, it wasn’t me to blame for the gurgling.

I had a minute to assess the beer choice and realised it was Russian Roulette.

I have no idea, but I think they’re brewed in the Cerne Abbas Giant’s jockstrap; it certainly tasted like it.

BUT. The couple in charge were charming and chatty, berating the media for scaring people away from pubs, and anyone who blames the media is OK with me. And beer brewed in the Cerne Abbas Giant’s jockstrap isn’t bad.

The nice lady encouraged me to see the upstairs dining area, busy all summer apparently, and I have to tell you it’s astonishing, more library than restaurant.

Yes, if you’ve ever wanted to borrow the Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico while munching Veggie Haggis and staring across to Piddlehinton, this is the place for you.


  1. Even I hadn’t heard of them… clicks Google… nano-brewery owned by Guy Ritchie (see what you did there with the brewery name, Guy) based on his farm on Dorset/Wilts border. Kind of assuming (unfairly maybe) he’s a farmer rather in the way Jezza Clarkson is a farmer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay so I’m not sure if this this is an appropriate post but I’m an American lurker needing help with London pubs. So I have 2 nights in London that bookend a week in Alsace. Anyway night one is near St Pancras. Here is my list (Tuesday in St Pancras and Sunday 26th in Covent Garden.

    The Queens Head
    The Lucas Arms
    McGlynn’s Free House
    The Boot
    The Skinners Arms

    On the way back we are staying in Covent Garden:

    Cross Keys
    Lamb and Flag
    Mrs. Frogg’s
    The Harp

    Anyway I’m a tourist so these are probably tourist places but if you know of better (more local spots) I’d love to hear about them.

    I’d discovered this blog years ago because of its merger of beer and 80s music which are my two passions. Anyway RM delete this if it’s not appropriate.

    Otherwise I’d love to hear additional suggestions on my itinerary.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Michael

      Thanks for writing. First things first, have you space in your luggage to bring 4 Southworths over with you ?

      Looks like you’ve got an itinerary that will let you see some authentic English pubs there without having to stray too far and I wouldn’t change it just to get a slightly better beer half a mile away. Tuesday and Sunday should be pleasantly busy. I was in those areas only last night (Friday) and it was pleasantly busy as London returns to some sort of normality but feels very short on overseas visitors, you’ll be made very welcome.

      I’ll have a think about any other ideas. I’ve never been in McGlynns, the Lucas Arms or Mrs Froggs which seems good reason to suggest you stick to your plan and do ! Whether I could recommend the cask beer there is another matter !

      One immediate thought, you might enjoy a visit to the Somers Town Coffee house, if only for a morning coffee.
      See the end of this post https://retiredmartin.com/2019/03/21/aberdeen-its-a-wrap/

      Wish I was in Alsace in October. Strasbourg is amazing if you’re visiting that city, great live music in bars from memory.

      NB I’d never delete a comment, unless it praised Coldplay, and I edited the “pups” for you !

      Please comment again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Depends if more looking for beers or pubs. If the latter, might add The Salisbury. A gorgeous looking pub inside in the 19th Century London Gin Palace style… for those that like the 19th Century London Gin Palace bling style 🙂. The beer’s OK. Three minutes walk from the wonderful Harp.

        Down round St Pancras/Kings Cross The Scottish Stores has an er, interesting back story; and one can still find a full mix of people drifting in, some of whom one suspects were there in the old days. And of course there is the Parcel Yard, of BRAPA fame, inside KC… with a chance of meeting Colin!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to get there first. Lots of hoops to jump through to travel these days. Leaving now for the first of 5 COVID tests I will take in the next 10 days. Thanks for all the pub advice.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Michael, sorry to butt-in a bit late, but I used to live round there so … I would recommend McGlynn’s, which pre-Covid certainly was a great ‘proper’ pub. Brapa really should try it over The Parcel Yard!

      Lord John Russell and the Charles the First are also good around King Cross/St Pancras. Both typical of small, one-room London pubs.
      Don’t be fooled by the Norfolk Arms, which is actually a tapas restaurant (a good one though).
      But I don’t want to derail your itinerary, which I’m sure will be good.

      Liked by 1 person

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