Can a good pub sell a country house? 

English pub

A good pub within walking distance is on most buyers’ wish lists and can even uphold an area’s value. But what makes the perfect village pub? Arabella Youens investigates.

If the idea that a village pub can sell a country house sounds a bit extreme, here’s a story to prove it. When the parents of James Mackenzie, head of the country-house department at Strutt & Parker, were in Oman and reading a copy of Country Life, they spotted an old rectory near Lyme Regis in Dorset for sale.

As soon as they could, they jumped on a plane and booked a viewing,’ says Mr Mackenzie. ‘When they reached the top of the drive, my father jumped up onto the gate to inspect the exterior and its aspect. Then, without venturing any further, he took the agent for lunch in the pub opposite. Once that had passed the test, they bought the house – barely bothering to look inside.’

The Bell Pub

The Bell at Stow is one such pub – gorgeously cosy with beautiful food.

That a pub acts as a binding force within a community was ever thus, but, today, this role is on the rise, believes Harry Gladwin of The Buying Solution, Knight Frank’s buying arm, who says a good village pub comes within the top three requirements of a country-house buyer. ‘It’s a place where everyone meets, regardless of background. This mix of people and ideas around an open fire is what breathes life back into many villages and – unlike village shops – can never be replaced by Amazon.’

In recent months, Mr Gladwin has handled two transactions where a good pub was at the top of the list of must-haves; as neither client enjoyed cooking, the pub would be an extension of their kitchen, to feed the family and house guests.

EBRINGTON ARMS

The Ebrington Arms.

‘Even in less extreme scenarios,’ he adds, ‘it’s great entertainment for guests at weekends, especially if they can combine a good walk with a pub lunch or have a late dinner there after driving down from London.’ The best landlords, adds his colleague Jonathan Bramwell, ‘will keep their kitchens open a bit late to accommodate this type of clientele. Now that you can no longer make a profit on selling pints alone, it’s the food that helps in no small way to keep these pubs alive’.

‘We will never do pea shoots or foams’

Village pubs that are successful tread a fine line between catering for the weekend crowd and looking after locals. Peter Creed runs The Bell Inn at Langford in west Oxfordshire, having taken over the pub, which was then derelict, with his business partner, chef Tom Noest, two years ago. It’s taken off and they now have an outlet in Soho Farmhouse (The Little Bell) and are in the process of negotiating on another pub nearby.

‘A pub needs to act as a hub for the village,’ says Mr Creed. ‘It has to be somewhere that everyone can afford to go.’ To that end, they ensure the menu accommodates local families, as well as those wanting to celebrate an important anniversary. ‘We will never do pea shoots or foams.’

EBRINGTON ARMS

Dogs friendly is a must – luckily, the Ebrington Arms welcomes all types of patrons!

Although it may not come as a surprise that the British public hankers after a regular pint to wash down wholesome grub, Charlie Wells of Prime Purchase, Savills’ buying agents, believes the pub factor is increasingly playing a role for international buyers, too. ‘Foreign buyers love a good old-fashioned English pub with horse brasses, which doesn’t really exist in Scandinavia or America,’ he explains. In addition, they attract buyers with families; as children become teenagers, the pub becomes particularly useful if they can walk there and meet friends, rather than using parents as a taxi service.

The Fife Arms, Braemar – The Flying Stag adds a unique decorative touch.

‘A good pub makes a good village and vice versa,’ concludes Mr Gladwin. With that in mind, if the current pub isn’t hitting the mark, it might be a good plan to take it over. That may sound like a storyline from The Archers, but these days, communities are beginning to take matters into their own hands and village-owned, village-run pubs are reversing some of the decline in pub closures.

In (albeit rare) cases, incoming buyers of large country houses are also buying the pub to turn it around – a move made by a number of Mr Wells’s clients. This can work to benefit everyone, argues Adam Buxton of Middleton Advisors. ‘It might underpin the popularity of the village and ultimately help hold up values.’

Source: Can a good pub sell a country house? – Country Life

Welcome to the wonkiest pub in Britain 

Welcome to the wonkiest pub in Britain

What would you expect from a pub called the Crooked House?

Himley is a small village situated between Dudley and Wolverhampton. It is mostly unremarkable, and is perhaps best known as being the home of Himley Hall, the former home of the Lords of Dudley.

Himley has another claim to fame though, in that it is home to the wonkiest pub in Britain: the Crooked House.

Originally a farmhouse, this building became a pub in the 1800s, by which point it had already begun sinking to one side due to mining in the area.

It remains a pub, despite being condemned as unsafe roughly 80 years ago. With all this knowledge in mind, JOE decided to take a trip to this pub, to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be and whether the rumours of gravitational anomalies are actually true.

Source: Welcome to the wonkiest pub in Britain | JOE.co.uk

Remote Hebridean island with its own whisky distillery named one of the best in the world to visit in 2020

Raasay ISLAND

A Hebridean island with a population of just 170 people has been named one of the best islands in the world to visit in 2020 – alongside hotspots in the Caribbean, Brazil, Japan and Australia.

Raasay, an island off the east coast of Skye which is just 14 miles long and five miles wide, was singled out in the wake of the opening of its first ever legal distillery, which offers visitors overnight stays.

The island, arguably best known as the birthplace of Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean Angus Mackay, Queen Victoria’s first piper, has just one hotel, three bed and breakfasts, two shops and a primary school, but boasts an iconic flat-topped peak offering views of the Outer Hebrides, steep cliffs, forest trails and secluded beaches.

But now a leading travel bible has rated it alongside Hong Kong, Kyushu in Japan, the Anavilhanas Archipelago, in Brazil, Prince Edward Island, in Canada, St Barts and Domenica, in the Caribbean in its 13-strong guide “to be two steps ahead of the pack.” [ . . . ]

Continue at THE SCOTSMAN: Remote Hebridean island with its own whisky distillery named one of the best in the world to visit in 2020 – The Scotsman

New off-road cycle route links England and Scotland

The 800-mile “Great North Trail” goes between the Peak District and the far north coast of Scotland.

The Great North Trail links the Peak District to Scotland’s most northerly mainland points for the first time.

About 98% of the route is on existing off-road cycle routes, forest roads and low traffic minor roads.

The trail’s path through Scotland takes in picturesque areas such as the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Loch Ness and Cape Wrath.

Cycling UK said it had developed the route, which only traverses about 16 miles of busier roads, in response to demand from cyclists for greater access to the countryside on routes largely away from traffic.

Duncan Dollimore, the organisation’s head of campaigns, said: “We’ve created the Great North Trail because we recognised very little has been done to promote national off-road trails.

“For example, plans to extend the Pennine Bridleway to Scotland were published 20 years ago, but still haven’t been implemented.

“And yet we know there is an appetite for more cycling access to the countryside as off-road trails can be ideal for families to ride safely, away from traffic and city pollution.” [ . . . ]

Continue at: New off-road cycle route links England and Scotland – BBC News