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Pub/Bar of the Month December 2011: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham, UK

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham, UK

There’s a long-running dispute concerning which is the oldest pub in Britain.

Trip to JerusalemIn one corner stands The Old Ferry Boat at St Ives, Cambridgeshire, with origins possibly in the tenth century. In another stands Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, arguably dating from the 11th century. Completing this competing triangle is Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham.

The Trip claims to date from 1189 AD – the year Richard the Lionheart ascended to the English throne – with its name originating from its use as a staging post in the time of the Crusades.

If you stop and think about that, you’ll quickly realise that we are talking a seriously long time ago and for a pub to still be popular and busy today proves it to be a remarkable survivor.

The pub sits at the foot of Nottingham Castle, just on the fringe of the city-centre area. The façade – a 17th-century, black and white, semi-timbered affair – offers little clue as to what lies within, for the pub retreats some way into the sandstone rock on which the castle is constructed.

No attempt has been made to square off or plaster over the walls and ceilings of some of the rooms, leaving the impression that you are actually drinking in a cave (which is generally the case).

Stories to Tell

Like all great historic pubs, The Trip requires some investigation. Take a wander through the various rooms, climb the stairs to the higher levels and enjoy the various corners and coves on offer, each with their own stories to tell.

Furnishings include a large tapestry, a grandfather clock and even a suit of armour – artefacts that almost parody the pub’s already very obvious history and heritage.

Trip to JerusalemTake a pew in Yorkey’s Lounge (named after a one-time licensee who is said to haunt the premises), sit in the Fertility Chair, settle down in the Haunted Snug and view the so-called Cursed Galleon on display in the Rock Lounge.

If you are still not impressed, book a tour of the extensive cellars that meander beneath Nottingham’s ancient soil and were once used as a castle prison.

From the early 1990s, the pub formed part of the Hardys & Hansons estate and the brewery introduced a beer named Olde Trip after the pub in 2003.

The beer is still produced, but now at Greene King in Bury St Edmunds, which took over the Nottingham company three years later.

Greene King continues to supply the pub with beer today, but the handpumps dispense more than just the familiar IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, with local guest ales also tapped. Inevitably, its fame and history mean that The Trip is always busy with tourists, many of them from overseas, but it’s one of those pubs you just have to visit.

So, fight your way past those posing for photographs, grab a pint and take a step back into the dim and distant past.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Brewhouse Yard, Nottingham NG1 6AD
Tel. (0115) 947 3171
Opening Hours: 11–11; 11–midnight Friday & Saturday

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