Discover the Charm of the Red Lion: A Journey Through Iconic British Pubs
The United Kingdom has a rich history of pubs, and none are more iconic or beloved than those bearing the name Red Lion. These pubs are steeped in history and provide a warm, welcoming environment for patrons to enjoy good company, conversation, and of course, a pint or two. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the most famous Red Lion pubs, offering a glimpse into their histories and unique features. So whether you’re a beer enthusiast, casual socializer, or tourist, grab your pint glass and join us as we explore the charm of the Red Lion.
A Brief History of the Red Lion
Before we dive into individual pubs, it’s worth looking at the history and significance of the Red Lion name. The name “Red Lion” is thought to have originated from the time of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, who came to the throne in 1603. As a way to show loyalty to the king, many pub owners adopted the Red Lion name and displayed its symbol, a red lion rampant, on their premises.
Throughout the years, the Red Lion has become synonymous with the British pub experience. Today, there are over 600 Red Lion pubs scattered across the United Kingdom, making it one of the most popular pub names in the country.
The Most Iconic Red Lion Pubs
With so many Red Lion pubs to choose from, we’ve narrowed down our list to some of the most iconic and well-known establishments. These pubs offer a mix of history, tradition, and modernity that is sure to please any patron, be it a casual drinker or a true pub aficionado.
Red Lion, Avebury
Address: High Street, Avebury, Wiltshire, SN8 1RF
The Red Lion in Avebury is not only a charming pub but also sits in the heart of one of the most intriguing and historically significant locations in the United Kingdom. Located within the ancient stone circle of Avebury, which predates Stonehenge, this unique pub offers a mixture of history, mystery, and good old-fashioned hospitality.
The current building dates back to the 17th century, but there has been a pub on this site since the early 15th century. The Red Lion is said to be haunted, and many patrons and staff have reported ghostly encounters. Paranormal aside, it’s the perfect stopping point for those exploring the ancient stone circle and the surrounding area.
Enjoy a wide range of ales, lagers, wines, and spirits, as well as a delicious menu featuring fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Don’t forget to taste their famous homemade pies and Sunday roasts.
Red Lion, Whitehall
Address: 48 Parliament St, Westminster, London SW1A 2NH
Located in the heart of London, just steps from the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street, the Red Lion on Whitehall is as much a part of British history as the famous politicians and leaders who frequented it. The current building dates back to 1900, but there has been a pub on this site since 1434.
This Red Lion is a popular haunt for politicians, civil servants, and political journalists. They come for the impressive selection of real ales, fine wines, and traditional pub grub, but also for the lively atmosphere and conversations.
The Red Lion features a maze of rooms and corridors adorned with political memorabilia and caricatures of famous politicians, making it the perfect spot to immerse yourself in British political history while enjoying a pint.
Red Lion, Lacock
Address: High St, Lacock, Chippenham SN15 2LQ
With parts of the building dating back to the 13th century, the Red Lion in Lacock is one of the oldest pubs in the United Kingdom. This historic pub is nestled in the picturesque village of Lacock, which has been the backdrop for several film and television productions, including Pride and Prejudice, Cranford, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The Red Lion is known for its warm ambiance, with low beamed ceilings, open fireplaces, and charming nooks and crannies. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely meal or a refreshing beverage after exploring the village and its famous abbey.
The pub offers a great selection of ales, wines, and spirits, as well as a menu that features locally sourced ingredients and traditional pub fare, such as fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and Sunday roasts.
Red Lion, Babcary
Address: Main St, Babcary, Somerset, TA11 7ED
This country inn situated in the quaint village of Babcary is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. The Red Lion in Babcary has been welcoming patrons since the 17th century and is the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring the beautiful Somerset countryside.
The pub is known for its cozy, rustic atmosphere, with flagstone floors, low beamed ceilings, and roaring open fires. It boasts a large garden, perfect for soaking up the sun, and six comfortable guest rooms for those looking to extend their stay.
The Red Lion’s menu is a celebration of local produce, with dishes such as Somerset pork belly and local venison. Their drinks list includes local ales and ciders, as well as a selection of fine wines and spirits.
Red Lion, Horsell
Address: 123 High St, Horsell, Woking GU21 4SS
Situated in the heart of the Surrey village of Horsell, the Red Lion is a 17th-century pub that has been lovingly restored to maintain its original charm and features. This family-friendly pub is known for its warm atmosphere, excellent food, and impressive range of drinks.
The Red Lion is a hub for the local community, hosting regular events such as quiz nights, live music, and beer festivals. The pub sports a large beer garden, perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon or a warm summer evening.
The menu at the Red Lion reflects its commitment to quality, with dishes such as slow-roasted lamb shoulder and beer-battered fish and chips. Their drinks list includes a variety of locally brewed ales, as well as a wide selection of wines, spirits, and soft drinks.
The Red Lion pubs we’ve explored in this article are just a small sample of the hundreds of establishments bearing the iconic name across the United Kingdom. Each Red Lion has its own unique story, atmosphere, and charm, offering a glimpse into the history, culture, and sense of community that define the British pub experience. Whether you’re a longtime pub enthusiast or a curious traveler, there’s no better way to experience the warmth and camaraderie of the British pub than by visiting one of these iconic Red Lion establishments. Cheers!