Good things come in small packages; a truism that certainly applies to the Guild Ale House. A micropub in the heart of Preston, the owners turned an old shop into a pub replete with half a dozen hand pumps and an impressive range of bottled beers, including a truly wondrous Belgian beer fridge. The staff, as you’d expect, are passionate and friendly and will happily recommend beers and ciders, as well as letting you sample a few before you buy. It can get busy on the weekends, which is when the upstairs lounge comes into effect. And with a range of board games on offer – and no TVs – this is an old-fashioned pub where beer comes first, second and last.

Something of an institution in Preston, Roper Hall is a vibrant two-floor pub that was voted the city’s pub of the year in 2014. Popular with students and locals alike, the Roper does the basics well. There’s a good selection of well-priced drinks, the food is generous and freshly cooked, and they show all the big sporting moments across two pull-down screens and several plasma TVs dotted around the venue. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the food menu is eight pages long – including a cunning crossword – and factors in 10 different burgers, a nacho list and all-day breakfast menu. Located halfway between the university and the city centre, it’s just 600 metres from our Preston Central hotel.

Rounding out our pub choices is the Old Black Bull, a welcoming leather and wood affair in Friargate that’s a true all-rounder. With regular deals and offers during the week, it’s friendly on the wallet, while live music and karaoke at the weekends make the pub come alive with the sound of music. Screening all the action from Sky Sports and BT across their projector and large flat-screen TVs, you’ll only miss the vital goal if you’re too engrossed in trying to score a 180 on their dartboard. And when the sun is shining, take one of their 13 draft beers and ciders into the beer garden and relax for a moment or two.

Roper Hall

Roper Hall

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There's a great choice of hotels in Preston which make an ideal base for exploring the city's renovated docks and marina or indulging in some retail therapy at its impressive shopping centres and markets.