Choosing the best pubs in Swindon isn’t an easy task, but these six firm favourites – spanning microbreweries, real ale specialists and some of the best-established drinking dens in the region – are well worth checking out.
One of the largest pubs in Swindon, The Merlin covers most pub bases – there’s a good range of pub grub, a wide range of beers, ales and ciders on tap and they screen all the main sporting action on several large screens dotted around the pub. The pub comes with several pool tables and a large outdoor terrace, and gets busy most Saturdays thanks to its location near Swindon’s County Ground.
Swindon’s railway heritage has given the town some incredible buildings that have been turned into really fantastic places like The Weighbridge Brewhouse. First and foremost it’s an upmarket restaurant, but they also have their own on-site microbrewery, serving half a dozen of their own ales.
Several miles out of town, The Carpenter’s Arms near South Marston is one of the finest country pubs in Wiltshire. A traditional English pub right down to the roaring fire, this Swindon favourite offers a rotating selection of guest ales from the brewery several miles away and a food menu that spans light bites through to sizeable steaks. The ideal start or finish point for a country hike, the 19th-century pub is also dog-friendly and serves food daily.
If you’re a beer and ale fan, pay close attention: in just five years, The Hop Inn has served 2,000 different cask ales. Two thousand. That’s because, other than their house bitter, they change their beers after every barrel. The idea is that there are so many great ales out there, they want to give people the chance to try as many as possible. It’s like a beer festival, except it never ends. Now five years old, the pub also serves a range of home-made pizzas – including a good-value-for-money pizza and pint offer – while the quirky furniture and friendly service only add to the pub’s allure.
A popular gastro pub in the heart of Old Town, The Pig on the Hill prides itself in offering good food, good beer and good wine. And it’s a simple formula that’s won them a legion of fans who flock there for renowned Sunday roasts and a wide range of beers, ciders, ales, spirits and wines. A stylish wood-lined pub with white walls and an airy feel, The Pig on the Hill is a good-looking but simple pub that does the basics well.
On the western edge of Swindon, The Rat Trap is a high-quality pub noted for its food as much for its drinks. With home-made food to the fore – think burgers, onion rings, ploughman’s lunches – and large portions to boot, the historic pub opened in 1875 and now houses two bars and a large beer garden.
There are three hotels in Swindon to choose from if you're planning to visit this historic town, which boasts a wide range of shopping opportunities and traditional pubs as well as some stunning stately homes within easy reaching distance.
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