The Midlands historical pub guide
Uncover what history lies on your local's doorstep.
The weather making a switch is more than enough encouragement for us to head out of the house and explore the fascinating historical treasures around us.
From Birmingham to Stratford-Upon-Avon, our cities and towns are home to some historic heroes. Enjoying the wonders of some of our pubs and bars could have you sipping a drink in places once frequented by the likes of famous figures like Charles Darwin and William Shakespeare.
This guide will reveal some of the most famous pubs to revel in history, and within a short walking distance from their local stations, you can leave your worries at home and explore the historical hotspots on our line.
As the second largest city in the UK and the staple of the West Midlands, Birmingham is a great hub of history, recreation, and culture.
The Old Joint Stock
- Walking distance from Birmingham New Street Station: 5-mins
The first stop on our Birmingham guide is The Old Joint Stock. Famous for its creative showcases of local comedians and musicians, for years it has been a bustling stop and fixture in the city centre. Heading into the old Victorian bank building, you’ll find it homes not only a theatre for creatives but also a theatrical island bar below a glass-domed roof.
The Old Crown
- Walking distance from Birmingham New Street Station: 14-mins
The Old Crown dates all the way back to 1368 with most of the pub you see today constructed in the early 16th century. With its Tudor aesthetics and historical vibe, it lives up to the traditional name as the city’s oldest secular structure.
Birthplace of William Shakespeare, Stratford-upon-Avon is a writer's dream. Being immersed in history in every step you take, there is room to learn or take inspiration as you explore.
The Red Lion
- Walking distance from Stratford-Upon-Avon Station: 16-mins
The Red Lion is a historic 18th-century pub which is often a tourist favourite in the Shakespearean town. Making an already great spot even better, it’s situated right next to a canal, a lovely treat for those sunny days.
- Walking distance from Stratford-Upon-Avon Station: 15-mins
An Inn for more than 350 years, The Windmill is another popular choice for your trip. They pride themselves on their character and the characters that have visited them in the time they’ve been open. They also claim that whilst Shakespeare was tucked away writing his plays, some of his pals and fellow townsmen were around enjoying their favourite drinks.
Another place known to produce famous faces is Shrewsbury, the birthplace of scientist Charles Darwin. Sitting inside a loop of the River Severn, its Tudor centre is lined with half-timbered houses and is a quaint market town in the county of Shropshire.
The Old Post Office
- Walking distance from Shrewsbury Station: 11-mins
Though its name may suggest otherwise, The Old Post Office, dating back to the 16th century has actually never been a post office. As the last remaining licensed public house on Milk Street, the pub’s name refers to its history as a posting house (which was an inn that provided stable accommodation for horse-drawn coaches and carts). Heading on a short walk from the station, you can try out what would have been a nice stop off for travellers.
The Hole in the Wall
- Walking distance from Shrewsbury Station: 10-mins
After joining with neighbouring pub, The Market Vaults in 1985, The Hole in the Wall is a 13th-century building. One of the most fascinating things about this pub is that during renovations the cellars of both properties were found to be owned by a local family named Shute. There were many historical items found too including clay pipes, pottery and a 1660 dated letter about the black death!
Another beautiful city along the River Severn, its university and cathedral makes Worcester a popular destination for many. The West Midlands city has a host of historical monuments from medieval Worcester Cathedral to royal tombs, a crypt, and cloisters.
The Cardinals Hat
- Walking distance from Worcester Foregate Street Station: 9-mins
This pub has earned its name as Worcester’s oldest inn, originally dating back to the fourteenth century. Not far from the cathedral, it was one of the inns established to accommodate the many travellers and pilgrims who would visit in the middle-ages.
The King Charles II
- Walking distance from Worcester Foregate Street Station: 6-mins
A very historically significant public house, it is through this establishment that King Charles II is said to have escaped after losing the final battle of the English Civil War. Whilst you probably won’t see a King running away anytime soon, it is likely you’ll get to understand more about his route.
Travelling by train
With so many historical—and quite frankly legendary—stories, towns, and cities across our network there is a huge opportunity to explore all the wonders. Access to our various stations is what makes West Midlands Railways a great option to take in the sights, scenery, and secrets of our cities.
With all this in mind, all that’s left to say is to Book it. Train it. Love it!