Monday, 21 July 2014

Picturesque pubs in Churchtown

The Bold Arms
Churchtown is an attractive old village in the northern part of Southport; there is a quaint shopping street and a number of thatched cottages. Stocks dating from 1741 can be found next to the wall of St Cuthbert’s Church which overlooks the village green. On opposite sides of the green are two pubs: the Bold Arms and the Hesketh Arms, which are both on Botanic RoadHHH. The famous Botanic Gardens are close by, as is Meols Hall, Southport's historical manor house, home of the Hesketh family, and a wedding venue in its tithe barn.

The Hesketh is an eighteenth century pub with a very attractive exterior. Inside it has a central bar surrounded by several separate drinking areas. It was refurbished a few years ago and now has light wooden walls and its layout is suitable for food as well as drinking. On my visit, the real ales were Thwaites Wainwright, Thwaites Bomber and Black Sheep bitter, but the beer rage does vary. The pub is known for its food, which it serves until 10pm (7pm Sunday).

It has an outside cobbled drinking area where the Southport Swords dance every Boxing Day. William Sutton, founder of Southport was the landlord here when it was called the Black Bull; he was known as a good-natured, jovial man who entertained his regulars by playing the fiddle. The pub is family friendly, has a car park and is on the 49 bus route. Contact number: (01704) 509548.

The Bold goes back to at least the seventeenth century. It too is an attractive old pub with several separate rooms with adjacent nooks and crannies, all panelled with dark wood. Pool and darts can be found in the vaults. When I went, there were six real ales on, plus Old Rosie cider. The beers included four from the Cheshire brewery, Blakemere, Thwaites Wainwright, Tetley Bitter and a range of bottled craft beers. The Bold serves reasonably-priced food until 8.45pm.

It is dog-friendly in the vaults, and child-friendly everywhere but the vaults, which may create a dilemma for dog-lovers with children. It has an outside drinking area, a car park, and is also served by the 49 bus route. Contact number: (01704) 228192. Churchtown is always well worth a visit, especially with two such picture postcard pubs.

This is part of a series of articles that I am writing for the CAMRA column in our local paper, the Southport Visiter. Previous reviews are here.

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