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10 ‘time capsule’ boozers in the Bristol area that would make the perfect historic pub crawl

The bar area at the Novia Scotia which features a Captain’s Cabin
The bar area at the Novia Scotia which features a Captain’s Cabin

Fancy a bit of history while enjoying your pint? Look no further than this list of ‘historic pub interiors’ boozers published by CAMRA. Compiled with different ratings of importance, this interesting list will ensure you have more to chew on than your packet of pork scratchings.

In the Bristol region, 10 pubs are in the list, including two which are currently closed; The Palace in St Philips (also known as the Gin Palace) and The Ship Inn in Keynsham which shut earlier this year.

But despite the closures, eight remain open to visit, and most are within walking distance of each other to make an fascinating pub crawl. The pub interiors are graded into three categories, from ‘exceptional’ to ‘special’ for national historic importance.

Built in 1869, the building’s life started as The Palace Hotel before it was turned into a ground floor pub, also known as Gin Palace, which closed in 2018. Inside, CAMRA states it features ‘impressive arcading with round arched, twisted, hollow brass columns’.
Built in 1869, the building’s life started as The Palace Hotel before it was turned into a ground floor pub, also known as Gin Palace, which closed in 2018. Inside, CAMRA states it features ‘impressive arcading with round arched, twisted, hollow brass columns’.

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They have been picked due to their layout, historic fittings and exceptional rooms and features. Look out for the Captain’s Cabin at the Nova Scotia and the tramcar at the Kings Head.

So have a scroll down through the pubs - and let us know what you think of each one, or if CAMRA is missing a particular pub. Email hello@bristolworld.com

The cosy tramcar bar at the King’s Head, which dates back to the 17th Century, is just one impressive part of this narrow pub, which reopened last year. It also features a glazed panel advertising Burton Ales and Dublin Stout. The right-hand wall also has a mid-Victorian bar-back with a series of arches and a marble shelf.
The cosy tramcar bar at the King’s Head, which dates back to the 17th Century, is just one impressive part of this narrow pub, which reopened last year. It also features a glazed panel advertising Burton Ales and Dublin Stout. The right-hand wall also has a mid-Victorian bar-back with a series of arches and a marble shelf.
Steeped in history, The Highbury Vaults was said to be the place prisoners condemned to death had their final meal. CAMRA highlights the retained bar areas from the mid-19th Century pub as well as the ‘tiny snug’ with dado panelling and wall bench seating.
Steeped in history, The Highbury Vaults was said to be the place prisoners condemned to death had their final meal. CAMRA highlights the retained bar areas from the mid-19th Century pub as well as the ‘tiny snug’ with dado panelling and wall bench seating.
Built in 1843, the Avon Packet on Coronation Road overlooks the River Avon and is so-called as it was apparently the name of a small mail boat that used to sail up and down the river from the Cumberland Basin to Temple Meads. It features green and maroon glazed ceramic tiles with a ‘fine Art Nouveau frieze’. It also retains a number of rooms and genuinely old fittings.
The last surviving pub in Hartcliffe - and one with an interior to keep, according to CAMRA which says it has been mostly untampered since being built in 1958. The long, narrow public bar opens directly on to a ‘remarkable in-pub skittle alley, the organisation says.
The last surviving pub in Hartcliffe - and one with an interior to keep, according to CAMRA which says it has been mostly untampered since being built in 1958. The long, narrow public bar opens directly on to a ‘remarkable in-pub skittle alley, the organisation says.
The community pub was built in the 1880s and it was refurbished by George’s Bristol Brewery in the late 1950s - but little has changed since. The counter is ‘classic 1950s’ with a mirrored bar back and dado panelling. The public bar on the right on entry was a private living room until the revamp, says CAMRA.
The community pub was built in the 1880s and it was refurbished by George’s Bristol Brewery in the late 1950s - but little has changed since. The counter is ‘classic 1950s’ with a mirrored bar back and dado panelling. The public bar on the right on entry was a private living room until the revamp, says CAMRA.
The pub closed in May and is now up for sale. CAMRA will hope it reopens due to the features inside which include ‘a long room with some of the finest bar fittings in North Somerset’. It also has ‘ a fine early-20th-century counter and dado panelling with old narrow benches attached along the outer wall’.
The pub closed in May and is now up for sale. CAMRA will hope it reopens due to the features inside which include ‘a long room with some of the finest bar fittings in North Somerset’. It also has ‘ a fine early-20th-century counter and dado panelling with old narrow benches attached along the outer wall’.
The Grade II-listed Nova Scotia dates from 1811 and was originally three houses before it became a dockside coaching inn. It has a spacious bar and a tiny ‘captain’s cabin’ snug. It features a Victorian low screen, attached to the ceiling with an iron stay, situated to the right of the public bar. Soak up the real ale and traditional cider with one of the legendary doorstep sandwiches.
This late 18th-century coaching inn features flagstone floors, Victoria bar counters and stone fireplaces. It was still using its cash register handpumps until 2016, according to CAMRA.
This late 18th-century coaching inn features flagstone floors, Victoria bar counters and stone fireplaces. It was still using its cash register handpumps until 2016, according to CAMRA.