World-renowned Devon pub named one of UK's best to travel for

The Bridge Inn in Topsham is a stunning pub
The Bridge Inn in Topsham is a stunning pub -Credit:Martin Lovell


A Devon pub has been recognised among the best British pubs worth travelling to. Making it to the top 10 of the Telegraph's travel list, The Bridge Inn in Topsham near Exeter has international fame after it was visited by the late Queen in 1998.

Travel writer, Will Hawkes listed three South West pubs out of 10 across the UK as the best to visit including the Rashleigh Arms in Cornwall and The Fleece Inn in Gloucestershire.

However, The Bridge Inn is remarkably one of a few pubs around the country to have updated its listed status to further protect its historic interior. William John Gibbings from Clyst St George, moved into the Inn in 1897, and the family has been running the establishment ever since.

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The pub retains many of its historic features including a panelled corridor, rare historic glazed advertising, a stone fireplace and a hatch through which drinks are fetched. The Bridge Inn's landlady, Caroline Cheffers-Heard, previously told DevonLive that the pub’s “lost in time” feel is part of its appeal.

She said: “My great-grandfather came here in 1897 and the interior has remained unchanged ever since. I have no plans to change it, so we will carry on exactly as we were. But it’s good to have the recognition.

"It’s hard work to maintain a building of this age. We’re very fortunate we have a vast range of customers from young to old and all walks of life. We’re a very basic beer pub and there are very few of those left. We’re known for real ale and always will be.”

The late Queen at The Bridge Inn
THE QUEEN AT THE BRIDGE INN TOPSHAM NEAR EXETER -Credit:Scott Drew

Hawkes reviewed The Bridge Inn stating that "time stands still" at this "unspoilt" British pub. He said: "At the Bridge Inn, time stands still – or at least it appears to. This is one of Britain’s most unspoilt pubs, built in the 17th century, a pub since the 18th and in the hands of the same family for more than 100 years.

"The interior, with its roaring fires and wheelback chairs, dates largely from the 19th century. So remarkable is it that the late Queen, not noted as a pub-goer, popped in during a visit to the area in 1998."

The Queen was pictured at The Bridge Inn holding a bottle of special anniversary ale with Caroline and her father, Norman, in the background. The Queen, who declined a drink, was presented with Branscombe Vale Brewery's 101 Anniversary Ale which was specially brewed for the occasion. She said she would give the bottles to Prince Philip.

Hawkes continued: "East Devon can be a delightfully sleepy place. This is the western end of the Jurassic Coast, as timeless as it comes, even if great chunks occasionally fall off the red sandstone cliffs into the sea. Seaside towns like Budleigh Salterton and Sidmouth, all pebbly beaches and ice-cream cones, are as charming as the Bridge."

The Bridge Inn currently has a 4.7 rating on Google reviews. One visitor said: "Fantastic pub. One of the best in the country. Great beer and food. Friendly staff and one of the most outstanding interiors you'll find."