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Where Are The Best English Pubs in Canberra?

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by Sue W (subscribe)
New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published June 24th 2017
There is something particularly welcoming about an English pub. When you first walk in the door, the sound of lively chatter and laughter wraps around you, making you feel as if you have walked into a friends home. Canberra has three popular English pubs to experience this comfortable feeling, as well as enjoy traditional English beers and meals with friends. Canberra in general isn't renowned for its many pubs, which may have something to do with the fact it was a "dry state" between 1911 and 1928, however more pubs are opening up in and around the suburbs - you just need to know where to find them.

I personally love a good pub (and am partial to a cold beer), so I have previously written the articles Historical Pubs in Canberra, Canberra's Family Friendly Pubs, Quick List: 5 Gastropubs in Canberra, Day Trips from Canberra - 3 Historical Pubs in NSW and Top 3 Beer Festivals in Canberra. If you want to spend the colder months of Canberra somewhere warm and inviting, a good ol' English pub will fit the bill every time.

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Toasty fireplace and cold beers on tap at George Harcourt Inn. Source: Original photos from George Harcourt Inn Facebook


George Harcourt Inn is arguably the most well-known and popular English pub in Canberra, located at the entrance of Gold Creek Village, 15 minutes north of the CBD. This village is popular with tourists and locals alike, with the National Dinosaur Museum, Cockington Green Gardens, Canberra Walk-In Aviary and Canberra Reptile Zoo all within walking distance of each other - and the pub. Cockington Green Gardens, in particular, is a quaint English model village which is enjoyed by families and older visitors who remember model villages from their childhood. To keep in the English theme, a short walk down the road is George Harcourt Inn which has a large beer garden out the front, Tudor-themed architecture, low ceilings, a toasty fireplace and beer steins (and potties!) hanging from the ceiling. During the warmer months, the beer garden is the place to be, with live music on weekends and plenty of areas for the kids to run around. The food menu has traditional options including bangers and mash, pot pies and bread and butter pudding. It is not the cheapest pub on this list, however it is a family-friendly English pub for all generations to enjoy. See here for details and Google map here for directions.

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George Harcourt Inn, Gold Creek Village


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Cosy indoor dining and spacious beer garden


The Durham Castle Arms is a cosy and welcoming English pub located in a corner of Kingston shops, 10 minutes south of the CBD. This tucked away locals' secret is another favourite with families, couples and groups of friends all meeting to enjoy its old-school ambience. When you first walk into the Durham Castle Arms you breathe a sigh of relief - it is exactly how you expect an English pub to look (and feel). It is old with low ceilings, tapestry on the chairs, dark wood, maroon patterned carpet, paintings on the walls of English villages and a small bar with a wide range of beers and beverages. The menu is reasonably priced, with $10 burgers for lunch and a wide range of food items at an affordable price - which is an unexpected treat in one of Canberra's priciest suburbs. If you love English pubs and are looking for an authentic one to meet up with a friends for a beer or two over a plate of chips (which are particularly delicious), you could easily spend a leisurely afternoon here, soaking up the atmosphere. See here for details and Google map here for directions.

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Durham Castle Arms, Kingston shops


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Delicious $10 burgers & traditional décor at Durham Castle Arms


Wig and Pen Brewery and Tavern can be found at Llewellyn Hall, which is part of the School of Music at the Australian National University. Anyone can visit the "brewpub" and enjoy the 16 different beers all brewed on the premises, take a brewery tour or just relax with a pint and traditional English meal. This pub originally opened in 1994 in the CBD before it moved locations in 2015 to the university, taking with it the original bar and complete English-style fit out. Frequented by local uni students, office workers and locals who enjoy a pub meal, it is a basic, comfortable pub with a wide range of beers poured by knowledgeable staff. Whilst there, it is definitely worth trying a few, as Wig and Pen was named the Best Small Brewery in the country at the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards. See here for details and Google map here for directions.

Why not meet up with friends or family at one of these English pubs this weekend? With traditional pub grub and cold beers on tap, who knows - it could soon become your regular "local"!

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Brewery and English pub at Wig and Pen. Source: Original photos from Wig and Pen Facebook

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