I also get the chance to travel widely, including following the mighty Cambridge United to most parts of the country in recent seasons. It's hard to argue with any of your choices, but I would put a case for the following additions:-
- Their claim to a Top 10 has been strengthened in recent years by
a few great new pubs (e.g. Bacchus), the continued quality of the Fitzgerald
pubs, and the variety of pubs you can visit on a riverside walk between the
Ousburn valley and the centre of town. Beer quality was exceptional on
- The Gornals
- Birmingham may be dreadful, but the Black Country has some
cracking free houses that are comparable to the Radegund or Live and Let
Live. A pleasant walk between Sedgley (home of Sarah Hughes Ruby !)
through Upper and Lower Gornal will give you plenty of quality and choice in
(mostly) multi-roomed community pubs.
- I love the pubs in and around Stockport for their friendly
atmosphere and gorgeous multi-roomed interiors (several on the National
Inventory). The Olde Vic is the scruffiest pub I've ever been in, but also one
of the best. Robinsons' beer is not to everyone taste, though I had Hatters
Mild flat from the barrel up here and it was fantastic!
- A bit like Cambridge; a good selection of free houses and
several real architectural gems, with the added bonus of my favourite English
town to explore. An honourable mention to Bridgnorth just down the road,
where virtually every one of the dozen or so pubs is worth a visit.
- Unlikely but true; the four current Good Beer Guide entries for
Brentford served wonderful beer in really characterful pubs. Note - these are
not the four pubs famously on each side of Griffin Park!
- Amber Valley
- Lastly, it's not a conurbation but the Amber Valley north of Derby is my favourite area for Britain, and nearly all the village pubs are worth a visit. The combination of roaring fire and Pedigree from the jug in the Dead Poets in the undiscovered village of Holbrook makes this my favourite pub in Britain.