What would make you give it all up for village life? It might be decent neighbours, good schools and beautiful walks nearby — but a welcoming local pub is also becoming a popular answer.
‘Super Saturday’ last weekend, when licensed premises re-opened, couldn’t have come swiftly enough for many of us.
Inns, are part of Britain’s proud heritage, and reflect the history of the towns and villages in which they stand — as well as offering a good pint, hearty meals and sometimes a bed for the night, too.
Charming: The Star Inn at Alfriston, East Sussex, a village offering great ambiance, fine views and lots of history
The rise of ‘community pubs’ — where villagers band together to save threatened alehouses through crowdfunding — demonstrates just how indispensable they are.
During normal times, pubs are the beating heart of rural communities. So it’s unsurprising that having a good one close by is forming part of property searches carried out by buyers.
In turn, this is shaping the prices of the homes on offer too.
Nigel Mitchell, of Knight Frank, says: ‘There are most certainly buyers out there looking to be within walking distance of the village pub when house hunting.’
The charm of Cotswolds market town Charlbury is well-known. It also has the added benefit of hosting the annual Wilderness Festival, while members’ club Soho Farmhouse is only a short drive away.
But when the glamorous weekenders have vanished, Charlbury still attracts a healthy number of visitors — thanks in part to its convivial pubs.
The Bull Inn, has been recently renovated to an exceptional standard by the husband and wife team of Charlie and Willow Crossley.
Luke Morgan, Director of Strutt & Parker Country Department, says: ‘People don’t just visit the pub to have a pint, their operations transform a village.
‘Any village that can display a strong sense of community is always more popular.’
On the market – Homes with good pubs nearby
It may be fair to say that intrigue is the driving force behind those who visit 15th-century former coaching inn, the King’s Head, in Shepperton.
The pub’s proximity to world-famous Shepperton Studios in Surrey means it’s been a movie stars’ watering-hole for decades.
It’s also said to have a headless ghost and history buffs love that it was where Admiral Lord Nelson courted Lady Hamilton
Given the relatively small size of Shepperton, the King’s Head is a great example of how a warm and inviting pub that is also historically interesting can become a magnet for visitors and home buyers.
Andrew Chambers, of Knight Frank, says: ‘In Shepperton, you’ve got the best of both worlds — the perfect village setup with a hall, shops, post office. But you’re also on a train line which takes you straight into London Waterloo.’
A four-bedroom house in the heart of the village, within walking distance of the King’s Head, comes in at £900,000 plus.
The South Downs National Park, which marks its tenth anniversary this year, continues to be a popular destination for relocators.
‘One that ticks every box is Alfriston, East Sussex, one of the ‘Downland’ villages in the Cuckmere Valley between Lewes and Eastbourne,’ says Freddie Dryden, of Strutt & Parker Lewes.
The George Inn and Star Inn lie at the heart of this pretty village, both offering great ambiance, fine views and lots of history.
‘When families move from more built-up areas into the countryside, easily accessible services are high up on the list says Dryden.
‘Desirable villages should firstly be unspoilt, picturesque and surrounded by lovely countryside.
‘After that, a pub, shop/post office, primary school, and good community spirit is important.
‘They become ‘pillars of the parish’ for those who live there; they create that common ground for a community and help to support life that’s a little more removed from town living.’
A centrally located four-bedroom house will fetch more than £700,000 in this charming village.