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Driving out of town to a pub in the country is a great way to spend a spring or summer evening – here are six of the best canal and riverside pubs to drive to.

The lack of traffic on your trip will help you rediscover the joys of motoring, while passengers can look forward to the hospitable welcome, a bite to eat and a drink or two.  

There’s something extra special about driving to a pub by a canal or the riverside.

The quiet lapping of the water, the view, the tranquillity, boats slipping silently by, elegant waterfowl…  all miles away from the daily jams and noisy streets.  

canal and riverside pubs to drive to

Our favourite canal and riverside pubs to drive to

Here are some favourite waterside pubs, as chosen by the car insurance team at Herts Insurance Consultants.

Fit for a king

The King’s Head is in the Northamptonshire village of Wadenhoe, on the River Nene.  According to local legend, royalist troops were billeted there before the Battle of Naseby during the English Civil War.  True or otherwise, it’s a gorgeous historic setting that’s well worth driving to.  If you’re feeling energetic after sitting in the car, work up an appetite by hiring a canoe for a paddle up river.

All aboard

If canal history is your thing, then check out The Boat Inn, one of two canalside pubs in Stoke Bruerne near Towcester.  This classic canal village also boasts a Canal Museum, which is right opposite the Boat Inn.  The pub, which has been run by the Woodward family since 1877, has four bars, a restaurant and even a bistro, so there’s plenty of choice.  The pub also runs trips on its own narrow boat, The Indian Chief.  

Easy to find

Or drive down the road to the village’s other pub, The Navigation, which has a fabulous setting, great menus and a children’s play area.  

On the rocks?

Not far from Rugby, between the villages of Stockton and Long Itchington, at the bottom of Stockton Locks on the Grand Union Canal, is the beautiful Blue Lias Inn.  A lovely location, the pub also caters for caravans and has a fishing lake. This former farm house has a spooky side – it’s said to be haunted by a red haired farm labourer, killed by the enraged farmer who, coming back early on market day, found him in bed with his wife.  The pub’s unusual name derives from the rocks quarried locally, which date from the early Jurassic period  200 million years ago.  In the pub’s fireplace there is a piece of blue lias, complete with fossil.  

Small world

Another Grand Union Canal pub is the Globe Inn.  This one is in Linslade, Bedfordshire, between Milton Keynes & Leighton Buzzard.  The pub has a great reputation and, once again, a gorgeous location. In winter the bar’s two log fires offer a warm welcome, while summer visitors can soak up the sun on the pub’s outside decking. Food is served in both the restaurant and the bar.  

Just swan for the road?

There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to beautiful boozers on the River Thames but one of our favourite is The Swan at Pangbourne in Royal Berkshire, a 17th century listed building boasting three open fires. The reception is just a warm outside with a terrace overlooking the river making it perfect for long and lazy, hazy days of summer. There are plenty of dining options with brunch, a working lunch menu, à la carte, Sunday menu and a children’s menu.

Your shout?

OK, you’ve read about some of HIC’s favourite country pubs, now it’s your shout. Which are your favourite canal and riverside pubs to drive to?