Just under an hour outside of the city limits of London is a night out or an afternoon drink you do not want to miss out on. It is the Royal Standard of England, and it is the longest running freehouse in the country. With its history running back over 900 years, it is said that King Charles I had once used the pub as a secret hideout before trying to escape to France in the mid 1600’s. While once named “The Ship,” The Royal Standard was given its title from King Charles II, as a way to honor the pub for providing shelter during his father’s attempted escape.
Aside from its rich history and ghost stories, the Royal Standard of England sets up the perfect location for refreshing drinks and brilliant pub food. Imagine tucking yourself into the same rustic room where King Charles himself had once sat. The wooden beams across the ceiling and the worn in furniture makes it look like a scene straight out of a British historical movie. The shelves are stocked with a fine wine selection, while on tap there is a diverse assortment of beers to chose from. Watch your head however, because there are some lower clearances as you come back with your new drink from the bar.
Look around and you will see the old tapestries hanging and the timeworn candle light fixtures that appear as old as the stories that are told inside. Try not to be spooked during your visit, as it is said that the pub is quite haunted. Many claim that out in the parking lot you can still hear the beats from a young drummer boy who was killed in the mid 1600’s. While in the pub, some have said that there is a ghostly male figure that seems to walk through walls. Others believe that this is the ghost of an unknown traveller who was killed right outside the Royal Standard. The landlord at the time was apparently given money to not say anything about the death, which is why people say he continues to haunt the pub.
It is a little bit of a drive if you are coming from London, but it is definitely worth the trip. You will never be able to get as much history while enjoying a cold beer, like you will at the Royal Standard of England.