I feel complete that I can now say I have been to the oldest pub in England. Built into the side of Castle Rock in Nottingham, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem (even the name sounds olde) is believed to have been the original brewhouse for Nottingham Castle. The pub is built around the real caves. Apparently, there is a very extensive cave system that leads from the brewhouse up through the rock into the castle. Check out this cool link to photos of the Nottingham Caves Survey. In addition to the caves at the castle, there is a very large series of caves underneath the city. There is a tourist trap called the City of Caves, and the entrance is in a creepy mall. Seriously, this is a yucky, depressing mall! I thought all malls from the 80′s have either closed or at least been remodeled. Not this one! The entrance being in a mall tells me it may not be an authentic experience. I am relieved that the hour we spent in town was allotted to the Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem.
Being inside felt like stepping into the year 1189 AD… sort of. They do have a website and a facebook page, so someone is keeping the place current. The pub is a must-see while in Nottingham because it’s a great place to get some beer while learning about their quirky folklore. I didn’t see much else, as we only had an hour, but who wants to miss a great excuse to visit a pub. It also gave me the chance to take a cheesy picture with Robin Hood.
We decided to give John a break from dry chicken and dry rice, so we tried Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK,) a gourmet burger chain. These days, no burger can stand up to a Park Burger for me, but this restaurant has the right spirit. Avoiding gluten and dairy, I have a new standard for burgers. My gauge is simple: if a burger knocks my socks off without cheese and a bun, then it is a great burger! (Park Burger in Denver gets it right, by the way.) The food here is good. If an amazing meal leaves me ecstatic, and a terrible meal leaves me depressed, let’s just say this meal left me content. The burger itself was decent, and it was a nice touch that when you order your burger without the bun, they give you their slaw with it. It is a nice crispy coleslaw that isn’t weighed down and drowning in mayonnaise. It tastes fresh, is healthy, and I can be assured that it doesn’t have egg in it. It is a restaurant with modern values– they use fresh ingredients and have a few charitable causes. My only “beef” with this place is that their fries are not great. For me the perfect fry is a cross between mushy (there goes that word again) and crispy, but definitely not dry. Now I have another reason to go back– to find the perfect fry. If anyone has a favorite place in the UK for the ultimate chip, let me know for my next visit!
That is it for my UK trip. I can’t wait to return because I can dig so much deeper the second time I visit a place. In addition to finding the perfect fry, I will find more non-chain restaurants (though I still plan to eat at Wagamama repeatedly!) I have been MIA for a few weeks because I was in Mexico gathering information. Looking forward to sharing that trip! Happy Holidays!
Here are a few more photos from other places we visited…