16 quirky British pub names illustrated

Food and Drink, The Great British Pub

Posted by Hannah on 27th June 2023

The British pub forms the backbone of our society… according to some.

Aside from real ale and salty snacks, they have a unique heritage when it comes to their names and signs. Bizarre images are conjured from ‘The Bucket of Blood’ to ‘The Swan with Two Necks.’ But how did Britain become affiliated with such quirky pub names?

By the 12th century, the naming of pubs had become common through the depiction of signs and images. The simple reason came down to the fact that the majority of the population could not read or write, and therefore unusual pub names would help.

In 1393, King Richard II passed an Act making it compulsory for pubs and inns to have a sign in order to identify them to the official ale taster. Thus, the eccentric names of British pubs were born.

Inspired by these weird and wonderful descriptions, we’ve created 16 illustrations of the more quirky pub names across Britain, from those near our Cornwall cottages in the west to our Norfolk cottages in the east, and from our Bournemouth cottages in the south to our Lake District cottages in the north. They’re sure to give you a giggle, and who knows – they may even get you gasping for a pint! Scroll on for out funny pub names.

Holiday cottages in the UK


  1. Johnson, B. Pub Signs of Britain. (historic-uk.com)
  2. St. Austell Brewery. Bucket of Blood. (staustellbrewery.co.uk)
  3. The Drunken Duck. Homepage. (drunkenduckinn.co.uk)
  4. The Nobody Inn. Homepage. (nobodyinn.co.uk)
  5. The Cat and Custard. Homepage. (catandcustard.co.uk)
  6. The Goat and Tricycle. Homepage. (goatandtricycle.co.uk)
  7. The Swan with Two Necks. Homepage. (theswanwithtwonecks.co.uk)
  8. What Pub. The Jolly Taxpayer. (whatpub.com)
  9. The Moody Cow. Homepage. (moodycowpub.com)
  10. The Good Pub Guide. Sir Loin of Beef. (thegoodpubguide.co.uk)
  11. Wig and Pen. Homepage. (wigandpen-oxford.co.uk)
  12. Joseph Holt. Ape and Apple. (joseph-holt.com)
  13. The Queen's Head and Artichoke. Homepage. (theartichoke.net)
  14. The Unruly Pig. Homepage. (theunrulypig.co.uk)
  15. The Fat Cat. Homepage. (fatcatpub.co.uk)
  16. The Snooty Fox. Homepage. (snooty-fox.co.uk)

List and locations of Britain’s quirky pubs

The Bucket of Blood | 14 Churchtown Rd, Phillack, Hayle TR27 5AE 

The Bull & Spectacles | Uttoxeter Rd, Blithbury, Rugeley WS15 3HY 

Drunken Duck Inn | Barngates, Ambleside LA22 0NG 

The Nobody Inn | Doddiscombsleigh, Exeter EX6 7PS 

Cat and Custard Pot Inn | The St, Shipton Moyne, Tetbury GL8 8PN 

The Goat and Tricycle | 27-29 W Hill Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5PF 

The Swan With Two Necks | Nantwich Road, Blackbrook, Newcastle ST5 5EH 

The Jolly Taxpayer | 2 Eastbourne Rd, Portsmouth PO3 6LN 

The Moody Cow | Crow Hill, Upton Bishop, Ross-on-Wye HR9 7TT 

Sir Loin of Beef | 152 Highland Rd, Southsea, Portsmouth, Southsea PO4 9NH 

Wig and Pen | 9-13 George St, Oxford OX1 2AU 

Ape and Apple | 28-30 John Dalton St, Manchester M2 6HQ 

Queens Head and Artichoke | 30-32 Albany St, London NW1 4EA 

The Unruly Pig | Orford Rd, Bromeswell, Woodbridge IP12 2PU

The Fat Cat | 49 W End St, Norwich NR2 4NA

The Snooty Fox | Market Pl, Tetbury GL8 8DD

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.