Ye Olde Albion and the Anchor, Rowhedge, England

A good pub these days can be hard to find. It sounds strange, but it’s true.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 1 title boats on the river in Rowhedge

It’s a rare thing when you walk into a drinking establishment and the staff are happy with you being there, the beer on tap is drinkable and you don’t feel like you’re going to be robbed… either by the beer prices or by the locals!

We found one – almost by accident – on a recent trip back to the UK.

Tucked away on the backwaters of the East Anglian countryside is a little town called Rowhedge. It’s one of those quaint little riverside villages that, unless you’re heading to, you’ll never pass through.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 2 boats in Rowhedge

On the banks of the River Colne in the south-east coast of England this little town has existed quietly for hundreds of years. At its beery heart (there used to be 10 pubs and six beer shops a hundred years or so ago) is Ye Olde Albion.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - the Albion in 1900s

This picture was taken in the early 1900s – the Albion is the building on the left side of the photo.

We had been walking along the banks of the Colne for a couple of hours and were looking forward to a good beer very much. But when we arrived at the Albion, we found it was shut. Despondent we sat in the park opposite the pub not knowing what to do.

It was then that a man walking two dogs came by.

“Are you waiting for the pub to open?” he gestured.

“Yes,” we croaked, clearly parched.

“Well, I won’t be opening for another half an hour,” he explained – of course he was the landlord! “But if you tell me what you want, I’ll bring it out to you.”

We couldn’t believe it. Even for country hospitality this was something else. But true to his word, the publican brought us out a pint each of his delicious beers.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 4 Real ales in Rowhedge

“You can do me a favour now,” he pointed at the more worn of the two dogs. “Look after her for a minute. She hates walking and I’ve just got a couple of jobs to do the other side of the village.”

We were astounded with his level of trust in us – not that we were looking particularly threatening that day. But still.

When he returned and opened up, we ensconced ourselves in comfy seats and began working our way through the beer choices while the pub filled up.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 3 The Albion and the Anchor signs

Some hours later, and several pints later too, we enquired about food.

“You can have some crisps if you want,” the barman offered. “But if you want food, you need to go to the other pub – the Anchor – just down the street.”

Again, we were astounded. This pub was just for drinking. And rightly so. The beers – all from locally sourced microbreweries – were exceptional. I fell in love with the Tornado Smith Eccentric Pale Ale from Mill Green Brewery in Suffolk – now sadly no longer runnning.

Anyway, out we marched to the Anchor, whose beer wasn’t as good but whose food was very welcome indeed. This pub is right on the riverside and we managed to score a table on the water’s edge.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 7 The Anchor pub in Rowhedge

It was lovely to see two pubs working together symbiotically like this. It was clear that one was a beer pub and the other was the food pub. What an arrangement. And it meant that not only would both stay open, but both would prosper as well.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 6 The Anchor van in Rowhedge

We can’t remember when the Albion is open, but if you just turn up, we’re sure the landlord – Simon – will pass you a pity beer!

The Anchor is open Monday – Friday: 12:00 noon – 3:00pm & 5:30pm – 11:00pm Saturday & Sunday 12:00 noon – 11:00pm

Ye Olde Albion and The Anchor
High Street

Mr & Mrs Romance - Friday Drinks - 5 Ales at the Olde Albion pub in Rowhedge

Where’s your favourite watering hole? Tell us about it in the comments!

Images by Mrs Romance. Old photo courtesy of The Rowhedger – past & present by Bob Mason.


  • Reply January 17, 2014


    I’ve wondered if pubs could be a ‘thing’ for me actually. I like cafes but don’t eat or drink anything that they usually serve – but it would be nice to have a place to go to eat and chill. Now I guess I’ll need to learn to like beer!

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Mr Romance

      Hi Vanessa. A good pub is very similar to a good cafe. In England it’s an important part of the community, and I think it’s becoming the same here in Australia too. With all these great little breweries popping up in Oz now, I’m sure there’ll be a beer you’d enjoy! The difference between a mass-produced lager and a craft ale is incredible – maybe a tour of a brewery would help you. The processes involved can be quite interesting… if you like that sort of thing! 🙂
      On the other hand, most good boozers will be able to do you a good coffee or tea if you ask them. And pubs are open later than cafes as a rule too!
      Good luck on your hunt for a local. Let us know how you get on!

  • Reply January 17, 2014

    Sonia from Sonia Styling

    As you know, I’m not a beer drinker BUT caved to temptation last night – and quite enjoyed it! There are loads of great pubs around Adelaide, we’re quite lucky in the way. One of our favourites, particularly in summer, is The Seacliff which is right on the beachfront. Nab a table on the balcony and get comfortable because it is so easy to while away many hours eating, drinking and enjoying the sunset over the ocean.

    • Reply January 17, 2014

      Mr Romance

      I saw that, Sonia! Stella is a good beer, but only when you’re drinking it outside the UK. For some reason where they brew it in Burton-on-Trent makes Stella the most dangerous beer on the market. I get a headache immediately if I drink it over there. But from here or if I have a Stella in Europe, it’s fine and tastes ok too.
      There are lots of great places in Adelaide. Those beach-side ones in Glenelg are very cool. You’ll have to take us to the Seacliff next time we’re down. Looks amazing. Our friends got married on that beach, I think. Or maybe the next one along. absolutely stunning coastline.

  • […] week’s Friday Drinks features two little pubs in the UK called Ye Olde Albion and The Anchor. They’re great pubs – one only serves beer (but very very good beer) and the other […]

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