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The Pub

The Pub
The Kentish Horse pub in Markbeech, Kent, decorated for the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations in June 2002 ©TopFoto.co.uk

The English public house, the local, the boozer: whatever we call it, the pub is an indispensable part of the national landscape, whether in town, city or countryside.

There are more than 60,000 such premises licensed to serve alcohol in the UK. Country pubs generally retain the most traditional air, with cask-conditioned ales served by hand-pump, a range of home-cooked food on offer, and a cheery, convivial ambience.

Many people feel that the English pub has lost some of its character, now that premises are often controlled by chains and big brewing companies. Join the debate - what kind of atmosphere do you look for in a pub?

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My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry