The Digby Tap

The Digby Tap, Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3NS

An unassuming small-town local tucked away in a back street just across the way from Sherborne Abbey, built of stone and claiming to date back to the 16th century. Inside it has been opened up to some extent, but still has four distinct areas and retains a plain, no-frills atmosphere with stone-flagged floors throughout. Simple food is served at lunchtimes and there is a range of real ales from West country microbreweries, generally tending towards the accessible rather than exotic end of the spectrum. It has a lively local feel to it, but in a busy tourist town is also welcoming to casual visitors. Not far from Sherborne Castle, a spectacular Jacobean house that is more folly than stately home.

The Railway Tavern

The Railway Tavern, Flixton, Lancashire M41 6NA

A long, low, whitewashed pub tucked away off the beaten track on the western side of Flixton in a location that realistically would not see any passing trade. In fact, despite having lived in this area for many years, it was only recently that I even became aware of its existence. It’s a Sam Smith’s pub which demonstrates the company’s customary respect for internal layout and fittings. Handpumped Old Brewery Bitter is available alongside their keg range, at the usual keen prices.

Much of the interior gives the impression of being little changed since the 1950s. There’s a traditional vault on the right, a small “saloon bar” with a curved wooden bar counter and a quarry-tiled floor, and a spacious lounge on the left with extensive bench seating which may in the past have been opened out from smaller rooms. It gives the impression of being popular with older regulars. No food is served.