We have a pint in a village pub near Bristol with a surprising history and a huge beer garden

It’s one of only three pubs left in Winterbourne
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The George & Dragon is one of three pubs left in Winterbourne, a village close to Bristol that has lost two old inns over the past few years.

Both of them are now Indian restaurants - the Royal Raj used to be The Royal Oak and the former Wheatsheaf is now the Taj Brasserie - which leaves only The Swan, Masons Arms and the George & Dragon left for those who want pints rather than poppadoms.

Overlooking the old village green at the top of Winterbourne Hill, the George & Dragon dates back to the 19th century when there used to be weekly cattle markets outside the pub as well as seasonal fairs.

It would have also once been a place for quarrymen from Huckford Quarry to enjoy a pint after a hard day’s work.

Even more surprising, perhaps, is the fact that St Michael’s school - which was founded by educational reformers Hannah More and William Wilberforce - was originally located upstairs at The George & Dragon.

It’s not a fact lost on current landlady Georgina Harris, whose grandmother went to the school as a little girl.

Georgina has run the George & Dragon for the past 12 years and she has really stamped her identity on this large, single bar pub.

The huge enclosed garden at the George & Dragon in WinterbourneThe huge enclosed garden at the George & Dragon in Winterbourne
The huge enclosed garden at the George & Dragon in Winterbourne

The pub is very much a community hub and it runs countless charity events for locals in an attempt to help local families.

It’s also a real family pub and there’s a huge enclosed garden with a well equipped kids’ play area that’s a big draw with locals in the summer.

Inside, there are squishy leather sofas, a woodburner, a pool table and Sky Sports and TNT Sports on several large screens.

There are also two dart boards (the pub is part of the South Gloucestershire Darts League) and a separate function room for events.

The comfortable lounge area of the George & DragonThe comfortable lounge area of the George & Dragon
The comfortable lounge area of the George & Dragon

When it comes to food, a burger bus and pizza van turns up in the car park once a month and these are proving hugely popular.

Settling down on one of the large sofas with my pint of Guinness (there were no real ales available on this visit), I gazed out to the timeless village green opposite.

It may now be a pub tailored for local families but it’s not hard to imagine how many thirsty drovers and quarrymen used to rest their weary legs here.

With two pubs gone and three remaining, the locals in Winterbourne are now just lucky to still have a pub like it. And long may that remain the case.

George & Dragon, High Street, Winterbourne, BS36 1JW.

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