Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels

When news broke last weekend that the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter was burning down, it was met with an outpouring of public sympathy. However, there are many hotels and inns, which were open for a long too. Check out our list of 10 oldest hotels and inns in England below, where you can book for historical vibes!

The List of 10 oldest hotels and inns in England:

#10. The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire.

#9. The Crown Inn, Chiddingfold, Surrey.

#8. The Highway Inn, Burford, The Cotswolds.

#7. The Mermaid Inn, Rye, East Sussex.

#6. The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

#5. The George Inn, Norton St Philip, Somerset.

#4. The Shaven Crown Hotel, Shipton Under Wychwood, The Cotswolds.

#3. The George Hotel of Stamford, Lincolnshire.

#2. The Porch House, Stow on the Wold, The Cotswolds.

#1. Old Ferry Boat Inn, St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

What are The Oldest Hotels - The First Hotels in England?

#1. Old Ferry Boat Inn, St Ives, Cambridgeshire.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels

There are two main contenders for the title, ‘Oldest inn in England’ – and the Old Ferry Boat at St Ives in Cambridgeshire (pictured above) is considered by many to be England’s oldest inn. According to legend, the inn has been since 560 AD!

Overlooking the Great Ouse river, The Old Ferry Boat is reputedly England's oldest inn. Located in the hamlet of Holywell, the thatched roof and white stonework have remained for many years, while modern furnishings and contemporary comforts create a homely, snug atmosphere.

On the banks of the river, this seven-bedroom idyllic retreat is a rustic and charming holiday haven. This has been a spot for hungry travelers to stop at for years, so why not join them and dine on the finest English fare.


#2. The Porch House, Stow on the Wold, The Cotswolds.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: The Guardian

The other main contender is the Porch House, formerly the Royalist Hotel, in Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds (pictured above). Authenticated by the Guinness Book of Records as England’s oldest inn, it is certified as dating from 947 AD.

Look out for the 16th century stone fireplace in the dining room; it is inscribed with symbols identified as ‘witch marks’, to protect against evil. Check out top 10 most beautiful hotels in the world today here!


#3. The George Hotel of Stamford, Lincolnshire.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: Booking

The George Hotel of Stamford stands on the site of a medieval inn and boasts a history going back 1,000 years. Once owned by the Abbots of Croyland, the architecture is impressive: pass under original gateways, wander ancient passageways and discover the remains of an old chapel. In later years the George became an important stop on the coaching route from London to York.

The hotel has now been sympathetically modernised, retaining many of its historic and ancient features whilst offering all modern comforts.


#4. The Shaven Crown Hotel, Shipton Under Wychwood, The Cotswolds.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: Booking

One of England's oldest inns, with a history dating back over 700 years, The Shaven Crown is located in Shipton-under-Wychwood, 11.3 km from Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds. It offers bed and breakfast accommodations, a restaurant, a bar, and free WiFi throughout. Free private parking is possible on site.

All the rooms with the attached bathrooms at The Shaven Crown Hotel are individually decorated and overlook the medieval courtyard and village green. Each room has a flat-screen TV, tea/coffee making facilities, bathrobes, and free toiletries.

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#5. The George Inn, Norton St Philip, Somerset.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: TripAdvisor

The George Inn at Norton St Philip (above) claims to have had a licence to serve ale from 1397 and identifies itself as Britain’s oldest tavern! The George has a long and interesting history. The diarist Samuel Pepys passed through here on his way to Bath from Salisbury.

Later in 1685 during the Duke of Monmouth’s Rebellion, the inn was used as the headquarters of his army as they retreated from Bath. After the rebellion failed, the infamous Judge Jefferies used the inn as a courtroom during the Bloody Assizes; twelve people were then taken and executed on the village common.


#6. The Old Bell Hotel, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: The Old Bell Hotel

As for England’s oldest hotel, the Old Bell Hotel at Malmesbury (pictured above) lays claim to this title. The hotel dates from 1220 and is reputed to be England’s oldest purpose-built hotel. Sitting proudly next to the 12th Century Abbey in the center of the historic, vibrant, and charming Wiltshire market town of Malmesbury, England’s oldest hotel – the Grade 1 listed Old Bell Hotel has recently been restored to the height of elegance and English charm.

Located in the heart of Wiltshire, the family-owned hotel and restaurant is a romantic haven for first-class travelers, social butterflies, coffee connoisseurs, gin experts, and lovers of luxury. Personable hosts, delightful interiors, a historic setting, and options for private dining make this the perfect Country House hotel in a vibrant town center.


#7. The Mermaid Inn, Rye, East Sussex.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: TripAdvisor

The Mermaid Inn at Rye is the epitome of a smugglers’ inn, with cellars built in Norman times and secret passageways in some of its rooms.

Originally constructed in 1156, this ancient inn was rebuilt in 1420! Enjoy a drink in the favourite haunt of the notorious Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers in the 1730s. This grand old hostelry simply oozes history and character.

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#8. The Highway Inn, Burford, The Cotswolds.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: Cotswolds

Parts of the Highway Inn at Burford (above), one of the most picturesque small towns in the Cotswolds, date back to the 1400s. The inn is full of atmosphere with its creaky floors, stone walls and ancient beams. In winter, curl up by one of the original fireplaces, lit every day between October and April, or in summer enjoy the quiet charm of the medieval courtyard garden.

The Highway Inn is right in the heart of Burford, in between Oxford and Cheltenham. The open fires, great food and cosy refurbished bedrooms will help you relax whether on business or pleasure.


#9. The Crown Inn, Chiddingfold, Surrey.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: Traveloka

Originally built as a resting place on the pilgrimage trail from Winchester to Canterbury, the 600-year-old Crown Inn at Chiddingfold has been welcoming guests since 1383, including royalty. 14-year-old King Edward VI stayed overnight here in 1552.

This lovely old medieval building, with its traditional Wealden crown post roof, boasts elegant stained-glass windows and cosy fireplaces.


#10. The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, Worcestershire.

Top 10 Oldest Hotels in England - The First Hotels
Photo: National Trust

The only inn to be owned by the National Trust, The Fleece Inn at Bretforton was built around 1425 and incredibly, remained in the same family ownership until 1977 when it was bequeathed to the National Trust! The inn was carefully restored after a fierce fire in 2004 and retains its original atmosphere and architecture.

The Fleece Inn is the perfect rural retreat just a stone's throw from the beautiful Cotswold's boasting roaring open fires for the winter months, open garden and apple orchard for the summer sun and a friendly welcome all year round. With real ales and traditional ciders aplenty this historical pub is a favourite with CAMRA members and the welcoming atmosphere and good food attract visitors from all over the world.

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Perched 2,000 meters above sea level on the curving rim of a great canyon, the resort is a secluded haven for the intrepid and discerning. Discover a cultured treasury of authentic indulgences and immersions in the destination’s rich heritage. The arrival experience takes guests on an adventurous drive – two hours from Muscat International Airport or four and half hours from Dubai – past date plantations, dry riverbeds known locally as wadis, and historical forts.

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