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Thursday, 7 June 2012

#071 Blue Bell Cider House, Hockley Heath, Warks : 1996 to 2011

The Blue Bell Cider House has long been well known around these parts as a good place to visit in the summer for a trip out into the countryside, just a short drive outside of Birmingham. I'm convinced that I'd been there before 1996, but it must have been by car as our first canal visit was on Saturday 25th May 1996.
We actually visited again on Friday 6th September 1996 on our way back from Llangollen and Chester, but I didn't take a picture! We'd moved our boat back to the Midlands in 1995 and so this became a more regular potential stop for us, especially as it has canalside moorings and does good pub food.
Our next visit was a on Saturday 24th May 1997.
The doors are now blue and the wall surrounding the large Blue Bell sign is white...and it was a much sunnier day!
Our next visit was on Saturday 10th August 2002 when we took a short break around the Midlands to do some much needed painting on Emma Jane.
It looks as though there's been a bit more painting done, but otherwise unchanged.
Saturday 26th August 2006 was our next visit at the start of a trip that took us to Northwich via the Anderton Boat Lift.
Again, largely unchanged, but the England flags were out, presumably left over following the World Cup. I also took a shot from the canal as you wouldn't know it was actually a canalside pub from the photos so far!
Next time it was Saturday 24th May 2008 at the start of a trip around the Midlands.
The doors are now Dark Blue and the large sign is on a Yellow background.
Our last visit to the Blue Bell was on Friday 26th August 2011 again at the start of a canal trip, this time to the Caldon Canal.
The pub itself was unchanged, inside or out, but the front had been tarmac-ed for car parking and the table had gone.
In all our years of visiting the Blue Bell it has hardly changed and is a good pub that does straightforward English food. There is now a website for the Blue Bell and it is well known for it's offerings of cider, which is a drink I've not drunk much of since I left school!
We only seem to visit the Blue Bell at the start of our trips because it is just the right distance away from our moorings, taking just under 3 hours to get there if things go well. If we get delayed, The Wharf at Hockley Heath offers an earlier stop off point for lunch.  

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