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Thursday, 27 October 2016

#200 The Boathouse, Braunston, Northants : 1986 to 2015

As this is my 200th pub, I thought that I'd treat you to what was once a traditional canalside pub in the village at the centre of the English Canal system on the Grand Union Canal.

My first ever visit to this pub was in April 1980 when it had a different name and I wasn't taking photos of the pubs we visited! On that trip we stopped at Braunston three times and I remember at least once visiting the pub. I recall it as being a fairly large place with different rooms, especially the cosy bar by the canal decked out in traditional canal style.

My first 'documented' visit to The Boatman (as it was known then, previously the Rose & Castle) was on the evening of Sunday 20th July 1986.
Back in those days it was a Mann's pub as so many were in that part of the world. As I recall it hadn't changed much from the previous visit.

We didn't return again until Friday 25th September 1992 for an evening in Braunston.
Very little appeared to have changed. During this period, our boat Emma Jane was moored 'down South' and so Braunston became a regular stopping place for a few years.

So, we were back a year later on Thursday 23rd September 1993 for another evening stopover.
This time you get the land lubbers' view, but the pub was unchanged.

Another year, another visit; this time on Thursday 1st September 1994 at lunchtime, which explains how we managed to get a mooring right outside the pub!
Still little in the way of changes!

In 1995 we moved our boat back to the Midlands and didn't return until the evening of Wednesday 24th June 1998.
It had been taken over, completely refurbished and renamed to the slightly incongruous, The Mill House. Although it had been due for some redecoration and tlc, this renovation had removed any character that had been in the old pub.

Several more years passed and we returned on Saturday 28th May 2005, again in the evening.
This time we popped in and had a meal, but it was something of a disaster! It was Spring Bank Holiday, it had been a nice day so the pub had run out of lots of things, one of which was butter for the bread rolls! It is inconvenient and frustrating when pubs run out of things, but when the staff become surly and downright unpleasant I draw the line. 

In those circumstances, if our waitress had said something along the lines of, "We've been very busy today and we've run out of various items. You're welcome to stay and sample what is available, but it may take some time to arrive." Then we can make the choice as to whether we stay or go and, if we choose to stay, we know what we've let ourselves in for!

Needless to say, we didn't return for another few years and, when we did, we only had a pint before moving on to find food.
This was on the evening of Sunday 24th May 2009 - again Spring Bank Holiday. This time we were prepared and, after the pint in The Millhouse, we headed into Braunston for our food. Unfortunately for us, The Old Plough was extremely busy and after an hour with no food appearing (and not very likely too either!) we cut our losses and got a taxi to Daventry to eat!

As you can imagine, Braunston was becoming a bit of a 'no-go' place for us until lunchtime on Sunday 6th November 2011 on our final voyage with Emma Jane.

It had undergone a Martson's refurbishment and renamed, more appropriately, as The Boathouse. We had lunch there and the service was far better than our previous experience!

Our most recent visit was at lunchtime on Monday 31st August 2015 and, despite it being August Bank Holiday they hadn't run out of anything and the service was again good...although maybe the rain helped with this!
For the first time in many years we got a mooring spot right outside the pub!
And here's what a bit of artistic licence can do for a rainy day scene!


  1. From Manns to Marstons - is that a gain ?! Lovely piece of artistic licence.

  2. And they are still running out of things!