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The Red Lion, Cambridge

27 High Street
Postal town: Cambridge
CB24 9JD
Phone: 01223564437

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John Bonser left this review about The Red Lion

Histon's main claim to fame, to most people I suspect, is that their non-league football team dumped the once mighty Leeds United out of the FA Cup several years ago ( a result which, as a Wednesday fan, caused me a certain amount of delight at the time ).

Following my visit, I'm now able to report that, in my opinion, Histon is also home to one of the country's best real ale free houses.

Histon is a small rural village approx 5 miles north of Cambridge and, as you get off the bus, you approach what looks like the archetypal country village pub on a bend in the road on the main High Street. Tellingly, as I had got on the bus at Cambridge, the bus driver/conductor smiled ruefully at me - "You'll be wanting the Red Lion, s'pose" - as I tendered my fare.

It's a two bar pub. The lounge bar on the right has a lowish ceiling, comfy seats and carpets and a cosy rural traditional feel to it. What you immediately notice is the staggering collection of brewery memorabilia - Greenalls, Sheps, Watneys, Higsons, Cains etc - in fact you name the brewery and you've a good chance of finding something, whether it be a brewery poster, a jug or a pump clip on one of the wooden beams on the ceiling. Much of the memorabilia is from breweries long gone - in particular I noted a framed cased bottle of Dale's Coronation Ale, the brewery building of which I had earlier noticed in Cambridge's Gwydir Street. I also noted a signed autograph sheet of the England Cricket Team who toured South Africa in 95/96 ( Atherton, Stewart etc ).

In one corner of this bar is a series of photos and pictures of the pub in days long gone, including a photo of it as a Theakstons pub with the dray horses outside. It's also had spells as a Lacons of Yarmouth pub, also Whitbread.

The public bar on the left has bare boards, but is still pleasant and also has plenty of memorabilia. Unusually, there's no pumps on the bar here - beer is brought through from the other bar.

There were 7 real ales on on my visit - Theakstons Best, Everards Tiger, Oakham Ales Bishops Farewell, Might Oak Oscar Wilde and Tring Blonde being the 5 beers which are nearly always on, according to one of the friendly locals to whom I got chatting. The other two were Potbelly Brewery Inner Daze and York Brewery Ashes Ale.

All the beers sampled by me - York Ashes Ale,Tring Blonde and Oscar Wilde were spot on.

The pub quickly filled up with people enjoying the fine range of beer and good honest unpretentious food. Curiously enough, there's 4-5 pubs on the High Street close to the village green and one of the locals confided in me that he thought the Red Lion did more trade than all the others put together.

The pub hosts special themed events and food evenings - eg Barn Dances, curry nights and fish and chip nights. There's a beer festival in September.

There's a largish car park and a pleasant garden at the back.

This pub ticks all the boxes as far as I'm concerned and I've no hesitation in strongly recommending it to anyone. Jump on the Number 7 bus - it takes about 20 minutes - and go see for yourself.

On 9th June 2011 - rating: 9
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about The Red Lion

This is an excellent village local with a friendly welcome. Loads of breweriana, I liked the Watneys Red Barrel and Double Diamond signs, both glowing red. Two rooms with all pumps in the main bar. The side room has a dartboard.
I'm sure I am yet to see so many beermats stuck to a ceiling as here, there are jugs and pots hanging too. A radiator is painted with a slogan in support of "The Mariners"...Grimsby Town I guess, and another area proclaims "My Other Team is Histon FC". The way its looking there could be a Red Lion Derby next season!
Six plus a cider on during our lunchtime stop. White Horse Village Idiot, Oakham Bishops Farewell,Everards Tiger, Tring Blonde, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Theakston OP.
Warm and comfortable, the fire keeping us warm on a bitterly cold day. This pub featured on Ch 4's "The Red Lion" documentary, the star of the show Reg (The Hedge) was in holding court in the corner. Fine stuff indeed.

On 4th February 2010 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1707 recommendations about 1681 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

train man left this review about The Red Lion

Theakston Best, Oakham Bishops Farewell, Everards Tiger, Tring Blonde, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Oakleaf Blake's Gosport Bitter, Adnams Extra, Westons Country Perry. All in fine form and with/without sparkler according to region. I should have noted the lagers, as the choice intentionally omits the Fosters-Stella style brands. Enter right to main bar, upholstered banquette seating below windows to main street, traditional wood tables & chairs. Ceiling beams opposite bar crowded with old pumpclips and, to the right, hung with decorative jugs. This area to the right is crammed with breweriana, pot flagons crowd the window sills, and interesting old photos adorn the wall. Note the shot of the end of the pub displaying the large mural declaring ‘Larcon's Yarmouth Ales' – the friendly guv (of 15yrs) Mark took me outside to proudly show me how he has had the feature restored in the same style! Old tin adverts decorate the lower bar and this style continues if you head left from entrance to the large side room – serviced from same bar, but no pumps at this side. Wood floor, plenty of seating, dartboard, masses more breweriana, plaques, mirrors, bottles around high shelf, beyond this to nice hedged & lawned beer garden with slide & swings, but no kids on our visit. Hold your nerve on #7 bus from Cambridge as it seems to turn back away from Histon from station rd, but then doubles back to drop you virtually outside – worth the 15/20min journey.

29 July 2008
Am I mistaken in thinking I telephoned in advance to establish that this place has all day opening? Well, having spent time & money to get out here, only to find the place locked at 15:10, I was lividly determined to assign a rating commensurate with those of UK eurovision contestants; that was last Thurs &, in deference to Rob (now of Elm Tree) advising that the guv is a good bloke, I'll withhold a rating until I return, if ever, to Histon - it won't be between 3&5pm in the week!

On 5th May 2009 - rating: 8
[User has posted 412 recommendations about 411 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Roger Button left this review about The Red Lion

Histon is a reasonably sized village with a picturesque green complete with hungry ducks and, more importantly, 5 pubs within a few hundred yards. The Red Lion appears to be the pick of the bunch. There are 2 separate bars leading from a small lobby – the Lounge Bar has several tables, real fire, old wooden pillars and several old advertisements and signs. The ceiling is covered with beer pump clasp labels from the hundreds of guest beers that have passed through. There are usually 6 Real Ales, 3 Belgian beers and a Perry alongside the usual array of lager and ciders. The quieter saloon bar had bare floors, sturdy furniture, an unobtrusive dartboard, 2 widescreen TV's, fruit machine and a juke box. There is also a vast collection of bottles, ashtrays and pub memorabilia including the old pub sign plus more old signs and advertisements. There is a small patio outside and I understand there is a beer garden but did not see it. There is a basic food menu but this appeared quite pricey in comparison to the drink prices. Despite the mobile phone warnings, I did witness one person taking a call without receiving any hostility (landlord obviously wasn't in). It has pretty much everything you can require of a pub and a universal appeal. Well worth a visit.

On 12th January 2006 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1239 recommendations about 1233 pubs]