Holly Bush
Church End
(01582) 792423.


Mon-Sat 12-3, 5.30-11 (12-11 Sat); Sun 12-4; 7-10.30  



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Holly Bush  

This beautiful little free house is tucked away from the main road and is not easy to find for the first timer. However, it's well worth the attempt as it serves up to three guest ales.

From the outside it is a charming 'black and white' building dating from 1696. It's also the local for John Mottson the football commentator and during the football season you can find him here after matches willing to talk tactics and the days events.

There are two rooms, though the main bar is by far the cosiest with the real fire and low beamed ceilings. Enter from either the rear car park or from the pavement entrance front. Seating is at a mixture of round tables, mostly small with stools, though there is some bench seating around the walls. The real fire place opposite the bar belts out a tremendous amount of heat which can roast humans at ten paces, so be warned (though some rather like the heat). The small short bar area requires some bending for the tall but the staff are courteous and it's not too busy even on a Saturday night. Beers are usually up to five ales, some of which are guests and others more 'normal' beers (see box on right).

As this is now a 'Brakspear's pub expect to find more of their beers here as regulars.

Most people seem to know each other, so you might feel a little out of it at first. The other room is only accessible from the front and has square tables and chairs set out more for dining.

The food is only served lunchtimes (prices around £7), but you can sit out in the beer garden if you wish. Sunday lunch is served and there is a vegetarian option. We are reliably informed that there is a separate function room that has folk music on Thursdays.

This pub is well worth a stop off (near junc 9, M1), but keep in mind the late opening on a Saturday night.

Access for the disabled is not really possible as there are narrow doorways and tight turns and steps.



This pub was bought by Brakspear in May 2003. We wait with baited breath to see how this new pubco will treat such a gem.(2003)

Set in rural Hertfordshire, this lovely 16th century public house is known for its warm hospitality, excellent real ales and great food. Both lounge and public bars are popular with locals and visitors alike. Enjoy the garden in the Summer or the pub's log fire in the Winter. A small hall, "The Old Schoolhouse", is available for parties, weddings, christenings and anniversaries.

The first reference found so far to this inn was in 1595, when it was owned by John Plummer. It was next mentioned in 1611, when it belonged to the Manor of Redbourn, along with other land in Church End. In 1699, it was described as having earlier been called Le Talbott. The inventory of the property of Nathaniel Walker, who was almost certainly the innkeeper of the Hollybush, made after his death in 1686 totalled £8.15s.0d.. and the innkeeper in 1689 was Thomas Sturgis. The copyholders (a form of ownership) around this time were Thomas and James Peacock, certainly from 1692 to 1702, and later John Beech (a brewer) and members of his family from 1708 to 1783. In 1756, John Buckoke was the innkeeper, and he was a member of a Hertfordshire family who were innkeepers over a period of 250 years. In 1758, there was a hop garden mentioned.

Adjacent to the inn, and with the Beech family being brewers, possibly this served their brewery, the site of which is not known. In 1798, the inn was bought by F.C.Searancke, a Hatfield brewer who started the Kingsbury brewery in St Albans, and as with other Redbourn inns, this eventually led to it being acquired by Benskins, who bought up the Kingsbury brewery in 1898, and then by Ind Coope Ltd. in 1957. In the 19th century, Joseph Abbott was the innkeeper from 1823 to 1842, and later members of the Hopcroft family from 1850 to 1862. For many years in the present century during the 1920's and 30's, the licensees were members of the Cross family.

Listed Grade II in conservation area. Originating in the 16th century, altered in the 17th century and outbuildings to the east added in the 18th century. Timber frame with plastered front and steep pitch plain tiled roof. Off centre stack removed. Rear elevation with exposed framing. Two storey building with four timber frame, the east flank having 16th century floor beams. 19th century glazing bar casements. 19th - 20th century cantilevered bay on the left. To the west gable 17th century stack in red brick.(2004)





beer, food, beer garden, real fire, kids, car park, real cider 


©Beerguide 2023


Brakspear's Bitter
Brakspear's Special
Brakspear's Beesting
Gale's HSB
Bateman's Mild
Greene King Abbott
Marston's Pedigree



20 Cumberland Drive
Redbourn, Herts
AL3 7PG. 01582 794283
From S:£25, D: £25pp.