Imagine a world without pubs – its almost inconceivable. British pubs are an institution, the backbone of the village, the real local. A place to socialise and congregate, to enjoy a pint or a G&T, have a meal, watch sport, to celebrate or commiserate. Going down the pub is a rite of passage, an experience with muscle memory attached, for almost everyone who has grown up in Britain.

Yet our smaller pubs are declining, closing at an alarming rate. So take a couple of hours to enjoy a drink with friends or family and then have a quick wander past the local landmarks to imagine this Pub with a Past.


Kings Langley has evolved because of the people who lived here before us. Men, women and children who walked the same streets and breathed the same country air. They forged the landmarks that stand today and destroyed some we might wish were still here. They farmed the same soil, fished in the same river, travelled to London in the same direction (albeit somewhat slower) and most of all, they drank in the same pubs.

This village is steeped in history every way you turn. From the Roman villa found near the station, to the Royal Palace and the Friary, to the coaching inns on the High Street. From tenant farming to work in the mills – both flour and paper. To the arrival of the canal, the railway and the M25. To the Queens (and Kings) who lived here, to the Ovaltine and to Village of the Year 2012.

The purpose of this project is to bring alive some of the many stories of Kings Langley’s past. To connect you, the residents of today, with them, the residents of yesterday. To understand how their lives and stories have shaped this place, just as you and your lives here will shape it for the future.

Pubs of Kings Langley

Pubs of Kings Langley


The Rose and Crown

This pub, bar and restaurant ‘guards’ the entrance to the village from the southern side. Housed in a listed villa with sections dating back to the early 18th Century, the Rose and Crown was one of the village’s main coaching inns, stabling the horses, whilst travellers rested and refreshed. At the advent of the motor car, canny landlord William Aldis made sure to stock petrol here, to ensure continued business as a ‘destination’ for the new Motor Clubs on a day out from London.

The name Rose and Crown celebrates the end of the Wars of the Roses in 1485.

Serves gastro-pub food, Vegan and Kids Menu.

Family friendly, outside courtyard, plenty of parking.

The Rose and Crown has a contemporary and stylish feel.


The Saracens Head

At the bottom of Langley Hill and at the centre of the High Street, the Saracens is the oldest pub in the village. In a listed building, with sections dating from the 16th Century, this was an important coaching inn on the Kings Highway from London to Birmingham. For many years the landlord here welcomed cyclists, with a special entrance to the left-hand side of the pub, although now bricked up. Also, check out Dronken Lane, which runs to the left of the pub building and suggests that the punters had a very good time at the many pubs which used to be on the High Street!

The name Saracens Head comes from the religious houses catering for pilgrims and knights on their way to the Crusades in the Holy Land.

Serves classic pub food and Sunday roasts. Kids Menu. Sports events shown.

Family friendly. Outside seating.

The Saracens Head has low beamed ceilings, a large open fire, and a warm atmosphere.


The Old Palace

At the top of Langley Hill is the Old Palace - rumour has it that this was the hill that the Grand Old Duke of York marched his 10,000 men up, but there is no evidence to substantiate this! It is on a sharp right-hand bend, on the corner of a terrace of 16th Century cottages with a Victorian frontage and named after the magnificent Royal Palace that stood here in medieval times. It also served as a type of general store in the late 19th Century, with cured meats and dry goods like tea and sugar for sale alongside the beer.

The name Old Palace is quite unique to Kings Langley and this pub – a true one-off!

There is a large and beautiful beer garden here, walled off from the road.

Outside seating.

The Old Palace interior is cosy, with wooden floors and tables.



The Red Lion

With a road named after it – Red Lion Lane -the Red Lion was the local of Ann Dickinson, wife of the paper magnate John Dickinson, whose paper mills dominated the Gade valley for much of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Although it turned out that Mrs Dickinson didn’t actually drink there – instead she sent her ‘boy’ to collect packages of oysters sent to the pub from London! The Red Lion is a listed building with part of the structure dating to the 17th Century) and now stands in the shadow of a railway bridge built in 1837 for the London & Birmingham Railway. Building works must have been an enormous disruption at the time, although the 20,000 navvies used in the railway’s construction were probably great business for the pub!

The name Red Lion comes from heraldry, a red lion forming part of the royal coat of arms since 1066. It remains the most popular pub name in the UK.

Serves classic pub food and Sunday roasts. Kids Menu.

Family friendly, canalside, outside seating with large lawned area.

The Red Lion is spacious and stylish with comfortable sofas and a function room.

The Red Lion – Hemel Hempstead