Nutshell loses its crown as UK’s smallest pub to pint-sized Little Prince in Margate
- Credit: Gregg Brown
A tiny hostelry in west Suffolk is set to lose its title of Britain’s smallest pub, ending a record that has stood since the 1990s.
The Nutshell, in Bury St Edmunds, has been a public house for almost 150 years and measuring just 15ft by 7ft with standing room for about 20 people, it was listed in the Guinness Book of Records during the 90s as the smallest pub in the UK.
But now an even smaller watering hole, The Little Prince, has opened in Margate which is just 11ft by 6.6ft and only accommodates six drinkers at a time. However manager of The Nutshell, Jack Burton, believes that losing the accolade will not dent the appeal of the Bury pub.
Situated in the town’s historic Traverse, the Victorian building features many draws for tourists including dozens of historical photos and artefacts – even a mummified cat. It is equally popular with a small army of regulars.
“It has been a pub since 1867 in its current form and shows no signs of waning in popularity,” Mr Burton said. “We have at least three dozen customers who come in regularly, and in the summer months we get a lot of tourists who have heard about the pub and want to take pictures. I’m surprised the record has stood for as long as it has.”
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According to Mr Burton, small has certainly proved beautiful as far as the Nutshell is concerned.
“Small pubs in general have a much cosier atmosphere than the bigger pubs,” he added. “It’s largely because when you are in a pub like the Nutshell, people are at such close quarters standing shoulder-to-shoulder – it forces them to be more sociable and make conversation.”
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In a climate where many of the traditionally large pubs are going to the wall, “micro pubs” are opening and thriving. The Comfortable Cow opened in Sudbury a year ago and is now regularly packed out. The owner, Jeff Curry, set up the tiny free house in just a third of the building in King Street that was once The Pied Cow pub. Although it is twice the size of the Nutshell, the venue in King Street takes a maximum of 40 people at a time. Mr Curry said thinking small scale had many benefits from a business point of view. Because the bar is only tiny, he gets small business rates relief and has very few overheads.