POWYS is renowned for so many things; it’s stunning landscape and scenery, agriculture, hospitality and tourism.

But no stay here would be complete without a visit to the pub. And despite the rurality of the county, there are actually countless watering holes to sample a quick tipple – some quite literally in the middle of nowhere.

There are more than 220 pubs in Powys, according to the website www.beerintheevening.com. Food Standards Agency statistics from 2018, meanwhile, revealed that, despite its remoteness, Powys had the highest concentration of pubs or bars per person. With it said there are 296 pubs, bars, or clubs in total the county, that’s one for every 448 people. It actually puts Powys third in the UK for the ratio of pubs to people – behind the Derbyshire Dales (419) and Eden (426).

There are of course the traditional and older familiar names for boozers, like the Red Lion; there are 12 of them in total prowling Powys. There’s also five Royal Oaks and five New Inns.

But, which Powys pub has the coolest name? Here’s our top 10 in Montgomeryshire:

1 Whistling Badger, Llanidloes

A quite superb name for a pub, it just screams cool and says ‘this is a friendly place for a pint’.

The Whistling Badger was previously the Royal Head and is also known locally as the Kings, since its days as two pubs; the Royal Oak and the Kings Head.

No1 on our list and probably high up on a number of other lists too. It has a 4.5 rating on Trip Advisor, with recent 5-star reviewers describing their experience as “flawless” and “perfection”. We’d be whistling too.

The Shortbridge Street pub serves handmade cocktails and even has a newly refurbished gin bar.

2 Stumble Inn, Bwlch-y-Cibau

I wonder how many people have stumbled in to this place over the years…sorry, I’ll get my coat.

Actually, I’ll stay for a few pints first. This hidden gem, located near the Powys/Shropshire border, was established as an inn in the 16th century and was originally called the Cross Keys. They renamed it to avoid confusion with other local pubs – and isn’t the Stumble Inn just the perfect name for a watering hole?

The pub’s restaurant is renowned for its award-winning food, while the landlords are passionate about real ale, which are rotated on a regular basis.

The ‘ye olde’ style diary page appearance of their website is also a lovely touch.

Whitchurch Herald:  The Stumble Inn, Bwlch-y-Cibau The Stumble Inn, Bwlch-y-Cibau

3 Aleppo Merchant Inn, Carno

Ahoy! Another ship shape name for a battle cruiser/nuclear sub (cockney rhyming slang for boozer/pub).

The Aleppo Merchant sounds like an odd name for a pub in landlocked Powys, and the exact origins of the name are shrouded in mystery.

Some say it was named by the retired captain of a ship of that name; others claim it comes from a pudding made there containing raisins and spices sourced in the ancient city of Aleppo, Syria.

The most likely, however, is that it is named after John Matthews, a Llangollen-born merchant who on returning from the Middle East to Wales and his home, via Carno, met a local farmer’s daughter.

He opened the pub, named it after himself, and gained a licence to sell spirits from King Charles I in 1632.

4 The Old Hand and Diamond Inn, Coedway

A family-run 17th century inn that epitomises the term ‘border pub’ – the dividing line with England bisects the car park.

The bar dates back to the 14th century when it was known simply as ‘Ye Hande’. The dog-friendly country pub boasts a children’s play area and beer garden with plenty of outside seating, while the interior has a wealth of exposed beams and an inviting inglenook fireplace and large open fire for the chilly winter months.

Open all day, the pub prides itself on offering at least three traditional ales, often including selections brewed locally.

The pub hosts popular theme nights, with a Chinese buffet available from February 23.

5 Admiral Rodney, Criggion

In late 1782 and early 1783 a large number of existing British taverns renamed themselves ‘The Admiral Rodney’ in admiration of the famous naval officer’s victory over the French at the Battle of the Saintes in the Caribbean.

Criggion’s Admiral Rodney, a traditional stone and slate country pub, dates back to 1847 and is set in a picturesque location at the base of 1,000 feet high Breidden Hill, with footpath taking walkers to the famous Rodney’s Pillar – which was also constructed to mark his achievement.

Refurbished in 2018, the Admiral Rodney provides a warm and inviting environment.

6 Blue Bell Hotel, Llangurig

Boasting to be the highest village in Mid Wales – this Grade II listed Llangurig pub was built in the 16th century.

The pub boasts a great atmosphere, good grub and great views from the beer garden, and is ideally situated for commuters and outdoor enthusiasts.

Situated on the junction of the thoroughfares of the A470 and the A44, it’s ideal for a quick pit stop as you travel through Mid Wales. If you’re stopping a little longer, the local area offers plenty for ramblers, cyclists, fishermen and rally enthusiasts with places such as the Hafren Forest, Wye Valley Walk, Sweet Lamb Rally Complex, Elan Valley and Clywedog Dam within easy traveling distance.

7 Square and Compass, Cilcweydd

You might actually need a compass to find this Powys pub, which flies under the radar, being situated close to Welshpool Airport.

One Trip Advisor post said “nearly missed this hidden gem”, while another added “had spotted it as we drove past, turned round to go back”. Not surprising that the pub, situated just off the road and halfway up a hill, can be easily missed.

Said to be an extremely popular boozer, with photos of Montgomeryshire’s agricultural past adorning the walls and the intimate surroundings making for a friendly atmosphere.

8 Cann Office, Llangadfan

The curious name of Cann Office derives from the fact the building was once a pub…as well as a post office.

First appearing named as Cann Office in 1662 it had been known for centuries as ‘Caen-y-Foss’ and before that as ‘Tyn y Domen Blowty’, which comes from the pre-historic Earth-works out of which the pub has grown.

A dispute over land boundaries in Llangadfan between the Earl of Powys and Lord Herbert in 1676 necessitated a meeting. They convened at the inn, which had a sign hanging above it depicting three cans (drinking vessels), while it simultaneously served as a post office. Hence the name, Cann Office.

Whitchurch Herald:  The Cann Office, Llangadfan The Cann Office, Llangadfan

9 Last Grouse, Llanwddyn

Arguably no pub in Powys has a better view than the Last Grouse, which overlooks the lovely Lake Vyrnwy and is situated in a separate building at the rear of the 52-roomed Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, sitting on a 24,000-acre estate.

Opened in 2014, it replaced the former Tower Tavern. The latter has subsequently been renamed the Tavern and its main use is now as a restaurant.

Three well-kept ales are enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, with the selection split between the two sites; a solitary hand-pull available in the Last Grouse and three in the Tavern.

10 Dolphin Inn, Llanymynech

Originally named the Hollybush Inn, the story goes that the pub was renamed after Sidney Godolphin – or 1st Earl of Godolphin – a leading British politician of the 17th and 18th centuries, who inherited the local Abertanat estate via marriage.

It is one of the oldest buildings in Llanymynech, evolving into a coaching inn in the 19th century, with some parts actually dating back to 1517.

Situated on the Welsh side of this border the pub offers a large bar at the front with a restaurant at the rear. Ales are sourced from a local brewery while there is a spacious beer garden and children’s play area, with a rustic log fire inside to keep punters warm during the winter.