If you follow me directly on Twitter or know me in person, you’ll have noticed that for months now, I’ve been harping on about The World’s End and how much I want to see it, and not just because it’s Edgar Wright’s finale to his Blood and Ice Cream trilogy (aka the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy). I want to see The World’s End because much of it was filmed in the town in which I was born and raised. And, yes, I left to go and be an adult somewhere else other than the glorious town of Letchworth Garden City. This is all starting to sound very familiar…

Before I move on to the main article – walking the Golden Mile – I feel it’s important to add a little context to the situation. Letchworth Garden City (the other town used was Welwyn G.C.) was built in the early 1900s and was built on a Quaker settlement, which meant very little alcohol was available (the residents voted for this!). The first ‘pub’ in Letchworth was the Skittles Inn, but it served non-alcoholic wine, as well as hot chocolate and tea. The first place to serve alcohol within the town centre was The Broadway Hotel, when they finally tapped the barrels in 1958. And now it starts to become clear why the town I’m from, the town chosen to hold the best part of a 12-pub crawl in a film, is a little odd.

If you were to have one pint in every pub in Letchworth’s town centre today, you’d come back quite tipsy, but you’d probably be okay to walk home. There are only a handful of pubs in the the town centre today, which brings us on to…

How to *not* get annihilated on the Golden Mile.


1 first postPub #1 – The First Post

The first public house on our crawl is The First Post, actually the Pear Tree in Welwyn Garden City [map]. It’s just under a mile to walk there from the train station, so you’ll have plenty of time to decide on what your first beverage will be. It’s not in the town centre, so you’ll also be taking in some of the pioneering road design on your travels. The reviews on aren’t exactly complimentary, but since those reviews were made, they’ve had a refurb and Sue and Tony will be happy to serve you some home-cooked food with your pint. Follow @PeartreePubWGC on Twitter.


2 old familiar

Pub #2 – The Old Familiar

It’s a bit of a trek, but The Doctors Tonic is the next pub on the list [map]. This one is pretty much in the town centre and has the added perk of a music venue upstairs. The name for this pub came from the fact that is used to be Cottage Hospital – which closed not long after the QE2 was built on the outskirts of town. As it’s a Greene King pub, you’ll benefit from the deals they have on drinks and the wide variety of food they have on offer (personally, I’m sold on the Mucky Chips).  Find The Doctors Tonic on Facebook.


3 famous cockPub #3 – The Famous Cock

Just a three minute walk away is The Cork, known to The World’s End watchers as The Famous Cock [map]. The “most popular pub in Welwyn Garden City” is another pub that has deals on their food and drink, and at £1.75 for a glass of Coke it’s a winner for those that aren’t drinking beer. There’s always sport on the TV if you feel like ignoring your pals. If the weather’s nice, there’s a small amount of seating outside what used to be a Barclays Bank.  Follow @TheCorkWGC on Twitter.


4 cross handsPub #4 – The Cross Hands

Despite trying to find The Parkway Bar (or Parkway Tavern on O’Neill’s Bar depending on your preference) on a map using a standard search, it’s actually next to the old Pizza Hut on the Parkway, just around the corner from The Cork [map]. Do not follow the directions Bing or Google give you. They’re wrong. There’s not a great deal of info about this bar online, but it looks like it would host a cracking karaoke night (free shots!). Follow @ParkwayBar on Twitter.


5 good companionsPub #5 – The Good Companions

This is where our journey gets tricky. To get to our next “pub”, you’ll need to hop on a train to Letchworth Garden City (there are direct ones, but most change at Stevenage). Once you’re there, head down Ley’s Avenue all the way to the bottom and there you will find Wendy’s [map]. Wendy’s is not a pub. Please do not attempt to buy alcohol or food in Wendy’s. You can, however, buy a cardigan to keep the chill off.


Pub #6 – The Trusty Servant

6 trusty servantAfter the surprise of finding out that a pub is not pub, drag your heavy feet back up Leys Avenue and visit The Three Magnets [map]. I’ve seen The Three Magnets be several things. I’m not old enough to remember it as Brooker’s but I do remember it as a WiseBuys, which had a good collection of Christmas decorations upstairs. I digress… The Three Magnets is a Wetherspoon’s pub, so we all should know what to expect by now (cheap drinks, old guy with dog, toilets upstairs…). Luckily, the pub has no shortage of seats and WiFi. In case you’re wondering, the pub was named after the planning strategy used to build the town. So now you know. Find The Three Magnets on Facebook.


7 two headed dogPub #7 – The Two Headed Dog

And so we’ve gone past the halfway point. Still sober? Good. Just up the road from The Three Magnets is The Two Headed Dog, or The Colonnade [map]. What was once a showroom for all things electrical is now a watering hole slap-bang in the middle of town and is the first pub you come to when you arrive by train. Unlike the pub in the film, The Colonnade doesn’t have a beer garden. Instead, there is a selection of tables out the front which you can use to gawp at passers-by. There’s a wide selection of ales available and, as always, there’s an extensive food menu. You can find The Colonnade on Facebook.


8 mermaidPub #8 – The Mermaid

If you head up from The Colonnade, past the music shop (feel free to nip in and make a purchase) and up towards the Town Hall, you will find on the corner a wonderful example of Art-Deco style architecture more commonly known as Broadway Cinema [map]. In The World’s End, the cinema was turned in to the The Mermaid, famed for it’s vast cloakroom and large dancefloor. The closest the Broadway has come to being a pub was the Mediterranean restaurant that used to be upstairs, which has since been purchased and has been converted to another screen. Nowadays, the only pint you’ll be able to buy here is a soft drink at the concessions stand. The cinema itself is independent, and has survived everything thrown at it, including the opening of a much larger cinema in Stevenage (the first ever Cineworld, fact fans). Once housing only one screen, it now has four, three of which were sold out on The World’s End’s opening night. Follow @Broadway_Cinema on Twitter.


9 beehivePub #9 – The Beehive

Whether you nipped in to the cinema to see a film, or whether you just nipped in to look at the foyer, the next stop on our crawl is The Beehive. In reality, The Beehive is Thai Garden and is exactly where it is in the film; just around the corner [map]. I’ve never had the pleasure of eating at this restaurant, as when I was a resident, this was still a pub called The Black Squirrel. Sadly, the pub closed and has been a restaurant ever since. Still, if you haven’t eaten at any of the pubs and are rather peckish, this is probably the best place to be for large quantities of grub. Visit Thai Garden’s website for more information.


10 kings headPub #10 – The King’s Head

Don’t worry, folks… Three more drinks and we’re done (that’s if we make it, of course). The King’s Head, with it’s “hang on, that’s Simon Pegg” sign, is a public house we like to call The Arena Tavern and is directly opposite the town hall, back past the cinema [map]. This was the first ever free house in Letchworth and continues to be one of the most vibrant pubs in town. The staff and regulars have taken their new found fame on board and are even contemplating renaming the pub “The King’s Head Tavern”. If they decide to stick with the original name, they’ll always have their The World’s End themed shooters. Go on, you know you want to… The Arena Tavern are on Facebook.


11 hole in the wallPub #11 – The Hole in the Wall

The train station became The Hole in the Wall for The World’s End, but we’re not going home yet. To get here, you need to head all the way down Broadway (or run, as Simon Pegg et al did in the film) to Station Place [map]. The “Arts & Crafts” style station was built in 1912 after the first station needed to be replaced. The trains that go from here go southbound to London via Stevenage, and northbound up to Cambridge. If you’re really desperate for a drink and perhaps some food, there’s La Concha just next door with a good selection of wine and tapas.


12 worlds endPub #12 – The World’s End

Congratulations! You’ve made it to The World’s End! Well, in actual fact, you’ve made it to The Gardener’s Arms. And if you managed to sprint from the station all the way to here, you definitely deserve this final pint. Sadly, The Gardener’s Arms isn’t in the town centre, so you should probably get a taxi up to the outskirts of town [map]. What was once the Wilbury Hotel, and then just The Wilbury, is now The Gardener’s Arms. Currently run by Crown Carveries, this pub will happily serve you a roast dinner to compliment your pint. If eating’s off the menu, they host a quiz night every Saturday. Historically, “The World’s End” describes a pub situated on the outskirts of town, and I think they made the precisely right choice in picking The Gardener’s Arms here. Visit The Gardener’s Arms’ website for more information.

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All pictures courtesy of The Cornetto Trilogy Tumblr, Badass Digest and Cinema Blend