King’s Arms, Heath
This extraordinary pub sits on Heath Common, a vast, open space dotted with tatty tethered ponies and buzzards wheeling about above you. Leased to Wakefield Council, it’s a conservation ‘village of mansions’ full of fine Georgian buildings, including the brooding Hall built by John Carr in 1753, complete with ha-ha. Apart from modern cars Heath shows few concessions to the new fangled, and the Kings Arms is no exception.
It’s a good enough looking pub, but nothing can prepare you for what lies within; coal fires, gas lamps, flagged floors, battered tables and settles and oak paneled walls – it’s incredibly atmospheric – actually it’s pretty dark – and it takes a minute or two for your eyes to adjust even on a dull day, of which Wakefield has a few.
Local lasses pull pints of cracking Ossett Brewery Bitter to keep the beer monsters happy; traditional pub grub includes beef and ale pie, Yorkshire Pudding and onion gravy, steak and ale pie and haddock and chips. These are proper platefuls of food; there’s no parsimony here. Puddings are school dinner favourites; treacle sponge pudding and custard, spotted dick. You get the picture.