Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem

Nottingham, England

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is a cabinet of curiosities and ghostly tales with a great selection of food and drink!

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem: Nottingham's Historic Alehouse

Nestled in the shadow of the cliff upon which Nottingham Castle stands, lies a pub that defies the passage of time — the legendary Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Steeped in history and folklore, falling somewhere between an inn and a museum, this venerable alehouse acts as not only one of the oldest watering holes in England but also a journey through Nottingham's past. Among some of its most interesting tales it is said that the pub was once a well-known pit stop for crusading knights.

Consistently voted one of England’s most loved pubs, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, or ‘The Trip’ to local residents, features low, timbered ceilings, uneven floors, cosy hideaways, and snug lounges. Every nook and cranny is filled with bundles of artefacts and other curiosities; maybe even the odd ghost if legend is to be believed. After stepping through its centuries-old doorway you will soon understand why the historical Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem has become a beloved treasure in the present.

A Window to the Past

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem proudly boasts a sentiment outside that many other establishments can only envy — that of being one of the oldest inns in England. While the exact date of its establishment is shrouded in the mists of time, it is widely believed to have opened its doors in 1189, during the reign of Richard the Lionheart. This claim, however true, has earned it a grade-II listing and stirred the curiosities of many history enthusiasts.

The establishment’s name further attests to its connection with crusading knights, like King Richard. The word ‘trip’ is derived from the old word for ‘stop’ or ‘break’, implying that Ye Olde Trip was used as a means of ‘breaking’ up the journeys of knights travelling to fight Saracens in the Holy Lands. Furthermore, it is believed that Nottingham’s beloved outlaw Robin Hood would also ‘stop’ here for an ale or two when he needed to lay low from authorities.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem
- David Major

However, it has been argued that the name was originally ‘The Pilgrim’ and that it became Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem in the 17th century, so identifying its exact origin date is a little difficult. Despite this, the pub is a true Nottingham institution filled with genuine historic details.

The Caves and Legends

One of the most intriguing features of Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is the network of caves that make up the pub. These ancient caverns, hewn into the sandstone rock, have served various purposes throughout the centuries, from a cockfighting pit and brewery storage to forming part of the Castle Gaol. They also lie beneath the pub and span the rear rooms. Whilst this might seem like a unique feature for a pub, in Nottingham it is actually rather ordinary! The cave network to which Ye Olde Trip belongs is almost 800 caves big and includes other drinking establishments like the Lost Caves Bar.

The Old Malt House

During the 12th century, as part of Nottingham Castle a malt brewhouse was erected in the cave cellars. At the time, this brew was widely consumed due to its sterilised nature, when filtered drinking water wasn’t available. Evidence suggests that today, Ye Olde Trip – with its tunnels and caves leading to and from the Castle — and the malthouse, are one and the same location.

Mortimer’s Hole: A Scandalous Romance

As the tale goes, Queen Isabella, the ‘She-Wolf of France’ was wife to King Edward II, who unfortunately for her preferred the company of other men. Unhappy in this fact, Isabella fled to France where she fell in love with Sir Roger Mortimer. Together they returned, accompanied by an army of supporters, and overthrew King Edward.

In retaliation Edward III ordered the capture and beheading of Mortimer and the imprisonment of his mother, Isabella. This task was carried out using a secret passageway beneath the Castle. The tunnel used to be accessed from Ye Olde Trip but now guided tours visit it from Nottingham Castle. Ever since their capture, the secret passage became known as Mortimer’s Hole and is haunted by Isabella’s tormented spirit. During her time as landlady of ‘The Trip’, Marilyn’s Doberman, Moritz, used to howl every time he was confined to the office. But it turns out the office contained an entrance to Mortimer’s Hole and as Marilyn stated: “dogs are very sensitive to atmospheres.”

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem 1
- Matthew Slade

The Condemned Cell and Gaoler’s Chair

When Queen Isabella was captured it is likely she continued to spend time in the caves of Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, since that is where the Nottingham Gaol was located. One significantly awful aspect of the Gaol were the condemned cells, small, dark spaces with only a few breath holes drilled into them. Nearby a Gaoler would sit in a chair and keep guard. One such cell, complete with a Gaoler’s Chair etched out of the cave rock, can be found beneath ‘The Trip’.

“The condemned cell isn't used to store beer as the ceiling is too low, for the most part it is kept empty. There is something more to the cell's oppressive atmosphere than its natural chill. There is a palpable cloud of doom here.”


According to Marilyn, two regulars attempted to spend the night in the condemned cell but only lasted 20 minutes before they came out and proceeded to be violently sick.

“As you walk in the cell, you know it's not right, you know it is evil. Men condemned to death were shackled to the walls in there. Some left to die of starvation or dehydration.”


The Cursed Galleon

One of the rooms above Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is called the Rock Lounge. Inside hangs a huge model galleon, covered with layers of dust and cobwebs. Marilyn says that no one will clean it because it is cursed.

“The last three people who have cleaned it are said to have died mysterious and unexpected deaths within 12 months of doing so.”


Galleons were made by sailors who needed to pass their time while away at sea. They were often given as gifts or used to pay off debts. But the curse that afflicts anyone who cleans this one is said to be believed so much that it has been placed in a glass box and the staff are banned from cleaning it.

Other Ghostly Tales and Historical Artefacts

Ghostly Tales

When Marilyn and Patrick first took on Ye Olde Trip they were warned of many strange happenings inside the pub and its haunted nature.

“We were told that a group of tourists had asked to see the cellars and they saw two foot soldiers walk through a wall. This was seen by the whole party, a group of five people.”


The Rock Lounge in particular seems to be the scene of most odd happenings. Alongside the creepy cursed galleon there have been keys disappearing, glass bottles flying off shelves, and the random scents of lavender and rose water filling the air only to disappear moments later. Some believe it is the presence of a former landlord who ran the pub from 1849 to 1914 called George H. Ward, or ‘Yorkey’.

“My husband had some eerie experience down there, not long after we'd moved in. The mallets for tapping the barrels kept disappearing. These are big rubber ones that are always kept in the same place. Sometimes you go down there and you can't find one anywhere, only to look again to see three mallets lined up on three consecutive barrels, where you've just looked.”


There are also instances of objects completely disappearing or being moved elsewhere without explanation. But given that the building is thousands of years old we think it can be forgiven for containing the odd presence or two!

The Pregnancy Chair

Cleary, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem contains some weird and wonderful historical items and curiosities within its walls. But one of the quirkiest has to be the antique pregnancy chair that increased the chances of a woman getting pregnant if they sat in it. We use past tense here because due to the high volume of people sitting in it it has been locked away!

Bating the Bull

Also known as ringing the bull or ring on a string, Ye Olde Trip has one of the most historically preserved versions of Bating the Bull in the UK. If you manage to get the ring, attached to a piece of string, securely hooked over the bullhook then they will even give you a sticker to brandish proudly to the rest of the pub.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem 3
- Kelvin Ho

Dining and Drinking at Ye Olde Trip

As well as spirits in the ghost sense, the bar at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem also offers a great selection of alcoholic spirits, and other beverages including hearty ales that would have enticed its first patrons. In this manner ‘The Trip’ caters to a modern palate and those with a penchant for traditional drinks. From locally brewed beers (try their very own dark ale ‘Ye Olde Trip’!) to classic pub fare, the menu reflects a commitment to preserving the authenticity of the pub experience, while accommodating the tastes of a contemporary audience.

Once you have ordered your meal of choice you can pick one of the countless comfortable lounges, cellars, and snugs to settle down in. Each of these rooms have their own story; you’ll find foreign money strung up in the Money Room, left by international tourists, and shivers running down your spine in the Haunted Snug. Additionally, the pub features a charming beer garden, providing a delightful outdoor setting to savour a pint while soaking in the atmosphere of Nottingham's historic Lace Market.

Alongside their wholesome food, drink, and cosy seating options, the inn also has its own line of souvenirs. You can purchase anything from ale jugs and t-shirts, to badges, books, and magnets.

Our Thoughts…

Whether you're a history enthusiast, a lover of traditional pubs, or simply seeking a unique experience in Nottingham, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem beckons. Located in the heart of the city, it's easily accessible for both locals and visitors. As with any historic establishment, it's advisable to check the pub's opening hours and any special events they may be hosting.

In a city where every cobblestone and cave seems to have a story, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem invites you to raise a glass to Nottingham’s history – ghosts and all! – and be a part of a tradition that has weathered the centuries.

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Treasure Trails in Nottingham - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of York.

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Questions