Take a pit stop on your journey and visit us at the Crown and Sceptre. We’re the quintessential village pub, the headquarters of the paythroughthenose.co.uk appreciation society, conveniently located just 200 metres from the M1. The slip road can be a bit hairy but, once you’re here, you’ll recognise us from the lids of fudge tins and shortbread boxes sold in airports all over the world. If you want to take your own photo, we’ve left an honesty box in the car park. A tenner towards our car insurance fund is our suggested donation but, if you have a 4.5 litre Bentley, an E-type, a Ferrari Dino or a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 you’re willing to let the landlord take for a spin, a fiver will do.
Once upon a time the Crown and Sceptre was an old coaching inn. We're thrilled to have hosted Dick Turpin and his horse, Black Bess, on a rather hurried journey north. Admittedly, "hosted" might be an over-generous description; if the tales are true, it was more of a hostage situation. There’s a little room in our cellars where the blackguard is supposed to have locked up the then landlord’s wife and daughters while he tried to force the landlord to hand over the readies. Apparently, a compromise of sorts was reached: Dickie boy got a slap-up meal, three bags of oats to make his old mare run out of her skin and the pick of the daughters if he ever decided to take another wife. We always have prided ourselves on our customer service and this commitment continues to the current day. If you visit us, we’ll be delighted to show you the little room and, upon payment of a small extra fee, will be only too happy to lock away your daughters (and your sons) for the duration of your visit.
The stable where Black Bess once stopped over is now part of an extensive garage complex and home to a growing collection of cars that will be classics any day now. We take care to keep as many of them as possible off the public highway in order to save on car tax. We do the best we can, rotating their use, taxing and insuring a different one every six months. Rest assured, the others are kept in top nick. In fact, if sticking your kids in Dickie’s small room doesn’t appeal, why not put them out to work while you enjoy the pub’s facilities? We’ll happily knock a quid off your bill if your kids are a dab hand with a sponge, chamois leather and a hot wax treatment. (We give you fair warning, though, that we’ll have to up your bill if they leave any smears or, heaven forbid, dislodge an aerial.)