"The most dramatic change in the pubs in the United Kingdom is that they are increasing their facilities for children and becoming more family oriented," says Egon Ronay.
A well-known writer of British guides, Ronay is also the author of "The Guinness Pub Guide." Queried recently, he picked six pubs from his "top choices" in the British Isles. The first was chosen because it is an excellent example of an East End pub; the others earned stars for good food, and also provide overnight accommodations and welcome families.
* Fox & Anchor, 115 Charterhouse St., London. Located near the centuries-old Smithfield meat market, it serves hearty breakfasts washed down by pints of beer, and grilled and cold meats in a friendly atmosphere.
* Fox Inn, Ansty near Dorchester, Dorset. Described as a "splendid village pub" with spacious bedrooms, it was named "Pub of the Year" by Ronay in 1980.
* Greyhound Inn, Staple Fitzpaine near Taunton, Somerset. Ivy-clad, it offers a warm welcome and "exceptional" cooking. Winner of his 1981 Pub of the Year prize.
* Harcourt Arms, Stanton Harcourt near Eynsham, Oxfordshire. Known for its seafood and "some lovely puddings." There are 10 bedrooms and private baths, a patio and garden, but children under 10 are not accepted as overnight guests.
* West Loch Hotel at Loch Fyne, Tarbert, Scotland. Features an impressive selection from smoked mackerel pate' to French-style fish stew and game pie.
* Skirrid Inn, Llanfihangel Crucorney, Gwent, Wales. This ancient pub (dating from 1110) has a long history, some of it macabre: In its early years a court held sessions upstairs and 183 persons were hanged in the stairwell. The menu is lengthy, the meals are "smashing," and the bedroom is enormous.