NEXT time you’re at Stansted Airport, you’ll want to head to the Wetherspoons after it was voted the best airport pub in the UK.
So I decided to try it out for myself before an early flight.
Back in 2015, the Windmill in London Stansted was voted the “best airport bar” in the UK – and it has held the title ever since.
Topping the list of airport pubs seemed like quite the achievement, which is how I found myself there on a recent trip through Stansted Airport.
As I moved through the security gates, I heard fellow passengers whispers words like “airport beer” or “pub” to one another as they laid out their holiday plans.
Once I’d cleared security, I made a beeline for the pub, which first opened more than 20 years ago.
Since its opening, it’s moved locations and has had 200 extra seats added on a mezzanine level.
Each floor has tables, bar seats and Victorian-style wooden booths.
Despite being able to fit hundreds of passengers across the three floors (and it being pre-7am) I struggled to find a table as it was so popular.
I was left with no choice but to loiter between the aisles and dive onto a table as soon as someone moved.
While I tried to nab a window table with an impressive runway view, I was unsuccessful.
Instead I had to make do with a small table on the other side of the floor where I was surrounded by large groups of holidaymakers already on their second round of drinks.
At the bar I ordered myself a vegetarian Full English breakfast, a glass of prosecco and an apple juice.
I’d actually wanted an orange juice, but the barman told me that they’d run out of the drink by 6am.
Despite the pub being full, he was the only person behind the bar pulling pints.
I asked: “Is there ever a quiet time to come?” and he laughed, “No, it’s always busy.”
Back at my table, a couple on to my right seemed highly perplexed.
They’d ordered bacon butties and brews for their pre-flight meals, but I asked them why they hadn’t gone for something alcoholic – seeing as we were in a pub.
He replied: “It’s unthinkable to drink before a flight.”
But as I scanned the rest of the room – and sipped on my own glass of wine – the novelty was clearly to most people’s tastes.
On a booth opposite me, one man was laying down after a few too many beers.
Another group of lads told me that it “wouldn’t be a holiday without a drink or two before getting on a plane”.
My food arrived after about 15 minutes, which is impressive given the number of people who were ordering meals.
The hash browns, veggie sausages and beans were great – they were well cooked and tasty.
And I even managed to make myself a fried egg sarnie too, but the mushroom and tomato were a little disappointing
While Wetherspoons may be known for its pocket-friendly prices, the airport markups were substantial.
The veggie breakfast, juice and drink set me back around £24 – which is slightly eye-watering.
But it’s still a bargain compared to a lot of other airport restaurants.
And most holidaymakers seemed to be having a good time – as I moved down the three floors on the way to my boarding gate, I couldn’t help but notice the smiles on people’s faces.
So, would I go back again? Not alone.
I’ve been to plenty of airport bars and restaurants alone, but this was like being in a club on my own on a Friday night.
But if I were to travel with a group of friends, that would be a different story entirely.
Meanwhile the Sun Online Travel Team also visited the world’s biggest Wetherspoons, which is right on the beach.
Here are the best airport Wetherspoons pubs in the UK.
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