our history

In the 17th century, Willington became the highest navigable port on the Trent. It first began to grow (from a population of 477) when the Trent and Mersey canal was constructed in 1777 – the same year Bass Brewery in Burton was started. It was then that Willington became a small inland port and a village with a public house, The Green Dragon, selling locally brewed beers to the many Irish canal navies. Nearly 250 years later ‘the dragon’, as it is now fondly known, is still the main focal point of the village and attracts visitors from all over the county with its excellent food, drink and location.

In 2011, the dragon was renovated and restored and a new beer garden was added at the back, on the edge of the canal. Our business and reputation grew, so much so that, in January 2014, we bought the cottage next door and, in just over 3 months, had introduced a new 70 seater restaurant, a new bar, a new courtyard and a huge new kitchen to cope with the increased business.

Our business continues to go from strength to strength and following on from our 2012, Best out of Town Pub/Restaurant  Award (Derby Food & Drink Awards) we went on to win the 2014 Best Traditional Pub Award (Derbyshire Food & Drink). We really hope to see you there sometime – we are sure you will enjoy everything the dragon has to offer.

There is nowhere quite like The Dragon especially, on a sunny afternoon. and is a favourite destination for diners, drinkers, walkers and boaters alike.

The Dragon is very popular with wakers and their dogs, so we welcome dogs in the bar area and have a couple of tables dedicated for dog owners in the Canal and Snug restaurants. Dogs are not allowed in the Main Restaurant. (Please note: at the weekends we only serve sandwiches in the bar area).

our vision

As an independently owned business our vision, and ambition, is to create the best traditional local pub in the country, offering the highest quality standard of food, drink and service to ensure all customers have the most enjoyable experience possible.

achieving our vision

We appreciate and understand that, when our customers choose to come to the dragon, they are treating themselves and we need to ensure they get the experience that they want. We have to create the right ‘first impression’ to start their customer journey, we need to deliver what they expect, at great value for money and in a very appealing way.

We are totally committed to the cause. Our attention to detail in ensuring the premises look great, are well maintained and the ambience is right whatever the time of day or the occasion. We invest in staff that are not only skilful and capable, but that are also committed and dedicated to our objectives, in turn, we support them with internal and external training, up to date technology and business strategies.


local attractions


There are some beautiful areas to discover around Willington, and some amazing walks.
One of the most popular is …

The Willington Walk

This is a most enjoyable walk, which first takes you along the Trent and Mersey Canal, busy with boats at the weekends and during the summer, before visiting the pretty village of Findern. The final stretch of the walk returns to the canal bank for a short stroll back to Willington Marina.

There are two areas of woodland along the canal bank, where paths have been laid to enable visitors to walk round and enjoy the wildlife.

The Findern Village Green forms the centrepiece of the village, on which an impressive looking village sign was erected to commemorate the Millennium, and more recently a village map has been added. (Please note … this walk and route have been supplied by a customer).

Length:   4.25 miles.

Start in the Willington Car Park (Free Car Parking), which is adjacent to The Dragon

A level walk, with more than half taken up along the banks of the Trent and Mersey Canal. After leaving the canal you walk along quiet paths and a lane to Findern, returning to the canal along good footpaths.


  1. Turn left out of the car park along the bank of the Trent and Mersey Canal, and continue for about two miles, passing under the road bridge leading to Findern.
  2. After going under a railway bridge, with an open field and a path on the opposite side, cross Canal Bridge Number 20 (the number is to be found on the eastern side of the bridge). Bridge closed following an accident.
  3. Turn left immediately you are over the bridge, and walk back in the same direction along a clear path by the side of the canal.
  4. After a short distance turn right by a wooden seat and walk away from the canal, along a path, past a conservation area.
  5. Continue straight ahead, passing a Stanhope Wood Information Board, to ascend two short flights of steps, at the top of which you turn left, along a wide access track.
  6. Soon you go right through a wide tunnel, under the A50 and then after a few yards, turn left at a ‘T’ junction of tracks.
  7. Follow the track, the quality of the surface improving the nearer you get to Findern. After passing a cemetery on your left, continue ahead aiming to the left of the church.
  8. Walk up the road in front of the churchyard, to reach Findern Village Green, where you turn left to join the Main Street.
  9. Immediately after passing The Wheel Public House, turn left down Heath Lane, and continue along the pavement to cross the bridge over the A50.
  10. Once over the bridge take the footpath on the left, which takes you past a recreation field, before bending further to the right to re-join Heath Lane.
  11. Walk down the lane past a row of houses to reach the Nadee, Indian Restaurant; the site was previously occupied by the Greyhound Public House.
  12. Do not cross the road bridge, but keep close to the restaurant and go over the canal bridge. Turn right along the canal bank, which you came along at the beginning of the walk; this will take you back to Willington. When you reach the Car Park, relax and take time to call in The Dragon, for a drink and a hearty meal.