A record number of pubs from across Great Britain entered the 2023 Great British Pub Awards and were put through two rigorous rounds of judging from our industry professionals to determine the very best in the nation. Pubs entered across 18 different categories. Here are all of this year's winners!
Overall Great British Pub of the Year & Best Country/Rural Pub of the Year (Sponsored by Everard Cole)
The Cholmondeley Arms, CheshireThe Cholmondeley Arms is one of England's most unique rural pubs. The building, situated on Lord Cholmondeley's estate in South Cheshire, is an old Victorian Schoolhouse that boasts a real wow factor for customers. Premium food, drink and service are at the heart of this business, which is run by manager Helen Mosford and her dedicated team. The pub attracts a wide range of customers from locals to destination diners, it hosts the Cholmondeley Arms Car Club with over 400 members and is welcoming to fury friends. The building had closed as a school in the early 1980s and was re-opened as a pub in 1988. It was taken over by Cheshire Cat Pubs in 2010 after they were approached by the Estate to take a look at rescuing the 'Chum'. A year later the restored Chum re-opened its doors again with fresh rural dishes on the menu, local ales and a large range of gins. The building has retained many of its traditional features and has an outside area with extensive gardens. Inside it retains many of the features of the school from a blackboard to school tables. The pub, which is well-known for its gin offer, has a back bar designed like an old apothecary housing over 300 gins. To celebrate 10-years’ operating ‘the Chum’ in lockdown the pub distilled its own Cholmondeley Arms Gin, distilled by local supplier Big Hill Distillery in Mobberley. This summer it also introduced Cholmondeley Pink Gin, which is the Cholmondeley recipe with the addition of fresh raspberries and vanilla pod in the botanicals. Local also has a role on the bar with four cask ales served including Three House ales, Cholmondeley Best Bitter, Headmaster's IPA and Chum Gold.
Best Pub for Food (Sponsored by Booker Makro)
The Loch & The Tyne, Old Windsor, BerkshireThe Loch & the Tyne is a pub with a stellar food offering, with a focus on ‘sustainable British luxury’ making it a clear winner for Best Food Pub of the year. Situated in the stunning countryside of Old Windsor, Berkshire, the gastropub, which is overseen by celebrity chef Adam Handling, specialises in British dishes with a luxury twist. Its set menu has previously included dishes like beef tartare with smoked pepper and crispy potatoes, and corn-fed chicken with purple-sprouting broccoli and London Miso.
Best Pub Garden (Sponsored by Diageo)
Gaggle of Geese, Buckland Newton, Dorchester, DorseA freehouse pub in rural Dorset wowed the judges with its myriad of activities in its outdoor area, making it the worthy winner of the Best Pub Garden award. With five acres of garden, the Gaggle of Geese in Buckland Newton has something for everyone in its outside space. The spacious external area is home to pygmy goats as well as a crazy golf course and play bus – a soft play inside a double decker bus. But that’s not all. It also hosts a ping-pong shack and ice cream parlour for guests to enjoy whatever the weather. In fact, the pub also has a tipi outside that hosts live music and events undercover. This is in addition to serving wood-fired pizza from its airstream. The pub’s camping set up means it has some 90 more guests, in addition to those in the bar and restaurant area inside.
Best Pub for Families
The Plough, Normanton on the Wolds, NottinghamshireThe Plough at Normanton-on-Wolds, Nottingham, is a charming rural pub that prides itself on a warm welcome for all, catering for every member of the family. Over the past two years, Secret Pub Company, which owns the venue, has invested in a full front and back of house refurbishment, including enhancements to its function room and a new pergola in the garden, which also offers play equipment and outdoor games. The operator has also planned to increase seating in its expansive garden over the next year. Inside, the pub’s bar has a traditional country feel to it, while its dining area offers plush seating with a view to the stunning garden. Customer service is key at the Plough, whether guests are dining or drinking, enjoying a date-night, family meal or post-work pint, everyone is greeted with a smile as soon as they walk through the door.
Best Pub for Dogs
The Bellflower, Garstang, LancashireThe pub, which also took home the title last year, is located on the busy A6, going through to Cumbria and is in a prime position for staycations. It’s A La Barke menu features full meals for the four-legged customers with dishes priced from £3 and up while on a Sunday, dogs can also tuck into a roast alongside their humans. However, the pub has separate areas so guests who don’t want to sit near dogs can in a designated space. Judges were impressed with the pub’s cone system where owners collect different coloured cones depending on the temperament and diet of their dog. The Bellflower’s large garden features a stick library – where pooches can choose and replace their own sticks to play with. Furthermore, humans can hire out the garden for exclusive use before the pub opens to provide an area for their dog to run around off-lead, in a secure environment. Future plans at the Bellflower include expanding their events side, which currently includes birthday parties for dogs.
Best Pub to Watch Sport
The Royal Dyche, Burnley, LancashireThe Royal Dyche is an institution in Burnley – it’s where everyone goes if they’re a sports fan and, in particular, a fan of the town’s Premier League football side. The pub is resplendent with memorabilia from the ground along with a multitude of items covered in the claret and blue colours of the football team that was managed by Sean Dyche – who was the inspiration of a name change from the Princess Royal in 2018 when he kept the team in the top flight of English football. There are four rooms inside the site with high-quality screens plus Sky boxes and a matrix system that allows individual control over what is shown on each screen – whether it be a 72-inch 4K TV or a projector screen – and the ability to isolate different commentaries for whichever sport is being shown. From shirts pinned to the ceiling to the claret and blue pool table, sport courses through the pub run by Justine Bedford but it is outside where the pub goes into extra time and penalties. A large yard with screens and room for plenty of guests houses an additional bar next to four former Burnley FC directors’ chairs for ultimate comfort. Murals of Sean Dyche adorn the interior and exterior walls and a balcony that has some of Burnley FC’s original pull-down wooden seating overlooks the garden. Some people think all the outdoor zones are over… but a further area is home to an Astroturfed pitch with a goal and customers are encouraged to ‘bring a ball’ so they can use the facilities, which include a bar housed in a shipping container and more screens just yards from an aqueduct that gifts passers-by with a view of canal boats travelling past them on a higher plain. The two outdoor bars house four lines of beer each and can be used as place to trial new brands while, inside, there are 16 lines at the main bar plus two for cask ale.
Community Hero (Sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners)
The Old Abbey Taphouse, ManchesterThis historic Victorian pub, tucked away behind Manchester Science Park, is the venue where black boxer Len Johnson took action in 1953 which led to the ending of the ‘colour bar’ policies. Today, this legacy lives on through projects such as monthly youth led anti-racism music night ‘Breaking Barz’, which helps deliver a powerful message in an engaging way. The pub, which is a social enterprise run by Steam Hubs & Pubs CIC, was also once part of the city’s Greenheys estate (demolished in the 1960s/ early 70s as part of Manchester’s controversial ‘slum clearances’), with this history also remembered through projects organised by the pub’s dynamic team for former residents. Its diverse offer includes being a pub for a pint, a live music venue (big supporter of grassroots acts), having a catering kitchen, its own community radio station, being a youth training centre and general safe space for local people to come together through the range of innovative events and groups it hosts.
Best Sustainable Pub (Sponsored by Eazle by Heineken)
Stroud Brewery Taproom, Stroud, GloucestershireFormer environmental scientist Greg Pilley launched Stroud Brewery as one of the country’s few all-organic breweries in 2006, expanding in 2018 into its current site where, over three floors, the taproom and events spaces demonstrate not only a commitment to sustainability but a belief in the value of providing a genuinely inclusive community hub. Solar panels on the roof provide 25% of the energy needed to run both the brewery and the taproom, and the remainder is all from renewable sources. Rainwater is collected and channelled into a system that flushes the toilets. Alongside the brewery’s own beers, other food and drink is, as much as possible, organic and sourced locally from suppliers that share Stroud’s ethos. The company champions cask ale as the most sustainable beer, and even the crisp packets are compostable. Most recently, the taproom’s EPoS system has been reprogrammed to track sales of organic and local products and measure its performance against ambitious targets. Stroud is B-Corp certified, too, meaning its efforts to balance profits with being a force for good are regularly assessed.
Best City/Urban Pub (Sponsored by Molson Coors)
The Turk's Head, Twickenham, Greater LondonThis Fuller’s managed house, close to the English national rugby union stadium at Twickenham, nails its mission to be a great all-round local community hub with an energetically welcoming. Naturally, The Turk’s Head is full on match days – when rugby-goers perpetuate a longstanding tradition of sticking their used ticket stubs to the ceiling – but it also revels in providing a space for popular events and groups to meet that keeps the tills ringing in between. It’s home to a choir, a running club, and regular comedy, jazz, soul, blues and big band nights. In addition to the light and spacious main bar, the pub has a large function space with its own street entrance, toilets and bar, where these can take place. The space is also a venue for many weddings and other private functions through the year. Recent investment in an outside Secret Garden area has further increased the pub’s ability to host both its own bespoke events and popular ones on the Fuller’s roster, including its famous Shakespeare theatre nights. The Turk’s Head has a brilliant food and drink offering – including 31 beer taps – with service from an affable and professional team that manager Oliver Coulombeau recruits from the local community. This includes several team members with intellectual disabilities, as the pub attempts to drive accessibility and inclusivity in the workplace.
Best Pub for Entertainment
The Kings Arms, Bexleyheath, South East LondonFrom the moment you step into the Kings Arms you’re welcomed with open arms by the tight-knit group of bar staff. Whether you want to dine in the restaurant, soak up some sun, or get some peace and quiet in a remote corner, this pub has a spot for everyone. Successfully creating an environment, you not only want to visit, but also work in with staff being fully supported both financially and personally with access to counselling and encouraged to further their skills with training and exciting initiatives. A go-to place for the residents and local businesses, offering affordable lunchtime deals all year round and supporting local charities and events to help give something back to the community.
Stonegate Group Pub Partners Pub of the Year
Woodman, Ruislip, Greater LondonA strong grip on training and developing careers, alongside some great sustainability credentials which has helped create an urban oasis, has seen the Woodman named Stonegate Pub of the Year at the Great British Pub Awards 2023. The compact suburban pub, in Ruislip, west London, has been transformed into a community delight, with every square inch of the operation’s outside space being used to provide a wonderful space for guests. Steve Banks and his team at the pub have taken a traditional old site and built a stunning outdoor space around it, more than tripling the interior space, and allowing the pub to trade strongly year round. Working with a local gardener, Steve has transformed the outdoor space with an eclectic mix of flora and fauna which even includes its own grape vines. The horticulture is complemented by an impressive approach to outside fixtures, all handcrafted from recycled and reused materials, giving the garden a rustic and individual look which is a delight for visitors, and offers impressive kerb appeal for those passing on the busy roads nearby.
Punch Pubs & Co. Pub of the Year
The Plough, Prestbury, CheltenhamWith its thatched roof and quirky interior, the Grade 2 listed Plough looks the quintessential country pub, and thanks to the care and attention of tenants Emma and Paul Gibbon it’s grown into much more, a family-friendly venue that plays an active role in a pretty conservation village on the outskirts of Cheltenham. The couple are making the most of an awkward space and a tiny bar counter, no more than a hatch, which serves Cask Marque-accredited local ales straight from the barrel. And from its tiny kitchen chef Paul delivers a diverse mid-market menu of interesting dishes based on local ingredients with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options. Pizzas have recently been added, and the pub opens for breakfast when Cheltenham races are on. The Gibbons have also created a beautiful beer garden with comfortable dining areas, floral displays, a children’s playground and a pétanque pitch. In summer it hosts events including a ‘monster’ cider festival with live bands that the locals are more than willing to help organise, feeling it belongs to them.
Greene King Pub of the Year
Stag at Lyndhurst, Lyndhurst, HampshireA stand-out operation on the high street in Lyndhurst, the Stag Hotel has been transformed under the care and attention of its fantastic operators. Marie and Steve Harris have only been running the Greene King site for the last three years, and were new to the trade when they took it on just before the Covid pandemic hit. Despite those challenges, they used the lockdowns to transform what had previously been a run-down site, and have created a business that in three short years has already started to garner serious awards, with the pinnacle so far, being named Greene King Pub of the Year at the Great British Pub Awards in Manchester recently. The couple have quickly established themselves at the heart of the community in Lyndhurst, providing facilities and events for the areas organisations and charities, as well as campaigning and raising considerable amounts of money, including for the local Christmas lights fund. An innovative approach to running a pub has seen the couple not only embrace dogs a the site, but even provide washing facilities in the garden for muddy pooches, and even offering a doggy-focused Sunday roast, which has proven a hit as well.
Admiral Taverns Pub of the Year
Boot & Shoe, Ackworth, Pontefract, West YorkshireExtensive investment into it’s garden, along with an impeccably run operation has seen the Boot and Shoe named as the Admiral Pub of the Year in the Great British Pub Awards 2023. The family-run business has grown considerably over the last few years, and recent investment has seen the already impressive garden space almost doubled, along with the addition of a staged space and an outdoor bar. The Boot and Shoe, a fantastic community pub in the village of Ackworth, Yorkshire, is a fantastic operation that caters for all elements of the surrounding community. This is a business that refuses to stand still, and the operator, Jamie Merrill, along with his family, continue to drive the operation forward, constantly looking for opportunities to grow. Merrill, who’s day job is as chief finance officer for Ossett Brewery, cheerfully admits to the fact the pub is something of a side hustle from his day-to-day work, but as side hustles go, this one is particularly impressive.
Marston's Pub of the Year
Rose & Crown, Worcester, Worcestershire
Fighting off adversity and disaster on a number of occasions, the Rose and Crown has gone on to be named the Marston’s Pub of the Year in the Great British Pub Awards. The pub, based in the picturesque hamlet of Severn Stoke, near Worcester, has been flooded three times in three years, the kind of disaster that would leave many businesses in tatters. But operator Andy Goodall accepted the challenge to battle the flood waters and has now managed to create a business that if not entirely flood proof, can be reopened in a matter of days, as opposed to months.
Best Pub Chef (Sponsored by Booker Makro)
Charlotte Vincent - Candlelight InnCharlotte Vincent has been the head chef at Somerset pub the Candlelight Inn since May 2023 and made her television debut on BBC2’s Great British Menu in 2022. She was one of three chefs in the finals, who battled it out in a live cook off during the Great British Pub Awards event on Tuesday 19 September. Judges for the cook off were chef-patron of the Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland, Lancashire Stosie Madi as well as chef-patron of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk Dave Wall alongside Booker Group sales director Leigh Booker.
Best Young Pub Chef (Sponsored by Booker Makro)
Karl Quirante - The Cricketers, Ormskirk, LancashireThe head chef of the Cricketers in Ormskirk, Lancashire was up against two other chefs in a live cook off on Tuesday 19 September. Finalists were provided with a plethora of ingredients to create a dish in a 45 minute cooking period. The trio were being watched over by judges including chef-patron of the Parkers Arms, Newton-in-Bowland in Lancashire Stosie Madi, chef-patron of the Unruly Pig in Bromeswell, Suffolk Dave Wall and Booker Group sales director Leigh Baker.
Words from the winners...
"We were extremely proud to be able to support our community during such a difficult time last year and receiving this recognition for our efforts was the icing on the cake. In the 4 weeks after opening, we finished 50% up on sales compared with the same period in 2019, demonstrating the impact this investment had on the business."
Winner: Feeding the Community 2020
"Winning the award has meant lots of local and national media coverage, the additional media exposure that you get is really important, because that is worth thousands and thousands of pounds"
Winner: John Smith's Great British Pub of the Year 2017
"Winning the Great British Pub heroes Award was a tremendous honour, not just for our pub The Fountain Bar, but for our whole Community. This award and the #FeldyRoo project as a whole really has helped put Aberfeldy on the map. This is sure to benefit the Fountain bar and all the businesses that were involved in the future."
Winner: Greene King Pub Hero of the Year 2020
"We were delighted to have been selected as a finalist for two awards at the 2020 Great British Pub Awards, and then to go on and win the Staff Welfare Award was absolutely fantastic. We will not let the lovely award just gather dust, we don’t feel that winning the award is the end."
Winner: Staff Welfare Pub Hero 2020
"It was an amazing day. Our team absolutely loved it. We're already thinking of new ideas to get us into the next one!"
"Winning the GBPA category for Keeping the Community Entertained has been a huge boost for The Swan. Whilst the prize money has allowed us to make some amazing progress with the refurbishment of our kitchen, most importantly, the award has helped us raise our profile in the community and made many more local people aware of what is going on at the pub, our aims and vision for its future."
Winner: Keeping the Community Entertained Pub Hero 2020
"We were incredibly proud to be recognised by such a prestigious award after the most challenging of periods in our industries history. Winning gave our team a much needed morale boost, our customers drew confidence in knowing that the venue had bounced back to be at the top of its game and agencies such as Arts Council England, The Mayor of London and our local Council were reminded of the vital contribution our venue makes to our diverse community."
Winner: Best Late Night Entertainment Pub 2021
"Winning the Hawthorn Pub of the Year was just amazing not only for us but for the wonderful village we live in. The response we have received since winning has been fantastic and overwhelming. Working in a tough environment running a pub, to get this recognition just made it all worthwhile."
Winner: Hawthorn Pub of the Year 2021
"The Great British Pub Awards made a real difference to our business. It was a huge honour to win the “Best Food” award and the consequential publicity was immense. The award undoubtedly helped us grow our reputation for being a destination venue."
Winner: Best Pub Food 2021