Pub of the Year
About the Award
CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year is the annual competition to find the very best pub in the UK. We’ve been highlighting the best pubs in the country since 1988, and the competition helps to showcase quality pubs around the UK that are worth seeking out and visiting. It’s all about finding the cream of the crop and the best place for you to enjoy a pint of real ale. Some may also have good quality real cider or perry for you to sample.
Each year, over 200 CAMRA branches select their Pub of the Year. These then go through to the regional competition to select the 16 top pubs, which are then whittled down to four finalists – one of which will become the ultimate winner.
The top 16 pubs have been announced in the nationwide search for the next National Pub of the Year. Find out more about the regions’ winning pubs below.
The national winner will be announced in February 2020.
The Wonston Arms, Wonston
The Pub of the Year award 2018 was awarded to the Wonston Arms, a small community pub nestled in the heart of a Hampshire village.
The pub was derelict and empty just four years ago. Since its reopening, the pub has focused on benefitting the local community and, as a result, has become an incredibly important asset for local residents, as well as a successful, growing business.
Alongside a selection of carefully kept cask ales and a gin bar of 180 varieties, the Wonston Arms boasts a range of pop-up foodie nights and social events carefully selected to meet local demand. Darts matches, folk music, jazz sessions, quizzes and a photography club all take place regularly, and local food vendors are invited for special fish and chip, pizza and curry nights.
It is also the heart of fundraising for the village and has raised in excess of £25,000 for charitable causes to date.
Central Southern – The Bell, Aldworth
A long-standing pub in CAMRA’s well-respected Good Beer Guide and a former national Pub of the Year winner, this perennial gem is the only pub with a heritage interior in Berkshire. Its name refers to bells which were part of the coat of arms of the traditional landowners. The large open garden and excellent beer attract walkers and drinkers from far and wide.
East Anglia – Red Lion, Preston
This attractive free house stands on the village green and is the first community-owned pub in Great Britain. There is an ever-changing list of beers including many from small breweries. Ray and Jo prepare the fresh home-made food, sourcing their ingredients locally. The pub also hosts the village cricket teams and fundraises for charity.
East Midlands – Smithfield, Derby, Derbyshire
A handsome riverside pub with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the river. The beer range is varied with a strong emphasis on new breweries and a good selection of craft keg beer. Family-friendly and dog-friendly with wifi, live music and traditional pub games, it is the ideal stop for anyone in the area.
Surrey & Sussex – The Hornet, Chichester
A busy split-level micropub with plenty of standing room at the bar in addition to seating both downstairs and upstairs. The upstairs has board games and hosts quiz nights and ‘Meet The Brewer’ events. Friendly, knowledgeable staff with tasters available makes this a wonderful addition to the city and is a mecca for an ever-changing range of cask ales.
Scotland & Northen Ireland – Bridge Inn, Peebles
A cheerful, welcoming, town-centre local which is also known as ‘the Trust’. The mosaic entrance floor shows it was once the Tweedside Inn. It has a bright, comfortable bar decorated with jugs, bottles, pictures of old Peebles. There’s a cosy corner with a log burner and a small room to the rear. The sun trap patio overlooks the river and hills beyond.
Greater Manchester – Flying Horse, Rochdale
First built in 1691 and re-built in 1926, this is an impressive Edwardian stone-built free house with many original architectural features. Ten cask ales and two traditional ciders are available as is live sports and music. The hotel features log fires and provides accommodation and a function room is available for hire.
Greater London – The Hope, Carshalton
This is a real community pub ‘by beer enthusiasts, for beer enthusiasts’, which is owned by 46 of the customers. There are no fruit machines, TV or ‘muzak’, but there are five regularly changing guest beers supplemented by three regular cask ales. The pub’s main twitter feed is @PubCatHope, named after the pub cat, a stray that was adopted some years ago.
Wessex – Firkin Shed, Bournemouth
Winner of CAMRA’s National Cider Pub, the Shed is a quirky, friendly, family-run micropub. Tables and benches hug the walls, which are decorated with flags, musical instruments, puppets and skulls. Ten constantly changing ales, and fourteen plus ciders sourced from around the country. Beers are served straight from the cellar viewable through the window in the corridor.
North East – Grey Horse, Consett
A traditional pub dating back to 1848. The interior comprises of a lounge and L-shaped bar as well as a wood-beamed ceiling. Consett Ale Works Brewery is located at the rear and beer festivals are held twice a year. The coast-to-coast cycle route is close by and live entertainment and a quiz night make it a bustling stop off.
West Pennines – Swan With Two Necks, Pendleton
An outstanding and recently renovated traditional pub. Five constantly changing ales and one real cider are served and discounts are available for CAMRA members. Delicious home-cooked food is also served with many high quality specialised local dishes. Plenty of outdoor seating plus lovely open fires for when the weather grows colder.
South West – Tom Cobley, Spreyton
Up to 10 West Country ales, some straight from the cask, plus about 12 real ciders and perries are on offer in this traditional 16th-century village pub. A wide range of bar snacks and an extensive menu is available lunchtimes and evenings. Darts, quizzes and social events are promoted and there are five ensuite guest rooms.
Wales – Mansel Arms, Porthyrhyd
A friendly 18th-century former coaching inn, with wood fires in both bars which has maintained its traditional character. The landlord is passionate about real ale and encourages customers to taste and experience the variety of flavours. An in-house cask ale members’ club encourages beer-lovers to experience regular brewery visits and brewers’ speaker/taster events.
Kent – The Admiral’s Arm, Queenborough
A two-room micropub serving four real ales and a large range of ciders and perries. It boasts a very extensive range of gins and pub snacks, including beer-infused pork pies and scotch eggs. The decor is a nautical theme, with a mixture of high and low hand-crafted wooden benches and tables and a pizza oven has recently been brought in.
Yorkshire – George & Dragon, Hudswell
A pleasant walk from Richmond brings you to the pub’s large beer terrace with fantastic panoramic views over the Swale valley. Rescued by the community in 2010 and refurbished, it boasts its own library, shop, allotments and other community facilities as well as food and drink. Beers are mostly from Yorkshire breweries and a dark ale is always available.
West Midlands – Prince of Wales, Shrewsbury
A welcoming two-roomed back street local with a large decked sun-trap. The green is overlooked by a 19th Century Maltings and darts, dominoes and bowls teams abound. It hosts two beer festivals each year and Shrewsbury Town FC memorabilia adorn the building, with some of the seating from the old Gay Meadow Ground skirting the bowling green.
Merseyside – Cricketers Arms, St Helens
A friendly, family-run community pub, it boasts 13 ever-changing hand pulls, 10 ciders and over 100 gins. This traditional pub has just undergone a refurbishment and has two beer gardens and an outside bar for regular beer festivals, private events, darts and pool leagues, quiz nights and regular fundraising events for local charities. An on-site micro-brewery is planned for this year.