The race is on for the national Pub of the Year competition, with three of the final four pubs having previously scooped the title.
The Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, the George & Dragon in Hudswell and The Bell in Aldworth have all claimed the prestigious award in previous years. Newcomer to the scene is the Red Lion in Preston, which became the first community-owned pub in Great Britain in the 1980s.
All four of the pubs will now go on to the final competition to win the ultimate Pub of the Year title, to be announced in February 2020. The competing pubs include:
The Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton (2014 winner) – an outstanding and recently renovated traditional pub set in a pretty Pendleside village that’s deservedly popular with locals and visitors alike. Five constantly changing ales and one real cider are served along with delicious home-cooked food, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating and lovely open fires when the weather grows colder.
The George & Dragon in Hudswell (2016 winner) – a pleasant walk from Richmond (if you don’t mind the 300+ steps!) 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.
Bell, Aldworth, Berkshire (1990 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. It’s large open garden and excellent beer attract walkers and drinkers from far and wide.
Red Lion, Preston, Hertfordshire (new finalist!) – This attractive free house dating back to 1844 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 and 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.
National Pub of the Year Coordinator Andrea Briers said: “It is amazing to see so many well-respected pubs return to this prestigious competition to compete for the ultimate title of the best pub in Britain. We wish them – and our newcomer – the very best of luck. It is a huge honour to come this far in the competition and be named one of the best four pubs in the country, and all four finalists should be very proud.”
All of the pubs in the competition are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix and quality of beer.
Each of the four finalists will be presented with their super regional award at local events over the coming weeks. The four finalists will then have a chance to win the National Pub of the Year title for 2019, which will be announced in February 2020.