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26th July 2022

Britain’s best-looking pubs revealed

CAMRA announces the winners of its prestigious Pub Design Awards

CAMRA has just unveiled the winners of its prestigious Pub Design Awards, which recognise the most stunning feats of architecture, design and conservation in British pubs across the country.

There were six winners and one highly commended pub across different categories ranging from refurbishment to new build in this year’s awards. These include:

New Build (assessing newly built pubs in 2021):

  • Brewpoint, Bedford (joint winner) –Wells & Co’s flagship state-of-the-art, multi-functional brewery and office space at the gateway to the town.
  • Crown Wharf, Stone, Staffordshire (joint winner) – Joules’ new taphouse inspired by historic canal-side warehouses.

Refurbishment (can range from completely gutting and replacement to enhancing the design):

  • King’s Arms, Dorchester, Dorset (winner) – The Stay Original Company have overseen a major refurbishment, which has seen careful repair and conservation of historic fixtures and fittings, and careful integration of new ones.
  • Bleeding Wolf, Scholar Green, Cheshire (highly commended) – Robinsons Brewery embarked on a refurbishment that has carefully conserved the interior features while subtle alterations have been made to make it fit for use in the 21st century.

Historic England Conservation (sponsored by Historic England, this award is given for work which conserves the pub for future generations):

  • Castle, Macclesfield (joint winner) – Branching Out Two Ltd has given a new lease of life to a pub that was apparently destined for permanent closure while maintaining the feel of its historic core.
  • Coach & Horses, Barnburgh (joint winner) – Don Valley Brewery has taken this historic pub and has carefully carried out alterations to update its facilities resulting in another pub that has been given a new lease of life and is back at the centre of the village.

Community Local (reserved for outstanding refurbished street-corner locals):

  • Boleyn Tavern, East Ham (winner) – an elaborate ‘gin palace’ built in 1899 that was in a sorry state when purchased by Remarkable Pubs Ltd. They spent around 18 months, and around £1.5m, lovingly overhauling the building.

The awards come as the hospitality industry continues its slow recovery from the impact of Covid. This year’s awards recognise work that was carried out during the later stages of the pandemic when restrictions on the industry were still in place.

Andrew Davison, chair of CAMRA’s judging panel said: “Once again, the awards underline just how varied Britain’s pubs are, and we have had a hard job in selecting the winners from the entries submitted. Amongst the award winners, we have new pubs, old pubs, urban pubs, rural pubs, elegant old inns, elaborate Victorian ‘gin palaces’, and inter-war pubs. There was a concern that pub owners would suspend work on their buildings during the pandemic, but quite a few seem to have taken the opportunity of enforced closure to plan and carry out repairs, restoration, and improvements.

“What links them is that their owners and their architects have responded to them as individual buildings, rather than applying a standard formula – the result is a fantastically varied selection of winners. We applaud them all, and trust that these revitalised buildings will be serving their communities for many years to come.”

CAMRA will be celebrating the achievement with a presentation event on 26 July at 1 pm at the Boleyn Tavern in East Ham, London, which is open to the press.

The celebration takes place during CAMRA’s Summer of Pub campaign, which aims to promote pub-going post-pandemic while raising a glass to our locals.

Nik Antona, CAMRA’s National Chairman adds: “We hope beer-lovers across the country will seek out these examples of excellence and plan visits to them over the summer. It has been an incredibly difficult few years for the pub industry with a cost-of-living crisis now compounded by a cost-of-goods crisis, all hot on the heels of the Covid-19 pandemic. Let’s all support our locals this summer and raise a glass to these shining examples of pub excellence.”


Notes to editors:

To find out more, visit:

Images are available here:

To find pubs participating in Summer of Pub (or to submit an event), visit:

The winners (judge’s report)

New Build Award

Joint winners: Brewpoint, Bedford and Crown Wharf, Stone, Staffordshire

Brewpoint, Bedford is the local brewers Wells & Co’s flagship new state-of-the-art, multi-functional building at the gateway to the town. The designers of the building, Brownhill, Hayward & Brown, have created what appears to be an industrial building, reflecting one of its functions, as a working brewhouse. The production side of the building is not hidden away but proudly displayed.

The building also contains the company’s offices, as well as catering very well for visiting customers, whether drinkers, diners, or those attending meetings or functions. Contrasting with the ‘industrial’ exterior, the light and airy interior, to the designs of Melling Ridgeway & Partners, offers a wide range of spaces on a couple of floors. The use of recycled metal and wood creates interest. The judges were particularly impressed by the extensive use of copper, a metal traditionally much used in brewing plant. All in all, an impressive and deserving winner.

The approach taken by the owners of the second winner, the Crown Wharf, Stone, Staffordshire could hardly be more different. After a gap of some 40 years, the name of Joule’s has returned to the town, and to a site close to where its predecessor brewed until the 1970s. The company, working with architect Jim Entwistle of Bleazard and Galletta, have taken their inspiration from historic canal-side warehouses. The new taphouse is a robust building, built of traditional brick, making much use of reclaimed materials and fittings in the interior fit-out. The large central hall continues the warehouse theme, with smaller, more intimate spaces opening off it with a more ‘pubby’ feel. An impressive staircase leads up to a first-floor function room and will eventually give access to a space which is being fitted up as a theatre. A fine addition to the canal side facilities of the town.

Refurbishment Award

Winner: King’s Arms, Dorchester, Dorset

Highly Commended: Bleeding Wolf, Scholar Green, Cheshire

The King’s Arms, Dorchester, Dorset has been a feature of the town’s High Street for over 300 years, and has accommodated many important visitors, as well as featured in the novels of Thomas Hardy. It had been closed for some time and was in a poor condition when acquired by its current owners, the Stay Original Company, in 2016. Their architects, Mackenzie Wheeler, have overseen a major refurbishment, which has seen careful repair and conservation of historic fixtures and fittings, and careful integration of new ones. The building has been carefully and sympathetically updated and has made a major contribution to the revival of Dorchester’s historic High Street. A worthy winner of the ‘Refurbishment’ Award.

The Bleeding Wolf, Scholar Green, Cheshire, in contrast, is a roadside inter-war pub in a small Cheshire settlement. Designed in a distinctive vernacular style, with an impressive, thatched roof and much internal wood panelling and attractive tile work, the building was looking a little tired and run down when its owners, Robinson’s brewery of Stockport, embarked on a refurbishment costing in excess of £800k. Working with architects Allison Pike, interior features have been carefully conserved, while subtle alterations have been made to the interior plan to fit it for use in the 21st century. The most impressive new feature is an extension providing an attractive new entrance from the car park to the rear. The ‘Highly Commended’ award is fully justified.

The Historic England Conservation Award

Joint winners: The Castle Macclesfield and the Coach & Horses, Barnburgh, South Yorkshire

The Castle, Macclesfield, is a small town-centre pub, with a largely unaltered multi-room layout. It had been closed since January 2015 when acquired by the current owner, Branching Out Two Ltd, and was in very poor condition. A leaking roof had caused the partial collapse of one of the most impressive features, the ornate ceiling in the front lounge. Work commissioned from a historic building consultant identified the front part of the pub as being of special significance; armed with this information, and working with Mark Allison of Fifty Eight Five Five design consultants, consent was obtained for the creation of additional accommodation at the rear of the building, including a new Upper Lounge. Historic features throughout were carefully repaired, work which included the careful replication of the missing sections of the ceiling in the front lounge. Expansion of the accommodation for the public, whilst maintaining the feel of the historic core of the pub, has given a new lease of life to a pub that was apparently destined for permanent closure.

The Coach & Horses, Barnburgh, South Yorkshire is another fine example of inter-war pub design, built-in 1937 for local brewers Whitworth, Son & Nephew. After years of decline, it finally closed, apparently for good, before being purchased in 2020 by the current owners, the Don Valley Brewery. They have carefully restored the historic features of the pub, including the fine set of sliding sash screens on the bar which has Whitworth’s ‘sheaf’ trademark in stained glass. Modern plywood fronts masking original bar counters, and lino covering the original floors, have been removed to reveal them. Alterations to update the pub’s facilities, such as the conversion of the redundant off-licence to a kitchenette, have been carried out with great care. The result is a pub which, again, has been given a new lease of life, and is back at the centre of village life.

Community Local Award

Winner: Boleyn Tavern, East Ham, London

The winner this year is the Boleyn Tavern, East Ham, an elaborate ‘gin palace’ built in 1899, which was long the venue for the pre-match pint for West Ham supporters on their way to the nearby ground. With the team moving away to a new home, the pub, like the surrounding area, went into decline. It had already lost much of its internal partitioning during the vogue for opening out pubs in the 1970s and 1980s and was in a sorry state when purchased by the current owners, Remarkable Pubs Ltd. They spent around 18 months, and around £1.5m, lovingly overhauling the building, working with Anthony Clark of Clark Architecture. The original seven bars have been restored, with the recreation of the glazed partitions between them using traditional materials and techniques. Surviving features have been carefully repaired; the billiard room to the rear of the building, with its spectacular stained-glass skylight, is particularly impressive. This room is now used for dining, with an open kitchen incorporated against the back wall. The Awards judges are not generally fans of open kitchens, but the one here has been well-designed and fits well into the space. An impressive building for a ‘street corner local’, the Boleyn is once again at the heart of the local community.

About CAMRA:  

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 180,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.

Press release from CAMRA

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