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20th September 2023

Cheshire’s The Cholmondeley Arms Crowned 2023 Great British Pub of the Year

19 September 2023 – A pub once described as a ‘lost cause’ has now been named the best pub in Britain after taking the overall title at the Great British Pub Awards. The Great British Pub Awards showcases the wide variety and quality present in the UK pub scene, with an emphasis on excellence for pub goers all around the nation.

A new entrant for 2023, The Cholmondeley Arms, affectionately known to locals as ‘The Chum’, has been named Great British Pub of the Year and named number one ‘Country/Rural Pub’.  Owners Tim Bird and Mary Maclaughlin attribute this double victory and the pub’s continued success to the team’s sheer enthusiasm and passion.

The couple own six pubs, previously described as ‘lost causes’ including The Chum and since taking it over in 2011, Tim and Mary have carried out significant restoration and refurbishment work to the former schoolhouse, creating the charm, character, and atmosphere the pub offers today.

Tim Bird, owner of Cholmondeley Arms, said: “After all these years together, it means the world. When we opened, I said we can be a beacon of hope for rural pubs but now we can be an ambassador as the pub of the year for Great Britain. For the team, this is just amazing. Helen [the pub’s general manager] has worked at the Cholmondeley for 12 years and she is the epitome of what our pubs should be. I am so proud.”

On what makes a pub of the year, Bird said consistency over a long period was key. Bird, who has been in the industry for 40 years, said he was “elated” to have won both the overall pub of the year and the rural categories at this year’s awards, but that all the finalists were “amazing”.

The country pub also offers a unique menu, made from locally sourced produce, including its very own renowned hand-crafted steak and kidney pie and ‘Cholmondeley Mess’. A bespoke drinks list is on offer, including the pub’s very own spirit the ‘Cholmondeley Arms Gin’, the jewel in its impressive menu of 366 gins. The Chum also offers country escapes in the ‘Old Headmasters House’, which has six newly refurbished rooms.

Other category winners include The Stroud Brewery Taproom, for ‘Most Sustainable Pub’, with its ethos of ‘Buen Vivir’ at the very core of what it does including being the only independent fully certified organic brewery in the UK.

The Old Abbey Tap House, in Manchester, won ‘Community Hero’, in recognition of its ‘hub-in-a-pub’. Created for local students, the hub is a place for creativity and diversity as well as research and outreach projects.

‘Punch Pub of the Year’ goes to The Plough Inn, Prestbury, which provides an excellent pub experience in a traditional setting. Owner, Emma Gibbon is also a prolific social campaigner, spearheading the #notjustapub discussion on Twitter, calling for fairer policies and taxes on pub operators.

Ed Bedington, chair of judges for the Great British Pub Awards, said: “We’re delighted to be revealing the best pubs in the country. These businesses are pubs to cherish and support and I’d urge anyone to get out and visit these outstanding operations. We’ve recognised pubs of all types and characters, from community champions to high end food, entertainment focused through to pubs that embrace all the family, even the dog. These are the businesses that really set the standards for others to follow.

“Our overall winner, the Cholmondeley Arms, represents the pinnacle of all our winners – this is a pub that has a wow factor that impresses anyone that crosses the threshold. Impeccably run, this is a business that will offer a warm welcome to all visitors and give them an experience that will be impossible to beat.”

Despite the challenges the pub industry has faced in the last few years, this year’s awards have seen a record number of entrants, showing the continued high standards many pubs have been able to uphold.

Bedington continues: “The pub industry has undergone some significant challenges in the last few years, with the pandemic, followed by an energy crisis, rising inflation and a cost of living crisis on top – despite that, our winning pubs continue to adapt and flex to meet those challenges and continue to provide vital services to local communities, the opportunity for friends and families to gather and celebrate, as well as remaining key employers within the areas they operate. Pubs are part of the fabric of our society and these winning pubs are the ambassadors that continue to show the important role pubs play in our social and economic worlds.”

About the Awards

The Great British Pub Awards, is organised by leading pub trade title The Morning Advertiser, are held to help recognise and celebrate the best pubs up and down the United Kingdom. This helps create awareness for all winning and nominated pubs, boosting their business and attracting new customers. There is also a chance to increase publicity, which is a successful way of interesting new suppliers.

This year each category had five to eight finalists with the chance to win. Stage one of the awards consists of applicants applying to their chosen category where they provide information and evidence to support their application. Those successful move to stage two where they are asked to provide additional information related to their application. Stage three involves a visit to the chosen pubs by the judge of their category, which is a great way to showcase each pub. During stage 4 the finalists are interviewed, and the winner is decided.

Other coveted categories are ‘Best Young Pub Chef’ and ‘Best Pub Chef’, where the winner will be crowned on September 19th at the awards in Manchester, after participating in a live cook-off. From all sixteen categories the judges come together to decide the winner.

The winners of the Great British Pub Awards 2023:

Best City/Urban Pub- The Turks Head, Twickenham London

Best Country/Rural Pub- Cholmondeley Arms, Cheshire

Best Pub for Food- The Loch and The Tyne, Berkshire

Best Pub for Dogs- The Bellflower, Lancashire

Best Pub for Families- The Plough Normanton on the Wolds, Nottinghamshire

Best Pub for Entertainment- The Kings Arms, Bexleyheath London

Best Pub Garden- Gaggle of Geese, Dorchester

Best Pub to Watch Sport- The Royal Dyche, Lancashire

Best Sustainable Pub- Stroud Brewery Taproom, Gloucester

Community Hero- The Old Abbey Taphouse, Manchester

Admiral Pub of the Year- Boot & Shoe, West Yorkshire

Stonegate Pub of the Year- The Woodman, Greater London

Greene King Pub of the Year- The Stag, Hampshire

Marston’s Pub of the Year- Rose & Crown, Worcestershire

Punch Pub of the Year- The Plough, Prestbury

Great British Pub of the Year- The Cholmondeley Arms, Cheshire


For more information, please contact Johara Chambers at Phipps:

Notes to Editor:

It’s greatly appreciated if you could include links to in your copy. It is vital the winning pubs benefit from this recognition, and we have created detailed videos of every winning pub which are hosted on the site.

About The Morning Advertiser:

The Morning Advertiser was launched in 1794 and is one of the longest running publications in the world. Now firmly in the 21st Century, The MA continues to be the definitive voice for the pub trade – offering the latest pub news, and unique advice-driven content for publicans, delivering powerful insights and robust information to help their businesses succeed.

Our team of award-winning journalists deliver daily news, analysis, online and face-to-face events, podcasts and video coverage of the issues and stories impacting decision makers in the licensed trade. Attracting online readership from across the licensed trade, we’re the go-to hub for access to the latest news, analysis, and insights from the UK pub sector, providing pub operators with invaluable advice to grow their business.

For more information, please contact Johara Chambers at Phipps:

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