We all might be fond of our local boozer, but there are some pubs that stand out above the rest - and are well worth seeking out.
Sorting the best from the rest is the CAMRA Pub of the Year awards, an annual competition to find the finest pub in the UK - with a pub in Berkshire claiming the top spot for 2020.
‘A perennial gem’
The Bell Inn in Aldworth, Berkshire has been named the best pub in the country, scooping first prize in CAMRA’s prestigious Pub of the Year competition.
Described as a “perennial gem”, the heritage pub has been in the family for 250 years and was praised by judges for its strong community focus, relaxed ambience and great beer.
It is the only pub in Berkshire with a Grade II listed interior, and it last won the coveted Pub of the Year title almost 30 years ago to the day.
CAMRA’s national director, Ben Wilkinson, said: “The judges were impressed with how a stranger entering the pub was treated like a regular straight away.
“It’s clear that the local customers use the pub as a community centre as well as a place to drink, and the warm welcome and knowledgeable staff made us feel right at home.
“Nothing can beat the combination of good beer, great food and a warm heritage pub.”
How are the awards judged?
Pubs in the annual competition are selected by CAMRA volunteers and judged on a number of criteria.
These include the pub atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, community focus and the quality of the beer.
Pubs are judged on a range of criteria including atmosphere, welcome and service (Photo: Brian Evans)
Just missing out on the title this year were three worthy runner’s up - the Swan with Two Necks in Pendleton, the George & Dragon in Hudswell, and the Red Lion in Preston, Hertfordshire.
The top 16
The best pubs in the country have been highlighted in the national competition since 1998, with the awards intended to showcase quality venues across the UK that are worth seeking out and visiting.
A total of 16 pubs are selected in the shortlist, before being whittled down to four finalists.
Wilkinson added: “The top 16 contenders boast the perfect mix of the essential characteristics which make a great pub – great service, a welcoming atmosphere, fantastic decor, great value for money and most importantly, quality real ale.”
These are the top 16 that made the cut:
Central Southern – Bell, Aldworth, Berkshire
East Anglia – Red Lion, Preston, Hertfordshire
East Midlands – Smithfield, Derby, Derbyshire
Greater Manchester – Flying Horse Hotel, Rochdale
Kent – The Admirals Arm, Queenborough
London – Hope, Carshalton
Merseyside – Cricketers Arms, St. Helens
North East – Grey Horse, Consett
Scotland & Northern Ireland – Bridge Inn, Peebles
South West – Tom Cobley, Spreyton, Devon
Surrey / Sussex – Hornet, Chichester, Sussex
Wales – Mansel Arms, Porthyrhyd, Carmarthenshire
Wessex – The Firkin Shed, Bournemouth
West Midlands – Prince of Wales, Shrewsbury
West Pennines – Swan with Two Necks, Pendleton, Lancashire
Yorkshire – George & Dragon, Hudswell