Berkshire

CAMRA Pub of the Year: The Bell Inn in Berkshire comes out top

The Bell Inn Image copyright Robert Wilson
Image caption The Bell Inn previously won the award in 1990

A pub run by the same family for 250 years has been named the best in the country for the second time.

The Bell Inn in Aldworth, Berkshire, has been crowned the Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA) Pub of the Year.

It previously won the award in 1990, when it was run by current landlord Hugh Macaulay's parents.

He said: "Since my grandfather retired nothing has changed about the pub at all, I think that might be one of the things [that impressed]."

Image caption Hugh Macaulay (far right) has been celebrating his win along with his regulars

He added it was a "wonderful thing to be recognised for driving quality year after year" at the Grade-II listed hostelry.

Mr Macaulay said his pub has lasted for so long because it is a free house, meaning it is not owned by a particular brewery and it is free to sell a variety of beers.

Image caption The pub was described as having "good beer"
Image copyright Quinten Taylor
Image caption The Bell Inn's interior is Grade II-listed

Pub of the year competition organiser 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."

Image caption For 250 years the pub has been run by the same family
Image copyright Quinten Taylor
Image caption Strangers are treated like regulars at The Bell Inn, judges noted

The award has been running since 1988.

Each year volunteers from more than 200 CAMRA branches select their Pub of the Year, before a winner is chosen in each region and they are whittled down to three runners-up and one winner.

The group campaigns for real ale, cider and perry, as well as protecting and promoting community pubs and fighting for consumer rights.

Runner-ups include the Swan With Two Necks in Pendleton, Lancashire, the George and Dragon in Hudswell, North Yorkshire, and the Red Lion in Preston, Hertfordshire.

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