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North West pubs named some of the best in the UK for 2024

Kevin and Nicola Tickle, Heft <i>(Image: Jenny Jones Photography)</i>
Kevin and Nicola Tickle, Heft (Image: Jenny Jones Photography)

Six pubs from our region have been named some of the best in the country in the prestigious Top 50 Gastropubs list.

The Parkers Arms in Newton in Bowland, who also hosted the event at their multi award-winning rural inn, was number seven, Freemasons at Wiswell, number nine, Heft in High Newton was at number 11, The Edinburgh Castle in Ancoats was Manchester’s only entry at number 24; The White Swan at Fence was at number 29, The Dog and Gun Inn in Skelton was number 33 and The Black Bull at Sedbergh was number 39.

Heft, from hospitality power couple Kevin and Nicola Tickle, was also named the Highest Climber, jumping from position 42 last year to its number 11 spot.

Kevin says: ‘Being in the top 50 means a lot to anyone that makes the list. At Heft all we’ve ever done is try to make sure that we achieve a good balance between being a village pub with a really relaxed atmosphere, serving good beer, excellent wines and tasty snacks, alongside running a fine dining restaurant. It’s been a fairly interesting couple of years to open a pub and restaurant, but we’re getting to where we want to be, and this award recognises the hard work put in by us and by our amazing team.’

For hosts, the Parkers Arms it was a chance to showcase the best of their food and Lancashire produce and, despite the weather causing problems for the kitchen, showed true Lancashire spirit serving a stellar menu to 180 diners.

Chef patron Stosie Madi worked with her team Kathy Smith and Adrian Nolan as well as fellow Lancashire chefs Ian Moss, head chef at nearby Coach and Horses in Bolton by Bowland and Rachel Stockley, formerly of Ramsbottom’s Baraxturi. Dishes including fish pie and Lancashire hogget hotpot were served to diners with ingredients supplied by some of the county’s best including Mayers Fish, Bowland Meat, Cuckoo gin, Robinsons Eggs and Exchange Coffee.

‘It was a proud moment to see the awards hosted in Lancashire for the first time and, despite the adversity of the bad weather and being stranded without any cookers to cater for a meticulously prepped event, we still managed to feed 180 guests.’

Each year Estrella Damm's list, now in its 16th year, ranks the UK’s best gastropubs according to votes from more than 400 owners, food critics, and other industry experts.

Ed Bedington, editor of the Morning Advertiser, founder of the awards and list said: ‘’Pubs are a beloved institution and part of the UK’s culture and this list of the most astounding and impressive food pubs in the country is wonderful to see.

‘Pubs serve so many roles to so many people and for operators like the ones on our list, to be able to offer amazing food and wonderful experiences, up there with some of the best in fine dining, is brilliant to see.’

To see the full list of winners across the UK visit top50gastropubs.com



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