Top 50 gastropubs in the UK for 2023 named: ‘Parkers Arms’ in Lancashire is No.1

Britain’s best gastropubs for 2023 have been named – and the Parkers Arms in Lancashire has snapped up the top spot.

The award was handed to the Newton-In-Bowland eatery by the prestigious Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards at a ceremony at The Unruly Pig in Woodbridge, Suffolk – last year’s number one and this year’s silver medal winner. 

The top five is completed by Freemasons at Wiswell in Lancashire in third, with Kent pubs The Sportsman in Seasalter and The Kentish Hare in Tunbridge Wells fourth and fifth respectively. 

This year Scotland’s highest entry, Edinburgh’s The Scran and Scallie, ranks 38th, while Wales’ top-performing pub The Felin Fach Griffin in Brecon, comes 30th. 

Below is the lowdown on the mouthwatering top ten. Scroll to the very bottom to see the ranking in full, which lists a grand total of 100 pubs… 

1. Parkers Arms, Newton-In-Bowland – Lancashire

The best gastropubs in the UK for 2023 have been named by the prestigious Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards ¿ and Parkers Arms (above) in Lancashire is number one

The best gastropubs in the UK for 2023 have been named by the prestigious Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs Awards – and Parkers Arms (above) in Lancashire is number one 

The judges say that you can expect 'plates of food served with the intention of filling you up' at Parkers Arms

The judges say that you can expect ‘plates of food served with the intention of filling you up’ at Parkers Arms

Rising from second to first, Parkers Arms is described as a ‘little gem’ that ‘takes pride in sourcing local produce from the very best suppliers’.

What’s on the menu? The judges say that you can expect ‘plates of food served with the intention of filling you up’ paired with local cask ales and a wine list that ‘caters equally to cheerful lunches or long, indulgent suppers’.

The female-owned pub is headed up by Kathy Smith and Stosie Madi and lies ‘deep within’ the Lancashire hills.

The judges note that it’s ‘possibly the most idyllic pub’ on the list, adding that its ‘isolated location works in its favour, commanding stunning views of rolling hills whether you visit in summer or winter’.

2. The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge – Suffolk 

Landing in second place, Suffolk's The Unruly Pig is housed in a 16th-century inn with 'beams, crooked ceilings, log burners and a lush, green garden'

Landing in second place, Suffolk’s The Unruly Pig is housed in a 16th-century inn with ‘beams, crooked ceilings, log burners and a lush, green garden’

The judges say that head chefs Dave and Karl (above)are the 'real powerhouse' behind the kitchen team at The Unruly Pig

The Unruly Pig serves food that's 'a pleasant cross between British and Italian (Brit-Italian) cuisine'

The judges say that head chefs Dave and Karl (left) are the ‘real powerhouse’ behind the kitchen team at The Unruly Pig. The pub serves food that’s ‘a pleasant cross between British and Italian (Brit-Italian) cuisine’

Housed in a 16th-century inn with ‘beams, crooked ceilings, log burners and a lush, green garden’, this Suffolk eatery is owned by the ‘witty and charismatic’ Brendan Padfield, who founded the pub following a 36-year career in law.

Described as ‘winsome and warm’, the pub serves food that’s ‘a pleasant cross between British and Italian (Brit-Italian) cuisine, giving diners a refreshing change from the usual pub fare’.

The judges at this year’s awards – now in its 14th year – reveal: ‘Head chefs Dave and Karl are known as the “dynamic duo” and are the real powerhouse behind the entire kitchen team.’ Menus change at least monthly and there are more than 60 wines available by the glass, as well as Cask Marque-accredited (a prestigious ale accreditation) and hand-pulled beers.

3. Freemasons at Wiswell, Wiswell – Lancashire

Third-place Freemasons at Wiswell (pictured lower right) is set in the pretty Ribble Valley village of Wiswell

Third-place Freemasons at Wiswell (pictured lower right) is set in the pretty Ribble Valley village of Wiswell

Freemasons at Wiswell is headed by chef-patron Steven Smith (above)

Chef Smith 'fuses locally sourced ingredients and his love of the classics with wild, sharp world flavours'

Freemasons at Wiswell is headed by chef-patron Steven Smith (left). He ‘fuses locally sourced ingredients and his love of the classics with wild, sharp world flavours’

Set in the pretty Ribble Valley village of Wiswell, this pub ‘blends the ultimate gastronomic experience in a stylish, relaxed atmosphere’, the judges reveal.

Headed by chef-patron Steven Smith, the pub’s food is ‘all about contrast – experimental meeting traditional’. The judges say: ‘Smith fuses locally sourced ingredients and his love of the classics with wild, sharp world flavours… creating a delicious roster of food you have to experience to believe.’

You might feast on butter-poached native lobster tail with crispy claw wontons followed by a serving of Amalfi lemon meringue pie. 

The judges add: ‘As well as serving many outstanding dishes, Smith has launched an accommodation offering and his own spin on a chef’s table following a big refurbishment and revamp of the business, which was completed in 2019.’

4. The Sportsman, Seasalter – Kent

Landing in fourth place is The Sportsman in Kent, where chef-patron Stephen Harris makes sure that produce served is sourced almost exclusively from the surrounding land

 Landing in fourth place is The Sportsman in Kent, where chef-patron Stephen Harris makes sure that produce served is sourced almost exclusively from the surrounding land

The judges note that The Sportsman is 'remarkably affordable for an eatery of its standing'

The judges note that The Sportsman is ‘remarkably affordable for an eatery of its standing’

‘Many foodies the world over have made a holy pilgrimage to The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent, to sample the delights served within its walls,’ the judges say of this eatery.

Chef-patron Stephen Harris makes sure that produce served at the pub is sourced almost exclusively from the surrounding land, the judges reveal.

They say: ‘Harris, a completely self-taught chef, who abandoned a high-flying career in the city to open his “grotty boozer by the sea”, picks seaweed from The Sportsman’s adjoining beach, makes his own salt from the sea, and uses meat from the bountiful farms of the Seasalter area.’

A must-try, according to the judges, is the pub’s serving of slip sole grilled in seaweed butter. As a bonus, the judges note that the pub is ‘remarkably affordable for an eatery of its standing [the tasting menu is £80pp]’ – though they point out that ‘it remains a tough pub to get a seat in… so plan before visiting’.

5. The Kentish Hare, Tunbridge Wells – Kent

Diners can expect to enjoy 'tastefully curated' menus at The Kentish Hare, which ranks fifth overall

Diners can expect to enjoy ‘tastefully curated’ menus at The Kentish Hare, which ranks fifth overall

One of the delicious dishes at The Kentish Hare

One of the delicious dishes at The Kentish Hare

This ‘homely and inviting’ Kent establishment – a ‘labour of love’ run by brothers Chris and James Tanner – dishes up modern British cuisine using ‘fresh, seasonal and local ingredients’. 

The judges say: ‘The pub’s menus are tastefully curated with a selection of dishes to ensure diners will return more than once, with two courses priced at £28 and three for £35.’

Dishes that feature include White Lake Farm goats’ curd with heritage beetroots, as well as Bramley apple crumble with clotted cream.

The judges add: ‘The pub is split almost fifty-fifty into dining and bar space, which has been done purposefully so the pub can have a real community feel.’

6. The Angel at Hetton, Hetton – Yorkshire

Sixth place goes to The Angel at Hetton, a Michelin-starred eatery run by chef Michael Wignall

 Sixth place goes to The Angel at Hetton, a Michelin-starred eatery run by chef Michael Wignall

The Angel at Hetton's menu is described as 'glorious'

The Angel at Hetton’s menu is described as ‘glorious’

Run by chef Michael Wignall, this Yorkshire gastropub ‘offers pub food reimagined in a cosy environment that looks out across stunning landscapes’.

A testament to its quality, it has earned one Michelin star to date. 

The judges declare: ‘High on the venue’s list of priorities, as well as delivering top nosh, is providing you, the diner, with the best service in the industry.’ 

Branding the restaurant’s menu as ‘glorious’, the judges note that you might dine on a monkfish main followed by Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with salted granola and roasted beetroot puree.

7. The White Swan at Fence, Fence – Lancashire

Seventh-place The White Swan at Fence is described by the judges as a 'pub like no other'

Seventh-place The White Swan at Fence is described by the judges as a ‘pub like no other’

The judges recommend keeping an eye out for special menus throughout the year at The White Swan at Fence

The judges recommend keeping an eye out for special menus throughout the year at The White Swan at Fence

This one-Michelin-starred restaurant ‘looks like a typical village boozer’ from the exterior, the judges reveal, but inside it’s a ‘very special place indeed’.

Billed as a ‘pub like no other’, the eatery has been known to serve dishes such as lobster soup with tarragon and Whitewell partridge with smoked bacon.

Such dishes are the creation of chef Tom Parker, a ‘mischievous genius’ according to the judges. 

The judges recommend keeping an eye out for special menus throughout the year – previous highlights have included a sell-out Japanese-themed night, they reveal.

8. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow – Buckinghamshire

The judges say that The Hand & Flowers, which ranks eighth, is 'visited by thousands of eager foodies from across the country and world each year'

 The judges say that The Hand & Flowers, which ranks eighth, is ‘visited by thousands of eager foodies from across the country and world each year’

One of the eye-catching dishes at The Hand & Flowers

One of the eye-catching dishes at The Hand & Flowers

With a claim to fame as the first pub in the UK to earn two Michelin stars, this renowned Marlow eatery is spearheaded by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge.

The judges reveal: ‘Making every customer feel special as they walk through the pub’s door is the top agenda for the gastropub, along with giving friendly service and exceptional food and drink.’

They list Brittany guinea fowl breast with poultry tart as well as chocolate and ale cake as examples of the dishes that might appear on the gastropub’s menu.

The judges say that the pub is ‘visited by thousands of eager foodies from across the country and world each year’, adding: ‘Guests who don’t want to journey home after visiting The Hand & Flowers can take advantage of the gastropub’s 11 bedrooms, situated in cottages nearby.’ 

9. The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury – Kent

Kent's The Fordwich Arms, a 'tastefully decorated' pub that looks out over the River Stour, snaps up ninth place

Kent’s The Fordwich Arms, a ‘tastefully decorated’ pub that looks out over the River Stour, snaps up ninth place 

Guests at The Fordwich Arms can choose from a la carte menus, tasting menus and two vegetarian tasting menus

Guests at The Fordwich Arms can choose from a la carte menus, tasting menus and two vegetarian tasting menus

Nestled in Britain’s smallest town, Fordwich in Kent, this prize-winning pub is described as ‘one of the loveliest gastropubs in the county’.

With chef-patron Daniel Smith at the helm, dishes are crafted from ‘local Kentish ingredients, which are sourced direct from nearby farms and producers’, the judges reveal.

Diners can choose from a la carte menus, tasting menus and two vegetarian tasting menus, with dishes such as roast saddle of venison with spiced fig emerging from the kitchen. 

The setting is another high point – the judges say that the ‘tastefully decorated’ pub, which overlooks the River Stour, is housed in a ‘beautifully renovated building, with its red brick adorned with bright green ivy’. 

10. The Red Lion and Sun, Highgate – London

Sliding into 10th place it's London's The Red Lion and Sun, a venue that plates up 'rustic, modern British pub food'

Sliding into 10th place it’s London’s The Red Lion and Sun, a venue that plates up ‘rustic, modern British pub food’

Meats at The Red Lion and Sun have been sourced from nearby Highgate Butchers

Meats at The Red Lion and Sun have been sourced from nearby Highgate Butchers

Describing this London pub, the judges say: ‘A pub for all seasons, you can either nestle yourself away near the log burner inside or find a comfy spot to relax in the garden with some seafood and peruse what is widely recognised as one of London’s best wine lists, curated by its wine fanatic owner [Heath Ball].’

The menu is said to offer ‘rustic, modern British pub food’ with carefully sourced ingredients and meats from nearby Highgate Butchers.

The judges warn, however, that spare tables are an ‘endangered species’ on Sundays when the pub serves four different kinds of roast dinners.

THE ESTRELLA DAMM TOP 100 GASTROPUBS 2023 RANKING, FROM LANCASHIRE TO EDINBURGH 

1. Parkers Arms, Newton-In-Bowland, Lancashire

2. The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge, Suffolk

3. Freemasons at Wiswell, Wiswell, Lancashire 

4. The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent 

5. The Kentish Hare, Tunbridge Wells, Kent 

6. The Angel at Hetton, Hetton, Yorkshire

7. The White Swan at Fence, Fence, Lancashire

8. The Hand & Flowers, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

9. The Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent

10. The Red Lion and Sun, London

11. The Mariners, Rock, Cornwall 

12. The Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon 

13. The Harwood Arms, London

14. Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax, Yorkshire

15. The Coach, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

16. The Beehive, Great Waltham, Essex

17. The Cadeleigh Arms, Tiverton, Devon

18. The Pack Horse, Hayfield, Derbyshire

19. Pyne Arms, Barnstaple, Devon

20. The Black Swan, Ravenstondale, Cumbria

21. The Moorcock Inn, Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire

22. The Guinea Grill, London

23. The Baring, London

24. The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon

25. Canton Arms, London

26. The Rat Inn, Anick, Hexham, Northumberland

27. The Pipe and Glass, Beverley, Yorkshire

28. The Longs Arms, South Wraxall, Wiltshire

29. The Dog at Wingham, Canterbury, Kent

30. The Felin Fach Griffin, Brecon, Powys, Wales

31. The Hardwick, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales

32. The Loch and The Tyne, Old Windsor, Berkshire

33. The Bull & Last, London

34. The White Horse, Brancaster, Norfolk

35. The Black Bull, Sedbergh, Cumbria

36. The Swan, Bampton, Oxfordshire

37. The Bell Inn, Langford, Bedfordshire

38. Scran and Scallie, Edinburgh

39. The Dog & Gun Inn, Skelton, Cumbria

40. The Duck Inn, Stanhoe, Norfolk

41. The Duncombe Arms, Ashbourne, Staffordshire

42. The Black Bear Inn, Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales

43. Heft, High Newton, Cumbria

44. The Broad Chare, Newcastle

45. Woods, Dulverton, Somerset

46. The Gunton Arms, Norwich, Norfolk

47. The French House, London

48. The Eagle, Farringdon, London

49. The Butchers Arms, Hepworth, West Yorkshire

50. Royal Oak, Whatcote, Warwickshire

51. Sculthorpe Mill, Fakenham, Norfolk

52. The Alice Hawthorn, Nun Monkton, North Yorkshire

53. The Camberwell Arms, London

54. The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea, London

55. The Hind’s Head, Bray, Berkshire

56. The Higher Buck, Waddington, Lancashire

57. The Butcher’s Tap and Grill, Marlow, Buckinghamshire

58. St Kew Inn, Bodmin, Cornwall

59. The Drapers Arms, Islington, London

60. The Olive Branch, Oakham, Rutland

61. The Bridge Arms, Canterbury, Kent

62. The Bay Horse, Hurworth-on-Tees, Durham

63. The Black Swan, Devizes, Wiltshire

64. Marksman Public House, London

65. The Plough, Coton, Cambridgeshire

66. The Silver Cup, Harpenden, Hertfordshire

67. The Purefoy Arms, Preston Candover, Hampshire

68. The Rose Inn, Wickhambreaux, Kent

69. Anchor & Hope, London

70. The Brewers, Rattlesden, Suffolk

71. The Heathcock, Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales

72. The Wild Rabbit, Kingham, Oxfordshire

73. The Woolpack Inn, Slad, Gloucestershire

74. The Blind Bull, Buxton, Derbyshire

75. The Cross, Kenilworth, Warwickshire

76. The Boat Inn, Lichfield, Staffordshire

77. The White Post, Rimpton, Somerset

78. The Compass Inn, Lower Chicksgrove, Wiltshire

79. The Cross Keys, Chelsea, London

80. The Five Elms, Weedon, Northamptonshire

81. The Mash Inn, Radnage, Buckinghamshire

82. The Ship Inn, Elie, Fife, Scotland

83. The Tamil Prince, Islington, London

84. The Audley Public House, Mayfair, London

85. The Brisley Bell, Brisley, Norfolk

86. The Clarence Tavern, Stoke Newington, London

87. Greyhound Inn, Pettistree, Suffolk

88. Parlour, Kensal, London

89. The Greyhound, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

90. The Three Hills, Bartlow, Cambridgeshire

91. The Newbury, Newbury, Berkshire

92. The Pelican, Notting Hill, London

93. The Suffield Arms, Thorpe Market, Norfolk

94. Dylans – The Kings Arms, St Albans, Hertfordshire

95. The Alford Arms, Frithsden, Hertfordshire

96. The Bakers Arms, Thorpe Langton, Leicestershire

97. The Barrington Boar, Ilminster, Somerset

98. Hare & Hounds, Aberthin, Glamorgan, Wales

99. The High Field, Edgbaston, Birmingham

100. The Sandpiper Inn, Leyburn, Yorkshire

Source: www.top50gastropubs.com


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