Good Pub Guide 2018: the Kings Head Inn is pub of the year

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Winner: the Kings Head Inn in Bledington
Winner: the Kings Head Inn in Bledington

Related tags: Pub, Good pub guide, Public house

The Kings Head Inn, Bledington, Oxfordshire, has been unveiled as the Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide 2018.

The 16th century inn is run by licensees, and husband and wife team, Archie and Nicola Orr-Ewing, who also run the Swan Inn at nearby Swinbrook.

The top accolade was given to the pub, the guide said, for “its lively, friendly bar, excellent drinks selection, first-class food and lovely bedrooms.” 

Archie Orr-Ewing told The Morning Advertiser​ that the win was “completely unexpected”.

“It was always the awards that I dreamt of getting. The industry has become so competitive now and there are a lot of good operators out of there, which has made it even more meaningful in a way,” he said. 

He opened a letter from the Good Pub Guide​ and it said the pub had won the area dining pub of the year.

“I was pleased enough with that on it’s own,” he said.  

“The next letter said we had won the national pub of the year. I was blown away.”

The couple have run the pub for 17 years and took on their second pub – the Swan Inn – 10 years ago.

He said he is unsure how the win will “pan out” but there has already been interest from the local press.

“It is a lovely pub and I am there practically every day of my life. I love the place. It is on a village green with a river running through it in a classic country pub location. When you walk in, the bar has just got so much 'oldy worldy' charm and character,” he said.  

“My wife and I feel very privileged to be the guardians of this wonderful place.”

He said that hospitality is at the core of the offer.

“We have a really good team of people behind us who get the importance of customer service. We are serving good real ales that are well-looked-after and have a good, straight-forward food offer that is good value for money,” he said.

Editor of the guide Fiona Stapley said: “The pub itself is roses round the door but the people that run it have always been really hands-on. They really know their customers and know what their customers want. The food is amazing, the beer and wine is fantastic and it is a lovely place to stay.”

She also said that the readers of the guide write in and give feedback on pubs that they go to.

“It becomes obvious which are the pubs that everyone loves,” she said 

“This year it was very obvious. The pub is so well-run and they are such lovely people. They don’t just care about their pub they really care about their customers. They are the things that shine out.”

 

The Good Pub Guide 2018​ winners:  

PUB OF THE YEAR  

Kings Head Inn, Bledington, Oxfordshire

 

DINING PUB OF THE YEAR  

Stagg Inn, Titbury, Kington, Herefordshire 

 

NEW PUB OF THE YEAR  

Ebrington Arms, Ebrington, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire

 

OWN BREW PUB OF THE YEAR  

Church Inn, Upper Mill, Oldham, Lancashire

  

BEER PUB OF THE YEAR  

Fat Cat, Norwich, Norfolk

 

WHISKY PUB OF THE YEAR  

Bon Accord, Glasgow

 

WINE PUB OF THE YEAR  

Woods, Dulverton, Somerset

UNSPOILT PUB OF THE YEAR​  

Harrow Inn, Steep, Petersfield, Hampshire

 

TOWN PUB OF THE YEAR  

Wykeham Arms, Winchester, Hampshire

COUNTRY PUB OF THE YEAR

Brace of Pheasants, Plush, Dorchester, Dorset

  

INN OF THE YEAR  

Lord Crewe Arms, Blanchland, Northumberland 

 

VALUE PUB OF THE YEAR  

Drake Manor Inn, Buckland Monachorum, Yelverton, Devon

 

LICENSEES OF THE YEAR

Rob & Liz Alcock of the Longs Arms, South Wraxall, Wiltshire

  

BREWERY OF THE YEAR

Purity Brewing Co, Great Alne, Alcester, Warwickshire

        PUB GROUP OF THE YEAR​  

Individual Inns, Skipton, North Yorkshire

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