The Swan in Bampton is the first winner of the annual AA Inn of the Year award, which appears in The Pub Guide 2020.
Six inns also debut in the new guide, including properties in the Northwest, Northeast, Midlands and the South which feature among a total of 20 first-time entries. A total of 309 pubs that classify as inns feature in this year’s guide.
According to the newly published guide, the award-winning Swan is “the classic English country inn” and the oldest pub in Bampton. “There is nothing contrived here, and it’s all built on hard graft and integrity,” says the guide. “The rooms are full of extras and underpinned by care and pride. Owners Paul and Donna have poured their heart and soul into the pub and are proud to be recognised for their efforts.”
Also winning an AA Pick of the Pubs in the 2020 Pub guide The Swan was originally used as accommodation by masons and other such craftsmen enlarging the local church in 1450 and, six moles from Exmoor National Park, is popular with walkers and cyclists.
The inns featured for the first time include:
- The Roebuck Inn, Mobberley, Cheshire
- The Dog and Gun Inn, Skelton, Cumbria
- The Lamb Inn, Crediton, Devon
- The Amble Inn, Amble, Northumberland
- The Star Inn, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
- The Anchor Inn & Boathouse, Worcester, Worcestershire
Worcester’s Anchor Inn and Boathouse overlooks the picturesque Diglis Marina on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, according to the guide, which says: “First time visitors to the city should definitely make it a part of their itinerary.”
The dog-friendly Star Inn in Woodstock has four guest bedrooms and is a 10-minute walk from Blenheim Palace. According to the guide, the grade II listed building has been restored to the style of a “petit hotel”.
The Lamb Inn in Sandford, Crediton is described as “a 16th-century coaching inn fully of character with plenty of period detail and a delightful sheltered garden”.
Skelton’s Dog and Gun Inn is described by the guide as “a smart dining pub where everything ion the menu is made on the premises.”
The Amble Inn in Northumberland is a brand new purpose-built pub that opened at the start of this year. It is “a stylish place to eat and drink,” according to the Pub Guide. “The menu offers a good selection of classic, pizza, steak and burgers, and a variety of draught beers, with rotating local cask ales.”
The Roebuck Inn in Mobberley is described by the guide as a “smartly renovated inn offering bistro dining”.
Simon Numphud, Managing Director at AA Hospitality and Hotel Services, said “As we see more pubs closing in Britain, it is encouraging to have record numbers of pubs being recommended for The Pub Guide, demonstrating the extent to which pubs have continued to improve the quality of their offerings. The establishments in this year’s Guide prove that there is a brilliant range of pubs across the country, offering fantastic service, drinks, and dining opportunities.”