Top 100 gastropubs 2022 revealed
Where are the best gastropubs in the UK? Discover who nabbed the top spot and where you should be booking. Spoiler: there are two Somerset pubs on the list and 16 in the West Country overall!
With the pandemic and all, the last two years have been hard on the hospitality industry, so The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards 2022, the industry’s gongs for gastropub greatness, feels more than just a pat of the back for an exceptional triple-cooked chip. It’s also about their drive to survive and celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of the great British pub that serves awesome grub.
The judges (100 of the UK’s top foodies and pub pros) have scoffed and quaffed between closures to bring you the best of the best, and we’re delighted to reveal that there are seven West Country winners in the Top 50 and a further nine in the Top 100. The top spot was taken by The Unruly Pig in Woodbridge, Suffolk, btw, with the other spots in the top five up country in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
So here they are, our wonderful West Country winners. Tried any on the list? Let us know what you thought in the comments below.
The Mariners, Rock, Cornwall (9)
A very slight drop for husband-and-wife team Paul and Emma Ainsworth from last year’s epic 5th place. The Mariners is the pair’s fifth site in North Cornwall with one of the best views in North Cornwall over the Camel Estuary. Go for eight tasty menu options, including À la Carte, Children, Collection, Cornish Cream Tea, Gluten-Free, Sunday Lunch, Vegan, and Vegetarian. Check out our Muddy review here.
The Cornish Arms, Tavistock, Devon (14)
A thriving gastro pub in the heart of town, so called as it was the last Coaching Inn before Cornwall. Dishes are unpretentious and great value (it also has a Bib Gourmand), and this is their well-deserved ninth consecutive year in the top 50, up four places from 2021.
Pyne Arms, near Barnstaple, Devon (17)
New one on the list last year and up an impressive 15 places for this family-run destination pub in the foothills of Exmoor. Owners Ellis and Amie Pannell been getting a lotta gongs for the last few years, including Trencherman’s, Gold in Taste of the West and the Devon Life Food & Drink Awards. Expect locally sourced food with a modern twist, including everything from Sunday roast to speciality fish.
The Masons Arms, Knowstone, Devon (22)
A Michelin-star holder for a whopping 15 years, The Masons Arms nabbed its place in the top 50 thanks to owners’ Mark and Sarah Dodson’s laser-eyed focus on local ingredients and creative presentation. And what a pretty spot it’s in – a thatched 13th century inn on the edge of Exmoor but with easy access from the Atlantic Highway too. Up 22 places from 2021 when it just sneaked into the top 50.
The Longs Arms, South Wraxall, near Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts (24)
Groaning under awards and numerous times a Michelin Bib Gourmand, this beautiful country pub serves up trad British grub, all homemade and home-smoked. Meat is sourced from Aubrey Allen – an ethical, welfare friendly supplier – so that’s another big fat Muddy tick.
The Swan Inn, Bampton, Devon (25)
A pretty, whitewashed pub in a historic town on the Somerset/Devon border, with a cabinet groaning under the weight of awards, run by husband-and-wife team Paul and Donna Berry (they also own Spelt just up the road). The pair more than make the most of their bucolic Exmoor location, promising – and delivering on – seasonal, regional ingredients, and top-notch customer service.
The Five Bells Inn, Clyst Hydon, near Cullompton, Devon (35)
Award-winning fine dining as well as trad pub classics in a sleepy Devon village. Run by husband and wife team James and Charlie Garnham, with head chef Charlotte Vincent (who has a Michelin-starred background) a serving up a fine dining/trad pub classics menu. Go girl! Read our review. Takeway service only until Mon 17 May.
The St Kew Inn, St Kew, Bodmin, Cornwall (36)
Up a whopping 42 places and bang into the top 50 for Muddy fave at St Kew. The address might say Bodmin, but it really isn’t – St Kew is a charming old village tucked into the beautiful countryside between the coast and the A39 and the pub is really just a village pub. The already good pub food has been lifted to the next level by woodfired chef, Andi Tuck. Dish highlights include ember-baked beetroot with whipped goats curd, wild chervil and burnt orange to start, followed by a cull Yaw ragu with lamb fat pagritta smoked old Winchester or Porthilly mussels with brown butter, sea greens, fries and sourdough.
Cadeleigh Arms, Cadeleigh, near Tiverton, Devon (48)
It’s all go for Nick and Tina who in true ‘keep calm and carry on’ fashion have been leaping up in the gastropub ranks since 2020. Ever aiming to showcase the best of the South West, the regularly changing local and sustainable menu includes old school favourites lovingly prepared, including Newlyn caught fish, Devon pork, Sunday roasts, and afternoon tea, along with options choice for littlies and vegans.
The White Post, Rimpton, Somerset/Dorset borders (51)
Equidistant between Yeovil and Sherborne, The White Post, run by chef Brett Sutton and partner Carly, straddles two counties and the views from the terrace are lovely. The inventive and eclectic modern British menu includes an a la carte with small plates (like the smoked salmon tacos, crispy prawns and BBQ chicken wings above), starters (truffled orecchiette with aged beef shin ragout or Cornish scallops, anyone?), mains (the TWP pork plate – pork every which way sounds intriguing), grilled meats and pub classics; a 7-course tasting menu (with a veggie version); and afternoon tea.
NEW: The Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn, Penzance, Cornwall (66)
In at 66 this year is Ben Tunnicliffe‘s place just behind the fish docks at Newlyn, where the catch of the day fresh off the boats is served alongside produce sourced from small local growers – highlights on his menu are fish soup with rouille and crostini; mussels in white wine, garlic and cream; and whole lemon sole with crushed Cornish earlies, French beans, capers and brown shrimp butter.
NEW: The Potting Shed Pub, Crudwell, near Malmesbury, Wilts (72)
Runner up in The Telegraph‘s Pub of the Year in 2020 this cosy village pub in the Cotswolds – all beams, woodburners and quirky touches like trowel door handles and butcher’s block tables -serves up top notch British pub nosh, including spectacular roasts, and local ales.
NEW: Port Gaverne Hotel, Port Gaverne, Nr Port Isaac (76)
There’s no mistaking the Port Gaverne Hotel, on the top 100 list for the first time after being a one to watch. David Barnard has been upping the hotel’s game for a while, and has managed to retain the pub-like feel whilst his head chef, James Lean, serves up excellent food, again making full use of the location and fish straight off the boat at Port Isaac.
The Kensington Arms, Redland, Bristol (80)
The Kenny is a proper neighbourhood pub (searching property in Redland on Rightmove, right now), serving up a menu of no frills, new era pub grub, designed by head chef Oscar Davies and Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton (Pony & Trap et al).
The Bath Arms at Longleat, Horningsham, near Warminster, Wilts (90)
Located on the edge of the Longleat Estate, this place is now part of the same stable as some of the region’s best gastropubs – The Talbot Inn in Mells, The Lord Poulett Arms in Hinton St George, The Beckford Arms in Tisbury, etc) – so no surprise to see it on the list. The beautifully restored inn serves up brilliant British classics and has 16 gorgeous rooms – and very handily, they’re offering a 25% discount on all stays between 1 Feb to 18 March.
The Cotley Inn, Wambrook, near Chard (95)
Owners Maddie and Ben travelled and worked in hospitality around the world before taking over the pub, nestled in a valley in the Blackdown Hills, in 2018. With a modern British/’refined’ comfort food menu that’s super local – it’s on the Cotley Estate and the livestock and game in the adjacent fields and woods may find their way onto your plate – the pub’s cosy in winter, has suntrap gardens and terrace in summer and glorious walks all year around. Read our review.