Top Fifty…

This year’s prestigious Estrella Damm list has seen a number of well known establishments gain extensive praise and recognition

The distinguished Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list is always eagerly anticipated by the hospitality industry and this year it included some notable destinations in the Ribble Valley and a little further afield.

The Parkers Arms, the Freemasons, the Angel at Hetton and White Swan at Fence were all placed in the top 30 while the Cartford Inn, the Coach & Horses at Bolton-by-Bowland and the Three Fishes at Mitton were all mentioned.

The Parkers Arms at Newton-in-Bowland, which rose to the top of the list in 2023, was overtaken by the Unruly Pig in Suffolk, which took this year’s number one slot.

The Parkers, which took seventh slot this year, has maintained a position on the list for several years and in 2017 was awarded Highest Climber after shooting up 35 places from 48th to 13th. Then in 2020 it sprung into seventh place before climbing to fourth in 2021. In 2022 the pub sat in second place, climbing to the top spot in 2023.

This year the judges said: “The food here is honest, putting flavour and experience above all else, which should always be the case. This is a true gastropub, taking pride in the local produce.”

The food at the Freemasons at Wiswell, which came ninth in this year’s list, was likened to the ‘experimental meeting traditional’ and the judges said of chef Steve Smith: “Smith fuses locally sourced ingredients and his love of the classics with wild, sharp world flavours. In the hands of a lesser chef it could so easily go wrong but Smith pulls it off with professionalism and gusto.”

Michelin-star chef Michael Wignall heads up the Angel at Hetton, which came 13th this year. Just over the border in Yorkshire, it has for many years been a popular destination for Ribble Valley foodies.

The Michelin-starred White Swan at Fence, was described as ‘a very special place indeed serving some of the very best food in the region’.

The Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by the hospitality industry meaning the highly acclaimed venues on the list have been recognised as being the best in the business by the most influential people.

As well as the core one to 50 list of the best pubs, a 51-100 list was introduced in 2019 which further highlights culinary excellence within the industry.



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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