Two country pubs within hour of Birmingham named best in Midlands and UK

Stacey C. Slagle

With their historic beams and age-old rural charm, two historic country pubs within an hour of Birmingham have been named the best in the Midlands and nationwide. They impressed judges to clinch titles at the 2022 National Pub & Bar Awards.

The 16th Century pub, The Frogmill in Shipton Oliffe, in the Cotswolds, was named the best pub in the country. Full of character, the recently renovated dog-friendly hotel is in a stunning stone country inn.

While The Riverside at Aymestrey, near Leominster, close to the Worcestershire border off the M5, was named the best pub in the West Midlands. Its chef Andy Link was also named the best pub chef in the country at the annual awards ceremony this week.

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Both The Riverside at Aymestrey and The Frogmill were among just 15 pubs to win a coveted regional prize. They then went head to head for the national title with The Riverside just missing out.

Nestled in the Cotswolds village of Shipton Oliffe, The Frogmill is on the outskirts of Cheltenham. The pub’s team was praised for its “flawless operation, attention to detail and genuine hospitality”.



The Frogmill was named best in the country at the National Pub and Bar Awards 2022
The Frogmill was named best in the country at the National Pub and Bar Awards 2022

It’s not just a traditional bar but has a restaurant and boutique bedrooms to stay the night. The Frogmill has also become a sought-after venue for weddings in the region for its views over landscaped gardens and rolling hills.

Simon Stanbrook, general manager at The Frogmill, said: “I’m completely overwhelmed. We have an eye for detail and want to give our visitors a warm welcome.

“It’s part of the mantra of Honeycomb Houses — treat your team like family, your guests like friends and the houses like homes. We welcome people as you would in your own home.”

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It’s a success story for Brakspear, which bought up The Frogmill in 2016 and did major renovations before reopening it in 2018.

The Riverside at Aymestrey is a food-led pub and country inn and impressed with its menus that use locally sourced and foraged ingredients. “It’s a real celebration of its local area,” said awards organisers.

Unilever Pub Chef of the Year went to Andy Link of The Riverside in Aymestrey who heads up a menu that includes dishes like Herefordshire Snails, Cured River Trout and Barley Risotto.



The Riverside in Aymestrey near Leominster and its chef Andy Link, who was named Unilever Pub Chef of the Year
The Riverside in Aymestrey near Leominster and its chef Andy Link, who was named Unilever Pub Chef of the Year

The pub boasts: “Everything at The Riverside is made and cooked freshly on-site; including our stone-ground spelt bread, hay and meadowsweet ice creams and lavender fudge.”

List of all the National Pub & Bar Awards 2022 winners for each region

National venue of the year – The Frogmill, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Unilever Pub Chef of the Year – Andy Link, The Riverside at Aymestrey

East Midlands – The Radcliffe, Nottinghamshire

East of England – Galvin Green Man, Essex

London – Blue Boar Pub, Greater London

North East – Three Mile, Tyne and Wear

Read all the latest food and drink stories for the region here

North West – The Black Bull, Sedbergh, Cumbria

Northern Ireland – Granny Annie’s, Derry

North West Scotland – Macgochans Pub & Kitchen, Argyll and Bute

North East Scotland – Vic St Andrews, Fife

South East Scotland – Malones Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh

South West Scotland – The Upstairs Bar at Ubiquitous Chip, City of Glasgow

South East – The Cricketers Inn, Curdridge, Hampshire

South West – The Frogmill, Gloucestershire

Wales – The West Arms Country Inn, Clwyd

West Midlands – The Riverside at Aymestrey, Herefordshire

Yorkshire and the Humber – The Punch Bowl, Marton-cum-Grafton, North Yorkshire

Bartender of the Year – Harry Featherstone, The Red Lion, Cranford

Kegstar Taproom of the Year – Bowland Beer Hall, Clitheroe

Pub Brand of the Year – Brewhouse & Kitchen

Bar Brand of the Year – Revolution

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