There are so many wonderful pubs in Britain that to pick the absolute best amongst our list of Top Ten is not an easy task… But as every aspect of this pub is first class, the Olive Branch in Clipsham (Leicestershire & Rutland) is Pub of the Year 2021 Olive Branch, Clipsham, LEICESTERSHIRE The Olive…

There are so many wonderful pubs in Britain that to pick the absolute best amongst our list of Top Ten is not an easy task… But as every aspect of this pub is first class, the Olive Branch in Clipsham (Leicestershire & Rutland) is Pub of the Year 2021

Olive Branch, Clipsham, LEICESTERSHIRE

The Olive Branch is a really special place for a drink, a meal or an overnight stay.  It’s a perennially successful inn which attracts a deservedly loyal following from both near and far, and will celebrate its 21st anniversary this December.  In addition to being awarded Pub of the Year 2021, The Olive Branch is also Leicestershire Dining Pub of the Year 2021.

The rest of our Top Ten Pubs of 2021

Cock, Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire

This excellent pub located in a delightful village on the River Ouse is considered by many readers as their favourite – quite an accolade! One feature we particularly like in a place that serves first class food is that
they’ve sensibly kept the public bar (on the left) for drinking only. Real ales on handpump include Adnams Southwold and Brewsters Hophead, plus 25 wines by the glass mainly from the Languedoc-Roussillon region, eight gins (one very local) and Cromwell cider (made in the village).

Old Coastguard, Mousehole, Cornwall

This well run inn on the edge of an old fishing village is a charming (and very popular) place to stay, with 14 comfortable bedrooms offering views towards St Michael’s Mount and the Lizard. The bar rooms have boldly coloured walls hung with paintings of sailing boats and local scenes. St Austell Tribute and a couple of guests such as Padstow Windjammer on handpump, 25 wines by the glass or carafe, a big choice of gins, vodkas and whiskies, a farm cider and a good choice of soft drinks.

Bell at Horndon-on-the-Hill, Essex

This popular 15th-c coaching has been run by the same friendly family for more than 80 years. It’s a first class all-rounder where customers are treated with great care and respect, and we’ve had nothing but glowing reports on it from our readers over the years. An impressive range of drinks includes Crouch Vale Brewers Gold, Greene King IPA, Leigh on Sea Cockle Row Spit and Renown and Sharps Doom Bar on handpump, 24 gins and over 114 well chosen wines (16 by the glass).

Kings Head in Bledington, Gloucestershire

In a picturesque location opposite the green in a tranquil village, this smart yet cosy inn charms readers year after year – it’s a winner in every way. Attentive, welcoming staff serve Hook Norton Hooky and guests from breweries such as Butcombe, Prescott, Purity and Wye Valley on handpump, a super wine list with 15 by the glass, an excellent choice of malt whiskies and gins.

Inn at Whitewell at Whitewell, Lancashire

This elegant and sprawling manor house cuts an imposing silhouette against the surrounding landscape with spectacular views across the water to the Forest of Bowland.  The pubby main bar has roaring log fires in attractive stone fireplaces and heavy curtains on sturdy wooden rails. Drinks include a marvellous wine list of around 230 wines with 26 by the glass (there’s also an excellent on-site wine shop), 24 whiskies, eight gins, a fine selection of soft drinks, and Black Sheep, Moorhouses Blonde Witch, Timothy Taylors Landlord and Tirril Ullswater Blonde on handpump.

Rose & Crown in Snettisham, Norfolk

With well trained, friendly staff, a fine range of drinks, excellent food and stylish bedrooms it is hardly surprising that this lovely inn remains a firm favourite with so many customers. There are stools against the bar where locals enjoy real ales such as Adnams Broadside and Southwold, Eagle IPA, Woodfordes Wherry and a regularly changing guest on handpump; also, a dozen wines by the glass, around 20 gins (including local ones), seasonal cocktails and jugs of sangria, local cider and fresh fruit juices.

Rose & Crown at Romaldkirk, Northumbria

This is a lovely, handsome old inn standing next to St Romald’s Church on the edge of the village green – you can see the original stocks and water pump from the picnic-sets out front. The beamed bar area has old-fashioned seats facing a warming log fire, a Jacobean oak settle, a grandfather clock, brass hunting horns and old farm tools and black and white pictures of Romaldkirk on the walls. Black Sheep, Marstons Wainwright and a changing guest ale on handpump, seven wines by the glass from a good list, 20 malt whiskies and 16 gins.

Woods in Dulverton, Somerset

This special place is a hit with readers year after year. It draws a lovely mix of both drinkers and diners, and the atmosphere is gently civilised yet informally friendly. The pub is on the edge of Exmoor, so there are plenty of sporting prints on salmon pink walls. The marvellous drinks choice includes two or three beers tapped from the cask (such as Dartmoor Legend and Exmoor Ram), farm cider, many sherries and some unusual spirits – but it’s the stunning wine list that draws the most attention. Mr Groves reckons he could put 1,000 different wines up on the bar and will open any of them (for a price) for just a glass. He’s there every night and will happily chat to tables of restaurant customers about any wines they might be interested in.

Durham Ox in Crayke, Yorkshire

Set within a lovely little village, this friendly 17th-c coaching inn is a good all-rounder, popular with both locals and visitors. The old-fashioned lounge bar has antique tables, seats and settles on flagstones and pictures and photographs on dark red walls. Drinks include Black Sheep Bitter, Timothy Taylors Boltmaker, York Guzzler and a guest on handpump, 20 wines by the glass, a dozen malt whiskies and interesting spirits including a locally made gin named for the pub.