North West gastro pubs are big winners

Parkers Arms team celebrate

North West gastro pubs score very highly in a prestigious list released this week.

Country walkers out this weekend might be best advised to book ahead at some of those listed.

The Parkers Arms in Clitheroe secured top spot in Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list 2023. Having been voted number two last year and now topping this year’s makes for an exciting achievement for the female-owned pub, headed up by Kathy Smith and Stosie Madi. Set deep in the Lancashire hills, Parkers Arms is called ‘a little gem’ and is a true gastropub which takes pride in sourcing local produce from the very best suppliers.

Voted at number three, Freemasons at Wiswell, set in the quaint Ribble Valley village, is just a few miles up the road from the Parkers Arms and blends the ultimate gastronomic experience in a stylish, relaxed atmosphere.

The White Swan in the village of Fence, close to Burnley, at 7th, makes it a remarkable treble for Lancashire.

Landing at 18th spot is the Pack Horse at Hayfield in the Peak District, a particular favourite of walkers who will have come off the wildness of Kinder Scout to enjoy their signature Manchester Egg.

One of the judges, Thom Hetherington of Holden Media, told “I think for most foodies The Top 50 Gastropubs list is possibly the most balanced, accurate, credible and – crucially – useful and accessible list out there. It’s for everyone, and as such it makes a big difference to the operators too.

“My local, The Pack Horse, is in the upper echelons of the list on merit. Luke is a tremendous cook, and his cooking is a glorious, gutsy take on contemporary British cuisine. But crucially The Pack Horse is also still a pub – turn up for a pint, in muddy boots, bring your dog, join the pub quiz. It’s a gastronomic temple that still sits proudly at the heart of its village community, and I’m delighted that the list exists to recognise that.”

Overall the North as a whole claimed 16 of the top 50 spots.

Top 50 Gastropubs Publisher, Chris Lowe, said: “We are thrilled to see such a strong list of contenders this year, including five new entrants! The Top 50 Gastropubs provides a space for food and drink lovers the opportunity to explore the best that the UK has to offer.”

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