THE Cholmondeley Arms pub in Cheshire is officially the UK’s best after it picked up the overall award at a prestigious event.

And that, according to co-owner Tim Bird, is reward for his staff’s hard work in re-establishing the pub, on the A49 near Malpas, after the Covid-19 pandemic.

He, co-owner Mary Mclaughlin and the pub’s whole team were at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse on Tuesday (September 19) to be named Best Rural Pub 2023 at the Great British Pub Awards.

But it soon turned out to be a double-boost as almost immediately, the pub – which is renowned for its 300-plus gins – was named the Best of all the Winners on the night.

“The announcement that we’d won the Best Rural Pub was the penultimate award and we were still quite giddy when the main one was announced because we’d already won,” said Tim.


“The next award was best for entertainment and that was a distraction but our general manager went off to call her husband as she was so delighted.

“But everyone had forgotten that Ed Bedington, chief judge, was back on stage to say which winner of all winners announced would be the best and with no fanfare, said the Cholmondeley Arms.

“We were quite moved – I had to gather myself a little bit as I was so proud.

“Winning things is a lovely thing and it was amazing for our team – it’s never been an easy pub to recruit to because of the geography.

“And also what it went through for the pandemic and what came after that, with the refurbishment, this is the reward for that challenging time.

“The Cholmondeley Arms can be held up as a beacon for rural pubs which need support and we’re now the custodians of this award, we can shine a light on rural pubs.

“Let’s make positive use of this award.”

Tim and Mary owns six pubs in Cheshire, and were up for two awards on the night, but admitted that he felt confident Cholmondeley would win because of what it means to people.

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He said: “I felt we had a good chance in both our awards but probably because Cholmondeley does epitomise a real rural pub.

“That was the award we were up for and it’s no better example of a pub that seems to be in the middle of nowhere, on the A49, but is everyone’s favourite meeting place.

“Plus you have a lot of local support in our neighbouring towns, in Whitchurch, and then the villages in Malpas and Wrenbury and the passing traffic for Manchester and Liverpool.

“We’ve been to awards in the past where hopes are dashed, but you have to go again and we had no idea we would win.”

Mr Bedington, who was awards chairman and editor of sponsor The Morning Advertiser, praised the pub.

He said: “The Cholmondeley Arms represents the pinnacle of all our winners – this is a pub that has a wow factor, that impresses anyone who crosses the threshold.”