The finalists have been announced for the Pub of the Year award, sponsored by Everard Cole, at the East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024.

This award recognises pubs that make a significant contribution to tourism in their area, with a food and drink offering that includes quality locally sourced produce. 

The Angel at Watlington

The Angel is a dining pub located in Watlington, just outside of King’s Lynn, Norfolk.

The pub was taken over by current landlords Emily Phipps and Richard Crouch in 2018 after a huge period of disruption which saw it have four different sets of landlords in 12 months.

Emily and Richard started by organising a huge refurbishment process, with an aim to create a space where customers could drink, dine or just while away the hours in a pleasant and inclusive environment.

The pub secured its first AA rosette in October 2022 and a second rosette in November 2023. It was also a finalist in two categories at the 2022 Great British Pub Awards.

The Angel’s target market is people who enjoy good food that’s cooked to order and as locally sourced and seasonal as possible. The majority of the team have worked at the pub for over three years.

The judges praised the “wonderful” greeting they received from all staff, which made them “feel as welcome as old friends”.

They said the food “surpassed all expectations in quality and taste – all accompanied by exquisite presentation and attention to detail”.

Eastern Daily Press: The Lion in East Bergholt, SuffolkThe Lion in East Bergholt, Suffolk (Image: Sarah Wilson)

The Lion

Situated in East Bergholt, Suffolk, The Lion recently became the “only inn in the village” after adding five boutique B&B rooms.

Known for its outstanding food and service, the pub sees itself as a home from home for families, tourists, couples and anyone who appreciates the finer things in life.

Owner Jonathan Peachey lived next door to the The Lion with his young family, and when the venue came up for sale, he seized the opportunity to create a base for locals and tourists to explore ‘Constable Country’.

After a three-year renovation, The Lion eventually reopened in September 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. Originally built in the 1760s, painstaking measures were taken to ensure the renovations were as environmentally sensitive as possible, while tending to and restoring the charm and character of many of the pub’s original features.

The Lion prides itself on using fresh, local produce and has built a great reputation for excellent seafood dishes, from mussels to daily catches of the day.

Describing the pub as “exceptionally inviting from the outside”, the judges said they were “met with a warm welcome and a cosy, buzzing atmosphere”.

They commended the “extensive” menu, with all seasonal produce sourced within a 30-mile radius, adding that their dishes were “beautifully presented” and the quality of the food “outstanding”.

Eastern Daily Press: The Three Horseshoes in Fordham, EssexThe Three Horseshoes in Fordham, Essex (Image: Phil Carey)

The Three Horseshoes

The Three Horseshoes is a family-run restaurant and country pub in Fordham, Essex, which was recently awarded two AA Rosettes and a place in the Michelin Guide.

The current owners completed the purchase of the Grade II listed pub in December 2020, just before the third lockdown.

They opened a takeaway offer on January 1, 2021, which grew from strength to strength and reached over 90 covers in one service. In late January 2021, the pub opened a coffee shop in the porch, moving it to an adjacent garage in April 2021. It was renovated and rebranded as The Coffee Shed in April 2023.

The garden and pub/restaurant finally opened in April and May 2021, and it now has a huge following from the local community and visitors to the area, attracting all age groups, couples, groups of friends, corporates and families.

The judges said it was evident from first entering The Three Horseshoes that it was “an establishment that enjoyed entertaining all who entered”.

They added that “service was second to none with staff delighting in engaging with customers”.

Describing the food as “impressive”, the judges said their starters “could easily have jumped out from a fine dining magazine, such was the beauty of the presentation”.

The winner of the Pub of the Year award will be announced at the East of England Tourism Awards ceremony at Snape Maltings, Suffolk on Thursday, February 15. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the event, please visit

To see the finalists in all categories, click here.