Nominations open in competition to celebrate Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub

From left: Simon Theakston, Brian Turner, Simon Parker and Sir Gary Verity at last year's Great Yorkshire Show where Mr Parker's pub, The White Swan in Ampleforth, was named Yorkshire's Favourite Pub. Picture by Richard Walker/www.imagenorth.net
From left: Simon Theakston, Brian Turner, Simon Parker and Sir Gary Verity at last year's Great Yorkshire Show where Mr Parker's pub, The White Swan in Ampleforth, was named Yorkshire's Favourite Pub. Picture by Richard Walker/www.imagenorth.net
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They are at the heart of Yorkshire’s communities as well as the county’s £8bn tourism industry. Pubs play a crucial social role and come in all sizes and guises, from traditional ale houses to gastro-pubs with rooms.

Pubgoers are spoilt for choice across the region but now is the time to hone in on your favourites, with the launch of Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub competition 2018.

The White Swan, Ampleforth, the 2017 competition winner.

The White Swan, Ampleforth, the 2017 competition winner.

The annual contest, run by Welcome to Yorkshire in partnership with The Yorkshire Post, invites members of the public to vote for their favourite pub and competition will undoubtedly prove to be fierce once again as last year a total of 700 pubs were nominated.

The list of nominees is put to a panel of judges to whittle down to a shortlist, and the panel’s top 30 pubs will feature in Welcome to Yorkshire’s Ale Trail. At this point, members of the public will be given the chance to vote for the overall winner.

A record 18,500 people voted in last year’s competition, in which The White Swan in Ampleforth was declared the winner at Welcome to Yorkshire’s stand at the Great Yorkshire Show in July.

The Royal Oak in Ripon came second and The Carpenter’s Arms in Felixkirk, a previous winner of the competition, came third.

The Royal Oak in Ripon which came second in last year's competition.

The Royal Oak in Ripon which came second in last year's competition.

Simon Parker, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the pub trade, bought The White Swan in 2016 and had only been behind the bar for 14 months when his pub was named as the region’s favourite at the 159th Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate last summer.

He was presented the award at the show by celebrity chef Brian Turner and on winning the competition, Mr Parker accepted the accolade on behalf of his newly assembled team of staff.

“It is simply all about your staff,” he told The Yorkshire Post.

The White Swan has also been finalist in Welcome to Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards and the Flavours of Herriot Awards.

This year, people have until Thursday, May 17 to vote for their favourite pub and the winning pub and two runners up will be announced at the 160th Great Yorkshire Show on Tuesday, July 10.

Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, is expecting another strong contest for the top title again this year because of the high quality of pubs that have earned fantastic reputations with locals and visitors alike across the region.

“This is always a closely-fought battle because there are so many potential worthy winners here in Yorkshire,” Sir Gary said.

“We are lucky to have some truly fantastic pubs boasting great beer, incredible food, and a welcoming atmosphere that brings communities and visitors together.”

He urged people to make sure that their favourite pub is in the running for the award, as the nomination process launches today.

“It is great that the public can get involved and nominate their much-loved pub, so if you have a favourite, get behind them and cast your vote,” he said.

The Royal Oak in Ripon, a lovingly renovated 18th century coaching inn, came second in last year’s competition and in doing so topped the third placed finish it had achieved in 2015.

This year is owner Adrian Sykes’ fifth year at the helm and the pub’s general manager, Kathryn Rand, said that they hoped to be in with a chance of finally clinch top spot this time around.

“To come top three out of all the pubs in Yorkshire is a really good achievement and coming second in the competition last year brought a lot of people in,” she said.

Explaining The Royal Oak’s appeal, Ms Rand said: “We have hotel rooms as well and so we get a lot of people coming in who stay with us.

“We are classed as a traditional pub with real ales. We serve food, but not typical pub grun, we have had AA rosettes for our food.

“In the last year we have tried to spruce the place up a bit.”

Previous winners of the hotly-contest competition include The Bull Inn, an old traditional country inn set on the banks of the River Ure in West Tanfield north of Ripon.

The Fleece Inn, overlooking Ripponden in the village of Barkisland is another past winner, as well as The Woolly Sheep Inn, which lies in the heart of Skipton and has since added a newly refurbished beer garden.

Last year’s third placed pub, The Carpenter’s Arms in the village of Felixkirk, on the outskirts of Thirsk, which offers ten ensuite bedrooms as well as classic British dining, has also clinched the title before.

To nominate your pick for Yorkshire’s Favourite Pub, visit the competition webpage at Yorkshire.com/pub.