Pub in Surrey Hills named best in the UK

A 16th century pub sat at the foot of the Surrey Hills has been named as the best in the UK, after it won the top title at the 2023 National Pub & Bar Awards.

The Running Horses in Mickleham was named the National Pub & Bar of the Year at the annual event on Wednesday 28 June, after judges commended the venue for its top-quality food and drink, meticulous attention to detail, and first-class hospitality.

Run by Manu Bhatt and Richard Brown, operators of the Little & Large Pub Company, the pub is owned by Brakspear and went through a transformative two-month refurbishment nearly two years ago. Under the experienced eyes of Bhatt and Brown, the pub’s reputation has since been lifted to the point of national recognition.

“Every single day, we’re trying to put on the best possible experience for all of our guests,” says Brown. “It is so nice to be recognised for the authentic hospitality that every member of our team delivers on a daily basis. That is what matters the most. For this award to acknowledge that is amazing, because we are perfectionists.”

Situated in the Surrey village of Mickleham, the pub is located at the bottom of Box Hill, a popular attraction for walkers and cyclists. Through centuries of modernisation, The Running Horses has stayed true to its roots, with 16th century touches featuring throughout the venue.

As well as a traditional bar area that serves perfectly kept beers and wines, the pub also boasts a glass-ceilinged restaurant, offering fresh, seasonal menus. There are also eight ensuite bedrooms upstairs.

The Running Horses is one of three sites within the Little & Large Pub Company’s portfolio, operated by Bhatt and Brown alongside The Queen’s Head in neighbouring town Dorking and The Talbott in south east London’s Brockley.

The Mickleham site was also one of 15 pubs to be named as the best in its Region, as 94 county-winning venues gathered at 30 Euston Square in London to celebrate some of the leading businesses in the industry.

Every year, the National Pub & Bar Awards brings together 94 pubs and bars from across the UK, each one having been awarded the title for the best in its county. From these, 15 Regional Winners are announced (see below) before the unveiling of the National Winner.

The 2023 National Pub & Bar Awards also saw four other accolades handed out. Pub Chef of the Year went to Chris Fordham-Smith from The Barley Mow in Mayfair; The Beech House scooped Pub Brand of the Year; BrewDog Waterloo was named Bar Brand of the Year; while the Heineken UK Sustainable Pub of the Year went to The Tollemache Arms in Harrington.

The National Pub & Bar Awards 2023 was sponsored by Heineken, ICRTouch, Kerrymaid, Lamb Weston, Loomis, Majestic Commercial, Mission Foods, Schweppes and Value for Venues.


The National Pub & Bar Awards 2023 Winners

National Pub & Bar of the Year – The Running Horses, Surrey

East Midlands – The Tollemache Arms, Northamptonshire

East of England – The Three Hills, Cambridgeshire

London – The Barley Mow, Mayfair, Greater London

North East – Three Mile, Tyne and Wear

North West – The Swan at Marbury, Cheshire

Northern Ireland – Hearth, Antrim

North West Scotland – Tigh An Truish, Argyll and Bute

North East Scotland – The Criterion, Fife

South East Scotland – The Scran & Scallie, City of Edinburgh

South West Scotland – The Electric Bar, North Lanarkshire

South East – The Running Horses, Surrey

South West – Bell & Crown, Wiltshire

Wales – The Old House 1147, Mid Glamorgan

West Midlands – The Red Lion, Long Compton, Warwickshire

Yorkshire and the Humber – The Fat Badger Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Pub Chef of the Year – Chris Fordham-Smith, The Barley Mow, Mayfair

Pub Brand of the Year – The Beech House

Bar Brand of the Year – BrewDog Waterloo

Heineken UK Sustainable Pub of the Year – The Tollemache Arms, Northamptonshire