East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022: Pub of the Year finalists

The Alma Inn & Dining rooms in Harwich, Essex

Judges praised the excellent food and drink at the Alma Inn & Dining rooms in Harwich, Essex - Credit: Anthony Cullen

The finalists have been announced for the Pub of the Year award, sponsored by Everard Cole, at the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022.

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. 

Alma Inn and Dining Rooms

The Alma Inn and Dining Rooms has served the coastal town of Harwich in Essex since the 1850s, although the building dates back to the 16th century. For the last 11 years, it has been owned by Nick May, who bought it as a closed pub and brought it back to life.

Food is served seven days a week, with the majority of produce sourced locally. The bar also stocks a variety of local ales and gins. The pub is currently being expanded to provide more dining and sleeping space.

The judges praised the “excellent” food and drink at the Alma Inn, which they said had a great atmosphere. They added that all members of the team were friendly and helpful. 

A plate of food served at the Angel in Watlington, Norfolk

The Angel at Watlington puts a large emphasis on the locality of its food menu - Credit: Emily Phipps

The Angel at Watlington

The Angel is a dining pub located in the Norfolk village of Watlington, just outside King’s Lynn. Since taking over the pub in October 2018, the current owners have overseen a complete refurbishment programme to give it a new look both inside and out, while also updating the menu and drinks offer.

The pub puts a large emphasis on the locality of the menu and endeavours to work with local suppliers and support other local businesses wherever it can.

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Judges described the food at The Angel as “absolutely delicious” and said they felt thoroughly relaxed in the friendly atmosphere of the pub. They also praised the friendly and attentive service.

The alfresco dining area at The Kings Head in Bawburgh, Norfolk

An alfresco dining area was added to The Kings Head in Bawburgh in 2020 - Credit: Kings Head Bawburgh

Kings Head Bawburgh

Situated in the Norfolk village of Bawburgh, The Kings Head is a 17th century freehouse inn and restaurant with six boutique B&B rooms and two luxury self-catering apartments. The pub has been owned by Anton Wimmer and his family for over 38 years.

An alfresco dining area was added to the pub in 2020, and there are now plans to extend the kitchen and add more B&B rooms, plus a new snug in the bar.

The judges felt there was a real emphasis on seasonal, fresh produce from local suppliers at The Kings Head. They also highlighted the well-maintained exterior and very clean interior with rustic decor and hangings in keeping with the pub’s theme. 

The all-weather luxury garden tipi at the Weeping Willow in Barrow, Suffolk

The all-weather luxury garden tipi at the Weeping Willow in Barrow, Suffolk - Credit: Chestnut


The Weeping Willow

Located in the Suffolk village of Barrow, The Weeping Willow is part of Chestnut, a collection of 15 pubs, inns, and restaurants in East Anglia.

Named the most Instagrammable pub in East Anglia, the 16th century pub has been restored into a modern country restaurant and bar with a wide choice of drinking and dining areas, including a glazed sun room and an all-weather luxury garden tipi. It offers an extensive drinks menu and British menu seven days a week.

The judges said the pub’s food and drink presentation was superb. They also praised the “imaginative” menu that drew predominantly from local ingredients, with references to specific farms in the area. 

The pub garden at The Lion in Thurne, Norfolk

The Lion is located in the picturesque Broadland village of Thurne in Norfolk - Credit: Ricky Malt


The Lion at Thurne 

The Lion is located in the picturesque Broadland village of Thurne and is said to offer the biggest range of beer and cider on the Norfolk Broads. It is also home to Pell & Co Spirits, which produces a selection of small-batch gins and other spirits.

The pub has been under current ownership for four years, expanding in that time to include greenhouse dining pods and external covered areas, as well as takeaways that helped it stay afloat during lockdowns and have continued all-year round.

The judges had an “excellent experience” at The Lion, praising the quality of the food and the “faultless” service from the welcoming and attentive staff.  

The winners of the East of England Tourism Awards 2021-2022 will be announced at a black-tie event held at Imperial War Museum Duxford on Thursday, February 24.