A FAMILY-RUN pub in the Hampshire countryside has been deemed the south east's best at the 2022 National Pub & Bar Awards.

The Cricketers Inn fought off competition from seven other pubs to scoop the award during a ceremony in London on June 22.

Judges praised the venue on the night for drawing in families, friends, couples and locals with its well-kept ales, play area and warm welcome.

The historic pub in Curdridge features a traditional bar, restaurant, large beer garden, newly built pavilion barn complete with covered outdoor seating and a wood-fired pizza oven.

The ownership team, which is made up of three families from the village, took over the pub in July 2020 with landlords Stuart and Sally Downie at the helm.

Since then, they have heavily invested in the pub, landscaping the garden to include patio seating, a secure play area for children, a complete renovation of the kitchen and a new outdoor pavilion barn with seating and a new wood-fired oven imported from Italy.

Stuart said: “We are ecstatic to have won the regional award. This goes to our team who have worked tremendously hard over the last two years. It gives them the recognition they deserve.

“We have a passion for hospitality and for trying to improve day by day. The company has heavily invested in the pub and are grateful for our returning customers during what has been a challenging two years."

The Cricketers Inn was one of 15 pubs to be named as the best in their respective regions, as 94 county-winning venues gathered to celebrate some of the leading businesses in the industry.

As with previous years, the National Pub & Bar Awards brought together 94 pubs and bars from across the UK, each one having been awarded the title for the best in their county. From these, 15 Regional Winners were selected.

The 2022 National Pub & Bar Awards also saw five other accolades handed out. Unilever Pub Chef of the Year went to Andy Link of The Riverside in Aymestrey; Bartender of the Year was won by Harry Featherstone from The Red Lion in Cranford; Bowland Beer Hall in Clitheroe won Kegstar’s Taproom of the Year; Brewhouse & Kitchen, which has a location in Portsmouth, scooped Pub Brand of the Year; while Revolution was named Bar Brand of the Year.

The Frogmill – a 16th century pub located in the heart of the Cotswolds – was crowned the UK’s best, with the Brakspear-owned venue taking home the top prize of National Pub & Bar of the Year.

The competition was sponsored by Cawston Press, graze, Hellmann's, Kegstar, Lamb Weston, Kingfisher, Knorr, The Real English Drinks Distillery and St. Pierre.