A WEST Oxfordshire pub has beaten thousands across the country to be crowned England’s best, writes Dan Hearn.

The Trout, at Tadpole Bridge, near Bampton, won the AA Hospitality Awards Pub of the Year title in front of 700 people at a ceremony in London.

Just three years ago, Gareth and Helen Pugh took over the pub — which suffered extensive damage during the 2007 floods.

Mrs Pugh said: “We are absolutely delighted and completely taken aback.

“It is a testament to all the hard work put in by all our wonderful staff.

He added: “The ceremony was fantastic, a lovely occasion for us.” The AA Hospitality Awards honour the best hotels, restaurants, and pubs in the UK.

The couple received their award from newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.

AA Hotel Services group area manager, Giovanna Grossi, said: “We selected The Trout because this delightful historic property features top notch inn-keeping, great food, a great range of cask ales, and beautifully appointed accommodation.

“It has been difficult to make the final decisions this year, as we have seen some exceptional candidates.” “But we are confident that the best establishments have been selected.”