The Cross Keys in Wallingford is the best pub in Oxfordshire

​The Cross Keys in Wallingford has received the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) gong for best pub ahead of the White Horse in Banbury, the Royal Blenheim in Oxford and the Kings Arms in Wantage, which came second, third and fourth respectively. 

The winning venue is a grade-two listed traditional pub with the warm and inviting interior sectioned into three different rooms with a small snug area.

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David and Emma Howse, who run the Wallingford’s wet-led Oak Taverns pub, will now go forward to the regional final.

They will be alongside the winners from Berkshire, the Bell in Aldworth, and Buckinghamshire, which was the Kings Arms in Tring which was selected despite being located in Hertfordshire. 

Mr Howse said: “We were over the moon to find out we had won the CAMRA best pub in Oxfordshire, voted by members of CAMRA.

“We have been running for two years and we have an amazing team who go above and beyond to make people feel welcome.

“We have numerous events throughout the year including a beer and cider festival and a festival just dedicated to cider.  

“We also have a rum and reggae day, as well as being the original home of Bunkfest.” 

Bunkfest started 22 years ago and is a free-access community festival providing a unique, family-friendly celebration for Wallingford. 

Mr Howse said the continuously changing beer line-up was the “key to keeping people on their toes” while the array of events kept people coming back. 

David Cooper, editor of SoxonAle and a branch pub preservation officer, said the Cross Keys was a “clear winner” of the South Oxfordshire CAMRA branch pub of the year award in March against the Bird in Hand in Henley, the Black Horse in Checkendon, the Red Lion in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell and the Spire and Spoke in Watlington.

He said the Wallingford venue was also voted the  branch’s cider pub of the year.

He said the winners of the regional final stage would go on to compete against the other regional pubs of the year to become the national champion.

The Cross Keys is owned by Oak Taverns, based in Thame, as is the Kings Arms in Wantage, and last year’s South Oxfordshire branch pub of the year, The George in Sutton Courtenay.

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