The Suffolk pubs rated as some of the best in the country

An exterior shot of The Unruly Pig

The Unruly Pig in Woodbridge has been awarded both ‘Dining Pub of the Year’ and ‘County Pub of the Year – Suffolk'. - Credit: Tim Bowden

Pubs up and down the county have spent the best part of 2020 pulling together and keeping communities fed during these strange times - and their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed locally, with more than 100 Suffolk inns listed in the 2021 Good Pub Guide.  

The Good Pub Guide is released annually, and shines a light on the nation’s best watering holes across a number of categories. Its findings are based on thousands of independent reviews and comprehensive updates. 

Thirteen pubs in Suffolk have been listed with a main entry, and an additional 108 are commended as ‘Also Worth A Visit’. 

Taking home two gongs this year is The Unruly Pig - as the Woodbridge-based gastro pub has been awarded both ‘Dining Pub of the Year’ and ‘County Pub of the Year – Suffolk'. 

Head chef Dave Wall says: “This is wonderful news. To have received just one award is a fantastic honour - but to then receive the news of a second national award for Best Dining Pub is just tremendous. What an amazing accolade. 

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“To say the very least, this pandemic has been difficult for the whole country, and certainly for all of us at The Unruly Pig. So, these awards are such a timely boost for such a hardworking and dedicated team. Team Unruly are all so proud of what they have achieved.”  

“Dave has done it again,” adds owner Brendan Padfield. “I am so proud of the whole team here, as well as Dave’s continued success and the many awards he wins”. 

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This year’s double win follows on from The Unruly Pig being listed as a Top Ten Pub for Wine in the guide’s 2020 edition. 

An exterior shot of The Fat Cat Pub in Ipswich

The Fat Cat in Ipswich specialises in real ale - Credit: The Fat Cat

Over in Ipswich, The Fat Cat on Spring Road has been listed as a one of the Top 10 Beer Pubs in the country.  

The pub, which specialises in real ale served from casks, was also featured in the 2020 edition of the guide as a Top 10 Beer Pub. 

The Fat Cat’s Liz Pledge says: “It’s fantastic to be featured in the guide for 2021, and it’s a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in the pub, as well as the customers who come back regularly to sample the many different real ales we serve. Having a chilled tap room, where the beers are served straight from the cask enable us to keep up to eighteen different ales on the go at busy times, which gives customers the kind of choice not found in many pubs. 

“Real ale or cask ale, and more recently, the newer craft ales have always been a talking point in the pub, and this, added to the quality of the products make a very successful combination.” 

The Kings Head (The Low House) in Laxfield has found itself on the country’s Top 10 Unspoilt Pubs of the Year, thanks to its picturesque, countryside surroundings. 

Owner Tim Woolnough says: “We’re very pleased to be listed, as we won the award last year. Every year we host beer festivals and a literary festival, which unfortunately we couldn’t do this year, but we’re looking forward to hopefully becoming Tier 1.” 

Additional pubs that have been listed from around the county include The White Horse in Sibton, which is celebrating yet another inclusion in the guide.  

Owner Neil Mason says: “It’s good news to hear that we’ve been listed for what must be our 12th year - especially in a time of crisis and need, where we need to be pulling in as many punters as we can. The good news though is the vaccine, and if that continues to roll out as expected, I can see 2021 being a strong year for us.” 

An exterior shot of The Turks Head in Hakeston

The Turks Head in Hakeston - Credit: Simply C Photography

The Turks Head in Haskeston has also made its way into the new guide, with owner Jemima Withey adding: “We are very proud to have been in the Good Pub Guide for several years now. At our heart, we are a proper pub with an excellent restaurant. We serve a range of well-kept local ales, and have an extensive gin list and wine list.  

“This year has been a challenge for everyone, and being in Tier 2 is not easy. However, we did have a wonderful summer. Guests really appreciated our wonderful front of house team, our great food and lovely garden. Next year we will be building eight bedrooms, another dining room and doubling the size of our kitchen, so the future looks exciting.” 

Another pub that has made the cut is The Anchor in Walberswick. Owner Mark Dorber and his team have worked tirelessly throughout lockdown, delivering takeaway food and drink to the local community, and he welcomes the 2021 guide listing.  

“2020 has been challenging in a way that nobody could have predicted, but we’re blessed with a very wonderful and willing group of people working with us, and a superb customer base. We’re always proud to be included in all guide books, and particularly the Good Pub Guide. 

A number of Adnams pubs across Suffolk also feature in the 2021 guide, including The Cross Keys in Aldeburgh, The Crown in Southwold, and The Bell Inn in Walberswick. Adnams’ director of properties Nick Attfield says: “2020 has been such a difficult year for hospitality, but recognition like this helps to remind us why we do what we do and gives us a great opportunity to celebrate with our wonderful customers.” 

An exterior shot of The Bell Inn in Walberswick

The Bell Inn, an Adnams pub in Walberswick - Credit: James Bedford

Fiona Stapley from The Good Pub Guide has spoken to landlords and publicans across the country. She adds: “Despite being battle-weary and worried sick about keeping their businesses up and running – I am pleased to say that these plucky and extraordinary people retain a spark of hope.  

“But it is imperative that we support them because the British pub is special. It is the beating heart and focal point of countless communities, where customers from all walks of life come together and where you can be sure of a warm welcome, a frothing pint and a friendly smile. It makes us happy to be there, and we have to do all we can to ensure their survival.” 

The full list of pubs featured can be found in the Good Pubs Guide 2021, which is out now.

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