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Ten things that make the Earle Arms in Heydon, near Aylsham, one of the best pubs in Britain

PUBLISHED: 09:53 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 11:14 10 February 2017

Jo and Andrew Harrison-Taylor, landlords at the Earle Arms. Picture: David Bale

Jo and Andrew Harrison-Taylor, landlords at the Earle Arms. Picture: David Bale

David Bale

The Earle Arms on The Green, Heydon, near Aylsham, has been shortlisted for country pub of the year in the BBC Countryfile magazine awards.

The Earle Arms has been awarded joint second place in the 'Country Pub of the Year' 2017 competition. Picture: David Bale The Earle Arms has been awarded joint second place in the 'Country Pub of the Year' 2017 competition. Picture: David Bale

1) Barmaid Bridget Wadlow has served behind the bar for a stunning 46 years.

2) It dates back to the 17th century and Oliver Cromwell is believed to have visited while staying at nearby Heydon Hall.

3) Heydon is a very popular destination for filmmakers. The church and village green were used when the Go-Between was filmed in 1970. The ‘village idiot’ sketch with John Cleese was filmed for the Monty Python TV series in the village, in the early 1970s, and TV soap, Love on a Branch Line, in the 1990s. Comedy/drama A Cock and Bull Story, starring Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon and Gillian Anderson, TV production Vanity Fair in the 1970s and children’s TV series The Peppermint Pig are among some of the other features partly shot within its cul-de-sac confines.

4) The pub has been visited by film stars including the late Heath Ledger.

5) Chris Martin of Coldplay stayed in the village and visited the pub.

6) It’s renowned for its food - fresh fish in the summer, supplied by a local fisherman in Briston, and game from the Heydon estate, with partridge stew a particular favourite. Mr Harrison-Taylor is also the chef, and he’s renowned for his creative combinations of spices and sauces.

7) The pub is lit by candlelight rather than electricity, which makes it a popular destination, especially on Valentines’s Night.

8) Customers come from as far away as Swaffham and Downham Market.

9) Author and beer expert, Pete Brown, who picked the pub as one of the five nominees, said: “This foodie destination in a private village is a shared secret among its patrons, who will hate me for divulging it.

“With chickens roaming outside, foxes stuffed inside and a lifetime’s dedication to horse-racing filling the walls, it’s a gentle rural idyll.”

10) It has two open fires and a warm and charming atmosphere. With its picturesque buildings, tucked away location, traditional green and welcoming pub, Heydon has all the elements to make it the perfect village.

Vote for the pub here - www.countryfile.com/article/pub-year

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