'An incredible shock': Norfolk pub named best in Britain

Owners of the Brisley Bell, Amelia Nicholson and Marcus Seaman. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Owners of the Brisley Bell, Amelia Nicholson and Marcus Seaman. - Credit: Archant

The owners of a Norfolk pub said it was an “incredible shock” when they were awarded the title of the best pub in Britain. 

The Brisley Bell, in The Green, Brisley, was named Great British Pub of the Year at the Great British Pub Awards in London last month. 

It comes after its owners Marcus Seaman and Amelia Nicholson won the best the beer garden category which automatically put them in the running for the overall prize.  

The Brisley Bell in Norfolk awarded the title of best British pub.

The owners of The Brisley Bell in Norfolk said it was an “incredible shock” when they were awarded the title of best British pub. - Credit: Marcus Seaman

Mr Seaman, 49, said they never imagined that they could have won.  

“We didn’t think we had a chance of winning," he said. “It’s really humbling. I didn’t think for one second that we are the best pub in Britain, but the powers that be did. 

“There were 11 other incredibly amazing businesses on show and category winners in their own right. It was an incredible shock. 

“We put it down to the people, to our customers, who we think are amazing and to our staff. We have 35 staff and they are all brilliant. We have some seriously talented chefs, front of house and gardeners.

"The award really goes to them.” 

The Brisley Bell in Norfolk awarded the title of best British pub.

Amelia Nicholson and Marcus Seaman, the owners of The Brisley Bell in Norfolk, said it was an “incredible shock” when they were awarded the title of best British pub. - Credit: Marcus Seaman

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In lockdown Mr Seaman looked into his family tree and discovered that his great, great, great grandfather, Robert Englebright, had been publican at the very same pub from 1851 to 1882. 

Unbeknown to the couple, they bought the pub - which was in a derelict state - in February 2017 and spent more than a year on renovation works. 

With its “real country bar”, award-winning beer garden and fresh local produce, the pub has been a massive hit with locals and those visiting the area.  

Set in almost two acres of grounds, there is also a choice of six en-suite bedrooms built inside of converted cattle barns.  

The Brisley Bell in Norfolk awarded the title of best British pub.

The owners of The Brisley Bell in Norfolk said it was an “incredible shock” when they were awarded the title of best British pub. - Credit: Marcus Seaman

“When we put the whole project together,” Mr Seaman said. “We wanted to create an atmosphere that was welcoming to drinkers but also just as appealing to the couples coming for a romantic evening. It's about balance.  

“We try hard to cater for all aspects of life, whether it's someone popping in for a pint or coming for a special occasion. I'm really proud of that aspect of the pub. 

“We just want to keep improving our offering, focus on what we do and try to do it better. We have only been doing it for four years, so we still have a lot to learn.” 

The Brisley Bell in Norfolk awarded the title of best British pub.

The owners of The Brisley Bell in Norfolk said it was an “incredible shock” when they were awarded the title of best British pub. - Credit: Marcus Seaman

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