Fitz-Ext-DayThe Fitzherbert Arms in Swynnerton has been voted as the ‘Best Newcomer’ in the prestigious Sawday’s Pubs & Inns Guide of England & Wales. The award comes after the Fitzherbert saw off competition from more than 800 pubs also featured in the guide.

The Fitzherbert Arms, located on Lord Stafford’s estate, re-opened in February this year after a period of significant restoration work that saw the famous 19th Century pub restored to its former glory as a lovely, quintessential village pub that oozes character and charm.

Tim Bird, owner of Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars who operate the Fitzherbert Arms, comments; “With nearly 800 pubs featured in this year’s guide, winning an award so soon after opening is a fantastic achievement for the team. What’s more important however is to see the positive response we’ve had from customers and to see such a famous old pub thriving again.”

PUB13-coverThe judges were impressed with the pub’s enticing décor, featuring creative interiors and pieces such as a blacksmith forge and unique anvil tables. The guide also praises the mix of customers from dog-walkers and ale-drinkers to those who have travelled from further afield to enjoy the quality food and impressive range of ports.

Other highlights featured include the beautiful open-plan feel, warmed by three cosy fires, a ‘friendly vivacious team’ as well as the platefuls of flavoursome food ranging from seafood platters, steak and stout pies, crumbles, brownies and port-poached pears all served on old fashioned tables.

The Fitzherbert Arms was also praised for its range of drinks that include 30 different ports (more than any other pub in the country), 16 wines by the glass and a real cider as well as four cask ales from within a 35 mile radius of the pub. There is a cosy snug, a private dining room and a charming outside summer terrace.

Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin operate seven country pubs, five in Cheshire, one in Dorset and now one in Staffordshire and have won numerous awards for restoring pubs of great heritage and character. Their estate includes the award winning and lovingly restored Cholmondeley Arms on Lord Cholmondeley’s estate, The Church Inn and Bull’s Head in Mobberley and The Red Lion in Weymouth. Their latest venture, the Roebuck Inn in Mobberley, has also now opened to offer a boutique Bistro with six eclectic rooms.



The Church Inn in Mobberley, Cheshire, has won the coveted title of ‘Best Pub in the UK’.  The Award was presented by Pubs Minister, Marcus Jones MP, at the National Pub & Bar Awards Grand Final, which took place at London’s iconic BAFTA theatre on Tuesday 24 May 2016.

The Church Inn saw off stiff competition from a total of 94 county pub winners from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  After winning the North West award, the pub went on to be awarded the overall UK title from journalist and food critic, Jay Rayner.

Tim Bird, owner of Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bar and operator of The Church Inn, comments; “This is fantastic news and great recognition of a real team effort.  We don’t profess to being perfect all the time, but constantly work to please our guests and offer them a great pub experience. With the trophy safely on our mantelpiece, it’s now back to business as usual, serving well and cooking well.”

The pubs were judged by a panel of experts, who visited the 94 pubs on the list, and were marked on a range of criteria from the quality of service to product range, aesthetic design and the pub’s hospitality.

“The shortlisted pubs each represent all that is great about the modern British pub,” says Tristan O’Hana, editor of Pub & Bar magazine. “It’s been an absolute pleasure to visit such a fantastic variety of pubs across the UK during the judging process – but there can be only one winner and The Church Inn is a very worthy recipient as it offers an exceptional drinking and dining experience.  Well done to all involved.”

The Church Inn is owned and operated by Cheshire Cats Pubs & Bars, who have a collection of award winning pubs across Cheshire, Staffordshire and Dorset.  Earlier this year were voted the Best Drinks Act in the UK at the prestigious Publican Awards ceremony in London.

Another great night in London

IMG_6721Tuesday 24th May is a special day indeed, it’s the official anniversary of the Bulls Head re-opening in Mobberley 6 years ago, remarkably the very same date that the Roebuck re-opened yesterday after three and a half years of being closed and now is the day Simon, our Church Inn landlord and co-owner Tim, headed to London to BAFTA in Piccadilly to see how the Church Inn would do in the National Pub and Bar Magazine Awards.

The Church Inn had already being recognised as the best pub in Cheshire by the magazine a month or so ago.

Judges then had to visit the 94 county winners before the special evening at BAFTA hosted by journalist and Food Critic for the Observer, Jay Rayner.

The Regional Winners were firstly announced before the single National winner was declared.

The Church Inn scooped the Northwest and then as the Pubs Minister, Marcus Jones MP, joined Jay Rayner on stage, a hush fell around BAFTA as The Church Inn from the wonderful village of Mobberley was announced as the overall winner!!

Well done to the Church Inn team!!! Great recognition indeed. We don’t profess to being perfect all the time, but we try really hard and care so much about trying to be perfect every time.. That’s our constant goal, to please our guests!

Co-owner Mary couldn’t be in London because of the Roebuck Inn opening. She was updated via texts as the good news unfolded and rushed to the Church Inn later to let the team know and get them a little glass of bubbly to celebrate their win.

Tim treated Simon to a much deserved meal at the Wolseley after the win.

Now it’s back to Mobberley with the trophy and back to business as usual. Serving well and cooking well!


CheshireCheshire Cats Pubs & Bars, who own and operate The Cholmondeley Arms on the Cholmondeley estate, The Bulls Head and Church Inn in Mobberley, the Three Greyhounds Inn in Allostock, the Fitzherbert Arms in Swynnerton and the Red Lion in Weymouth, Dorset, has been voted the company with the Best Drinks Act in the UK at the prestigious Publican Awards ceremony in London.

Cheshire Cats Pubs & Bars beat a number of national chains to the title, drawing high praise from the judges for supporting cask ales from local brewers. The company was also awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ title in the Best Food Offer category.

Each pub within the collection specializes in a particular drink with The Cholmondeley Arms boasting more than 300 gins, the Red Lion offering more than 80 rums and the Fitzherbert Arms offering over 30 Ports by the bottle. Whiel the Bulls Head, Three Greyhounds Inn and the Church have enviable collections of Whisky, Brandy and wine respectfully.

Tim Bird, owner of the unique collection of village pubs and country inns, comments: “These awards are equivalent to the drinks industry’s ‘Oscars’ and it is fantastic that our pubs and our teams has been recognized in this way. The award recognises the hard work that the team puts in and how we work with local breweries, suppliers and food producers to bring a memorable and unique experience to our customers everyday.”

Ed Bebbington, of the Publican’s Morning Advertiser, comments: “This is a company that puts a lot of time and thought into getting its drink offer right, from its superb focus on local, great beers, through to an impressive offer of wines and spirits.”

Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin, owners of Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars, have already won numerous awards for restoring pubs of great heritage and character and are now focused on the Roebuck Inn, also in Mobberley which after three years of closure is set to open in April.

For further information on Cheshire Cat Pubs and its collection of pubs, please visit

Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars to open seventh site and first in Staffordshire:

Cheshire Cat Pubs and Bars, the north west of England multiple operator led by Tim Bird and Mary McLaughlin, is to open its seventh site and first in Staffordshire. The company has taken on The Fitzherbert Arms, which sits on Lord Stafford’s estate in the village of Swynnerton. The 19th century pub will reopen this month following extensive refurbishment work featuring log fires, snug, private dining room and outside summer terrace. It will serve ales from Staffordshire micro-brewers as well as wines and a range of locally sourced, freshly prepared English dishes.

McLaughlin told the Stone & Eccleshall Gazette: “We are very excited to be working with Lord Stafford on this project and look forward to opening the doors to this iconic pub. We have restored the Fitz ensuring its heritage is brought to the fore and that it remains in keeping with the village of Swynnerton and its history, we are very proud to open a pub in Staffordshire.” The company also operates five sites in Cheshire and one in Dorset.