A WEST Oxfordshire pub was named the best place to stay in the region by a national newspaper to round off its first year under new ownership.

The Bell Inn, at Langford, near Carterton, was crowned the winner of the central region in The Sunday Times Best Places to Stay guide.

The pub was only reopened by co-managers Peter Creed and Tom Noest last December, but has experienced non-stop success ever since.

Within weeks of restarting service, The Bell was visited by The Times restaurant critic Giles Coren, who posted a glowing review.

Over the last 10 months, punters have flocked to several events from choir evenings to aunt sally tournaments, creating a friendly atmosphere.

Owner Mr Creed, 31, believes this is part of the pub’s charm and said the award is down to doing the basics right.

Mr Creed said: “We believe in good value – our menu isn’t overly expensive. I don’t believe in chucking a copy of Tatler in every room and huge mini-bars.

“It’s not necessary when you’re staying in a pub. We’ve put everything we had into The Bell and worked our socks off.

“To get an award like this really makes it worthwhile.”

The Bell takes pride in offering a ‘modern country pub’ feel, while a touch of class is added with its eight rooms with king size double beds and en-suite walk in showers.

The Sunday Times guide recommended both the food and the accommodation, saying ‘if your idea of a weekend away revolves around great food and an interesting wine list, this is the place’.

Mr Creed has worked in hospitality for more than a decade and met his business partner, head chef Mr Noest, 22, when the latter first entered the industry.

Despite his relative youth, the chef has quickly developed a reputation as a top chef and Mr Creed paid tribute to his friend and the rest of the 15 staff.

He said: “Tom has got a real talent and his creativity is second to none. We’ve been really blessed with great staff who we are super lucky to have.

“They’ve all bought into it, which pays dividends if you’re here as a guest.”

The guide’s selections was split into eight regions and eight different categories including foodie, seaside and romantic establishments.