A PUB in East Lancashire has been recognised as one of the best eateries in the country.

The Good Food Guide 2018 has named Freemasons, Wiswell, has been named the 44th best restaurant in the country.

The Vicarage Fold road pub, which has been named in the top 50 for the fourth year in a row, received a score of seven out of 10 marks along with 26 other pubs.

The inn has a diverse seasonal menu and sells a selection of traditional cask conditioned ales from independent breweries and more than 250 wines from around the world.

Moor Hall restaurant, on Prescot Road, Aughton was the only other pub in the county to have been included in the top 50.

The chef and patron of the pub Steven Smith, who was born in Blackburn and has worked at the pub for eight years, said: “I found out about the news on Twitter at midnight on Wednesday and I am delighted to be included in the Good Food Guide’s Top 50.

“Once upon a time a score of six out of ten would get you in the top 10 but these days you need a seven out of 10 to get in the top 50.

“I think it’s a fantastic achievement to have my name amongst some of my idols.”

The 43-year-old added: “Only two eateries in the whole of Lancashire were named and the other is a multi-million pound restaurant whereas we are a small village pub.

“It’s a constant treadmill to keep yourself up there but getting there makes it all worthwhile.

“We are not only the best pub in East Lancashire but the best eating establishment.

“Not one restaurant in East Lancashire featured in the top 50. It really is a super achievement.”

The award-winning chef also defended his business after it was ‘named and shamed’ by the government for failing to pay the national minimum wage.

He said: “This is something I feel very aggrieved by. It’s not the way we conduct ourselves. Sometimes it’s too easy to complain.”

Customer Jane-Warrington Smith, said: “They absolutely deserve this."