TWO of the Tyne Valley's most popular pubs have received awards from the 2021 Good Pub Guide.

The Dipton Mill Inn was named the Own Brew Pub of the Year, while the Feathers Inn at Hedley on the Hill received the prize for County Dining Pub of the Year.

For both businesses, it's a ray of light in what has been a dark year for the hospitality industry.

Mark Brooker at the Dipton Mill Inn said: "It's a national competition so that's quite nice to win. It's a combination of the brewery and the pub - brewing your own beer and selling it in the pub.

"We were selected by the judges, so that was lovely.

"It's been such a rubbish year, so it's great to have something like this that means what we're doing is good, and it was nice to tell the staff too.

"The Good Pub Guide has been around for over 30 years and there's some fantastic pubs in there - it's nice to have some recognition from them."

Mark put the win down to good beer, and the decision to move the brewery next to the pub, complete with glass walls to allow customers to see the production.

He continued: "You have to keep trying and doing something new, because everyone else is doing something too.

"We moved the brewery down to the pub three or four years ago and that helped, people being able to see the brewery - it was always going to be a winning combination."

The brewery's beer is not just sold at the Dipton Mill - it can also be found on sale at The Feathers Inn.

But it was the fantastic food on offer at the Feathers that won over judges. The inn also won the same prize in 2019.

Owner Helen Greer said: "We've won it before but it's still amazing to receive it again, it's brilliant.

"We had no idea we'd been entered! It's really nice, especially with everything the team have had to adjust to this year.

"It's good to have something to celebrate - it's just a shame we can't have everyone in to celebrate with us - but we're certainly going to have to make up for it."

Helen put the victory down to the talent of her husband and chef, Rhian Cradock.

She continued: "I put it down to my husband's amazing talent. He's a brilliant chef.

"He just lives and breaths food and wine."

The Good Pub Guide 2021 was released on Thursday, December 10 - celebrating the best of the country's public houses.

It urged the public to do all they can to ensure the survival of the nation's pubs, after what has been an impossible year for the industry.