IT is the Winchester watering hole that brings in “thousands of tourists” each year.

The Old Vine in Great Minster Street is a cosy 18th-century inn with oak beams and a log fire, located in a listed building just a stone’s throw from the cathedral.

Its leasehold was taken over by Ashton Gray and his partner, Marcelo Pugliese in 2005, and has since won several awards.

Most recently, the pub was named as one of the best in the Tourism Pub of the Year category for the 2019 Beautiful South Awards for Excellence.

Ashton said: “We’re very much a food-led pub. Since we took it on, we have made lots of changes, but we are always looking to keep the ‘olde worlde’ charm.

“The nature of the building, steeped in history, brings in lots of tourists, and the outside area looking onto the cathedral is in a brilliant position.

“Customers are the most important thing to us and we look to add a personal touch to everyone’s visit, which is why we have lots of regulars, too.”

The land on which The Old Vine stands was once the location for the Saxon and Norman Royal Palace, and was also an underground tavern in the mid-14th century, which is now used as a cellar and office, reached by stairway.

Ashton added: “My family are publicans, so I’m lucky in the sense of knowing the basics. Marcelo is the wine buff, he could tell you anything you need to know!

“We’ve always seen this as a long-term thing, and we don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon. We feel very much a part of the Winchester landscape now and we are grateful to everyone who keeps us going every day.”