CHAMPAGNE corks were popping at a newly-refurbished pub in Stow after it was awarded a five Gold Star rating for guest accommodation from the AA after opening just six months ago.

The Porch House, in Digbeth Street, which opened for business last September after a £750,000 refurbishment, was also awarded with two AA rosettes and a breakfast award.

A Five Gold Star rating for guest accommodation is the AA Guide's highest award which recognises awareness of each guest's needs with nothing being too much trouble.

Manager James Rogers, who was previously at the Olde Bell in Hurley, Berkshire, said they were delighted.

"I was expecting us to receive a fairly high standard from the AA in terms of accommodation but to achieve five stars is phenomenal," he said. "It's a good testament to the team we've got here.

"It's a very small kitchen team but they make everything fresh. I've worked with the AA previously and to get this award in such a short space of time is absolutely phenomenal.

"It puts us in one of the highest categories in the area."

On the AA's website, it says: "Guests have a choice of cosy authentic bars, with exposed stonewalls and log fires, for casual dining. The award-winning restaurant is very well appointed and the unmissable breakfast features lots of local produce."

Formerly known as The Royalist, the pub was bought by Brakspear and offers lunch and dinner and a selection of cask ales, bottled beers and wines, an outdoor seating area along with 14 en-suite rooms.

Parts of the Grade II listed building, which is thought to be among England’s oldest inns, date back to 947AD.