A popular country gastro pub has closed down unexpectedly.
The Bell and Cross, near the Clent Hills, shut at the start of December without advance warning.
The pub used to be run by a former chef to the England football team and was once given the coveted Pub of the Year award.
Online review sites were flooded with complaints by furious customers who had made bookings over the festive period.
The Bell and Cross is in a quaint 19th Century building at Holy Cross, Clent in Worcestershire.
It was run from 2002 to 2015 by former chef to the England football team, Roger Narbett, his wife Joanne, and their business partner Paul Mohan.
Inside it was decorated with sporting memorabilia Mr Narbutt had acquired over the years.
It soon built a reputation for its food and atmosphere, was in all the good food guides and the icing on the cake came in 2010 when it was named Pub of the Year by The Good Pub Guide, beating over 5,000 other rivals for the title.
When it won the coveted title, The Good Pub Guide said: “Everything at this charming place makes sure you come away feeling you’ve had a really special time; super food, staff with a can-do attitude, a delightful interior and pretty garden.”
The pub was commended for its “strong sense of individuality and must-come-again appeal”.
During this period, bookings came in thick and fast and diners had to wait weeks for a table on Saturday night.
The Narbutts left the pub in 2015 to run The Chequers at Cutnall Green, near Droitwich.
When they left, the owners, Ei Publican Partnerships (formerly Enterprise Inns), put the tenancy of the 90-cover pub up for sale at £125,000.
At that time, the turnover for the year ending April 2015 was £644,751 and profits were approximately £105,000.
New owners ran the pub until the beginning of December, when it closed unexpectedly.
Diners looking forward to meals at the Bell and Cross over the festive period flooded online review sites upset by the sudden closure.
One diner wrote: “Booked for a very special family celebration over a month in advance. Had confirmation. Turned up at 7.10 for 7.15 booking everything closed up. 2 Saturdays before Christmas no chance of getting in anywhere else decent. Brother had travelled from Corby. No contact from Bell and Cross cancelling the booking.”
Another angry customer posted: “Saved by the snow from a fruitless journey on Sunday for a pre-booked family get-together.
“Realised something was amiss when I tried to phone on Saturday evening to say we would be unlikely to make it and found the phone discontinued, and then saw the reviews from the last two weeks which seemed to confirm my worst fears.
“I had paid a £10 per head deposit too, but by credit card so I hope to be able to be reimbursed.”
A spokesperson from Ei Publican Partnerships said: “We can confirm that The Bell and Cross, Clent, is currently closed due to the publican’s decision to cease trading.
“We are currently searching for a new publican to take on the site, if anyone is interested in this exciting opportunity, or want further information, please call our recruitment hotline on Tel: 03333 200036.”