Christmas has come early for a pub in St Albans after being crowned the city’s Festive Pub of the Year.

Alight with festive Christmas lights and decked out in classic decorations, The Boot impressed our mystery drinkers and was crowned Festive Pub of the Year 2013 this afternoon.

The competition is in its fourth year and is organised by the Review, St Albans District Council, St Albans Civic Society and St Albans Chamber of Commerce- The Retailer of the Year committee.

The Market Place pub is a family-run business owned by father and son, Will and Sean Hughes for nine years.

Sean Hughes said it was brilliant.

Mr Hughes said: “We have been trying to win this award for a few years now, so to be recognised is brilliant.

“We stepped up our game this year and this is the first year we have had Christmas lights outside.

"All of the lights are environmentally friendly. It was important that we did it but kept the environmental impact down.

“We were keen to do something which supported the Christmas market. I am really pleased. Everyone has put a lot of work in to it.”

Eighteen other pubs in the city were shortlisted and the Hare and Hounds in Sopwell Lane won second prize.

Last year the Portland Arms in Portland Street was named the city’s most festive pub.

Councillor Roma Mills, chairman of the committee said: “The Boot looks absolutely delightful in this part of the town.

“It looks very attractive from the outside and inside is very pretty, what with the open fire.

“It has a very welcoming feel and the service was very hospitable.”

Councillor Mills added the Hare and Hounds won runner up for having “a great Christmas feel and a superb welcoming from the landlady.”