A COUPLE who used to run one of the world’s most famous pubs said they are delighted with their new Durham dales venture.

Glenn and Caroline Royston have swapped the Woolpack for Weardale after buying the Golden Lion in St John’s Chapel.

The couple ran the Woolpack in Esholt, known globally as the pub in ITV soap Emmerdale, for a year, but said they are now looking forward to a more sedate life in Weardale.

Mr Royston said: “The Woolpack was an interesting pub to run but I think everyone who came was disappointed that the layout inside was nothing like the one on TV.

“It was the local pub for the villagers but the main trade was the tourists, they came from all over the world to have a pint in the Woolpack.

“Emmerdale is especially popular in Finland so we had a lot of Finns coming to visit us.

“Occasionally one of the actors would pop by but they were usually so mobbed by fans that they could not really relax.”

Although not as well-known, Weardale is also welcoming to visitors and Mr Royston said he hopes to cater for both nearby residents and tourists.

He said: “This is a beautiful part of the world, it is without doubt the most beautiful place we have lived in including the Woolpack.

“We know tourism is very important to the dale and we want to play our part while also being a popular place with the locals.”

John Shuttleworth, county councillor for Weardale, said seeing the Roystons taking on the Golden Lion was a big boost to the dale.

He said: “It is an important pub very popular with the people of Weardale.

“It has also been well used over the years on the day of the cattle market in St John’s Chapel, it while be nice to have our traditional pub back up and running.”

Mr Royston, a chef, and his bar manager wife have been running pubs around the country for a number of years, and have previously managed pubs in Barnard Castle.

Mrs Royston said: “We have moved around a lot but now we want to settle here in Weardale, this is it for us now.”

The pub, which serves food every day except Tuesday, is expecting to be busier than normal on Friday and Saturday due to St John’s Chapel Auction Mart’s annual sheep sale.