Supping real ale propped against an oak bar, as a fire crackles in the hearth and the fruit machine jingles merrily in the corner – ah, the supposedly quintessential British pub experience. Now added to that, however, is the clamour of unruly children. Pub-goers have complained that their visits to many establishments have been ruined by badly behaved offspring.

The grievances were revealed by the editors of The Good Pub Guide 2009, which says they were contacted by a record number of readers angry about unsupervised children on the loose at their local. The joint editor, Alasdair Aird, explains: "This year more readers than ever have complained about pub visits being spoilt for them by badly behaved children running around unchecked. This is a peculiarly British problem – in continental restaurants and cafés it's normal to see families with children, not normal to see kids spoil things for grown-ups."

Despite the complaints, Mr Aird said that he could not offer any advice. "We confess that we can't see an easy solution. You can imagine the retort when a publican asks a badly behaved family to quieten their children – 'We've just spent £50 in here, do you want us to leave without paying?'"

A spokesman for the British Beer and Pub Association said: "Some families see pubs as a great place to go for a meal, there are 57,000 pubs in Britain so there are plenty of places to go if you don't want to see any children."

The Good Pub Guide 2009 named The Golden Heart, near Brimpsfield in Gloucestershire, as the Pub of the Year for its "affordable food, good beers, welcoming atmosphere and character".

The book also revealed the average price of a pint of bitter in the UK is now £2.58, up 7 per cent from last year. The cheapest place for a pint is the West Midlands where it costs around £2.25.

Other winners: What judges thought

*New Pub of Year – Tally Ho, Barkway, Hertfordshire. "Smart cosy bar. Good-sized gardens."

*Unspoilt Pub of the Year – Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset. "Masses of character."

*Bargain Pub of the Year – Six Bells, Chiddingly, Sussex. "Lively, unpretentious village local."

*Inn of the Year – Groes, Ty'n-y-groes, Wales. "A welcoming hotel and bar."

*Town Pub of the Year – Jerusalem Tavern, London EC1. "Delightfully atmospheric, even at its busiest."

*Country Pub of the Year – Royal Oak, Fritham, Hampshire. "Traditional rooms, log fires, real ales."

*Own Brew Pub of the Year – Brewery Tap, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. "Fantastic range of real ales and popular Thai food."