Tucked away in a Wiltshire village is a pub filled with intrigue, including an upstairs cinema and a large-scale Scalextric track.

Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Pub was founded as a Bishopstone ale house in the 1850s and was bought by Arkell’s Brewery 100 years later.

In 2006, Helen and partner Tom Finney took over the historic watering hole and have steadily established the pub as a local quirky favourite.

The interior of the Royal Oak has changed significantly over the years and the pair have ensured that the pub’s character is retained.

Swindon Advertiser: Helen Browning (pictured) has been at the pub for 17 years.Helen Browning (pictured) has been at the pub for 17 years. (Image: Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Pub)

“I bought some old cinema seats from the Oxford Playhouse which are fun and we have a specific room with them in,” said Tom.

“We also have a cinema upstairs for private hire with a screen and projector.

“If you come to the pub and don’t look carefully you wouldn’t notice but if you have a closer look you soon see all is not what it is.”

The couple have been together for 25 years and have remained passionate about designing the pub in their image and style, even including a huge Scalextric track.

Swindon Advertiser: Tim (left) was delighted that the pub's hotel won the 2022 award.Tim (left) was delighted that the pub's hotel won the 2022 award. (Image: Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Pub)

“We have Wiltshire’s third largest digital Scalextric track which is hidden behind a false wall because I used to love Scalextric,” said Tom.

“When we have no one in, we can get down and play with it but customers can also rent it.

“It is a pub that is fundamentally the sort of place that Helen and I would like to stay at.”

The 66-year-old landlord opens the pub up seven days a week, ensuring there is plenty of entertainment for customers.

“We should serve the community every day and it’s straightforward that we’re always available,” said Tom.

“We have classic car days and an annual major pig racing day in May so we are quite active with the community.”

Swindon Advertiser: The hotel at the pub (pictured) recently won an award.The hotel at the pub (pictured) recently won an award. (Image: Helen Browning’s Royal Oak Pub)

The pub is also part of Helen’s farming business and that connection is reflected in its menu.

“We have the organic farming business and 90 per cent of the food we serve in the pub is produced on the farm including meat and dairy,” added Tom.

The Royal Oak also has 12 rooms at its hotel are available all year round and recently won the Good Hotel Guide Pub Hotel of the Year 2022.

“I was astonished and delighted to get the award,” said Tom.

“We are not world class at anything but we’re just very good at hospitality and we make sure people feel better than when they arrived.”