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Running Horses, Mickleham

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user reviews of the Running Horses, Mickleham

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Fine restaurant, pub and hotel - under all headings.

Just shortlisted for a national Best Accommodation award.

In a lovely medieval village, less than 25 miles from London.


wealdman - 11 Jan 2017 16:17
My wife and I visited the Running Horses on a Friday night (we have been going there for 30 years)
Apparently it is under new management !
1) they have re-furbished the bar area, taken away the carpets which used to absorb the sound, installed new lights!
2) Lights far too bright !! The pub has lost all it's atmosphere
3) The Brakespeares beer was not up to standard. the beer is very expensive... at least they should try and keep it properly!
4) this pub used to be "buzzing" with people before the take-over, it was half empty that night
5) there was an unruly crowd at the bar, with one of them (with a very loud voice and a large beer-gut to match) swearing in the bar area. This is not acceptable in this country pub/hotel. The bar staff should have asked him to leave.
mhartes - 28 Mar 2015 12:16
Yes - skips and scaffolding outside. But, its a pity that the owners couldn't be bothered to update their website.
tempest - 5 Oct 2014 14:36
Closed for major refurb.
sussexfox - 5 Oct 2014 13:44
Went here for a swift lunchtime pint. 5 real ales, the Ringwood I had was lovely. The chips I ordered were superb! Real spuds, nicely crisp, lots of them, a nice big pot of mayo when I asked, piping hot. A nice blazing log fire to sit in front of. Polite attentive staff, as has been mentioned elsewhere, what's not to like?
DOK - 28 Feb 2014 09:02
Staff dressed like waiters, exclusive food area bigger than drinking bar, shouldn't work for me and doesn't but the beer served was fine.
loveleedshatebates - 4 Jun 2013 17:06
Went here with some friends for a meal the other night.

We were told there would be a twenty minute wait for food, which turned out to be one hour and fifteen minutes, with us being told after about forty five minutes that one our food choices was unavailable.

Food quality was average, beer good but not excellent, and prices were very high.

Overall impression is of an uncaring pub that is out to make money.
James_22 - 16 Mar 2013 08:05
A picturesque pub opposite Mickleham church. Main lounge feels like 2 rooms although you can freely walk between them. The bar is in the lefthand side and had 5 real ales on the bar. There was large fireplace on the left covered on horse brasses which must be very pleasant in winter. The seating is mainly of the church pew type which is functional but hardly very comfortable. There is a separate restaurant on the left of the main lounge. It does a lot of food trade. Staff are very neatly dressed and are very courteous. Beer was in good condition and nice and cold but rather expensive.
boozers_knows - 11 Oct 2012 13:35
I have the pleasure of visiting the Running Horses on a regular basis and have to say I really enjoy the place. The staff are so polite it can be quite off putting at first as this level of service is almost unheard of now, but once you get used to the fact that it is not pretence or sarcasm but just genuine good service it is a pleasure to drink here. It is not cheap to say the least and the food is pricey but have eaten here in the past, it is very high standard. Good range of ales, not just the usual selection of national brands, Wine's I'm informed are always good quality and the list is extensive and the fizzy beer has some nice choices too. Well done to all concerned.
fetchman - 15 Aug 2012 12:15
I think EccentricRichard below should try to understand the difference between a pub and a restaurant. This is basically a pub that does good food, and as such it is a dying breed and should be cherished. "Foodies" like Richard, eccentric or not, clutter the place up and should go somewhere else (in my humble opinion)
bumble1 - 23 Apr 2012 19:57
Went here a week or so ago. Having recently moved to the area I've been checking out all the local spots and I must say I was quite impressed with The Running Horses. I might come back soon, though it is quite dear considering.
christopherP - 8 Apr 2012 22:16
I like this pub. The beer has always been well kept when I've been there. The food is pretty damn expensive but worth it for a special treat.

I really don't understand the problem other people seem to have had with the staff. If they make an error and your crisps get damp, tell them! They will sort it.

And personally, I prefer someone who doesn't recognise me to enquire 'Good evening sir, what can I get for you?' rather than 'Yeah, and what'd'ya want?'

If that's Hyacinth Bucket. bring it on!

On the minus side, the parking is abysmal and it's not a place to call in for a meal just because you don't fancy doing the washing up if you are on normal people's wages, but it is what it is: A friendly pub with friendly locals, expensive food and polite staff.
Gzornenplat - 21 Nov 2011 23:30
So nice to get back to a decent pub yesterday's experience of the Black Swan. Beer was good, both the Doombar and Seafarers. The sandwiches (avocado and bacon) turned up swiftly, tasted good and disappeared just the same. Friendly service, don't recognise the comment about the bar staff - they seemed perfectly nice and responsive to me. Definitely one of my favourite pubs anywhere.
DOK - 29 Sep 2011 14:35
Lovely building, great location in a pretty village. The beer we had was well kept, but such a dull, conservative selection. There's much, much more to the area that Fullers, Youngs and Shepherd Neame (as fine as they are). Hideously overpriced, and unfriendly stuck-up staff. Mate, when I'm paying your wages, you might want to make eye contact at the very least.

Oh, and one of the finest pieces of Hyacinth Bucket pretentious stupidity I've seen recently. When you buy a bag of crisps, they put it in a bowl (presumably to justify the ludicrous price). However, when that bowl hasn't been dried properly from the dishwasher, you get a soggy mess. Style over substance... never a great way to run a pub.
sfocata - 26 Sep 2011 12:27
Was treated to a lunch here back in September. I'm afraid I can't comment on the beer, since I didn't try it. I remember I had pork belly, which was rather fatty, served with a garnish of burnt onions and rosemary. It didn't look too appetising and didn't improve much on eating. Service was pretty slow and not especially friendly. Another young man in the party dared to ask, for dessert, not for one flavour of sorbet but a bit of all the flavours on offer (four, I think). This took a long time to arrive and was a rather smaller portion than another of the party got with one flavour, which seemed a bit mean. I can't remember what I had for dessert but there's probably a good reason why. Luckily, I wasn't paying, but the food was none too cheap, if not enormously expensive. The other criticism was that this was a beautiful September Saturday or Sunday (I forget) afternoon, very sunny, but the dining room is a dark, claustrophobic, windowless space at the back of the building, completely isolated from the bar area and from natural light. Overall, we all (eight of us) left feeling somewhat underwhelmed. I discovered yesterday (on BITE) an excellent foody pub called the Inn on the Green in nearby Brockham and found that much more enjoyable: better food, nicer views, much friendlier atmosphere and no more expensive. Guess which one I'll be going back to...
EccentricRichard - 22 Jun 2011 10:26
What a bunch of whingeing gits some people are.

This is a fantastic pub. Packed every night and justifiably so. It's my local (and although I'm not particularly popular since I tend to boot it past in my noisy sports car) I've never once been treated discourteously or had a bad meal.

Excellent wine list (although they could serve Denbies), and moreover it has Aspall's Cyder on draught - always the hallmark of a classy establishment, that.

Prices reflect the costs of running a business in the area, and moreover attracting quality staff (which they do) however no-one need feel robbed since portions are HUGE.

Whingers and moaners, please find a Wetherspoon's or a MacDonald's. We don't want 'your sort' around here.

Thanks.
Mobile_Chicane - 15 May 2011 22:44
"I thought this forum was meant to be about reviewing pubs and beer not conduction a running feud in public". Recognize the quote, Kevmac?
bongobilly - 1 Oct 2010 07:56
GeeCee68 I am so glad you love me dearly, it made my day especially as I was having difficultly sleeping with the worry that you didn't feel that way about me.

Totally agree with some of the comments other posters have made about your Mccann statements amongst others.

As for your comment about children I have none and have no intention of ever having any, not that it is any business of yours. What I do know is when I was a child I was brought correctly and my parents would not have dreamed of allowing me to run riot in public and ruining other peoples enjoyment, but I am sure you are a model parent and your offspring are perfectly behaved angels.

Simple fact is far too many pubs are being ruined by chavy parents who allow their kids to what the heck they like as long as they don't annoy them. Pubs are for adults not screaming brats, any establishment which follows this principle will get my wholehearted support and the benefit of my hard earned.
kevmac - 30 Sep 2010 19:10
The comments/analysis of the last poster are well made; the Mccann reference is so out of place on a very basic site such as this that this bloke's sanity must be in question, bearing in mind his extreme views. He says - I hope you can tame your bar manager; does this mean - to GeeCee's way of thinking?
sussexfox - 29 Sep 2010 10:30
Gee describes frequent posters as 'wonderful people, with considerable charm' and then sarcastically suggests that they don't have children - just because they willingly comply with pub rules pertaining to them.

His 'Mccann' reference now becomes more sinister - and the comparison between his post of yesterday ('nasty place, even if dying - crawl past, stay away), compared with his of 4am today, implies derangement and/or alcoholism.


wealdman - 29 Sep 2010 10:11
Contacted by the owner with an apology and an offer to stay for free with dinner thrown in.

We'll pass. Best of luck for the future James, and I hope you can tame your bar manager.

(Kev, Pat, Vic....I want you to know that I love each of you deeply. You are wonderful people and I hope your children inherit your considerable charm. Oh, wait, what children?)
GeeCee68 - 29 Sep 2010 04:04
GeeCee68 are you for real?

They have a policy and stick to it, more power to their elbow.

The great British pub is being ruined by selfish parents dragging their (often) badly behaved off spring to the pub.

Any pub that does not allow them in goes up massively in my opinion.
kevmac - 28 Sep 2010 18:20
The dog/children sign is specific. Neither can you smoke. Why not just follow the rules - and simply go somewhere else? This 'amazed attitude' - to pub rules - is akin to disliking a pub not selling food, say after 8pm; it is entirely the pub's choice. (The 'Mccann' reference of the last poster is perplexing).
tradervic - 28 Sep 2010 10:23
"Dogs welcome, children not"

Sounds perfect. As we all know, far too many pubs are overrun by loudmouth kids these days. It really is getting out of hand.
Pat_Bateman - 28 Sep 2010 09:11
This is a nasty place and I would encourage you to drive, walk or even if dying, crawl past. We used to be regulars a few years ago, but God knows what has happened to the place. On Sunday about 4pm we were heading home after a busy morning and thought wed stop for a quick drink and perhaps something to eat. Our son was asleep in the car, and rather than wake him, we left him briefly (Mccann like) while we ordered our drinks.

The place was very quiet; a family coming to the end of their dinner, an older lady with her rotund dog, and a chap with two wet spaniels. Pleasant enough.

Missus went to check on our boy and brought him in, still asleep.

We were then told quite clearly by the lady in charge, that children were not allowed. She added that we could finish our drinks though before leaving. Guess what, that is exactly what we did.

Just think about that. Less than ten people in the place, three dogs, but your sleeping child is not welcome here.

Make your own mind up about the Running Horse in Mickleham. Dogs welcome, children not. Stay away!


GeeCee68 - 28 Sep 2010 07:18
Good pub this! Don't need to say any more


StephenP62 - 10 Aug 2010 20:15
Visited with local CAMRA on 25 May. Chiswick, Pride, HSB, Youngs Ordinary and London Gold. Only pub I,ve been in where barmen are wearing bowties. Expensive. Could be a decent pub.
GuideDogSaint - 13 Jun 2010 16:21
Went here in February after a walk around in Boxhill and really liked it - it's not the cheapest but we got a roast and it had loads of meat and veg and gravy so they didn't scrimp on the portions. I would definetely come back here again!
emiliaanna - 15 Apr 2010 11:43
Saw the pub on OS map & came down off a delightful downs walk just across the road from the pub. I'd hoping for some food & a pint. The 'bar food' offered a small shepherds pie for 13, + 7 for a couple of veg with it. The non-bar food menu prices gave me vertigo. Seems enough rich punters nearby to support it, though notice even stockbrokers can't afford the veg.

After a 3.20 pint, headed for Leatherhead & found a Weatherspoon

While eating my melt in the mouth 8oz steak, fresh mushroom, peas, tomato, jacket potatoes ext I realised it was cheaper than a portion of Running Horses peas. 6 steak & a pint - 3.20 (Running Horses pint) so steak = 2.80.

I know my place & sadly realise my place is not in this nice pub
geofff - 7 Apr 2010 09:40
Stopped here for bar food on Easter Saturday lunchtime. It gets busy here, and the parking outside is quite restricted, so late car-borne arrivals may find it difficult to park. The bar is quite small and traditionally characterful - a good deal smaller than the restaurant - although there was a big log fire crackling away, and several locals in for lunchtime drinks. There's a draught Aspalls' cider. The bar food menu is extensive, and includes the restaurant menu. Prices are on the high side, and we paid around 6 for beef and tomato sandwich, a bit more for garlic bread, artichoke, tomato and olives (the restaurant menu is a good deal pricier). Bar service was friendly and efficient, and delivery super-fast (albeit we were there before the rush). Both food orders were generous and good quality. A good place for a cosy lunch on a cold day after a walk in Norbury park.
Marlowe - 5 Apr 2010 21:12
I agree with a lot of the comments posted. I have been to the Running Horses several times and I am confused, is it a pub or restaurant. We went there for a company Xmas lunch a few years ago and it was horrendous. The waiting staff were fine to start with until a large party of local Parish Council members turned and the staff then became very inattentive to our party of 12. We waited ages for them to clear our table and we had to go to the bar to ask for drinks. We have been there for a drink on our way home several times and the first question the bar staff ask is are you dining with us tonight. When you say no, they walk off and serve the diners!! We waited nearly 20 minutes to be served the last time we went there and we walked out. The beer is not that well kept, there loads of pubs we can visit that have a great cellar.
Buster211009 - 5 Feb 2010 17:51
I love this pub.
Amazing food, welcoming staff and hotel rooms well kept. Would recommend this pub over and over again
meandmydog2010 - 1 Feb 2010 13:25
I'm always suspicious of a pub where the staff are in bow ties. That said, we were only there for a drink. It was a hot Sunday lunchtime and the outside tables were full so we sat indoors which was cool and comfortable. My pint of Adnams was colder than expected but was ideal for the hot day so I had two. The staff were formal to match their attire so didn't make the place friendly and welcoming but was perfectly acceptable.
gdm - 15 Jun 2009 13:31
We visited this pub a couple of weeks ago to find a very expensive menu, but decided to go for it anyway as the interior was nice and the service looked good. The food was terrible- it would have been bad enough at a reasonable price but at 15-25 for a main course it was shocking. The chef needs shooting- or taking back to school. We will not be returning!
degodier - 3 Jun 2009 21:14
I found this pub unfriendly and discourteous. Myself and a friend visited on a week day evening. A 'side order' of a bowl of chips was ordered by us at the bar and we were told even though they were on the menu they were only served alongside a meal. It may just be me but I find that rather stupid and short sighted. Needless to say we moved on to a pub with slightly less attitude.
robbywatsongmailcom - 23 Jan 2009 15:31
Had a couple of pints of Spitfire (which was excellent!) sitting out the front with a view of the lovely church, idealic! Was busy for a not very warm summer's evening. Can't comment on the food as I didn't see anybody eating, but there was a good range of beers and pleasant, friendly service. Will pop in again when in the area.
Mothroy - 14 Jul 2008 08:37
Visitied this pub early on a Saturday afternoon - place was very full and had to wait to get a table in the bar area.

Beer was reasonably priced, and the bar sandwiches were very tasty and served with salad and crisps.

A chicken & sundried tomato and tuna salad sandwich came to 5.75 each making it quite pricey for a quick snack.

As per the previous comments, the staff here are seemingly intellectual, and gave good service.

Large traditional open fire and low ceilings makes for a very cosy pub.

Accomodation is also available here.
cb2k4 - 27 Jan 2008 17:38
Haven't even visited this pub. It seems they are closed to customers. Have rung three times this week to try to book sunday lunch on 9th December. No-one has called me back. How hard can it be to book a table? This hard. Am glad I have now read the comments on beer in the evening. Save me the trouble of cancelling a booking had I even managed to make one. How do they do business?
JENNIFERROBBINS - 15 Nov 2007 20:26
I used to visit here every week for nearly four years and have seen this pub decline to such an extent that we no longer use it. Having been a regular diner I agree with the negative comments as the pub has really gone downhill over the years. The staff seem to think that they are working in a five star eatery but do not provide the service and the food is really poor. As a Company Director I felt I was treating my staff to a wonderful Christmas staff party at the Running Horses last December only to be totally embarrassed by the service, food and atmosphere. It cost me over 6,000 for the priviledge of being abused by the staff and having to endure the most disgusting meal I have ever eaten. Not been back since last week and found it even worse than before. Not recommended in my view.
anonymous - 14 Oct 2007 20:47
not nice staff at all, food very good as it should be for that price - cute beer garden though
theglade - 6 Sep 2007 21:30
Yes the staff are really snooty... but they always have been! The only food I had in there was at Christmas, the roast potatoes they served up looked and tasted if they have been dug up by Phil Harding in Time Team. The beer is always good but very expensive. The pub and surroundings are nice, shame about the staff though
anonymous - 3 Jul 2007 14:10
Full of oldie world charm, just like the service, food and standards. Always reminds me of something out of the 60's with out the modern bit. A bit like something John Steed would have gone to with his side kick Emma Peel for a spot of lunch in the country side. An old duffers pub with old duffer type prices gives them something to moan about (think of it as more of a social service to the elderly).
nicktheflick - 21 Jun 2007 11:30
Nice cosy pub, great location.

Pity about the rude barman who continued a conversation with one of his regulars instead of paying attention to me as I was ordering drinks. Call me old fashioned, but I just feel it's a case of courteous treatment of customers.
anonymous - 21 Jan 2007 22:12
7.50 for a baguette with sinewy roast beef, a few crisps and a side-salad. They're clearly charging whatever they can get away with for their food, and there are people (including me) foolish enough to pay for it. Comment to the staff on the quality of the food wasn't exactly met with anything helpful - the first comment the waiter made was "Well who would buy a roast beef baguette anyway?". I certainly won't go back here because of this. Otherwise, the beer was OK and it's in a nice setting.
rolyapples - 16 Oct 2006 13:39
Pleasant enough place for a pint, better than the Stepping Stones but they don't need to try very hard to do that. Standard expensive Surrey menu, don't ask me why people eat in these places when you can go to a proper restaurant with proper service and better food for less money.
nickdavies - 29 Jul 2006 16:24
Also, don't understand low rating. My husband and I have been here several times in the last year, although have only ever eaten outside. Food excellent, both quality and in the amount, although seating outside is by the road, doesn't detract from atmosphere. Wine very good, nice and chilled. Always been impressed by friendly staff. Inside does lack atmosphere though. Love it here.
Bosie - 16 Jun 2006 06:45
Can't understand this pubs low rating. My wife and I had our reception there 3 years back and we return each anniversary. I've drunk in the bar and that's fine and, as well as pub nosh, there is an a la carte restaurant which is really good. It is very attractive although parking can be tricky at times but I would have no hesitation in recommending it.
haroldovich - 11 Dec 2005 08:38
Beautiful surroundings, fantastic old building. I used to be a 'regular' this time last year, moved out of the area and went back three times since, last time was the last time i'll be going. Management have become more stuck up, staff seem lifeless and lack any sense of fun. The whole pub has lost the winning factor it once had. Just goes to show if you don't keep your eye on the ball.......
siobhan - 9 Dec 2005 15:09
I have to say that I think some of the comments below are a bit harsh - or perhaps I have just been lucky? I have been here twice (just for a drink). On the first occassion it was on a cold January Sunday lunchtime and the place was packed. It was v atmospheric and v cosy coming in from the cold. Are the drinks really expensive? I thought it was commonplace to pay 5 for a large glass of wine these days? Certainly is in the likes of boring All Bar One, etc....
quinniebob - 4 Sep 2005 11:29
It is 5 for a glass of wine...what nonsense..and standing room only..not good.
grumpster - 25 May 2005 16:59
Trouble is that average punter hereabouts isn't very critical-hence, food good but not as good as it thinks it is, cliquey bar, impersonal as licensees very frequently not seen at the coalface, leaving this to efficient but uninvolved staff.
Truth_is_out_there - 5 Dec 2004 21:40
Not good. We went to this pub because it was well-reviewed in the Good Pub Guide, but it was a let-down.

Most of the floor space is taken up by the (big, empty) restaurant, so the drinkers are crammed into the area by the bar, without enough tables.

I'm not a biker but 'BikerBoy' below is right about the 'class system' in this pub - when you're in here, you really know that you're in the stockbroker belt.
anonymous - 31 Aug 2004 16:09
Very expensive -- 2.70 for a pint of London Pride and almost 5 for a large glass of red wine!! The food also looks very ordinary - minute portions and once again it is incredibly expensive. For a better range of food at cheaper prices, try Dorking or Leatherhead town centres. The setting of the pub is nice, looking out onto the church. Sadly, the village store / post office next to the pub is up for sale and will be sadly missed by the locals and the kids from Box Hill School!
The Local - 7 Jul 2004 16:32
While this pub is beautifully decorated I found the food while good to be over priced service good but the management seem to be obnoxious overall mutton dressed up as lamb
Seamus Walsh - 2 Jul 2004 22:13
Great Pub atmosphere, only good things to say, with high quality food.
You pay for the quality and service, but it is all well worth it.
Staff are friendly and beers good........ Will definately be back.
Kean - 25 Jun 2004 14:36
Beautiful pub, Beautifully decorated and wonderful staff and food. The resteraunt is expensive but it is REALLY worth it. It gets unbelievably busy though, which can be quite stressful as the actual bar area is rather tight.
Linds - 7 Jun 2004 13:51
Full of posh knobs! As a biker who races around Box Hill and up and down the A24 on a Sunday, they would not let me and my mates in. The 'class system' is alive and kicking in this pub -- maybe they are scared of our leather jackets! The food and drink looks overpriced and to be quite honest, I would rather go to RYKA's for a top notch burger and fries.
BikerBoy - 24 Apr 2004 12:15
This is one of the best pubs in Surrey. After several changes of ownership over too short a time, the place is now settling down well. Excellent food, delightful setting, well-kept cellar - what more needs to be said?
richard lacey - 6 Mar 2004 09:52
The food here is absolutely wonderful - a little pricey for pub grub but really worth it. I had Roast beef with all the trimmings (veg, roast potatoes and yorkshire pud) - it cost just under 11.
The beer and the ambience are really good too BUT it does get busy at weekends. So make sure you are in there just after 12 on a Sunday. By the way, there's loads of good walking in the area as well as a really good vinyard.
Robin - 11 Feb 2004 16:44
Just had lunch there.
Excellent, well kept beer (Youngs, Greene King, Fullers, Adnams).
Very good light food (Devilled Kidneys and Wild Mushrooms on thick brown toast with garnishing about 7). Absolutely delicious. Nice "real pub" atmosphere.
Mike Wood - mike_j_wood@lineone.net - 31 Oct 2003 15:53
Excellent food, service and beer - Adnams, Abbott and very good wine selection. Dogs allowed in bar but children not!
Al. - 28 Aug 2003 15:05

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