skip nav  
 

BITE user comments - ramblethenlunch

Comments by ramblethenlunch

The Happy Man, Englefield Green

An old traditional style pub. Lots of small rooms. Theakston's Bitter, Rev. James Bitter and Hopback Summer Lightning on offer. Had the first two which were very good. Wide variety of food on menu from All Day Breakfast, through Fish and Burgers up to Thai Curries. Reasonably priced at around £6.99. Portion size OK, considering price, but food quality and staff service both good.

2 Jun 2014 16:51

The Beehive, Englefield Green

Called in here for a drink at 1440 on a Thursday afternoon. Unsurprisingly it was virtually empty, but at least it was open. Gales HSB and Seafarers, plus London Pride on sale, in fact the same as in the 2012 review below. Clearly this isn't a place for radical change.
Pub is quite small and fairly sparsely furnished. Lady behind the bar was pleasant.

2 Jun 2014 16:47

King Lud, Ryde

A good range of of beer but pretty basic inside. Smaller inside than it seems from the outside. Could do with a spruce up.

16 May 2014 17:32

The Ryde Castle, Ryde

Stopped here for a pint. Greene King and Island Brewery beer. Not very busy but seemed OK. Seems to have been recently taken over.

16 May 2014 17:30

The Steamer Inn, Shanklin

Sold Island Brewery beer. Pleasant enough inside. Food menu is vast which always make me wonder a bit. Nice view out to sea.

16 May 2014 17:28

The Aqua Hotel and Bar, Shanklin

Popped for a quick beer. Sold Yates's beer which was a plus. Lady who served us was very pleasant.

16 May 2014 17:26

The George Abbot, Guildford

Popped in here for a ale on the way back to the station. A good range of ales seemingly on offer, but the first two we asked for were "off" despite appearing to be "on". Eventually I settled for the TEA, as having discovered it was available, did not want to prolong the wait. Young lass behind the bar appeared to be experienced at making excuses for this - shades of Reggie Perrin !

Sparsely decorated, wooden floors, etc, but if it has suffered from flooding this is understandable. Slightly incongruously, the pub was blasting out reggae music and at a quite substantial volume, and this was quite intrusive. It's a long time since I heard "Monkey Man" by The Maytals, and I'm quite happy to listen to it again, but not with the volume turned up to 11.

10 May 2014 12:00

The Britannia, Guildford

The Britannia was fairly busy this Friday lunchtime and we decided to eat here. The beer is Shepherd Neame and I, having to avoid all of the foul golden summer ales on offer, went for the Bishop's Finger, which was fine. A good range of beer was available.

As for food I plumped for the Classic Burger. What there was of it was very good - there just wasn't very much actual food on the plate.

Staff were fine and the place itself was more than acceptable. I'd be happy to drink here again - not sure about the eating.

10 May 2014 11:52

The Bear, Maidenhead

The better of the two Maidenhead 'Spoons. A large pub on two levels with the usually Wetherspoons offers of many beers and much variety of food. It was Curry Thursday so all was well.
An added bonus at The Bear was the amount of local beer on sale, which not all 'Spoons do.

18 Apr 2014 16:42

The Hand and Flowers, Maidenhead

A tiny pub, about the size of a normal shop. A Brakspear place, selling on our visit Oxford Gold, Brakspear Bitter and Jennings Cumberland Ale. I went for the latter which was fine.
Furniture pretty basic so pub clearly going for the rustic look.
Didn't eat here so can't comment on food.

18 Apr 2014 16:30

The Prince's Head, Richmond

Visited here on a warm April Friday lunchtime after walking from Putney.
Pub looks out over Richmond Green, although when you're inside it could be anywhere. The Prince's Head ( no apostrophe on the name outside the pub !) has remained a typical London pub and has not been subjected to "modernisation", so all power to its elbow. It's a bit dingy inside but hey. isn't that what London pubs are supposed to be.
Beer was Fullers so we had ESB, London Pride, and Chiswick on offer, plus some vile golden summer ale from some other brewery whose name I did not catch. I stuck with the ESB which was very good. No doubt the summer ale tasted of Lockets like they always do.
Food was fine - I had Southern Fried Chicken burger - although the french fries ( not chips) came in one of those little pretend deep fat fryer baskets with a metal handle. Why they couldn't tip them out I do not know, but that's modern dining for you.
All in all the Prince's Head was a good pub and I'd have no hesitation in visiting it again.

14 Apr 2014 14:53

The Town Hall Tavern, Chertsey

This place wasn't what I expected. It's a modern pub inside, wooden floors and not a hint of any past history.
However, beer was good, 4 available today - Courage Best and St. Austell Tribute as regulars, Tillingbourne Falls Gold and Twickenham Sundancer as guests. Food was fairly basic - burgers, sandwiches, baguettes, etc, with nothing over a tenner. But the quality was good, although I'm not a fan of the pre-salted chips.
Staff were very friendly and attentive.
And for a Friday lunchtime, the pub was full. Barely a table or seat to be had. Clearly a popular drinking spot with the locals.
It's not plush, it's not upmarket but this place is well worth a visit.

15 Nov 2013 16:53

The Royal Standard of England, Beaconsfield

This pub seems to divide opinions so my experience as a first time user are :-

Visited on a Thursday Lunchtime. About 20 other folk in the place. Very "Olde Worlde" appearance - you can imagine what it's like without actually going there - beams, stone floors, black paint, etc.
Good range of ales and lagers - had Windsor & Eton Conqueror on tap so no further choice making needed for me.
An inexperienced East European lady serving thought that the S&K Pudding I ordered was a Sticky Toffee Pudding ! A little more training in food and English needed here.
Food was quite pricey but said S&K Pudding was very good so no moans there. One of the specials was Beef Wellington at £25 - that's something you don't see everyday.
Conqueror was £3.80 a pint - again a little pricey but I've paid more.

I found the RSOE to be what I expected - touristy, a bit pricey but a good atmosphere and well worth a visit.

7 Nov 2013 17:14

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

After a long stroll from Harlington Corner, this place was just what was required. A big choice of ales and ciders, many seats and some good pies.
Wish it was closer to my house !

21 Oct 2013 16:30

The Bounty, Bourne End

A fantastic location right next to the river. Very idiosyncratic place. Was here on a lovely day so sat outside in spacious garden. Rebellion Mutiny was excellent.

However - When asking for 2 Mutinys and a Grumpy Cow, I was served 3 Cows. Got into a debate with the barman who then poured me the correct beers. However by this time another barman had appeared and put his oar in and virtually accused me of not paying for a beer. All sorted out eventually but so unneccessary. Not the first staff comment on here I see.

Food unspectacular - Double dolly Burger -£6.95 - was cheap and when it turned up I found out why. Food not wonderfully hot, burgers tasted like they were out of a frozen caterers pack, chips could well have been oven chips, salad perfunctory. Not good.

The Bounty is a nice place to drink but customer service and food could be so much better.

12 Jul 2013 12:34

The New Inn, Send

Five beers available - Pride, Adnams Southwold, Kings Brighton Belle, Doom Bar and Abbot. 3 staples, 2 guests I reckon.

Food was fine. Chips were really french fries, a common fault.

Landlady was quite confrontational about our boots, which were clean, but she insisted we read her sign about muddy boots, which we had already read. She then surruptiously inspected our boots as we went our our seats. She didn't smile the whole time we were there. The man serving ( her husband ?) adopted a similar non-humourous posture throughout our visit.

So beer good, food fine, welcome not much.

19 May 2013 17:19

The Black Dog, Ashford Common

Pub now boarded up with attractive heavy duty metal sheeting. Looks like the Black Dog has served its last pint and will soon be doing its bit to combat the housing shortage.

3 May 2013 16:57

The Red Lion, Mortimer West End

We arrived on our walk at 1155. Pub opens bang on 1200 - to the second !
Hall and Woodhouse beer - Tanglefoot, First Gold and Brewery Bee. The latter was new to me and was very good - stuck with it all lunchtime.
Food was OK. It was cheap - Bacon Cheeseburger £7.25, so didn't expect huge portions. One odd thing was that the burger bun was not the usual bap but a normal soft roll. Weird ! Menu not hugely extensive, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
The lad behind the bar knew what to say to customers but could have said in a livelier fashion. Young lady waitress was very good.
The Red Lion is not the most stupendous pub you'll ever visit, but I would happily spend some time there again if in the area.

15 Apr 2013 14:12

Bird In Hand, Knowl Hill

A curious one this.
From the outside it looks like a large roadside inn and distinctly unpromising. Step inside and it retains the look of any Harvester/Berni type place you've ever been in. But appearances can be deceptive.
The staff were excellent - very friendly and attentive.
The food was again very good - at the pricier end of the market, turkey escalope £12.95, liver and bacon £11.95, but well worth it and very hot.
Beer excellent - I had 3 pints of Bingham's Total Eclipse and it was 3 of the best pints I've had in quite a while. A little pricey at £3.70 but what the hell.
Don't be put off by the outside - The Bird In Hand is well worth a visit.

28 Mar 2013 17:06

The Queens Head, Byfleet

We hadn't intended to go to the Queens Head, but the Plough had no food due to kitchen refurbishment so we ended up here.

And actually it was OK. On a busy main road, the QH is a big spacious pub with TV, pool table and the like. Decor is basic. But the lady behind the bar was very pleasant and the range of beer was quite good. Doom Bar ( of course), London Pride, 6X and Old Hooky. We plumped for the latter which was very good, although both it and the 6X had run out by the time we came back for another, so it had to be the LP.

Menu was extensive and good value. Most dishes were in the £8.50 - £9.00 range. My ham, egg and chips was perfectly fine.

The QH probably won't win any awards, but as a drinking local it was fine. I'd have no problems in visiting it again.

8 Mar 2013 09:20

The Three Horseshoes, Brimpton

An odd one this. The pub is divided into two, in what was once public and saloon bar no doubt. Now though the larger part of the pub is a restaurant type eating area, with a layout reminiscent of a genteel tea shop. During our visit this area remained stubbornly empty.
The smaller part of the pub was the drinking area. This area was reduced in size still further by there being a pool table slap bang in the middle of the room. This reduced the seating area to about half a dozen tables around the edge of the room, one of which was situated on the dartboard oche ! We had around half a dozen fellow drinkers with us, which made the pub look quite full - when it wasn't.
Only one beer availalble - Arkells 3B. Quality was good. Two other handpumps not in use and when we enquired as to why, we were told " we don't sell enough beer to warrant having more than one beer on at a time". That doesn't bode well.
Food is cheap and cheerful. A "Belly Buster Burger" at £7.50 was OK but my friends breaded fish clearly came out of a packet. The food was delivered to our table with no offer of sauce, etc, or even an "enjoy your meal".
As stated below, it's the only pub in the village so I guess it can get away with it, but there is definitely much room for improvement here.

16 Feb 2013 13:48

Oak and Saw, Taplow

Very quiet when we visited on a Thursday lunchtime. Beers were London Pride, Brakspears Bitter and ...Rebellion Red Hat, so naturally we made for the latter. And jolly good it was too.
Staff were friendly and chatty - although of course they had virtually no one else to talk to.
Menu is extensive - a la carte, pub lunches, sandwiches, you name it , you can have it. We went for home made burgers in something called a beer bap bun. This appeared to be ... toasted. The burger I found very dry ( don't think the toasted bun helped). I cannot eat coleslaw so asked for this to be left off, but no salad alternative was offered.
The O&S overall was fine and we would visit again. Just get some moisture onto the burger if you choose it.

10 Feb 2013 16:39

The Sun, Whitchurch Hill

The Sun sits in a tiny little hamlet and its hard to see how it has survived in this location. But survived it has.
When we arrived fairly early in the lunch period we ordered our beer and asked the young lady behind the bar if they were doing food. "I'll ask" she said. This rang alarm bells. Surely barstaff should know if food is available or not - this is not something you need to ask, surely.
Beer was Brakspear Bitter, Ringwood Boondoggle and, unusually, Banks's Fine Fettle. We started with the latter and the first pint was fine, but the second was not so good and that slight tang of vinegar started to make itself apparent. I then tried the Boondoggle but this was if anything even less impressive. My fellow drinkers were also not that struck with the beer quality.
Food - we ordered Fish and Chips, Italian Sausage Casserole and Beef Stew. It was cheap, they were £7.50. £8.50 and £8.95 respectively. The fish was oblong and clearly from a packet, which then lends suspicion to the origin of the others. Food was hot and was perfectly acceptable though.
There were a few other customers present during our stay so moderate business was being done. My two colleagues had been to the Sun before and told me it was well worth a visit, but they said that it wasn't as good this time and I felt that it could have provided a better experience with just a little more effort.
My review seems a little at odds with the previous ones on here so maybe it's changed hands.

3 Feb 2013 17:07

The Greyhound, Tidmarsh

A Fuller's pub in the middle of the country is always a touch anachronistic to me, surely the word Fuller's belongs in a town.

We arrived at bang on midday so in we went. Unsurprisingly the place was empty and it pretty much stayed that way throughout lunchtime. There is a set of photos on the wall showing the damage caused by the fire a few years back so you know that the low beams and country pub feel are a deliberate act.

Food was OK. I had S&K Pudding which came with mash and veg and was pretty much what I was expecting. My friend's fish and chips boasted a very large piece of fish, but unfortunately the chips were really french fries - a common problem this - I'm sure some people don't know there's a difference. Reasonably priced - my pudding was £10.

Beer was Fullers - the usual suspects plus Jack Frost winter ale. We plumped for this and it was good - it should be at £3.85 per pint ! This does seem a little steep - still paying for the fire repairs maybe?

A reasonable pub, beer prices apart.

14 Jan 2013 12:52

The Rose and Olive Branch, Virginia Water

The RAOB is a little out of the way and it's something of a surprise that it keeps going.

We visited on a Thursday lunchtime, when the place was surprisingly busy. The bar had 3 pumps but only one beer was available - GK St. Edmunds Gold - the IPA had apparently just run out. The Gold was better than I expected ( I'm not a fan of gold beers), but only one beer available isn't really good enough these days.

The pies were fine. It is essentially a stew in a bowl with a crust over the top. But both pastry and contents were very good and very hot. Chips were also good and the meal with came with a selection of vegetables which were cooked far better than one usually gets.

So pub was fine, food was fine, they just need to sort out the range of beer.

8 Jan 2013 13:16

The Horns, Reading

We visited the Horns on a frosty day circular walk from Wargrave. We arrived early so were the first ones in.

The Horns looks like a village pub from the outside but inside it is trying to be a restaurant. The decor in the pub area is pretty bland with the pub seemingly concentrating on the restaurant end.The new owners only took over a month ago so it's still work in progress, but in my opinion there's a way to go.

Beer - it's a Brakspear pub so guess what - they had Brakspear Bitter and Oxford Gold plus Wychwood Hobgoblin. Before arrival at the pub I predicted this to my fellow walkers and was of course correct. Why can't Brakspear let pubs choose their own guest beer instead of seemingly insisting on them using Wychwood all the time because they are both part of Refresh UK Group. We plumped for Hobgoblin and it wasn't wonderful at all - quite sharp. A punishment for being first in ? 2 of us changed for the second round to the Bitter (something I wouldn't usually do) and quite frankly that wasn't much better.

At around 1215 we asked if food was available. Yes said our barman, we're just producing the menu. Odd to find a pub where the menu isn't ready at opening time. At 1230 the menu appeared, the paper still warm from the printer. A bit disorganised here.

The food was not normal pub grub - no Cod and Chips or Cheeseburger - and prices reflected this. I went for Grilled Plaice with Chips ( which were really French Fries). My colleagues went for Liver which they enjoyed but which had a garnish on top which they never really identified.

In summary The Horns was a bit of a disappointment. The new owner may need more time to get it how he wants it, but I suspect it will end up more restaurant than pub. Sorting out the beer quality would be a start

7 Dec 2012 09:46

Queens Oak, Finchampstead

A largish pub situated near to the church.

Beer was Brakspears Bitter and Oxford Gold and some Wychwood Hobgoblin. We plumped for the latter ( who wants Gold beer in the winter - we want dark stuff) and it was very drinkable.

Food was very good. We had Lamb Pie which had a lot of meat in it and a boat of gravy to dip your veg into. Catch of the Day though was Scampi (!), which let's be honest is a bit of a cop out. ( All those little scampis swimming about in the sea...aaahhhh).

Some very nice ladies working behind the bar though !

Well worth a visit.

3 Dec 2012 10:30

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

An unprepossessing pub from the outside and quite small on the inside. We were there on a Friday lunchtime and it wasn't very busy.

But the beer ! So much to choose from. We went for GK Fireside, Newmans Last Lion of Britain and the spectacular Downtons Chocolate Orange Delight. All were excellent. We had Cumberland Sausage for lunch and you get quite a bit of sausage for your money.

Most beers £3.50 a pint so not cheap, but who's quibbling when you have 6 real ales, a draft cider and a draft perry to choose from.

Lady serving was very pleasant but very quiet.

Get here if you can.

24 Nov 2012 13:42

The Three Horseshoes, Marlow

A walk from Bourne End to Marlow via Flackwell Heath enabled us to make a lunch stop at the Three Horseshoes.

And what an excellent place it is. A bit of a restaurant to be sure, but to be greeted by a row of handpumps all selling Rebellion beer is a sight to behold. I plumped for the Roasted Nuts at 4.7% and jolly fine it was too. No-one of us was alcoholically disappointed.

And the food was pretty good too. An extensive menu, but to get that pub feel we would recommend the Horseshoe Breakfast, an all-day breakfast forming a veritable food mountain on the plate, all for a mere £8.95.

All in all, a spot on alehouse. Now, how can I find an excuse to return ?

12 Nov 2012 12:47

The Coach and Horses, Rotherwick

A very muddy 8 mile walk around Hook led us to the C&H for lunch.

And a pleasant experience it was too. A fairly traditional pub with wooden floors, rustic traditional furnishings and lots of wood to sit on and eat off of. It's Hall & Woodhouse, so Badger First Gold and Fursty Ferret was the available choice. We tried both and they were fine.

A good range of food - we tried Ham, Egg and Chips, Fish and Lasagne and they all came up to scratch. A log fire was available but after slogging over soggy fields we needed cooling down, not heating up.

Barman was very friendly. Pub not hugely busy, only half a dozen apart from us.

All in all, well worth a visit.

26 Oct 2012 10:59

The Falcon, Rotherwick

Now appears to be under new ownership again and has reverted to The Falcon. Not fully open as of yesterday - some beer , no food.

26 Oct 2012 10:53

The Perseverance, Wraysbury

On a long and ultimately soggy walk from Iver to Staines, we decided to lunch at the Perseverance.

This is not a luxurious pub. Minimalist would be a better description. Bare floorboards, some interesting old photos on the wall but little else and fairly basic furniture give it a very basic feel.

Beers available were Doom Bar and Abbot ( surprise, surprise) and also Windsor and Eton Guardsman, which we went for and was very good. Unfortunately it ran out, so we had to revert to the Abbot, which was actually OK.

Menu was quite extensive. I had a home made burger, whilst my colleagues went for Liver and Bacon and a Xav Burger. This last is the house specialty - a home made burger, chips, salad and then every possible trimming you can think of, including black pudding ! All food was very good and the Xav burger achieved its aim of making my fellow walker feel very fat indeed.

Lady serving behind the bar was very friendly. Not hugely busy - apart from us 3 just another 3 guys turned up whilst we were there.

All in all a pleasant experience and one we'd be happy to repeat. My only gripe is that ruddy Cornish beer.

22 Oct 2012 12:31

The Regent, Walton on Thames

A Spoons is a Spoons is a Spoons - and this is a Spoons. It's an old converted cinema which accounts for its long oblong shape. It looks like most Spoons - the same furniture, the same menu, the same general ambience.

We were a little disappointed in that when we visited quite a number of the range of beers were unavailable. We settled for Otter which was fine. It was Thursday so I plumped for a curry. It was fine for what it was - if I'd wanted the full works I'd have gone to the tandoori down the road.

The place was quite busy and had a nicer atmosphere than the ones in say Woking or Slough. Not as good as Staines or St. Neots though, which are more like real pubs.

I don't knock Wetherspoons - when I was young we'd have killed for a pub selling this much real ale. I judge them in their own right, and looking at some of the reviews for other pubs in Walton, I was quite happy with our choice.

5 Oct 2012 12:07

The Bull, Stanford Dingley

An 8 mile walk from Thatcham to Aldermaston was punctuated by lunch at The Bull. And very pleasant it was too.

From the outside a typical village pub. Not huge but with a garden front and back. Beers available were Landlord, Good Old Boy and guest Batemans Yella Belly Gold. We plumped for the GOB which was excellent. 3 pints of the stuff slipped down a treat. And at 3 per pint, it was 60p per pint cheaper than the beer we had last week in an inferior establishment which wasn't nearly as good.

Food - there's a sandwich menu, a starter menu, a specials menu and an a la carte menu, so there's plenty of choice. The food isn't cheap - specials are around the 13-15 mark, the a la carte goes up past 20. We went for Bacon Chop, Sirloin Steak and Fish and Chips, all of which were very good indeed. My fellow walker who had the steak waxed especially lyrical about it.

The staff were chatty and very attentive. The pub gradually filled up through the lunchtime period and it certainly seems to be popular. And with good reason.

The Bull is kinda what I expected to find in this area but it is a very good example of its genre. Good beer, good food, pleasant staff, nice pub. What more could you want.

28 Sep 2012 14:12

The Three Horseshoes, Thursley

On a long circular walk from Hindhead via Gibbet Hill and the Devil's Punch Bowl we lunched at the Three Horseshoes.

First of all it's not that easy to find. There's no pub sign, so you have to look for the car park and the name painted over the door.

The pub is divided into two - the pub is at the front and the restaurant at the back. The pub bit was quite busy on the Thursday lunch time we visited, but the restaurant was empty. TEA and Doom Bar available - looking at the previous reviews this appears to be an unchanging range - more Cornish beer lugged all the way up to Surrey - why not something more local. We all had TEA which was excellent - no problems there.

The menu for pub diners is small - half a dozen starters, a dozen mains and some designer sandwiches. It's pretty pricey for a pub though - two of the main courses were over 20, which is a lot for a pub lunch. Two of us plumped for omelette and chips, whilst I had ham, egg and chips. Both of these retailed at 9.50. Whilst the food was fine, the portion size could best be described as meagre. I've had bigger starters than this main course.

It's a shame that this very pleasantly situated village pub has morphed into a restaurant. Villages need pubs. Do food by all means - I understand that any pub needs to these days to survive. And have a restaurant attached - pricey if you like - again no problem. But don't combine the two - it doesn't work.

A good pub spoiled by a bit of pretentiousness.

14 Sep 2012 13:16

The Bull and Butcher, Turville

I expected this to be an upmarket village pub with pricey beer and food with a lot of very well spoken people sitting at reserved tables.

And it was.

But that doesn't tell the whole story. The pub is quite small with a large seating area outside, so I can imagine that at busy times it does get crowded. Beer was on the pricier side but I've had more expensive. They were serving Brakspears Bitter and Oxford Gold together with Wychwood Bountiful, which I hadn't had before and was impressed with.

The food was quite costly - Fish & Chips, Burger and Chips or Steak Pie with veg all weighed in at 12.50. But then I didn't expect it to be cheap - pubs north of Henley just aren't, so go prepared. And all three meals were very hot and very good. No complaints there.

The guy who served us was very attentive and efficient. So all in all, the Bull and Butcher, despite being what I expected, was actually quite good.

27 Aug 2012 12:14

The Albert Arms, Norbiton

A days strolling around Richmond Park led to lunch at The Albert.

A a curious pub it is too. The traditional welcoming Youngs sign outside leads you into a pub with with a number of different levels, with even a basement bar. Tables are spread widely throughout the pub. The place is fairly sparsely decorated but still has a pleasant ambience.

Youngs Bitter, Special Bitter, Gold and Wells Bombardier available. Many have said it before, but Youngs just isn't the same now it comes from Bedford and not Wandsworth. Not the pub's fault, and what we had was fine, but it's Youngs in name only.

Lunchtime food options were interesting. Most offers were large sandwiches, e.g., a long oval plate sandwiches on a skewer, with an option of a full portion of chips or a "handful". Only main meals were Steak and Onion Pie or Lasagne. I plumped for the chicken club which was very good. Food offers may be different in the evening.

The two ladies serving were very attentive and made us feel welcome.

All in all a pleasant experience.

17 Aug 2012 09:29

The White Lion, Crays Pond

A long circular walk from Pangbourne was punctuated by a lunch stop at The White Lion.

The last time some of our number had ventured here it was closed, so we were pleased to see a fully functioning pub hove into view. Situated on the village crossroads, the original pub must have been quite small, but it has been extensively extended to provide dining areas. The landlord served us and was a friendly soul.

Beers available were Old Speckled Hen, GK IPA and guest Hardy and Hanson's Bitter, another GK owned name. We all plumped for the latter beer and very pleasant it was too, although the pump sign did not display an OG ( It's 3.9% I've subsequently discovered).

Food menu was quite extensive but once we saw the pie menu no other choice could compare. We had Huntingdon Fidget, Steak and Ale and Turkey and Leek ( which had morphed from Chicken and Ham on the menu). All came with chips and veg and met with universal approval.

The pub was quiet for a Thursday lunchtime so let's hope that this time round it's more of a financial success and doesn't have to close again.

3 Aug 2012 12:01

The Cricketers, Horsell

Our 8 mile walk around the north of Woking was punctuated by lunch at the Cricketers.

Definitely echo the comments below. This is a food orientated pub which happens to sell beer. The pub is long and narrow at the front along the bar with a restaurant section at one end. On the Thursday lunchtime we were there it was reasonably busy. It is a pleasant environment.

The beer is Shepherd Neame - they had Whitstable Bay, Spitfire, Masterbrew and Kent's Best. Between the five of us we tried pretty much all of them. The problem is - telling the difference. They all have this "golden summer" appearance so beloved of some brewers these days. And the taste is pretty much the same for all of them. The beer or the pub - I don't know - but it's pretty unspectacular drinking. And 3.70 for a pint of Whitstable Bay is fairly steep.

The reviews below give the food good marks but my Pig and Cheese Burger frankly wasn't up to much. The burger was 6oz but was in a very dry bun. The amount of cheese and bacon in it was small so eating the thing was a bit of an effort ( perhaps designed to make me drink more). The chunky chips were also very dry. I can't eat coleslaw so asked for none to be served. It was replaced with - nothing. The "side salad" was a joke - one circle of onion, one small gherkin and a bit of tomato. And this unedifying pretty small meal set me back 10.95 - not good value.

Having said that, one of my fellow walkers had a pie which he said was very good.

The young lady who served us was friendly and efficient.

The Cricketers is owned by a PubCo, Barons Pubs. This probably explains the high prices, profit maximisation being the order of the day. I doubt though that the Cricketers will be getting much of their profit from me in the future.

20 Jul 2012 09:59

The Star, Godalming

After a very muddy six mile walk, we pitched up for lunch at the Star.

And a good pub it is too. Five real ales available including Naylor's Black and Tan from the cask and GK Libertine, which I've never seen before. A "coming soon" board suggests that the ales are changed frequently.

The pub is narrow but goes back a long way. We were there Friday lunchtime and it was pretty busy - we managed to get the last table. Because the pub and therefore the bar is small, a queue tends to build up if a lot of people are ordering food at the same time. We had ham, egg and chips ( pretty sizeable), scampi and chips ( what I expected) and a Star burger, which my friend said was fine but overloaded with cheese. Menu was a standard one, no specials that I could see.

So, a good pub, well worth a visit.

16 Jul 2012 10:26

Mr Bumble, Blackwater

I'm willing to bet that this pub wasn't always called this.

A large utilitarian looking pub on the main drag through Blackwater. Inside it was OK, spacious with lots of seats. No sign of Bumble Bee Beer, but they did sell Windsor and Eton Windsor Knot and Knight of the Garter, along with London Pride and Rev. James.

We were there at 1600 hours so it was pretty quiet ( but not empty) but we certainly wouldn't object to visiting again.

6 Jul 2012 11:13

The Crown and Cushion, Blackwater

A fairly traditional pub with lots of internal seating and even more outside. Beer is Shepherd Neame - we tried Bishop's Finger and Spitfire and both were fine. Staff were efficient and friendly.

A wide choice of food available. Two of us went for the Ridiculous Burger - a well filled burger with cheese, pickle, etc - but why ridiculous I couldn't tell you. The other two of us went for the Haddock and chips - served on a long thin plate on what appeared to be greaseproof paper.

All in all a pleasant lunchtime stop.

6 Jul 2012 11:07

The Angel On The Bridge, Henley-On-Thames

The Angel On the Bridge is one of those places that everyone knows where it is but few have been inside.
We arrived here after a wet walk at around 1400. Only 3 people in the pub, who decided to make some comments about our damp condition. Two of them then promptly left. The pub inside is quite small, smaller than I expected, with a number of small rooms and areas to sit in. Good view over the river of course.
Beers were Brakspears Bitter and Oxford Gold and Ringwood Boondoggle. We had the Boondoggle which was fine although a little pricey. We had no food.
The place was OK but had nothing really to distinguish it from many other pubs, both in Henley and elsewhere.

8 Jun 2012 12:03

The Flower Pot, Aston

On a circular walk from Henley we stopped for lunch at the Flower Pot.
We were the first to arrive at lunchtime but the pub soon started filling up. Lots of tables, mostly set out for food. Lots of stuffed fish in cases around the walls. The log fire was burning despite it being June - totally unneccessary.
Beers were Ringwood Bold Forester and Bitter, Brakspears Bitter and Jennings Sneck Lifter. We tried the first and last of these and they were fine, although unsurprisingly a little pricey.
Food options are listed on a specials board, a standard menu board and a light bites menu, so plenty of choice. My fellow walker had the curry which he found filling and perfectly satisfactory . I went for Lamb Shank which, although cooked, was not as hot in the middle as on the outside. Reheated in a microwave? It was also covered in a thick onion gravy, and I mean thick, which rather detracted from it as well for me. Food prices were actually reasonable and what I'd expect to pay in a pub.
There's not many pubs nearby so the Flower Pot is pretty much the only option if you're in the area. It was OK, but I wouldn't go too much further than that.

8 Jun 2012 11:54

Goat and Tricycle, Bournemouth

All reviews said that this was the place to go on our short break to very sunny and hot Bournemouth, so off we went. West Hill Road is full of cheap hotels and boarded up shops which made us a little trepidacious of what the G&T would be like.

We needn't have worried. When one walks into a pub and is presented with 10 handpumps, all with a different beer on them, you know you're in the right place. The G&T is a Wadworth's pub so on our first visit ( yes, we went again) there were 7 Wadworth's ales ( the whole range?) and three guests. The second time there werte 6 Wadworths and 4 guests. I lost track of what I had - I remember the Swordfish was good, as was the Holt's Bitter.

The G&T is not a glamourous pub, but thankfully it is a busy one. Staff were friendly and even laughed at one of my jokes - beyond the call of reasonable duty in most places but not here.

Food is average. What we had was fine but was quite expensive for a smallish portion size. They did have good veggie options though.

So when in Bournemouth, get off of the beach and into the Goat and Tricycle. If you don't eat, don't worry - beer is a food after all.

28 May 2012 10:45

Ye Olde Ship Inn, Guildford

After a six mile circular walk from Guildford we took lunch at the Olde Ship Inn.

Externally it's perched right on the road so isn't the most picturesque of places. Inside though it's quite roomy, with oak beams, low doorways and different floor levels suggesting a building of some antiquity.

After reading the reviews on here we went for the pizzas and jolly good they were too. I had a Spanish which claimed to have "peppalicious" peppers on it, whatever that might mean. Be warned though - no burgers, fried fish or chips on sale here - which is good, but some may find this an issue.

The place was pretty busy for a Thursday lunchtime. It's slightly upmarket, with the landlord trying to push bottles of wine at every opportunity. One customer bought 2 drinks for 4.15 and paid by credit card - never a good sign. A big notice on entry tells you to remove muddy boots, but looking around no-one seemed to taking much notice of it.

The beer - well...GK IPA, GK IPA Gold, Abbot and Old Speckled Hen were on offer. Not the most original selection ever provided and a bit of a giveaway as to who is supplying the beer. We plumped for the OSH which was fine, although it was a little lively on leaving the pump.

All in all, the YOSI was a more than acceptable lunch spot. A more exciting ale selection would make it even better.

11 May 2012 11:24

The Bull Inn, Iver

On an 8 mile stroll from West Drayton to Slough we took our lunch break at the Bull.

A largish pub, we plumped for the saloon bar, although numbers of fellow drinkers present were not high - half a dozen of us at most. Most of the others seemed to be regulars. The Bull is a fairly traditional pub in layout and appearance - once inside you could be almost anywhere.

Beers were regulars London Pride, Brakspears Bitter, Wadworth's 6X and guest Old Golden Hen. Some of the usual suspects, but there we are. We plumped for the 6X. In my youth this was a beer which you always had if it was available, and I am pleased to report that the 6X served at the Bull was excellent, taking me back to the halcyon days of my youth.

Food consisted of snacks on a printed menu and a list of main meals on what appeared to be a semi-permanent chalk board. Prices were cheap - my gammon was 6.50 and although a little bit too salty for my taste, was fine for the price.

Staff were pleasant. Pub also contained what appeared to be a Pringles dispensing machine, a little unusual. Toilets were perfectly acceptable.

The Bull proved a very pleasant lunch stop and well worth a visit.

8 Apr 2012 15:46

Cricketers Inn, Pirbright

Having tried the White Hart on our last visit to Pirbright the Ramble Then Lunch team decided to give the Cricketers a whirl.

And very different it is too. The Cricketers is quiet...very quiet. Only a couple of customers came in during our fairly lengthy stay. The sofas and high tables, the retro ceiling lights, the curious panelling on the bar all made me feel like I had been transported Life On Mars - like back to the seventies. All very odd.

BUT - The beer was good. London Pride, Gold Muddler and Squires Gold were all available. Menu was fairly standard but the food quality was really good. Battered Fish and home made burger all went down a treat - indeed my fellow walker enthused to some degree on the standard of his cod. Staff member was friendly.

So where it matters The Cricketers is spot on. And let's be honest, there's not too many pubs these days where fans of Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Yes can feel right at home.

Let's hope it gets enough folk through the door to enable it to stay open.

16 Mar 2012 10:00

The Bulls Head, West Clandon

It's alright here.

A nice pint of Shere Drop, friendly staff, good food - steak and kidney pudding - and a comfy seat. What more could you want.

Quite busy for a lunchtime. Pub is on a very busy road and doesn't look much from the outside but don't be fooled. It's well worth a visit.

2 Mar 2012 09:38

The Watermans Arms, Eton

After a 6 mile walk around Datchet and Eton Wick we arrived along the Thames Path at Eton, and the first pub you come to is The Watermans Arms. They clearly have focused on this as there is a sign outside welcoming walkers and cyclists. The Watermans also has ambitions of being a public library - one of the alcoves is absolutely stuffed full of books, although other parts of the pub feel a bit sparse.

We didn't expect it to be packed on a Friday lunchtime in February but we didn't expect to be the only customers. The good news is though that 6 real ales were on offer;- Skinner's Cornish Knocker, Harveys Sussex Bitter, Bingham Twyford Tipple, Landlord plus two from the Windsor and Eton brewery, Windsor Knot and Conqueror. We had visions of spending a wonderful lunchtime working our way through that lot andf falling back to the train.

We started with Cornish Knocker - very good. Then onto Conqueror - even better. At this point we decided to eat.

Now the bad news - no food ! "Not today" said the barlady, thus explaining the pub emptiness in just two words. Try as we might, elderly man cannot live by beer alone, so we wandered into Windsor looking for food and ale in combination.

A Sunday lunch is advertised at the Watermans, so clearly they do food at some times, but we can only judge from what we find.

So a great mark for beer, reduced points for no food. Still, if you're in Eton and have already eaten but want many pints of fine ale, then the Waterman's is the place for you.

20 Feb 2012 09:57

Sir Douglas Haig, Effingham

Sir Douglas Haig was better known as Earl Haig, the "Butcher of the Somme" and the very epitome of the pantheon of class based incompetent generals of the First World War, responsible for the deaths of so many ill prepared men, despite what modern day apologists might say. However, The Sir Douglas Haig pub at Effingham easily exceeds the pathetic standards of its namesake.

It wasn't busy last Friday lunchtime and the pub is a pretty sizeable place so we rattled around in it a bit, but the staff were very attentive and explained the menu in great detail. "There's the lunch menu" explained our guide, " or you can choose from the pie menu. We also have an a la carte menu, which I have to say that if you don't choose something from you'll be missing a treat".

The lunch menu was standard fare ( fish and chips, etc,) and we didn't like to say that we couldn't even spell a la carte, let alone eat it. But pies...now you're talking ! One Steak and Stilton, one Pork and Something and two Minted Lamb with assortments of potatoes and veg hit the spot nicely. Good pies too, not your usual stew in a bowl with puff pastry on the top.

Beer - London Pride, Adnams Broadside and Lighthouse. All fine and sliped down sufficiently well to give us enough energy to get back to Effingham Junction station.

In addition we were served by an attractive buxom barmaid with much bosom on show and had the additional bonus of seeing on the TV (normally a minus point but on this occasion...) the wretched Andy "I support Anyone But England" Murray lose yet again in the Australian Open tennis.

So, an enjoyable lunchtime was had by all.

30 Jan 2012 15:54

The William Cobbett, Farnham

Anyone who has visited and enjoyed the Hobgoblin in Reading will feel at home in the William Cobbet. Although more conventional in layout than the Hob, the Cob shares many other things in common.

Excellent Real ale - we couldn't resist trying the Cream inspired fff Brewery Pressed Rat and Warthog and were rewarded for our bravery. Walls and ceilings plastered in beermats and handpump badges. And the music of course - Zepp, Kansas and many guitar based makers of noise. And some wacky furniture, and even some records pinned to the wall.

Food was fine, basic but at prices to match. Bacon and Cheese Burger with chips at 5.95, although the "Double D" burger doesn't have the shape you might expect.

Close to the college, this must be popular with students as well as us old folk. Would happily re-visit.

20 Jan 2012 16:50

The Lamb, Farnham

Farnham seems to be full of Shepherd Neame pubs and quite how a Kentish brewery has pulled off this coup d'etat in a small town in Hampshire is a mystery to me. However, one of the pubs caught up in this is The Lamb, hidden down a backstreet and seemingly a long way from the centre of town.

The pub is sparsely decorated and when we arrived on a January Thursday lunchtime it was sparsely populated as well. The TV broadcast England's ignominious defeat to Pakistan from an empty stadium in Dubai to an empty pub. Still, the beer was good - I plumped for the Late Red - and the landlord was friendly.

Perhaps it's more popular in the evening at The Lamb. If it isn't, the future is bleak.

20 Jan 2012 16:38

The Jolly Farmer, Worplesdon

After a muddy stroll around the environs of Worplesdon, the Ramble Then Lunch team chose to take lunchtime bread and water at The Jolly Farmer.

Quite frankly, the pub doesn't look much from the outside, abutting as it does right up against the road. But inside we found a very pleasant hostelry. A Fullers pub, it had London Pride available, but also Gale's HSB and Seafarers. Between us we plumped for the Gale's, and very pleasant they were too.

The Jolly Farmer is making an effort to get noticed with its food and boasts all locally produced ingredients, etc. I plumped for the local beef burger in a bun with chunky chips. The chips came served in a mug (someone's been watching too many TV food programmes), but the bun was stuffed full of all sorts of extras and the burger itself was superb - an excellent strong taste, about as far from a Burger King "pap-burger" as it's possible to get. My colleagues all enjoyed their lunches as well, Fulk's Sausages (whoever he may be) going down particularly well.

Add to this some friendly young ladies doing the serving and you have a very pleasant lunchtime.

One word of warning - when using the gents there are two doors as you go in which are very close together. After a few beers I could envisaged the odd squashed nose or two.

But toilet doors apart, the Jolly Farmer is a very pleasant place to drink, eat and have another a beer because you've missed the once an hour train.

16 Jan 2012 11:00

The Cyder House Inn, Shackleford

On a windy Thursday walk from Godalming the Ramble Then Lunch took lunch at the Cyder House.

Modern internal decoration is at odds with the exterior appearance. Inside the pub was empty and stayed so until shortly before we left when one other man entered. I know it's January but...

Our visit started inauspiciously. Beers were Sussex Bitter. TEA and Badgers First Gold. I plumped for the TEA but it gave up the ghost half way through my pint being poured. As this was probably the first one of the day who checked it first ? I then tried to pay for the round but the computerised till failed as well.

No matter. As it was empty we had plenty of choice for seats. For lunch we ordered a schnitzel and two "lightly breaded haddock with thin chips". The schnitzel was good but the fish, whilst very hot, had a curious texture on the outside - "lightly" seems to mean "soft". " I like my fish and chips to have a bit of crunch" said my colleague, and who can blame him. The thin chips were unusual too - a sort of anorexic jacket wedge.

The beer we had was good so no issue there. The two staff on duty were also very attentive - but given the circumstances they should have been. It would be interesting to re-visit this pub when it was busier - assuming such a thing happens.

6 Jan 2012 11:06

The Alehouse, Reading

Ah, The Hobgoblin - you either love this place or hate it. A small poky little pub, the decor is about 6 million beermats on the walls, the range of real ales is vast and the music tends towards the heavy metal end of the spectrum ( Zep, Trivium, Korn...it's all there). The tables are sticky - whether due to too much polish or beer residue is hard to determine.

There are a lot of tiny little alcoves you can sit in which take no more than 3 or four people. The pub is entirely made of wood. West Berkshire Brewery is the main supplier, but there are lots and lots of guests. We are always staggered as to how such a place as survived in the centre of Reading, when everything else is being sanitised and homogenised.

Long may it remain in existence.

23 Dec 2011 16:03

The Griffin, Caversham

After a muddy walk from Pangbourne the Ramble Then Lunch team searched for a lunch stop in Caversham and settled on The Griffin.

And a pretty good choice it was too. 3 days before Christmas the pub was understandably busy but we found a table and settled down. 5 real ales;- Greene King IPA, Howells Frosty Bells, Courage Directors, Adnams Broadside and Christmas Cheer. We tried a fair selection and they were all fine.

The Griffin is a Chef and Brewer so food forms a major part of their offer. Menu is extensive, service was very good and the food itself was absolutely fine. We had Gourmet Burger, Boar Burger and CTM and we had nothing left on the plates.

The only complaint was that the pub is quite full of tables and where we were sitting we constantly had to keep moving to let pushchairs and babyseats to go passed. Probably not so much of a problem away from Christmas.

The Griffin is well worth a visit.

23 Dec 2011 15:54

Crooked Billet, Hook

On a six mile circular walk from Winchfield station we decide to take lunch and alcohol at the Crooked Billet.

Whereas once the A30 was the premier route in the area it's now more like an overspecified backroad, kind of like how I imagine Route 66 in the USA to be. Consequently the Crooked Billet doesn't get the passing trade that it used to, but ambience wise is probably all the better for it.

The pub was packed - the pensioners wing of the local Baptist Church were having their Christmas lunch, so the sherry was flowing and the zimmers were flying. We settled down a safe distance away to enjoy some splendid pints of TEA. Also available was Courage Best, Doom Bar and Boondoggle ( a bit late in the year for summer ale, but never mind).

Service was pretty good considering the OAP's had monopolised most of the waitresses. I had Shepherd's Pie with vegetables and it was fine - no "chips with everything" here. The staff welcomed us and said goodbye. All in all a very pleasant experience

16 Dec 2011 16:45

The White House, Guildford

Called in here at the end of our walk from Godalming. A split level pub which I always find quite a pleasant place to drink. Selling Fuller's Black Cab Stout on draught which was very good and an added bonus.

The loos are hidden away upstairs and are a bit of a trek. Otherwise a more than adequate drinking hole.

6 Dec 2011 13:14

The Parrot Inn, Shalford

More a restaurant than a pub, The Parrot is a pretty large, modern type of establishment, with a lot of tables. Even on a Thursday lunchtime it was fairly busy, mostly with folks even older than us. I doubt it ever gets too rowdy here, and I can understand the lack of atmosphere comment below.

Beers were London Pride, the ubiquitous Doom Bar and Shere Drop. So a fairly standard 2 nationals and one local. Ale was fine.

Food was reasonably good. I had Lamb Shank, which came with vegetables but was crying out for some good solid spuds with it. Staff were friendly.

Nothing spectacular at the Parrot, but nothing terrible either. Would happily re-visit if passing the door.

6 Dec 2011 13:08

Golden Pheasant, Biggleswade

Once again following Slough Town on the road in the Evo-Stik Central, the massed ranks of Rebels fans pitched up at the Golden Pheasant.

And what a pub. No music, no TV so no overblown Premier League football, no extensive menu. In fact no food at all. But the Golden Pheasant is that rarest of beasts... a drinkers pub.

Six real ales availble, including Black Sheep and some excellent Buntingford November Ale, brewed just up the road. The pub has some seats, some tables, the ability to have a converstaion and a friendly landlord. So what can I say except what a pleasant change it is to find such a pub in a town centre. We all fully intend to return next season.

23 Nov 2011 11:49

Royal Forresters Hotel, Ascot

After a fairly uneventful walk around Swinley Park and the massed ranks of housing that is Martins Heron, the Ramble Then Lunch team arrived for lunch at The Royal Foresters.

The RF is a pretty large Beefeater, with a Premier Inn attached. Not hugely busy, but then its a lunchtime in November. GK Abbot and London Glory available. Barman waxed lyrical to us about his ales, his love of bitter and his minor obsession of keeping his salt dispensers full and running. He regularly checked on us and provided an excellent service. Beer was fine, although this fine-ness was only achieved after letting it warm up for ten minutes. Why do so many pubs serve their real ale at something approaching lager temperatures these days. British beer is meant to be at room temperature and its flipping annoying when it isnt.

As its a Beefeater, there was a vast choice on the menu. We went for the lunchtime value menu pie, steaks, salads, etc and we were all satisfied with what we had. Beefeaters serve bottomless chips, i.e. you can have as many as you like, but I was never offered any more or told how to do so.

Dont get me wrong though, the Royal Foresters was a perfectly fine lunch stop. Not a drinkers pub, but then it doesnt pretend to be, and its a damn sight better than quite a few establishments weve visited.

4 Nov 2011 11:29

The Golden Bell, Leighton Buzzard

On the way to see Slough Town pulverise Leighton Town 0-1 in the Evo-Stik Central, various Rebels supporters converged on the Golden Bell for a pre-match ale.

And boy, was it packed. A small pub showing Chelsea v Arsenal, there was barely room to swing a cat. We sat in the surprisingly large garden. Beer included Caledonian Autumn Red and Adnams Broadside, both of which were fine. Food was inexpensive and generous. Staff were friendly and one young lady helped carry my round into the garden.

It would be interesting to see what this pub was like when no football was being shown. It's pitched as a sort of privately run Hungry Horse but none the worse for that. Definitely worth a visit in a town with a paucity of decent pubs.

1 Nov 2011 11:11

The Pineapple, Brimpton Common

On an 8.8 mile round trip from Midgham station, the Ramble Then Lunch pitched up at The Pineapple for lunch.

A typical low beamed and low ceiling-ed country pub aiming at the food as well as beer market. For a lunchtime the pub was pretty busy with smartly dressed people so they are doing something right.

Beer was a fairly standard array of Flowers Original, Landlord and London Pride. With two unused pumps something a little more local could have been provided, eg West Berkshire at Thatcham. Beer was also pretty cold - this may be the cellar temperature but a little more heat would be welcome.

The food was very good. I had an top notch Steak and Kidney Pudding - almost as good as those served in the Red Lion at Fernhurst. The rest of the team all enjoyed their food too.

The furniture in this pub is pretty spectacular - huge chairs and tables carved with a chainsaw out of whole trees !

Watch out for the low beam on the way to the gents. To a man we hit our head on it.

The Pineapple made a fine lunchtime stop. Warm up the beer a bit and it would be even better

24 Oct 2011 12:46

The Grantley Arms, Wonersh

A circular walk from Chilworth led the Ramble Then Lunch team to a lunchtime stop at the Grantley Arms.

A large traditional style pub with lots of seating. Only about 6 customers when we arrived at 1300 but but this rose to about 18 at its peak. Quite a dark interior with a lot of fusty looking books in one alcove. A conservative pub in what I suspect is a Conservative area.

Beers - Horsham Bitter, Chestnut Ale and Red River ( all W J King), Windsor Knot from Windsor and Eton and Hampshire Rose from Itchen Valley. The Chestnut Ale was on a special at 1 a pint so two of us plumped for that. A very strong tasting beer with that coffee-ish type taste you get with Shepherd Neame. Despite the price it wasn't my thing so we moved onto Windsor Knot, with which I was very impressed. Can see why they kept it on after the Royal Wedding.

Food - my fellow walkers had an all day breakfast and a jumbo cod, with which they were both very satisfied. In an effort to watch the calories I went for Chicken Goulash and wish I hadn't - a pretty unspectacular lunch which left me looking enviously at the other meals.

Staff were friendly and efficient.

The Grantley Arms was a pleasant enough experience - nothing terrible but nothing exceptional. Perhaps if I'd had the breakfast though ...

10 Oct 2011 10:05

The Bull, Sonning

It was the last day in September and one of the hottest ones of the year when the RambleThenLunch team decided to walk from Shiplake to Reading. A number of lunchtime stops presented themselves but, desperate for a drink, we plumped for the Bull at Sonning.

And very pleasant it was too. Inside it's a traditional low beamed, slightly dark pub, but the sunshine being too good to waste we sat outside near to the conveniently placed serving hatch.

Beers available were Red Fox, Discovery, London Pride and Chiswick - all Fullers - and Gales HSB. Condition when served was good.

Given it was a Friday lunchtime and dead hot the place was very busy. A very small car park at the end of a cul-de-sac makes for tight manoeuvuring, and I'm sure there's the odd scrape or two. Many folk seem to park in the nearby church car park, making no doubt a suitable donation.

The Bull is pricey though - four pints were 14.80, which averages out at 3.70, which is quite a lot.

The quality of the food was good. Two of us had Steak and Venison Pie and two had Liver. Portions not huge though and and the liver was very lightly cooked, even for my blood loving carnivorous colleagues. Again quite pricey - Pie was 15 and Liver 13. Pub doesn't sell chips at all, which makes a pleasant change.

The loo is hidden away but has some interesting posters in it.

Although expensive, the Bull is a very pleasant place to spend a lunchtime and we would happily return

3 Oct 2011 13:13

The Royal Standard, Wooburn Common

Walking from Bourne End to Cookham the long way led to a stop at the Royal Standard. One of our number had been banging on about this place for some time and had given it a big build up, so we entered with anticipation.

And it was pretty good. Five standard real ales and five guests ( the Black Bee Honey Porter was pretty fine ) plus five ciders so no problem with choice. Pub is fairly small but has a good atmosphere. Staff were friendly. A lot of tables were set for lunch which does re-inforce the comment below about orientationj towards food, but all pubs have to do food these days or they disappear so no issue with that.

The food was fine and although my colleagues fish was quite a size, my home burger was a much smaller portion. And they served coleslaw without warning me, which as a coleslawphobic person does annoy me.

However the Royal Standard is well worth a visit and we would happily return at a future date.

26 Sep 2011 09:43

The Lifeboat, Thornham

Doing the coast Path from Hunstanton, we arrived for lunch at tghe Lifeboat Inn. At least, I think that it was the Lifeboat,as curiously there is no sign outside to tell you it's even a pub, let alone what its name is.

Inside is a traditional seaside pub, with lots of nooks and crannies and a big conservatory type area out of the back. Small serving hatches instead of bars, reminding me of the Bell at Aldworth, an essential stop for those walking the Ridgeway.

The food was quite expensive and portions nothing to write home about. One of our party ordered fishcake with wilted spinach and flavoured butter from the specials menu. And that's exactly what she got - a fishcake, one wilted sorry looking leaf and a squiggle of butter dribbled across the plate. Barely enough to feed a mouse, special it wasn't.

A number of real ales available; I settled for Mauldens Mole Trap - at 3.8% it had far more flavour than the ubiquituos Wherry with the same strength.

The Lifeboat is OK but don't bother with the fishcake !

20 Sep 2011 14:06

The Lord Nelson, Burnham Market

Went here for an evening drink and meal. Upon arrival we were told " no fish today", unsurprising as there had been a force 8 gale blowing the previous day, enough to keep any sensible fisherman in port. We chose non-fish dishes, only to see later two other diners having fish ! Upon enquiring, the waitress said " oh, I meant the fish dish of the day, not the usual fish and chips, etc." Clarity folks, clarity is all important when dealing with the customer.

Woodforde's Wherry and GK IPA were the two beers available. Again unimpressed with the Wherry. According to the Woodforde's website they do eight beers. Why can I only get Wherry ? Why not Norfolk Nog ?

Pub was sparsely decorated but clean. Only a dozen people came in all evening. Staff pleasant enough. Overall OK, but nothing special.

20 Sep 2011 13:55

The Hoste Arms, Burnham Market

The Hoste Arms is not really a pub. It's a premium hotel that just happens to have a bar at the front. It charges premium prices. The restaurant is indeed very posh and the food is good, although of course as in all such establisments portion size is nothing to write home about.

Staff excellent of course and the place does sell Nelson's Revenge, which meant I could get away from the Wherry.

20 Sep 2011 13:00

The Hero, Burnham Overy Staithe

Pretty busy here on a Sunday lunchtime. A curious looking pub both inside and out, reminding me more of a fairly utilitarian tearoom rather than an establishment selling beer.

Only real ale was Woodforde's Wherry which, to be honest, I wasn't overstruck with. It took a long time to clear ( not just in the Hero) and at 3.8% I found it a bit insipid.

Food was excellent - large portions and reasonably priced. Staff were friendly and welcoming.

One moan - we ordered a pot of tea for two and were charged 5 ! Only a standard sized pot and cups. This can only be described as excessive.

20 Sep 2011 12:56

The Red Lion, Fernhurst

After an energetic walk from Haslemere via Black Down we arrived rather circuituously at the Red Lion.

A pretty traditional pub inside and out with three Fullers beers and Adnams bitter available. Why Fullers have a tied house out here I cannot say, but it's still open and seemingly thriving.

The staff were very welcoming and friendly and there was a steady trade. The food was excellent, with the Steak and Kidney Pudding a magnificent thing, towering over the plate like the Devil's Tower in Close Encounters. Reasonably priced too.

Would happily re-visit if in the area again

20 Sep 2011 12:47

The Beehive, White Waltham

In the middle of a long walk from Maidenhead to Twyford, the rain came just as the Beehive hove into view. Taking this as a sign, we entered.

And quite pleasant it was too. Our table was laid for us by helpful staff whilst we supped some excellent Loddon's Ferryman's Gold. London Pride and Brakspears IPA were also available. Decor was unspectacular but was probably better in the restaurant bit.

The pub was pretty popular too which makes a nice change from many of the desolate lunchtimes that we've spent on our own.

Food was unfancy but perfectly fine. Burger and chips at a fairly regular price of 9.95. This meal did come with coleslaw though which, due to a trauma earlier in my life, I cannot even look at. I wish pubs did coleslaw warnings for the likes of me.

But I digress. The Beehive was fine however and like most of those commenting below, I happily recommend that you visit.

30 Aug 2011 15:21

The Stepping Stones, Westhumble

Having had a strenuous walk in the morning around Denbies and Ranmore Common and with Boxhill to come, the Ramble Then Lunch team decided to take lunch at the Stepping Stones.

An unusual looking pub from the outside, with a slightly classical appearance. Inside it's a large pub with tables spread like scatter cushions throughout the available space. Large signs at the entrance telling customers that muddy boots are not tolerated so be warned. Quite a few people in here which makes a nice change.

Beer - usual suspects of TEA, Doom Bar, Ringwood IPA and GK London Glory. I started with TEA but it wasn't the best pint I've ever had so switched to London Glory which was in much better condition. Others have commented below about beer quality here, so maybe it is an issue. At least TEA is relatively local though, unlike Doom Bar !

Food - an extensive menu and not particularly expensive. Portion sizes equivalent to price though so if you're really hungry you'll need to order two. My beef lasagne was fine. Curry of the day was...Green Thai. Isn't it always, wherever you go.

Staff were friendly and provided good service.

The Stepping Stones was an acceptable pub which served its purpose for us. Would probably visit again if walking in the area.

22 Aug 2011 10:57

The Merry Harriers, Hambledon

On a hot and sultry day and in the middle of a long walk we pitched up here on a Thursday in the middle of August at 1425 hours in anticipation of an ale, only to find the pub shut.

No wonder pubs are going to the wall if they are not open on hot days in the summer holidays. We were dead disappointed.

15 Aug 2011 10:07

The White Horse, Hascombe

Halfway through a very hot and humid ten mile walk and after getting lost in The Holmwood, the Ramble Then Lunch team approached the White Horse with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation.

Anticipation because we were all dead thirsty and needed a drink. Trepidation because some of the comments below were less than enthusiastic.

The pub is fairly basic inside, decor from the rustic school. Beer was a number of the usual suspects, including Tribute and Greene King IPA. The beer was fine, but I just can't get used to finding Cornish beer all over Surrey when there are so many more local options available.

The food, although a little bit more expensive then usual, was actually very good, and when it's good you don't mind the price so much. My Pork Belly with Chickpea and Chorizo stew was unusual and very good. My fellow rambler's fish and chips was rated highly by him as well.

Negatives ? Well, I'm pretty certain that both the landlord and the lady who served our beer and food didn't smile once during our stay. They weren't rude, just dour. More levity please folks.

And we were adopted by the two pub dogs who decided to sleep under our table. There is an assumption from many dog owners that everyone likes dogs at all times, which I'm afraid isn't true. Dogs are fine, by not under my table when I'm eating, and we were not asked if we liked this situation.

But on the whole the White Horse wasn't bad at all and if we were walking in the area again, we'd be happy to pay a return visit.

15 Aug 2011 10:02

The Moon and Spoon, Slough

When you go into a 'Spoons you kinda know what you're going to get - a large pub with many seats, vast open spaces inbetween and quite a few nooks and crannies. A large range of beers, many of which you've never heard off. In the daytime it will be fine, at night possibly a little more boisterous. The staff will do their best.

And The Moon And Spoon conforms admirably to the pattern. We stopped here at the end of a long wet walk for a pre - First Great Western breather as we knew what we'd get, and we got it.

People moan about Wetherspoons but when I was young if you saw this many real ales in one place you were either at a beer festival or were having a wonderful dream. I say well done to them, after all, they could just sell lager and froth.

7 Aug 2011 16:55

The Crown Inn, Farnham Royal

After a long very wet walk from Cookham heading for Slough, lunch beckoned for the extremely damp Ramble Then Lunch team at the Crown.

A largish pub, we arrived to find about half a dozen apparent regulars proping up the bar and a management meeting taking place in the function room. The staff were friendly and a reasonable range of beer available, including Beeches Bitter, seemingly brewed especially for the pub. This ale was very pleasant but is not, as you might think, brewed by some local small brewery but by the Caledonian Brewery, home of Deuchars. It's their 80 shilling ale branded for the pub. A little disappointing.

Food was good, the menu a touch pretentious - my Lamb Shank came with mash but on the menu it was "crushed new potatoes" !
Yeah, right.

Don't get me wrong though - The Crown is a pleasant hostelry which we would be more than happy to visit again. And they did let us drip all over their floor and didn't complain once, even though our money was a bit damp.

7 Aug 2011 16:45

The Fox and Goose, Greywell

Called in here part way round an eight mile walk on a warm day.

Only two cask ales available :- Courage Best and Doom Bar. Pretty unimaginative selection. Surely could do better.

Food was uninspiring too. Battered fish was very hot but not fish shaped and the meat was a peculiar gray colour which indicates out of the packet and cooked from frozen. Chips were very hard as if they had come from the bottom of the deep fat frier. My friend had a curry which had hot rice but only warm chicken.

The pub itself was fine, guy behind the bar was pleasant enough and the place had a spacious garden. What a shame that the beer and food let it down.

1 Aug 2011 11:58

Sands, Woking

We turned up here after a long walk and having seen the website and expecting a gastropub which would look askance at our muddy boots, we were pleasantly surprised.

Pub was quite busy at lunchtime with, I suspect, staff from nearby MacLarens. Three cask ales available, plenty of seating and the staff were friendly - one even enlightening us old codgers about the intricacies of eyebrow threading.

Food was good, although as expected it was a little pricey. Knew that before we went in.

We all agreed that we'd happily visit here again.

1 Aug 2011 11:50

The Herbert Wells, Woking

A huge 'Spoons and quite busy even at four o'clock in the afternoon.

Beer was fine, good choice as always and there is plenty of places to sit. Yes, it's not the most salubrious of pubs but I've been in a lot worse.

1 Aug 2011 11:45

The Fox and Castle, Old Windsor

Half way round our 8.5 mile walk and we arrived at Old Windsor and its choice of 3 pubs. After a bit of mulling we plumped for the Fox and Castle. A large pub in a suburban setting, we tripled the number of customers as we entered.

This was the first pub that I have been in selling Windsor and Eton Brewery Guardsman, so all four of us plumped for that. Beer was OK, although one of our number thought his was near the end of the barrel and was unimpressed.

Food was good value - my burger and chips was only 6.95 and was a pretty decent portion size.

Pub has a giant TV and the usual Sky Sports rubbish but on the whole a reasonable place. It could do with some more customers though.

18 Jul 2011 14:48

The Two Brewers, Windsor

Meeting up with an old friend for lunch we agreed to meet in Windsor and he chose the Two Brewers.

A very idiosyncratic little pub, and I mean little. Usual suspects of Doom Bar and Tribute available ( why are so many beers from Cornwall spreading across the country). Walls decorated with the ends of old wine boxes, no doubt to give upmarket feel. You can sit on the pavement outside if you wish. Bar staff friendly. Food choice limited but what I had was OK.

The pub is very dark inside so if you have any vision problems at all, bring your glasses. And it's not cheap - 3.70 a pint for Tribute is a lot, even for Windsor. And despite siting at an unreserved table, we were moved to the bar by the staff as " someone had just booked this table", not something that happens very often.

The Two Brewers is OK, but with so many pubs in Windsor I can get a better range of beers at cheaper prices elsewhere.

18 Jul 2011 14:26

The Carpenters Arms, Windsor

After an 8.5 mile walk around the local area we had a pre-train trip home visit to the Carpenters Arms.

And very pleasant it was too. I've always found Nicholson's pubs to be fine and this was no exception. Many, many real ales and lots of nooks and crannies to sit in. Pretty busy with tourists unsurprisingly but still maintains an identifiable character.

I think we'll come back, possibly in the winter as other posters have suggested.

18 Jul 2011 14:14

The Carpenters Arms, Windsor

After an 8.5 mile walk around the local area we had a pre-train trip home visit to the Carpenters Arms.

And very pleasant it was too. I've always found Nicholson's pubs to be fine and this was no exception. Many, many real ales and lots of nooks and crannies to sit in. Pretty busy with tourists unsurprisingly but still maintains an identifiable character.

I think we'll come back, possibly in the winter as other posters have suggested.

18 Jul 2011 14:13

The Bell Inn, Aldworth

A nine mile circular walk from Goring and Streatley station had as its prize a lunch time stop at The Bell, so the Ramble Then Lunch team went for it.

The walk was great - a long slow climb up The Ridgeway with views improving with every step with some fantastic vistas at the top. But even better was the pub. No bar, just some odd serving hatches. You choose your beer ( Arkells and West Berkshire Brewery), collect it through the hatch, squeeze past everyone else in this small pub and find some aged seating where you can slowly descend into a haze befitting this amazing place.

Some great stuff on the walls, including some history of nearby but now defunct Hampstead Norreys airfield, which had a lot of crashes !

No hot food of any description here, just rolls and Ploughmans. When I got home and told my wife I'd had salad for lunch she thought I really was drunk.

Well worth a visit.

11 Jul 2011 17:39

The White Horse, Hedgerley

Having seen this pub received a local CAMRA award and that it sold ale directly from the barrel, the Ramble Then Lunch team decided to circumnavigate Hedgerley in a six mile walk and call into the White horse.

And everything we had read about it was true. There were more real ales available here than there have been coalition U-turns and we sampled a fair cross section of them, of which I think California Common came out top. One pint we tried had gone over a bit and the barman changed it without a quibble. Top man.

Food offering was unusual in that inside the pub there appears at first glance to be a delicatessen. This however is the food counter where you not only order the food but you can look at it before you buy. Portions not enormous but prices reasonable to match and let's be honest - if you're still hungry you have another pint.

We sat in the large sloping garden on a sunny day and watched a strange avian battle between a moorhen and three wood pigeons - or had we consumed too much ? A very pleasant waste of two hours.

Any downsides ? On our visit - one. When we arrived the young man serving behind the bar turned out to be a pretty surly individual with minimal customer service skills. He threatened to spoil the White Horse experience but half way through our visit he was replaced with a more mature individual who was much better. Kid Surly was dispatched to clear tables.

We may well return in about six months time to sample a no doubt excellent range of winter ales. In the meantime visit here if you can.

4 Jul 2011 12:41

Lulworth Cove Inn, West Lulworth

Staying at Lulworth for a few days my wife and I visited the Lulworth Cove inn for an evening meal.

When we walked in, the first thought was " this looks like a chips with everything place". The decor was not much to shout about - the place could do with a lick of paint. In fact it looked like the whole pub could do with sprucing up. Seats and tables were nothing special. If there had been been anywhere else to go we might have left.

HOWEVER - I bought some Firkin Fox beer and thought it was pretty good. We ordered a meal each and what turned up was very good - good quality, hot and plenty of it. The bar staff were friendly, especially the fellow from Down Under. The food was just a little expensive ( 1 over the odds), but as there was lots of it that didn't worry me too much.

I note some of the adverse comments below and can see where they might have come from. I can only judge as I find though and whilst the pub itself could look better, what it served up was fine.

28 Jun 2011 16:24

The Old Red Lion, Staines

After going for an evening stroll my wife and I visited this pub on Saturday night.
We used to be regulars here years ago but family commitments curtailed that and I haven't been in here for about ten years. When I entered I was surprised, things had hardly changed since my last visit. In fact they haven't really changed in twenty years. The same wall brasses, the same seat covers ( now looking worse for wear) , the same rusty heater in the toilet.
It was quiet. Saturday night at nine o'clock and there was a dozen people here. The radio was playing Magic FM in an attempt to create some atmosphere, which is not a good sign. An uninspring range of beer - Courage Best, London Pride and Youngs Bitter. I went for the Youngs which was fine but was charged 3.60. No wonder the pub was empty.
I'm afraid the Old Red Lion is trading on past glories. This pub used to be heaving with people. Now it's in desperate need of a refurbishment.

20 Jun 2011 09:51

Bull Inn, Bentley

After a walk around the village of Rowledge the Ramble Then Lunch team stopped in at the Bull for some refreshment prior to heading back to Bentley station.

Big pubs next to major roads can be a bit nondescript but the Bull was a pleasant place. A standard range of ales of which we selected St. Austell's Tribute, which was fine. Well laid out with comfy seating we may well have stayed for another but trains from Bentley only go every hour.

Menu looked interesting if a little over elaborate but as the last poster says the food was good, we may well pencil this in for a re-visit in the future.

13 Jun 2011 18:41

The Hare and Hounds, Rowledge

Having walked from Bentley station the Ramble Then Lunch team descended upon the Hare and Hounds in sleepy Rowledge last Friday lunchtime. The Hare and Hounds itself was pretty sleepy - we were the only folk there when we arrived and only a few more turned up during the next hour or so.

The beer was fine so we decided to eat here. Menu was small but that can be a good thing. I had fish and chips but the fish was an oblong battered one which seemed straight out of a catering pack. Alongside the fish and chips was an onion and lettuce salad, a slightly odd addition which must make this the slimmer's option.

No sign of the great range of fresh fish mentioned in the facilities/features section above. I suspect this must have been a previous landlord.

This pub is pleasant enough but with nothing to make you leap about and plan another visit.

13 Jun 2011 18:34

Jagz Bar, Ascot

Missed our train so popped in here for a quick one as we had half an hour to kill. Had Ascot Ale Posh Pooch which was jolly good.

There were around half a dozen folk in the pub which considering it was 1545 was quite a lot. It no doubt benefits from being directly next to the station. Barlady was quite chatty. A large pub which I'm willing to bet was once called something like The Railway Arms.

Again we made a mental note for a proper visit in the future.

5 Jun 2011 15:48

The Duke of Edinburgh, Winkfield

Visited here for lunch and another mid walk refresher. Arkell's beer very acceptable - I has Kingsdown which slipped down a treat. Place was very busy and looks much bigger on the inside that it does from the outside.

A bit of a shock when we asked about food. We were presented with a Bar Menu, a Restaurant Menu and directed to a large blackboard covered in "specials". There must have been over 50 different meals available.

And when you see that much choice you know that all this stuff is pre-prepared and held in a fridge or freezer. There's no way you can cook this many dishes from scratch. I'd ordered Cottage Pie and I knew just what would turn up - a pie in an individual dish, slightly burnt around the edges, scaldingly hot in the middle with some bullet peas and a scattering of uniform chips. And that's exactly what I got.

Don't get me wrong - The DoE is a pleasant pub and I would happily go back again. I think it might benefit from a smaller menu though.

5 Jun 2011 15:43

The Rose and Crown, Woodside

Called in here at 1200 on a warm Thursday lunchtime for some mid-walk refreshement. We were the only customers. Beer was fine. Landlady told us she had just taken over and was very friendly. Not fair to give it a score but it looked promising so we made a mental note to return.

5 Jun 2011 15:31

The Anglers Retreat, Staines

I have been a fairly regular visitor to this pub over the years and have posted before about it. The pub is a pleasant place and the beer is good ( yesterday I had Ringwood FortyNiner which was spot on ). The food is usually good but one issue I have repeatedly experienced here is a very long wait for said food. There appears to be a frequent problem with co-ordinating the waiting staff and those cooking the food. I had reminded my family of this before we set out but the consensus was to still go.

Last night we had a very poor experience in this respect. We ordered a starter and a main course. Bad move. The starter came after a while. We ate it. And waited for the next course. And waited. And waited. And moaned about it. And waited again.

All in all we waited forty five minutes from ordering to the main course arriving. When it did it tasted like someone had cooked it half an hour ago and left it under a heater lamp. I was too hungry to send it back.

But we were unanimous in deciding that this has happened once too often at the Anglers for our liking and we won't be going again. If I want an evening meal in a pub I'll go elsewhere. I'm sure I can find somewhere who can get some food to me in a reasonable time.

5 Jun 2011 15:27

The Crown and Trumpet Inn, Broadway

As my mother in law lives nearby I've been an irregular regular at the Crown and Trumpet since the mid eighties, when we first visited it and found that it sold two different types of snuff!

The snuff is long gone but the C&T is still a first class ale house. Great range of beers and a good food range, but still with that "olde worlde" feel you get from uneven floors and genuine low beams. Owner Andy Scott has done an excellent job over the years and long may he continue.

Because I'm not there every week there is always something different whenever I visit. Good this time was a new beer to me - Codrington's Codger - which slipped down a treat. My vegetables at lunch were a little al dente for my liking though, and the lady dishing out the meals had a voice loud enough to suggest that she had had a previous career in hog calling. Minor quibbles though.

Here's hoping that the Crown and Trumpet continues for many a year to come.

17 May 2011 10:31

The Elm Tree, Beech Hill

In an attempt to avoid the Royal Wedding our party did a seven mile walk around Mortimer. The Elm Tree was our chosen stop.
The website makes it out to be rather a posh place, more a restaurant than a pub, similar to the Foresters near Fleet that we visited on our last excursion. The pub is situated at a crosroads at the top of a small rise. A large area of decking outside levels it out a bit, but in truth it doesn't look much like a country pub from the outside.
Inside too it's OK but nothing spectacular. Ringwood Bitter and Doom Bar were available ( is Doom Bar taking over the world ) so nothing over 4 per cent. Greene King IPA was unavailable. The easy options had certainly been taken with the real ale choice. Beer was fine if a little cold.
Being Royal Wedding day the landlord had made an effort and put on a barbeque. The "chef" was a short fellow who did a mean Joe Pasquale impression but sold very little food, despite trade at the pub being steady. We opted for the pub menu, the entirety of which was written on a small blackboard and brought to our table. Choice was limited to about ten items - not neccessarily a bad thing as huge menus usually mean pre-cooked food brought in and re-heated. Food was OK ( I had home made burger) , nothing exceptional, and in truth the portions were a little meagre. One of our party actually supplemented his lunch at the BBQ. All this makes the website a little misleading.

The Elm Tree struck us a bit schizophrenic. Part of it seems to want to be a country boozer, whilst the other part wants to be a restaurant. The result is that it is neither. I'd visit it again, but if any other options were available I'd probably choose them instead.

1 May 2011 18:09

The Foresters, Church Crookham

A warm spring day, a walk through the neighbouring heathland and the spotting of a juvenile adder eventually led to us pitching up at the door of the Foresters.
Having looked at their website I was prepared for a "poncey" gastropub whose staff would frown upon my boots and shorts. I was however pleasantly surprised. Yes, it's more of a restaurant than a pub but three beers were available - Otter, Spring Twist and the ubiquitous Doom Bar - the place was pleasingly decorated and there is a large garden which we eagerly used.
The food is a little on the pricey side - but not too bad - and this is the place to come if you fancy an ostrich steak or stuffed courgette flowers ! I had tempura battered chicken on a bed of vegetables and noodles and I have to say it was very good, as were all the meals that our party had. I have no objection to paying a little bit more for something worthwhile - the food here is a lightyear above some of the Findus Fish Fillets and oven chips concoctions I've eaten in pubs over the years.
And the staff were very good too. The young lady who waited on our table was chatty and gave good service.
All in all we enjoyed our visit to the Foresters and I would have no hesitation in returning.

22 Apr 2011 14:42

The Plough Inn at Ford, Ford

Went here for a meal on a Tuesday evening for my Mother in law's birthday. Place was about a third full. We had been before so decided to go again. Pub is divided into two parts, a smallish bar area for drinking and a larger restaurant area for diners.

This is a horsey pub. Not horsey because it has brasses on the wall and pictures of disproportionately fat 18th century horses. It's horsey because Jonjo O'Neill's yard is opposite. the Nigel Twiston-Davies operation is nearby and quite a number of other stables are in the area. The drinking area is therefore full of stable lads and lasses, apprentice jockeys, etc. This does give it a bit of atmosphere.
The restaurant is interesting in that on the night we visited there was no specials board. If it's on the menu you can have it. This makes one suspicious that the food is either not made on site or made earlier and just re-heated. Having said that, the lamb and duck were both very good, although my wife found the chicken and ham pie tasteless and insipid.

Beer is Donnington's which, as mentioned below, is nothing special. Surely this brewery can come up with something with more va-va-voom than their BB or SBA.

So in summary, not quite as good as in previous visits, but would be happy to return to try it again.

4 Apr 2011 16:25

The Swan, Broadway

The Crown and Trumpet was closed at 1530 on a Monday Afternoon at the end of March so we ended up in The Swan. We sat outside in the pleasant sunshine whilst I consumed two good pints of UBU ( is it pronounced "yooboo" or is it initials u.b.u. ). Staff were pleasant as she was chatted up by the man seated at the bar. A bit gloomy inside and it's a bit of a trek to the loos. Not a rigorous test of this pub but I would happily return for another try. They did however find my wife's lost walking stick two days later which she'd left on the back of the chair so they get an extra mark for that.

4 Apr 2011 16:12

The Bull Hotel, Wargrave

Wargrave was our stop on a Twyford - Wargrave - Twyford walk so we had four pubs to choose from. The St. George and Dragon and White Hart had wine glasses on the table when we looked through the window so we felt they were not for us. We chose the Bull over the Greyhound merely on alphabetical order.

We were there fairly early on at lunchtime and it was quiet ( 2 other folk ) but it improved a little later, no mean feat in itself as Wargrave appears to be a ghost town, full of closed down shops and For Sale boards. Brakspears Bitter and Hobgoblin were available and both were fine. Half a dozen specials augmented the standard menu. We had fish and Chips, a curry (CTM) and 2 brunches and these certainly kept the wolf from the door.

We were served by a pleasant young lady with distinctive cleavage and flip flops.

The gents toilet, hidden away at the back of the pub, contains a painting of a naked lady, in fairly graphic detail. An unusual feature, but I suppose you might as well hang it here as anywhere else !

A pleasant enough hostelry, nothing outstanding but nothing rotten either. I'd happily return for a drink, but wouldn't lose any sleep if I didn't.

18 Mar 2011 11:17

The White Hart, Pirbright

After a strenuous walk around the Pirbright ranges The White Hart was the first of the two pubs on Pirbright village green that we came to so in we went.

It was a Friday lunchtime and the place was packed out and the five of us struggled to find a table, eventually given a reserved one by the barman. Standard real ales of Youngs Bitter and London Pride were available, but they were fine. Waitress service from a pleasant young lady, who like the barman clearly originated life outside the UK. Food was perfectly acceptable, no more or less what you would expect in such a place, at the normal sort of pub prices.

The White Hart isn't really a pub anymore. It's a restaurant that contains vestiges of the pub it once was. It's clearly popular and I wouldn't object if we re-visited in the future. It's just that a proper pub would be preferable.

13 Mar 2011 11:53

The White Hart, Pirbright

After a strenuous walk around the Pirbright ranges The White Hart was the first of the two pubs on Pirbright village green that we came to so in we went.

It was a Friday lunchtime and the place was packed out and the five of us struggled to find a table, eventually given a reserved one by the barman. Standard real ales of Youngs Bitter and London Pride were available, but they were fine. Waitress service from a pleasant young lady, who like the barman clearly originated life outside the UK. Food was perfectly acceptable, no more or less what you would expect in such a place, at the normal sort of pub prices.

The White Hart isn't really a pub anymore. It's a restaurant that contains vestiges of the pub it once was. It's clearly popular and I wouldn't object if we re-visited in the future. It's just that a proper pub would be preferable.

13 Mar 2011 11:52

The White Hart, Pirbright

After a strenuous walk around the Pirbright ranges The White Hart was the first of the two pubs on Pirbright village green that we came to so in we went.

It was a Friday lunchtime and the place was packed out and the five of us struggled to find a table, eventually given a reserved one by the barman. Standard real ales of Youngs Bitter and London Pride were available, but they were fine. Waitress service from a pleasant young lady, who like the barman clearly originated life outside the UK. Food was perfectly acceptable, no more or less what you would expect in such a place, at the normal sort of pub prices.

The White Hart isn't really a pub anymore. It's a restaurant that contains vestiges of the pub it once was. It's clearly popular and I wouldn't object if we re-visited in the future. It's just that a proper pub would be preferable.

13 Mar 2011 11:52

The Redan, Wokingham

After a six mile walk we fancied a pint before we got back on the train and we chose The Redan.

This is not the usual sort of pub that four guys over fifty would frequent but we didn't know that till we entered. We were the only customers, but it was 1530 on a Friday in March. Beer was surprisingly good. Barman was practising tossing his bottles as per Tom Cruise in Cocktail as per a previous reviewer but we had no blondes to compete against for service. Music was loud but I recognised both the Kinks and the Kings Of Leon so could have been a lot worse. Furniture and decor was sparse, no doubt for a good reason !

We probably wouldn't go back here but that is personal choice and not the fault of The Redan. We aren't its target clientele.

7 Mar 2011 17:16

The Crooked Billet, Wokingham

After a walk from Wokingham to here via Crowthorne we were looking forward to lunch and the Crooked Billet was scheduled to provide it. The pub was quiet, three other customers. We had some very nice Ringwood Porter, which I'd not had before and would happily have again. The staff were fine - not effusive but not stand-offish either.

The food was OK - I had the strangely named "locally reared beef burger" - i fully expected to see little burgers running around in the adjacent field. The Steak and Horseradish Pie recommended by a previous reviewer was not available.

The pub seemed to be divided into two halves. The older half had normal furniture and a dartboard, but the newer half had very utilitarian furniture - square tables which made the place look like a school dining room.

It was hard to get too excited about the Crooked Billet. We had some good beer and an acceptable lunch but it just didn't have that je ne sais quoi to lift it above the ordinary. More customers would have probably helped.

7 Mar 2011 17:07

The Green Man, Hurst

When we planned a walk in the Hurst/Twyford area and researched on BITE for a lunchtime stop, the Green Man stood out. An average score of 8.6 ! This must be a pretty special pub. We looked forward with eager anticipation to our visit, expecting food like that at the Waterside Inn, beer tasting as if it was straight from the brewery and staff of the "quality" of those at the Spearmint Rhino.

And what we actually found was a very pleasant pub. For a Friday lunchtime it had quite a lot of customers. The Oxford Gold was absolutely fine and the Haddock and Chips equally so. The guy behind the bar was very friendly and even brought our drinks to the table as we recovered from our walk alongside a very muddy River Loddon.

Any negatives ? Well the area where we sat suffered from very low light levels - my eyes aren't what they were but I had great difficulty reading the menu. ( and I nearly nodded off, but that could have been the beer ) And although Brakspear's beer is fine, it ain't what it was ( not the pubs fault I know ). But as you can see, I'm being picky.

It's difficult to judge a pub at lunchtime as, whether it's good or bad, atmosphere tends to be non-existent. But we would happily return here. 8.6 ? I'll give it an 8 - maybe the evening ambience lifts it that extra notch.

27 Feb 2011 15:11

The Waggon and Horses, Hartley Wintney

We arrived here after a five mile slog over muddy fields and footpaths. Went into the saloon bar - a small, cosy bar with a log fire and barely room to swing a cat. Slumped in the corner and ordered some Russian Winter draught stout (5.3% - Itchen Valley Brewery). Quite frankly I could have stayed slumped there all afternoon. Food was very good and very good value - I went for a "Linda's Doubles" double burger with chips at 7.75. Who Linda is I don't know but her doubles satisfied me !

Would happily re-visit this pub if back in the area and would recommend it to anyone who just wants to go out for a drink and put the world to rights.

19 Feb 2011 13:44

The Horse and Groom, Mortimer

Visited here on a quiet lunchtime in January. Beer very good with a fine range. Food excellent - good value for money. Barman was extremely attentive - served us at our table not just for food but for drinks as well.

Outside was bleak but inside was conviviality itself. They didn't even comment on our muddy boots.

4 Feb 2011 16:16

The York, Islington

Visited here whilst walking the Regent's Canal from Little Venice to Limehouse. the pub is usefully just about halfway. And a pleasant little place it is. What I would call an archetypal London pub. Heavy dark fittings, dark mauve wallpaper and a bar built like a battleship.

Smaller thgan other pubs of its ilk that we have visited, it had a good range of real ales - eight I think. Being a sucker for a stupid name ( I know, I know, I'm an advertiser's dream ) I had some pints of Seven Giraffes and very pleasant they were too. All of our beers were fine.

Fish and chips at 9.95 was very good value when you consider that for this you get TWO pieces of fish. And it's hake, not the much persecuted cod. Not a vast quantity of chips but after all that fish I wasn't too worried about that.

Would happily visit again if in the area.

4 Feb 2011 16:10

The Swan, Thatcham

After our dreadful visit to the nearby Travellers Friend, The Swan was like a heavenly oasis. It had real ale, warmth, and lighting which all felt so very pleasant on a cold December day. Staff were friendly and helpful. 3 ales available - Tribute, the ubiquitous Doom Bar and Courage Best. We did visit at about 3 in the afternoon so there weren't many customers.
The pub boasts a bizarre library in one of its many small alcoves containing scientific textbooks on a whole range of obscure and esoteric subjects, just the sort of stuff to send you to sleep after a few beers !
As it's handy for the station, we'll probably try this one again when next in the area to get a view of it at busier times.

16 Dec 2010 11:34

The Belvedere Arms, Sunninghill

A modernised pub which reminds me a lot of the Percy Arms at Chilworth. Did the same company do the decor ?

In a district with not too many pubs this is a reasonable oasis. Three real ales available, the staff are pretty friendly and give good service. You can dine in a restaurant area or in the open pub. Not a lot of atmosphere but then these sorts of pubs don't usually. Big outdoor eating area but wasn't tempted on a very cool November Thursday lunchtime.

Main gripe was the food. Not that it was poor, quality was pretty good. Portion size was variable though - out of five lunches my friend's piece of fish was huge, but others were less generous. The price was fairly steep for what we had - my average sized burger with a small bowl of chips was 11.95. Also we didn't get our food served on plates but on slices of wood. I'm told this is trendy but it didn't stop my food falling off onto the table.

I would go here again despite the food issues. It's probably pretty pleasant here on a summer's afternoon so I may return to find out.

29 Nov 2010 12:48

The Barley Mow, Englefield Green

Good range of beers, a bit cold but otherwise fine. Food was perfectly fine, a good variety on offer and was served up very quickly after ordering. Staff very friendly, served us with beer at our table. No sign of any of the shenanigans highlighted in previous posts about this pub. Would happily visit again.

21 Nov 2010 16:39

Pub, Chilworth

A very modern looking pub inside, with wooden floors, bits of stone, etc. Not a typical village local.

Three real ales available. My friend and I had Ghastly Ghoul but strangely this was not served from the handpump on the bar but from a cask set into the wall at the back of the bar. Normally gravity fed beer would be a thumbs up but when we got back to our table the beer was very cold and appeared to have bubbles on the inside of the glass. I'm therefore unsure by what method this beer was actually dispensed. We let it warm up a little and it tasted fine.

Food was OK but was not super hot. I had cassoulet which in itself was fine but had no vegetable accompanyment of any description, which it was crying out for. Consequently I still felt a bit hungry after I'd eaten it. My colleague had one of numerous burgers available, a meal he described again as OK.

The staff were very friendly, although their attempt to serve us with beer at our table fell flat when the order never arrived and I had to go and get it.

This pub has all of the right ingredients to be a good one but doesn't quite make it, which is a shame.

3 Nov 2010 12:04

The Rose and Thistle, Frimley Green

Good range of beer and good quality when we consumed it - try the Ghost Ale , it's something else. Food good - I had pork belly and it was very pleasant. Very efficient and friendly bar staff. A bit dark inside but as it was a beautiful sunny day we sat in the garden. I'd happily go back here again

7 Oct 2010 17:46

The Bull, Arborfield

Visited here on 23 September at lunchtime. Pub about half full. Only two cask beers available, Courage Best and 6X. Plumped for the 6X which was fine. Served by a young lady who was very pleasant. Seafood Lasagne was good, Chicken Kiev appeared to be a poussin stuffed with garlic it was so large. Fish and chips up to pub standard. No real complaints at all, especially as we were soaked having walked from Wokingham in the rain !

28 Sep 2010 09:04

The King William IV, Hailey

In the middle of nowhere, this pub is a welcome haven halfway on a twelve mile walk. Beer straight from the barrel was excellent - Breakspears and Ringwood. Two ladies behind bar were welcoming - no sign of infamous grumpy landlord. Red Arrows gave a display whilst we were sitting outside ! Only one adverse comment - food although fine was in fairly small portions and was quite expensive for what it was - 11.50 for a smallish pie with a small side portion of vegetables. Asked for some chips but this order did not seem to reach the kitchen.

17 Sep 2010 09:45

The Good Intent, Puttenham

Six real ales - some usual suspects but some less likely in this area - Rev. James was particularly pleasant. We sampled a number of them - all were fine. Food very good. Prices certainly not excessive. Would certainly visit again

5 Sep 2010 16:02

The Red Lion, Blewbury

Excellent pub, especially half way through an eight and a half mile walk. Beer (Oxford Gold) very good, food fine. Two very nice young ladies working behind the bar! The gents has a slow closing door so beware - you may start emptying out before it's actually closed, leading to possible embarrassment.

15 Aug 2010 17:36

The Anglers Retreat, Staines

Always busy. Food very good and excellent value. Drinks are expensive compared to the food though. However well worth a visit. Beer is mainly Brakspears.

15 Aug 2010 17:25

Back to ramblethenlunch's profile