Without the children for a few hours, the weather was pleasant and we thought, why not stretch our legs and visit a few local pubs that we’ve driven past and not visited? So our plan for Friday was decided.
So off we set to the first pub … and in the interests of comparing pubs we had the same drinks (though in difference sizes) in every pub. Either Coca Cola, Fosters or Guinness.
The Fox and Hounds
The Fox and Hounds is located on Stakes Hill Road, and about a 20 minute walk … we arrived at 11.30am expecting the pub to be shut. But we were in luck, the Pub is open all day and we were warmly greeted by the bubbly Bar Staff who were preparing for a Rocky Horror Charity Night.
Food looked very reasonably priced with Kids-Eat-Free offers.
My pint of lager was good, which was great as normally the first few out of the taps are a bit skanky.
There was no WiFi at this pub.
The Fox and Hounds has a website though it doesn’t reflect the pubs branding and is muddled. It could do with a revamp. The website is not smartphone/tablet optimised.
With a kids play area, and a courtyard with tables. The Fox and Hounds pub is on our visit-again list.
The Centurion Pub
The next pub is The Centurion.
The beer was not great and tasted a little musty though probably because it was the first one out of the pipe.
The music on the CD Player kept skipping, and the playlist changed from house music to oldies, and the volume kept being changed by the staff – all of which was very distracting!
The person behind the bar was welcoming and polite though had very little to do as we were the only people in the pub.
The pub was gloomy and could do with a new paint-job to brighten it up. The pub has a large car park and a couple of external areas including a fenced kid’s play area.
Free WiFi was available.
The pub has a website, again the website didn’t reflect their branding but it was more organised. The website is not smartphone/tablet optimised.
This is a pub that is okay but we have no real reason to visit again.
This pub is located in Widley on the A3.
Friendly and welcoming staff, beer was good and inside looks fantastic and is very well maintained.
The food board is a work of art in itself, I wish I’d got a photograph. We elected not to eat here as we wanted to grab a bite to eat closer to home although we’d heard via Facebook that the food is excellent.
The outside area has half-a-dozen benches as well as a time capsule that was put in place in 1977. It is a little noisy outside as it’s on the junction of several roads major roads but this is more than made up by there being plenty to watch and see. We saw a Lancaster Bomber plus two Spitfires fly over, and the pub is perfectly located to watch the jets fly past the research establishment just up the road.
The pub does boast ‘panoramic views’ but the hedge on the opposite carriageway could do with a bit of ‘midnight pruning’ to increase what can be seen.
There was no WiFi available.
The pub has a very basic website. The website does reflect their branding but does not do the pub justice. Again, the website is not smartphone/tablet optimised.
We’ll be returning in the future, and probably to eat.
The Hampshire Rose
Located a few minutes walk from The George on the A3, The Hampshire Rose pub has a large car park and is easy to find.
We’d popped in here a few years ago for a drink but were underwhelmed as it lacked any atmosphere. We thought to give it another go as it was on our route home.
The staff were friendly and the beer was good.
As we’d elected to eat here, we checked the specials board and took a menu into the garden area.
At this point it all fell apart.
The garden benches are dilapidated and falling apart, sacks of rubbish are propped up in corners of the garden, leaves from last year are on the grass and the kids play area had little in the way of safety bark and some of the toys were broken.
The weeds were taking over the patio area – and the garden was running wild with brambles and is unkempt. At this point we wanted to go into gardening mode and tidy the place up. Pulling the weeds would take ten minutes, cleaning the patio with brick acid would take an hour or so, and I also wanted to find the parasols for the bases, etc etc etc. Very frustrating.
A closer look at the menu set off further alarm bells. The menu is a DIY job, with main courses prices similar to a starters. The menu itself a piece of A4 that’s been laminated and then folded and does not look professional. There are no photographs of any of the food on the menu and I was not at all comfortable with making a choice blind to what may actually arrive on my plate.
Seeing nobody else eating at the pub (apart from bowls of chips) we decided against getting food here. In fairness the landlady did come out to enquire if we’d be ordering food as the kitchen would be closing soon. Feedback from my mother-in-law since is that the food comes in small portions and nothing to call home about.
On exiting the pub we noticed that the front foliage is also in the same state of untidiness, even the steps leading down from the pub to the pavement are chipped, cracked and missing chunks.
The pub has a website they have made themselves. The website reflects their branding but has issues – for example you need to have Microsoft Publisher or Microsoft Word installed in order to view their menu (see the links in the images below) as the documents are not in standard Adobe PDF format.
There is also a lot of other issues with the website and the website is not smartphone/tablet optimised.
A shame, as from the road the pub looks fantastic, the biggest pub we visited and deserves much better – the pub so has much potential that is being unrealised.
By this point it was 3pm and we were getting really hungry!
We next walked up to Purbrook and went to The Woodman which is a Fullers Pub. Food was no longer being served and opted instead for a packet of crisps.
The beer was good – though the person working behind the bar was not welcoming.
The pub offers free WiFi.
The Woodman has website which is a standard Fullers website and is top-notch. The website is smartphone/tablet enabled.
Huge garden, kids play area, decent menu and lots of events on – a pub we’ll be visiting again.
The Journey Home & Still Not Eaten
Time was getting on and our babysitter would be returning the kids – so after installing a new map to my smartphone’s SatNav via the Pub WiFi we worked out a quickest route to return home.
Arriving back home we ordered Chinese which we ate when the kids were in bed. It was delicious.
In total we walked 7 miles and found a couple of gems, the map below denotes the route we took.
Out of the five pubs we visited, three are earmarked for future visits.