Following on from our Waterlooville Pub Walk we did in August 2013, this summer (and another child-free day!) we decided to check out the Public Houses of Denmead. Our plan was to walk to the furthest pub and ‘sample’ each of them on the way home back to Waterlooville.
So off we set, walking from the Tempest Avenue in Waterlooville all the way to the far-end of Denmead. The walk to the first pub was roughly 5 miles.
The Harvest Home
The Harvest Home, situated at the end of Southwick Road near to the junction of Forest Road, was a lovely pub that started our day just perfectly. Its official Fullers website link is rather oddly spelt wrong (an extra ‘e’ on the end of Denmead!). There is a pub run website, and a website from when the pub was owned by Gales.
- harvesthomedenmeade.co.uk – Fullers Official Website
- www.harvesthomedenmead.co.uk – Pub run website
- ww.theharvesthome.co.uk – Website from when run under Gales
I had a couple of coffees and Steve started on a pint of real ale. A traditional style pub, The Harvest Home was spacious and clean the bar staff were welcoming and friendly. The garden had a play area for children and a ‘bouncy castle’ ready to be inflated for the lunchtime trade. I think our boys would love to explore the garden and at the time (August) the Harvest Home had a promotion for kids eat for a £1 when an adult orders a main course.
The White Hart
We moved onto the White Hart which is about a 5 minute walk back up Southwick Road. The White Hart is one of the oldest pubs in the village and it dates back to 1800s, although sadly its website doesn’t expand on its history. You can find the pub on the corner of the main Hambeldon Road and Southwick Road.
Inside, the White Hart bears little resemblance to an old-style pub that it might have been. It’s been extensively refurbished in a very contemporary style with a light and airy feel and rather like that of many pubs that are wanting to attract families.
It has a massive beer garden with a small play area and the now obligatory ‘bouncy castle’ ready to be inflated!
We sat outside with a Guinness and a real ale and watched families having a great time. We concluded that the boys would love the garden and that it would probably be a nice pub to visit for a big family meal.
Forest of Bere
The Forest of Bere is another 5 minute walk back along Hambledon Road. This was much more like a ‘traditional’ pub; it felt and looked like a country pub. Although we didn’t try it on this occasion, their speciality food appears to be home-made pies. What better way than to spend a pleasant afternoon with a pint and a home-made pie?
The Forest of Bere also has a beer garden, but not nearly as big as the previous two we had visited and no child’s play area. The Forest of Bere website is shows off it’s delicious pies, but has poor spelling and poor grammar and is not enabled for smartphones or tablets.
The pub itself was welcoming and bar staff very friendly. We had a pleasant half and hour just relaxing and chatting here.
The Mead End
Steve and I had attended functions at The Mead End in the past and were keen to go back and see how it had changed. The Mead End would be our last Denmead Pub of the day and we were hoping to get a bite to eat.
As we walked up to the pub we knew something was different and as we approached the car park. Getting closer it was obvious that the Mead End was no more. The signs had been removed and the building looked very sad.
No food for us then!
Oh well, time to move on from the ex-Mead End and walk back to Waterlooville.
We would stop off at the Falcon at the Hambleton Parade of shops for a rest and a bite to eat – we’d heard from friends that it was a great pub and we were getting hungry!
So we get to The Falcon … and the doors were locked! There seemed to be people inside, but the lights were off and it was clearly ‘shut’.
We had no option but to move on.
The Denmead Queen
Waterlooville’s newest pub, and possibly least ‘pub’ like – it is a grown-up version of McDonalds; a ‘chain pub’ that sells food and alcohol and it’s cheap. It may not have the soul or the character of a traditional, been-here-for-donkey’s-years pub, but you know what you are getting and sometimes these Weatherspoon pubs can be great.
The Denmead Queen is a converted shop (Mr Cheap) and feels like a crowded cafe with lots of tables and chairs crammed into the pub. It also has an overwhelming smell of ketchup and fried food. That said it can be quite nice if you can grab a booth. We had fish and chips and a drink meal-deal and then walked the final mile or so back home.
The day started great – a lovely long walk on a pleasant day, sans kids and the promise of a cheeky drink or two. The Harvest Home was a lovely pub and probably could have stayed there all day – definitely one to return to. The White Hart was the biggest surprise – it’s interior was not what we were expecting and it’s the pub we’d most likely come for a big family meal. The Forest of Bere was a lovely traditional country-feel pub that you could sit and watch the world go by. Unfortunately by the time we had reached the Mead End, we started to feel disappointment – the pub closed down and the Falcon was temporarily (?) closed that afternoon! We had a long walk back to the Denmead Queen, where we had a perfectly reasonable meal and drink, but it’s not a place to relax and wind down.
Have you tried any of these pubs we’ve talked about? What’s your favourite and why? Any recommendations for our next pub walk?