Best pubs in Surrey 2015/2016 - winter pub lunches
From cosy old-fashioned boltholes to trendsetting foodie havens, Surrey’s pubs offer the full spectrum of establishments whether you’re looking for a quiet drink or first class feast. Matthew Williams flags up a few favourites to snuggle up at this winter
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine January 2016
87 Maple Road, Surbiton KT6 4AW. Tel: 020 8399 5565
What? This watering hole is a cool little suburban bolthole with a seemingly infinite beer and cider selection, relaxed tunes and soul food perfect for a spot of winter hibernation with friends or the papers.
Where? Off the effervescent Maple Road, which is home to the town’s famous farmers’ market as well as Surrey Life restaurant of the year The French Table and plenty of other foodie options, it’s a hop, skip and a jump to the riverside walk into Kingston.
Why? They’ve got their own brewery, Big Smoke, and really know their stuff, whether you’re a bottle or draft kind of guy or gal or looking for local brews or something with an international flavour.
Old Lane, Ockham KT11 1NG. Tel: 01932 862364
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What? This ‘country lodge’ style culinary hotspot has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment, to bring it right up-to-date. On entry, you’re welcomed into a snug lounge with an open fire, perfect for kicking off those muddy wellies. We’ll see you there.
Where? Off the beaten track and yet a mere turn of the wheel off the A3 near RHS Garden Wisley, The Black Swan is a perfect launch pad for the Surrey Wildlife Trust managed Ockham Commons and the intriguing Chatley Heath Semaphore Tower.
Why? Serving an inventive British menu and head chef Ian Wilson has put seasonality at the heart of his cooking. The bar stocks a number of local brewers on tap, and a specially created beer called The Cygnet Bitter.
Limpsfield Road, near Warlingham CR6 9QH. Tel: 01959 577154
What? Botley Hill Farmhouse at Warlingham is enjoying a new chapter in its 500-year history. Situated on the Titsey Estate, in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the independently-owned 16th century country inn is known for its breathtaking views across the North Downs.
Where? With its proximity to both the North Downs Way and Pilgrims Way, it’s a welcome stop-off point for walkers and cyclists looking to rest and recharge. As well as the full complement of refreshments available at the bar, at weekends a vintage Citroën van also serves hot and cold drinks, as well as light snacks, at the roadside.
Why? History-buffs will find plenty to interest them while they toast their toes, including inscriptions on the magnificent inglenook fireplace thought to be of Turkish origin. It is believed these stones were brought as ballast in the hold of one of the then-owner Sir John Gresham’s merchant ships in the early 16th century.
Chertsey Road, Windlesham GU20 6HT. Tel: 01276 472267
What? A beautiful, upmarket pub dressed in red brick, The Brickmakers has established a well-deserved foodie reputation in a village that is often ranked among the nation’s wealthiest.
Where? Surrounded by woodland on the edge of Windlesham, close to what was long billed as the ‘country’s most expensive house’, Updown Court. There’s also the picturesque Lightwater Country Park on the doorstep.
Why? Head chef Paul Clarke celebrates the best of British with his menus, but with an extra magic touch. It’s warming stuff for the winter. At the bar, expect an eclectic selection of world-class wines, premium spirits in designer bottles, exclusive Champagnes… you get the idea!
The Green, Chiddingfold GU8 4TX. Tel: 01428 682255
What? A five-star inn, the Crown dates back to the 13th century. The inglenook fireplace in the main bar blazes away during the winter and guests can relax while enjoying a warming tot of a rare malt selection.
Where? In the beautiful village of Chiddingfold, the spectacular Winkworth Arboretum is just down the road and has an amazing array of mature and rare trees to explore even in the winter.
Why? Whether you’re looking for formal (the oak panelled restaurant) or laid-back (the cosy bar or separate mini-pub), their menu offers plenty of delicious delights for the diner.
Haslemere Road, Brook, Godalming GU8 5UJ. Tel: 01428 682763
What? A Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2015 pub of the year finalist, the Dog & Pheasant is all black wood beams and timbers, log fires and even occasional open fire cooking. Basically, the kind of place that a novelist might conjure up when hoping to depict a quintessential English pub.
Where? A charming little hamlet, bang in the middle of Haslemere and Godalming, Brook is the perfect launch pad for bracing winter walks and visiting the surrounding area’s chocolate box pretty villages.
Why? It’s the perfect winter’s day pub and pushed our award-winner, The Onslow Arms in West Clandon, all the way to the finishing post. Their grill nights every Wednesday are a must for any meat-lover, while there’s plenty to keep you interested the rest of the time – especially some of the occasionally eccentric locals!
The Street, Betchworth RH3 7DW. Tel: 01737 842288
What? Off the beaten track in Betchworth, The Dolphin is one of those quaint village pubs where you bump into the bar and locals as soon as you step through the door. But don’t be intimidated, as the beautiful building spreads Tardis-like out the back and always has a welcoming atmosphere.
Where? Famously featured in the classic comedy Four Weddings and a Funeral, the historic village of Betchworth retains plenty of olde worlde charm. Just off the A25, between Reigate and Dorking, you could also take a lovely stroll over to the neighbouring village, where you’ll find The Grumpy Mole pub on the green as a convenient half way stop.
Why? This 17th century pub welcomes dogs, walkers and cyclists alike, as well as those just looking for a convivial atmosphere. With three roaring fires, well-kept beers and daily changing menus focusing on the classics, it’s a must visit.
13-15 Burrow Hill Green, Chobham GU24 8QP. Tel: 01276 856257
What? A Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards winner from years gone by, The Four Horseshoes is an exceptional village pub in a Chobham – a village that is renowned for its foodie offering in its own right.
Where? At the Burrow Hill Green end of this picturesque village, Chobham is an equestrian lovers paradise with numerous training centres, Chobham Common hacks and horsey stores in the area. The pub has a hitching post too.
Why? With welcoming open log fires in the pub and dining room, they offer a stunning menu for those looking for the full treatment, but also offer a mouthwatering bar menu and drinks list for those looking for a ‘proper’ pub.
60-62 The Street, Puttenham GU3 1AR. Tel: 01483 810387
What? Priding itself very much on being “one of the few remaining pubs that’s still a pub”, The Good Intent is a community pub that remains both child-friendly and dog-friendly. With a large inglenook fire place and wood beams, it’s a cosy winter retreat.
Where? Home to a founding member of rock band Queen, the villlage of Puttenham, which is found just west of Guildford, has genuine Royal links too (not to mention an up-and-coming vineyard). The nearby Puttenham Common now forms part of the Hampton Estate, which has been used as a film location for blockbusters including Russell Crowe’s outing as Robin Hood.
Why? Perfect post-walk or bike ride, they have well-kept ales and a good selection of traditional pub fare (including the wonderfully named Puttenham Posh Salad – that’ll be crayfish tails, king prawns and fresh crab to you an me).
The Street, Wonersh GU5 0PE. Tel: 01483 893351
What? Recently re-launched, The Grantley Arms has set it stall out to become one of Surrey’s leading gastropubs, with influences including Tom Kerridge’s market leading Hand and Flowers. They remain, however, a laid back, family, child and dog friendly pub.
Where? Wonersh is a quiet village, rural with a hilly landscape, good footpaths and walks and there are no street lights, which means you can see the moon and stars clearly. Surrounded by the likes of Bramley, Blackheath, Shamley Green and Chilworth, there are plenty of interesting walks on the doorstep.
Why? Chef-patron Matt Edmonds left his role at Searcy’s at the Gherkin in the City for the re-opening of The Grantley Arms in autumn. He’s aiming to get the place into the Top 50 Gastropubs listing, so visit now while you can still book a table!
Peaslake GU5 9RR. Tel: 01306 731769
What? After thirty years running their popular Cambio and Bar Centro restaurants in central Guildford, owners Robi and Lorenzo headed out into the countryside to takeover an inn that has been through many guises in recent years. Firmly split into pub and restaurant, it seems to be thriving in its new skin.
Where? A cycling Mecca, Peaslake is a peaceful little place that you’d be forgiven for having missed until now. Found in the beautiful countryside in the triangle between Dorking, Cranleigh and Guildford, it feels like a world away from the urban sprawl.
Why? If you’re just looking for a quiet drink that’s all well and good, but this place also hides a culinary hotspot with a spectacular tasting menu for those looking for the full treatment. The building is also home to a boutique hotel, run separately to the pub/restaurant.
42 Guildford Road, West End GU24 9PW. Tel: 01276 858652
What? Family-run by Gerry and Ann Price, with an open fire and fantastic wine list (in fact, they also have their own wine shop), this adults only pub is a multiple winner of the Good Pub Guide’s Surrey Dining Pub of the Year.
Where? Set in beautiful countryside, just a stone’s throw from Woking, the village of West End takes its name from its proximity to Chobham, rather than any thespian inclinations. That said, the actor Brian Blessed and Queen guitarist Brian May do live in the area…
Why? A refurbishment earlier this year expanded the bar and dining areas, as well as refreshing the décor and adding rooms to stay in. Renowned for their food, the bar alo has plenty for drinkers to sample (including Thurstons beer from Horsell and single malts from an extensive top shelf).
29-30 Castle Street, Guildford GU1 3UW. Tel: 01483 450600
What? Quite a bit smaller than most on this list, The Keep is like the front room you wish you had. Fire in the corner, comfortable furniture, well stocked bar (well, some of us dream of one!) and homely food from the kitchen. It’s almost impossible to visit and not feel relaxed.
Where? In the heart of town, right next to the castle from which it gains its name. A few minutes from riverside walks or just pop across the road to explore the castle grounds – and that’s before we talk about the shopping…
Why? They say that from “the moment you walk through our door, you’ll think that you’ve just been transported back to a better, simpler time…” And it’s hard to argue with that.
The Street, West Clandon GU4 7TF. Tel: 01483 222447
What? Well deserving of their pub of the year title at the 2015 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, The Onslow Arms is the pub that you’ll be just as happy at enjoying a local tipple over the Sunday papers, watching evening jazz with a bottle of wine or settling down for a meal with friends, family or someone else you’re looking to impress.
Where? Just down the road from the fire ravaged Clandon Park, The Onslow Arms is found in the beautiful village of West Clandon – a few minutes drive from Guildford. Despite the National Trust property having seen better days, the area is still the perfect launch pad for countryside walks and a number of other Trust estates.
Why? During the judging for this year’s awards, we ate two of the best fish dishes we’ve eaten anywhere at The Onslow. It’s got a well stocked bar, with at least a couple of local tipples, and the ambience is relaxed and welcoming.
Plough Lane, Downside, Cobham KT11 3LT. Tel: 01932 589790
What? When frustration at the local dining scene got the better of them, four Surrey friends did the obvious thing: they bought one of their local pubs. Well, some of us can dream. Once-upon-a-time a workers’ cottage for the Cobham Park Estate, The Plough Inn has been showered with love in recent months and veritably sparkles now.
Where? Located just outside Cobham town centre, it’s also surrounded by fields and alongside The Medicine Garden sanctuary, so retains a lost-in-the-countryside feel despite barely being off the beaten track.
Why? The Plough is everything that a top-end modern British pub aspires to be, with fantastic food and a great drinks selection. It’s no surprise that it has gone down a storm with the affluent diners in Cobham and Elmbridge.
Castle Street, Bletchingley RH1 4NU. Tel: 01883 743342
What? A traditional inn dating back to 1309, The Red Lion in Bletchingley is very much at the heart of its community. There’s a packed events list, village gatherings and if that doesn’t entertain you then just grabbing a beer and browsing some of their more unusual decorations should keep you going.
Where? Steeped in history, the village of Bletchingley was recently the scene of some more rather modern goings-on when Victoria Beckham visited to do a photo shoot for Vogue. Normally, though, it keeps itself to itself and is well worth stopping at when passing through.
Why? They’ve an extremely warm welcome, a great selection of beer and we’d definitely recommend the curries, which are excellent.
The Green, Shamley Green GU5 0UB. Tel: 01483 892202
What? At the heart of Shamley Green since the 1600s, when it is believed the building was used as tea rooms, The Red Lion became a pub in the 1800s and has been charming locals ever since.
Where? A lasting inspiration to Alfred Hitchcock, who lived there, Shamley Green is the epitome of peace compared to the director’s films. From the village green to the surrounding hills and country lanes, it’s worth a winter’s trip.
Why? From the home cooked food, which is sourced from local butchers and farms, to the extensive wine list, which has been handcrafted and tweaked over the years to complement dishes, The Red Lion offers a cosy welcome.
Russell Road, Shepperton TW17 9HX. Tel: 01932 244526
What? Taken over by three London-based restaurateurs (two of whom were born and raised in Shepperton), The Red Lion is one of the oldest riverside pubs in the town. Having started life as a pub in the 1700s, it’s now enjoying a new lease of life as a gastropub.
Where? Just down the road from the world-famous Shepperton Studios, this food-led pub now sprinkles its own brand of stardust on the area by celebrating the area’s long film history. The town itself is found between Walton-on-Thames, Weybridge, Chertsey and Egham, so plenty to explore.
Why? The ever-changing menu by head chef Robbie Borst is short and switches through the seasons. There’s plenty of scrummy bar snacks to be washed down with their cask ales too.
Portsmouth Road, Milford GU8 5HJ. Tel: 01483 413820
What? Originally a cattle barn belonging to Milford House, drinking or dining at The Refectory has more the feeling of a royal great hall than a farm outbuilding. Its architectural salvage is a legacy of its time under the ownership of a family of renowned antique dealers.
Where? Close to the all conquering Secrett’s Farm Shop, the pub also has its own official walk exploring the nearby open spaces of Moushill Common and Milford Common.
Why? As a starting point, the building is a little slice of magic and unusual in its own right. Then there’s the interesting food and drinks menus that continue to make it a popular destination.
Old London Road, Mickleham RH5 6DU. Tel: 01372 372279
What? A time capsule of sorts that bears its history firmly on its sleeve, The Running Horses has a cosy bar area with fireplace and a neatly designed restaurant for more formal dining.
Where? Literally on the side of Box Hill in the quaint village of Mickleham, you can take advantage of the rooms at this inn before exploring the surrounding hillsides or popping into Dorking.
Why? The food fits the bill perfectly. There’s nothing here that will have Heston Blumenthal quaking in his boots, but I’m sure you’re all fairly pleased to hear that. What there is, is really solid, hearty fare – home-from-home cooking that is perfect for a winter’s escape.
Bunce Common Road, Dawes Green, Leigh RH2 8NP. Tel: 01306 611254
What? An early 17th-century tile-hung tavern, the older bar is centred on an inglenook fireplace at one end and a log-burning stove at the other. This is a tranquil place to while away an evening.
Where? A short drive from Reigate takes you to the village of Leigh, and from there the walking world is your oyster as open field upon field quickly welcome you to explore.
Why? Expect food packed full of local ingredients that don’t compromise on quality: meat is sourced from a butcher in Cheam, cheese from Norbury Park Farm and ice-cream from St Joan’s Dairy down the road.
Bonnys Road, Reigate Heath RH2 8RL. Tel: 01737 243100
What? A winter walk tradition for this Surrey Life staffer and his family (and many who live in Reigate), the Skimmington Castle is a welcoming haven found in the unspoilt beauty of Reigate Heath.
Where? The numerous trails from Reigate are hard to beat (allotments and fields full of horses or, for the more adventurous, up and down Reigate Hill first!). You could also attempt the ramble to its highly thought of sister pub, The Red Lion in Betchworth.
Why? “Eat, drink and be merry,” they say and it really is hard to argue with that. This is a traditional rural pub perched serving excellent good home-cooked food and selection of drinks.
Lower Eashing Lane, Eashing GU7 2QG. Tel: 01483 421568
What? A charming historic inn with a beautiful riverside setting, the Stag on the River is sister restaurant to the equally highly rated The Wheatsheaf in Farnham, The Queen’s Head in East Clandon and the Duke of Cambridge in Tilford. Expect log fires, real ales, top wines, fresh produce and a warm welcome.
Where? Found off the beaten track near Godalming (and only a quick detour off the A3), this pub is located in perfect walking country with the likes of Thursley and Hankley commons on the doorstep.
Why? As well as top notch food and drink, they also have seven luxury bedrooms on offer. Perfect for a weekend staycation.
Friday Street, Abinger Common RH5 6JR. Tel: 01306 730775
What? Named after the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephan Langton, who is believed to have been born in Friday Steet in the 1150s, the pub pays tribute to this local hero with a portrait on the sign outside. New this winter are two wood burning stoves in the bar and restaurant, ensuring a cosy and welcoming environment whatever the weather.
Where? There can be few settings more enchanting than that of the Stephan Langton at Friday Street. Tucked away in the Surrey Hills, and found down tiny, Tolkien-esque lanes that wend their way through ancient woodland.
Why? Under new management since May 2015, you are assured a warm welcome and delicious freshly prepared dishes by head chef Simon Adams. Focusing on local and seasonal produce at all times great food is accompanied by excellent local craft ale from the Tillingbourne Brewery, plus don’t miss their impressive gin selection (including their own Langton gin) and extensive wine list.
Parkgate Road, Newdigate RH5 5DZ. Tel: 01306 631200
What? For years this pub has garnered awards for its beer offering and 2015 was no different as it was named CAMRA Surrey & Sussex Region Pub of the Year in September. It’s no surprise really once you discover they have a cellar with stillage for 13 casks, plus their key keg, keg and cider selections!
Where? On the outskirts of the pretty village of Newdigate, this delightful 16th-century pub offers a great stepping stone to walks along the River Mole.
Why? Look out for the ‘Daily Doings’, which are largely dependent on the produce supplied by their butchers, fishermen and growers, and there are few pubs in the area that can compete against the Surrey Oaks’ real ale offering.
Dye House Road, Thursley GU8 6QD. Tel: 01252 703268
What? Still owned by the village but with a brand new landlord/landlady partnership in the form of Jim and Dawn Dickie, The Three Horseshoes is a quintessential countryside retreat with a great bar and restaurant offering.
Where? Away from life’s hustle and bustle, in the sleepy village of Thursley, The Three Horseshoes offers the perfect launchpad into pristine Surrey countryside. You might find a film set at Hankley Common (Skyfall and Macbeth are among those to transform the area in recent years) and Thursley National Nature Reserve is as picturesque as they come, with its boardwalk through the marshes.
Why? While head chef Tom Happs continues to work his magic in the kitchens (this is definitely a pub for foodies as much as drinkers, with separate restaurant and bar areas), they’ve always got a decent drop on tap, with a collaborative effort between themselves and Frensham Brewery star of the show.
40 Esher Green, Esher KT10 8AG. Tel: 01372 464014
What? This 200-year-old pub on the edge of Esher Green was transformed this year and reopened in July. Linked to the likes of The Onslow Arms in Clandon, Red Lion in Horsell and The Old Plough in Cobham, expectations were clearly high under new ownership.
Where? Head a few moments walk off Esher’s cosmopolitan High Street, and you find the pub’s idyllic location. Considering the town’s boutiques and restaurants bustle, this area has much more of a village feel with views across the church. It’s also a perfect post-Sandown Park racecourse stopover.
Why? Whether you’re looking for a gourmet burger or salad, or something more refined, the menu here is already going great guns. As with the group’s other pubs, you can expect well-kept ales (including locals) on the bar and a keenly selected wine list.
Fairchildes Road, Warlingham CR6 9PH. Tel: 01959 573166
What? The White Bear is a 16th century pub that is full of character. Once several little cottages and a small pub on the end of a terrace, it’s now an ancient labyrinth of cubby holes and dining rooms that offer an intriguing destination at any time of the year.
Where? Located in the surprisingly green patch between Croydon and Biggin Hill, you can head back in time in the hamlet of Fickleshole and fields sprawl out from all sides of the pub.
Why? If your idea of a winter’s day well-spent involves a bracing walk followed by a sizzling 28-day aged steak with all the trimmings, it’s well worth discovering The White Bear. A glass of mulled wine or cask-conditioned real ale in front of one of the three roaring fires will soon have you forgetting the harsh winter weather.
Petworth Road, Witley GU8 5PH. Tel: 01428 683695
What? They do things a little differently at The White Hart, generally using wood, smoke and fire – which would normally sound like a disaster in most pubs. However, barbecue is the speciality here, and why should it be restrained to an outdoor, summer pursuit? Plus, we’re not talking about any old burnt bangers…
Where? Between Chiddingfold and Godalming, Witley Parish Council has an excellent selection of strolls on their website – plus there’s the Witley and Milford Commons to head to, as well as Winkworth Arboretum. After those ribs, you might well need them…
Why? Don’t expect scampi or gammon and eggs from this feisty number, but if you love deep BBQ’d flavours – as well as, well, whisky and beer, as well as blues music – then you’ll love this place…
Milford Road, Elstead GU8 6HD. Tel: 01252 703106
What? This 17th century pub located in the heart of the village overlooking the green and features three roaring log fires, which make the pub particularly welcoming in winter months. Originally a wool exchange, the building has been many things other than a pub, including a butcher’s shop and a bicycle repairer’s!
Where? Thursley National Nature Reserve is just down the road, with its spectacular boardwalk. Also, if you’re a James Bond fan, you could always head to Hankley Common, which was the setting for the secret agent’s Skyfall family home.
Why? With ales direct from the cask and a hearty home cooked British menu, as well as some signature Italian dishes courtesy of head chef and owner Gina, the Woolpack is going from strength to strength.
To make sure you’re trying Surrey’s best local breweries, wines and other interesting tipples, explore surreylife.co.uk where you’ll find comprehensive lists.
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Make sure to vote for your favourite Surrey pubs in the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards @ surreylifeawards.greatbritishlife.co.uk
Every winter, Surrey Life publishes our list of some of our favourite pubs - snippets of previous years entries can be seen below. Get in contact with your favourite Surrey pubs to email@example.com and they could be featured in the pages of Surrey Life magazine...
The Abinger Hatch, Abinger Common (2015)
The low-down: With roaring log fires and that perfect lost-in-the-countryside air that allows for escape from the rigours of the New Year, this is a must-visit if you haven’t been yet.
Food & drink: With a kitchen team run by head chef Stuart Brown, who has worked at Chez Bruce and The Dorchester Hotel, expect excellent fresh food with a modern British twist. The pub usually has four cask ales.
Winter walk: Found down leafy lanes, nearby beauty spot destinations include Holmbury St Mary and Friday Street.
• The Abinger Hatch, Abinger Lane, Dorking RH5 6HZ. Tel: 01306 730737
The Anchor, Ripley (2014)
Something unique? The Anchor has just been taken over by one of Surrey’s top chefs. Michelin starred Steve Drake and his wife Serina have teamed up with neighbours Chris and Lisanne Mealing to relaunch the pub, with former chef at Drake’s in Ripley, Michael Wall-Palmer, leading the kitchen.
Signature dishes & tipples? Described as “simple, but creative pub food”, main courses range from onion and goats’ cheese tart, broccoli, pickled onion and leek (£12) to beef sirloin, mushroom purée, charred leek and miso béarnaise (£19). There are three different real ales, house wines from £18 a bottle, and Champagne by the glass from £9.50.
Winter walks? While Newark Priory stands on private land in Pyrford, it is a striking piece of architecture to view and a great springboard for strolls along the River Wey.
• 1 High Street, Ripley GU23 6AE Tel: 01483 211866
The Barley Mow, Oxted (2008)
Tandridge Lane, Oxted, Surrey RH8 9NJ: 01883 713770
Located somewhat off the beaten track, The Barley Mow appears fairly conventional from its facade, but the interior has an unexpected warmth and traditional atmosphere with a medium-sized bar area, larger lounge with log fire and separate dining room. The bar snack menu has everything from an all day breakfast to hot crusty baguettes, while the main menu includes some interesting dishes such as wild mushroom, six onion lasagne and ladies rump! Fish features predominantly with ‘specials’ that change monthly and typically include sea bass and monk fish. The pub has Hall and Woodhouse beers available on tap - Badger, Sussex and Tanglefoot - and altogether it’s a lovely winter pub lunch experience.
Handy Hint: Ideally located as a stop-off point halfway round a delightful circular walk starting at the village pond in Godstone and taking in the location of an Elizabethan gunpowder factory, a graveyard with skull and crossbones on a tombstone, spectacular hilltops views and Godstone Farm.
Whilst there you must: Try one of the more unusual dishes on the varied menu.
The Bat and Ball, Farnham (2009)
Bat and Ball Lane, Boundstone, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4SA: 01252 792108
Believed to be at least 150 years old, this pub harks back to the days when the valley of the River Bourne was dedicated to the growing of hops for the local breweries in Farnham and Alton. These days, a wood burning fire together with a warming glass of mulled wine or cider make it the perfect place to visit and warm up your frostbitten toes.
Drinks and nibbles: Dishes include venison cottage pie; slow roasted belly of pork with cider and wholegrain mustard; and a mushroom and gorgonzola baked tagliatelle. Mulled wine and cider are served through winter.
Unique features: The pub is holding a bonfire night event on Friday November 6.
Another reason to visit: There are stunning walks through the Bourne Woods, which often play host to film crews and stars – Harry Potter and Robin Hood are just two of the blockbusters to visit recently.
The Bee, Windlesham (2009)
School Road, Windlesham, Surrey GU20 6PD: 01276 479244
Despite recent changes, which have seen the Bee converted from a workmen’s pub into a stylish place to eat and drink, they have still retained their loyal customers – one of whom has been visiting since 1940! It’s no surprise, really, as the pub’s fantastic food has seen it selected in the Michelin pub guide, appearing as an Inspectors’ Favourite no less.
Drinks and nibbles: The daily changing menus showcase local seasonal produce and they even rear all their own poultry at nearby Bagshot Park – Sophie Wessex and Prince Edward’s residence. The wine menu is constantly changing, too, to suit the seasons, with everything from affordable house favourites to high-end cellar wines and fine champagnes. They also have a great reputation for their ales.
Unique features: The diversity of entertainment, which sees local artists performing regularly as well as a resident magician, who entertains every Wednesday.
Another reason to visit: The Bee is located within five miles of Virginia Water, which has varied and exotic woodland to explore around the lake. The Savill Garden, which is one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens, is also nearby, and perfect for a winter stroll.
The Bell, Fetcham (2013)
Bell Lane, Fetcham, Surrey KT22 9ND: 01372 372624
Something unique? An area of the garden, that was previously just overgrown brambles, has been cleared to form a vegetable plot and herb garden, the produce of which is used in the kitchen.
Signature dish? The Scottish Highland Venison, Hampshire Rabbit and Hare Pie has been a best-seller recently.
Local tipples? Wine from Denbies Vineyard in Dorking is on the list while the seasonal Surrey ales on the bar include Surrey Hills’ Shere Drop and Hogsback’s TEA.
Winter walk? Enjoy a three-mile walk to the National Trust’s Polesden Lacey.
The Bell, Outwood (2015)
The low-down: Head off the beaten track to the village of Outwood (best known for its windmill and a certain famous resident Dame...) and you’ll find the hidden gem that is The Bell – complete with a quarter tonne of previously ringing metal outside.
Food & drink: They’re particular fans of their fresh fish, but there’s plenty to satisfy most appetites. This one is a Fullers pub, so expect a well-kept range of their cask ales.
Winter walk: The Harewoods estate was created by the Victorian London stockbroker, Alfred Howard Lloyd, and forms a large part of the countryside in and around Outwood. Take your walking boots and explore…
• The Bell, Outwood Lane, Outwood RH1 5PN. Tel: 01342 842989
The Canbury Arms, Kingston (2015)
The low-down: The Canbury Arms has celebrated its 10th anniversary by acquiring a sister pub, The Wych Elm. The Canbury’s reputation has grown and grown and, with the new sister pub known for its plants, the owners will surely hope they can apply the same touch to horticulture as they have the pub trade!
Food & drink: Big on top pub grub, hearty meat dishes are complemented by interesting salad options (you can also choose a selection of small plates – has the phrase English tapas caught on yet?). They usually have offerings from the Hogs Back and Surrey Hills breweries on tap.
Winter walk: Stretch your legs with a refreshing stroll along the Thames.
• The Canbury Arms, 49 Canbury Park Road, Kingston KT2 6LQ. Tel: 020 8255 9129
Duke of Wellington, East Horsley (2015)
The low-down: With new owners now in place, the Duke of Wellington has opted to head down the American-style barbecue route, a little like The White Hart at Witley. Their ‘The Iron Duke’ smoker was imported straight from the States.
Food & drink: 15-hour smoked brisket, mash and green beans sounds pretty good to us for a winter treat! On the drinks side, they offer a range of real ales.
Winter walk: Head for Horsley’s ‘Lovelace Bridges’ for a magical, mystery tour through the local woods.
• Duke of Wellington, Guildford Road, East Horsley KT24 6AA. Tel: 01483 282312
The Hand and Spear, Weybridge (2014)
Something unique? Originally built by Lord King as a summer house for his family, the property passed to his second son, Peter Locke King, when he died in 1833. Peter brought his widowed mother to live in Woburn House (now St George’s College) and, with the coming of the railway, transformed the summer house into a hotel. He called it the Hand and Spear after his family crest, which shows a hand grasping a spear.
Signature dishes & tipples? We’re told that their ice cream is made from cows that sleep on mattresses apparently, while the fruit and vegetables are primarily from Oak Farm and their prime Aberdeen beef is all Surrey bred. Try the likes of their 12-hour Dingley Dell pork belly with bubble and squeak, crackling and toffee apple and Bramley sauce (£14.50). The well-stocked bar includes Wells & Youngs ales and some fantastic craft beers from London breweries including Meantime alongside a broad wine list – oh, and there’s the cocktails and ‘hardshakes’ (alcoholic milkshakes for the uninitiated).
Winter walks? There is easy access to walks along the River Wey and River Thames.
• Old Heath Road, Weybridge KT13 8TX Tel: 01932 828063
The Hare & Hounds, Lingfield (2013)
Lingfield Common Road, Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6BZ: 01342 832 351
Something unique? The decor is chic bohemian, quirky and very cosy, with an open fireplace and lots of cushions.
Signature dish? Popular dishes range from the classic ham hock to special offerings such as the rabbit wellington – and MasterChef’s Monica Galetti has been known to enjoy dinner there.
Local tipples? Wineservice, a locally based company established in 1979, owned and run by Nick Hillman, consult on the pub’s wine list.
Winter walk? Take a stroll on Lingfield Common.
The Jolly Farmer, Bramley (2015)
The low-down: The Jolly Farmer is a quirky Surrey gem that wouldn’t seem out of place on Fleet Street: it’s all beer mats decorating the ceilings, business cards on the walls and a superb selection of beers on tap, including Belgian offerings alongside more traditional English casks.
Food & drink: Their 10oz Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak is hard to beat (and you can upsize for £2.50 per extra ounce). As well as offerings from local breweries, you’ll also find Pavel Quak (plus its famously unusual glass) and a host of top class world beers.
Winter walk: The Downs Link footpath and bridleway, which links the North Downs Way at St Martha’s Hill with the South Downs Way near Steyning, West Sussex, passes nearby, following old railway lines.
• The Jolly Farmer, High Street, Bramley GU5 0HB. Tel: 01483 893355
The Jolly Farmers, Buckland (2014) - now The Pheasant and under new ownership
Something unique? Named Pub of the Year at the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards, The Jolly Farmers is host to its own in-house deli – when this was first introduced, it was among the first in the country to diversify in this way. Signature dishes & tipples? Also voted Best Local Menu at the recent awards, highlights include Reigate royal sausages from Robert & Edwards, with mashed potato, red onion and Pilgrim ale (also from Reigate!) gravy (£9.95) as well as Black Bomber Baked Macaroni Cheese with wild mushroom and truffle bruchetta, sun-blushed tomatoes and Secretts leaves (£10.95). There is always a fantastic selection of local ales on offer. Winter walks? The Buckland, Betchworth and Brockham area offers a host of walks, and Box Hill and Reigate Hill are nearby.
• Reigate Road, Buckland RH3 7BG Tel: 01737 221355
The Keystone, Guildford (2012)
3 Portsmouth Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BL: 01483 575089
Over the eight years, Mark and Kath Eleveld have had The Keystone, they have aimed to create a social hub for their community in our county town. A visit to The Keystone is almost like stepping into your local village hall, with events like Café Scientifique, PubArt and folk jam sessions joining the more regular glass of mulled wine around the chimenea. The Keystone was originally built as the tap house to the Cannon brewery in 1844 by the son of local brewer Thomas Taunton, hence the original pub name, The Cannon.
The King’s Arms, Ockley (2009)
Stane Street, Ockley, Surrey RH5 5TS: 01306 711224
Once best known as the favourite haunt of a certain Katie and Peter – you might have seen them in the tabloids – lately it’s been all change at the King’s Arms. There’s a new chef, Anthony Phillips, and manager, Colin Chapman, and given that this was already a good pub, we’re looking forward to great things!
Drinks and nibbles: Look out for their festive menu, which kicks off in early December and will include roast turkey breast filled with sage & chestnut stuffing, wrapped in smoked bacon with cranberry jus, or for the vegetarians, baked chestnut and parsnip terrine. All veg is sourced from the Village Greens Farm Shop in Ockley and their ice cream is from St Joans Farm in Leigh.
Unique features: The pub offers excellent accommodation for those people looking for a longer taste of life in this idyllic corner of the English countryside.
Another reason to visit: Leith Hill is the perfect place to watch winter creep in on a sunny day. The views are, as you might expect from the highest point in Surrey, incredible.
The King William IV, West Horsley (2015)
The low-down: A traditional alehouse since 1830, when a local miller bought two adjoining Georgian cottages and knocked them together to create a place to brew ale as well as serve it, The King William IV has been a hit ever since.
Food & drink: From a recent visit, we can definitely be counted among the fans of the Moroccan lamb tagine and Spanish-style chicken, chorizo and white bean stew. Yum. The on-tap beers tend to include offerings from the Surrey Hills and Hogs Back breweries.
Winter walk: As with the Duke of Wellington, we feel that an exploration of Horsley’s ‘Lovelace Bridges’ is a must. Maps are available locally and to download online.
• The King William IV, 83 The Street, West Horsley KT24 6BG. Tel: 01483 282318
Marneys Village Inn, Esher (2012)
Alma Road, Esher, Surrey KT10 8JN: 0208 398 4444
On the doorstep of Hampton Court Palace and believed to have been a former hunting lodge, this quaint, surprisingly rural haven oozes old-fashioned charm. Overlooking a pond with an attractive church on its far bank and the public golf course beyond, they offer the kind of food you want to get stuck into on a winter’s day – soup of the day, deep-fried Camembert, hot baguettes, steak and ale pie etc. The hostelry is named after the Marney family who, for many years, lived and traded in a woodyard in what is now the garden and the top section of the inn.
The Merry Harriers, Hambledon (2009)
Hambledon, Surrey GU8 4DR: 01428 682883
One of the most intriguing pubs in Surrey, not only are the Surrey Hills Llamas based here but it is featured in a painting hanging at the Tate, is the subject of the earliest known photo of a Surrey inn and was even the setting for a 1975 confessions type sex comedy called The Ups and Downs of a Handyman, starring Bob Todd of The Benny Hill Show fame.
Drinks and nibbles: The homemade steak and kidney puddings go as soon as they write them on the board and they regularly have local game and venison on the menu, while vegetarians rave about the Marrow and Courgette Gratin. The wine list features 34 choices and there are always five real ales on tap, plus mulled wine and hot Lurgashall mead.
Unique features: Although built in 1590, it has very high ceilings. Nobody knows why but it may have originally been a hide drying house for a nearby tannery.
Another reason to visit: Throughout the winter, there are morning llama treks, where you can lead a llama through the surrounding countryside and then return to the pub for a hearty lunch.
The Minnow, Weybridge (2009)
104 Thames Street, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 8NG: 01932 831 672
Situated along a stretch of the river made famous by Henry VIII in the 16th century, when he built Oatlands Palace for his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, The Minnow has been beautifully restored. Set back a few hundred yards from the River Thames, it is the perfect place to stop for a winter warmer when taking a brisk walk along the river.
Drinks and nibbles: The menu is packed full of modern pub classics and there is the award-winning cask ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, on tap. As you might expect for a Weybridge establishment, a selection of the finest reds, whites, pinks and champagnes are also high on the priority list.
Unique features: Picking up on the area’s heritage, the pub is adorned with historic prints from Brooklands racetrack, which can still be visited just down the road.
Another reason to visit: Brooklands Museum, Elmbridge Museum and RHS Garden Wisley are just a few of the local attractions, and there are, of course, many walks along the river in the area.
The Old Bear, Cobham (2009)
Riverhill, Cobham, Surrey KT11 3DX: 01932 862 116
Now run by the same team as the award-winning Albion in Islington, with head chef Nathan Green formerly of Michelin-starred The Square and Arbutus, big things are expected of the Old Bear. It would seem that it’s not disappointing, either. With parts of the building dating from the late 15th century, a lovely double-side recessed fireplace and comfy Chesterfields, the Old Bear is the perfect mix of all the things that make the quintessential cosy pub.
Drinks and nibbles: A mix of both classic and modern British cooking, their lamb hotpot can really take the edge off a chilly winter’s day. For those looking for a single glass of wine, they also have a particularly fancy preservation device, which allows the serving of wines not normally available by the glass.
Unique features: The pub has a stall at Cobham Farmers’ Market and works with many of the suppliers there to source as much of the menu as possible locally.
Another reason to visit: What better excuse to visit the stunning Painshill Park, and as the festive season approaches, their 18th century crystal Grotto complete with Father Christmas.
The Parrot, Forest Green (2009)
Forest Green House, Forest Green, Dorking, Surrey RH5 5SQ: 01306 621 339
Once upon a time, the composer Vaughan Williams was a regular at the Parrot, popping in from his nearby home for a little inspiration and to hear the locals singing their folk songs. Having given up their big city pub empire, owners Charles and Linda Gotto moved to the Surrey Hills to run a livestock farm and, in turn, a pub in which to sell their produce.
Drinks and nibbles: The menu changes roughly every six to eight weeks and is always based on local and seasonal produce. Dishes expected on the winter menu include slow-braised Home Farm mutton shank with pearl barley and kale; and collar of Home Farm bacon with pease pudding and parsley sauce. There are always five real ales on tap including beer from Dorking Brewery – a great pint – and the Parrot’s pigs get the brewer’s grains!
Unique features: The butcher’s shop, which is within the pub, and sells the meat produced on the pub’s farm on Leith Hill.
Another reason to visit: Forest Green is a beautiful village with access on to Leith Hill – the perfect place for a walk at any time of year.
The Pig’s Ears, Richmond (2015)
The low-down: A secret grotto of amazing beers, good food and great company, The Pig’s Ears holds around 200 beers at any one time, with constantly rotating specials and 12 draught lines. Originally inspired by Belgium, now truly global.
Food & drink: There’s no pigs ears, you may be pleased to learn; instead, they specialise in delicious mussel pots, racks of ribs and burgers. Beer-wise, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Winter walk: This Aladdin’s cave of a beer cellar is found just a stone’s throw from the town’s famous bridge and the perfect stop-off after a walk in Richmond Park.
• The Pig’s Ears, 5 Hill Street, Richmond TW9 1SX. Tel: 0208 332 0055
The Plough, Coldharbour (2015)
The low-down: A 17th century coaching house near Leith Hill, The Plough is a freehouse that has been owned by Rick and Anna Abrehart for over 25 years, with Anna cooking honest home-made food in the kitchen and Rick brewing the ales in the pub’s own microbrewery, the Leith Hill Brewery.
Food & drink: Favourites include their home-made burgers, steak and ale pie (using their own brews, of course) and the ‘Surrey Country’ sausages with mash. On the drinks front, it would be rude not to try one of their splendid Leith Hill Brewery offerings.
Winter walk: The pub is the perfect launch pad – or perhaps post-climb rendezvous would be more appropriate – for Leith Hill and its spectacular views. On a clear winter’s day, you can even spot the glint of the sea.
• The Plough Inn, Coldharbour RH5 6HD. Tel: 01306 711793
The Queen’s Head, Nutfield (2014)
Something unique? The pub is over 500 years old and is believed to be the original market hall of the village. The owners have even had a book written about it.
Signature dishes & tipples? Expect steaks and sausages from Shabden Park Farm near Chipstead, as well as a good selection of salads. Sussex’s oldest independent brewery Harveys leads the real ale offering, while the wine list ranges from £14.50 to £40 plus.
Winter walks? Nutfield Conservation Society has some lovely short walks to follow around Nutfield and the surrounding areas. For the pick of their walks, visit http://nutfieldconservationsociety.blogspot.co.uk.
• 13 High Street, Nutfield RH1 4HH Tel: 01737 823619
The Red Lion, Horsell (2015)
The low-down: Whenever we throw out a Surrey pubs teaser on social networks, we invariably hear back from the satisfied customers of The Red Lion at Horsell. With deep, squashy sofas and armchairs to sink into, it’s easy to see why.
Food & drink: From roasted guinea fowl with grilled haggis to gourmet burgers, this pub offers a competitively priced menu with plenty to interest. Expect well-kept beers and a good choice of wines to complement.
Winter walk: Follow in the footsteps of HG Wells’ War of the Worlds with a walk across the expansive Horsell Common.
• The Red Lion, 123 High Street, Horsell, Woking GU21 4SS. Tel: 01483 768497
The low-down: A pub completely transformed in recent years into a go-to destination, The Richard Onslow has plenty of nooks and crannies to snuggle into on a winter’s afternoon. Just like its menu, the decor brings a well-judged modern touch to the classic and comforting.
Food & drink: Their sharing platters are very special, and the staples are all there, but how about mussel and king prawn stew, polenta dumplings and saffron aioli, for something a little different? There’s usually an offering from the Surrey Hills Brewery or their local like on tap and they take their spirits seriously if you need a little fire to warm the belly.
Winter walk: The Downs Link footpath and bridleway links the North Downs Way at St Martha’s Hill with the South Downs Way near Steyning, West Sussex, and passes through the village of Cranleigh.
• The Richard Onslow, 113-117 High Street, Cranleigh GU6 8AU. Tel: 01483 274922
The Roe Deer, Reigate (2013)
50 Croydon Road, Reigate, Surrey RH2 0NH: 07780604517
Something unique? The pub’s daschund is on twitter: @hendricksthedog.
Signature dish? Their platters come highly recommended by The British Cheese Awards.
Local tipples? Over 80 different wines available to drink in or take away.
Winter walk? Across nearby Wray Common.
The Scarlett Arms, Ockley (2012)
Ockley, Dorking, Surrey RH5 5RD: 01306 627243
Possibly the only country pub in the world that serves authentic Malaysian food – the landlady is Malaysian – the Scarlett Arms at Walliswood also hosts regular sculpture exhibitions in its gardens – maybe one for the warmer months though! A Hall&Woodhouse pub, they stock ales including Badger Ale, Sussex and Tanglefoot with seasonal additions to be supped by crackling fires. With plenty of bracing walks and cycle routes in the area, it’s a great place to visit on a clear winter’s day.
The Seahorse, Shalford (2009)
52-54 The Street, Shalford, Guildford, Surrey GU4 8BU: 01483 514 351
Steeped in history, the Seahorse is a listed building and still has many features remaining from the old coaching inn. The stable area has been restored back to its former glory and guests can eat in the stable stalls, which allow for a semi-private dining experience. The winter months should be spent relaxing by one of the three roaring open fires and there are many nooks to tuck yourselves up in.
Drinks and nibbles: The menu is packed with tempting options, including recipes with an Italian influence such as their hearty pasta dishes, and classics such as the famous spit roast chicken. On the pumps, you’ll find Hogs Back TEA from the nearby brewery.
Unique features: The old stable area and door, which has been transformed into a lovely feature window. Regardless of how busy the pub is, this area remains perfectly peaceful and relaxed.
Another reason to visit: There are some lovely walks behind the Seahorse, which stretch from Godalming to Guildford along the canal, with some beautiful views.
The Swan, Chiddingfold (2013)
Petworth Road, Chiddingfold, Surrey GU8 4TY: 01428 684688
Something unique? After 20 years spent running one of London’s ‘best kept secrets’ – the Swag and Tails pub in Knightsbridge – the owners moved down here for a new start in rural Chiddingfold.
Signature dish? Head chef Spencer Ralph’s menu features the likes of pan-fried loin of pork saltimbocca, curly kale and asparagus with a sage butter.
Local tipples? As well as the Surrey Hills Brewery, they also feature Meantime Brewing Company’s Pilsner-style lager.
Winter walk? Chiddingfold is blessed with such an excellent array of pubs, you might fancy trying a cheeky pub crawl!
The Talbot Inn, Ripley (2009)
High Street, Ripley, Surrey GU23 6BB: 01483 225188
Dating back to the 15th century, the historical significance of The Talbot Inn is well-documented. The pub’s most famous customer was Lord Nelson, who regularly stopped there on his way to Portsmouth. It is said that the inn provided the stage for Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton’s love affair to blossom in 1798.
Drinks and nibbles: The winter menu features lots of hearty fare taking particular advantage of game and local produce. Signature dishes always include scallops, game and delicious puddings such as sticky toffee. The famous Bordeaux wine Chateau Talbot also features on the wine list – naturally.
Unique features: Without doubt, the most striking feature is the juxtaposition of tradition with innovation. The old bar with its roaring log fires contrasts with the stunning dining room, with its copper ceiling, and floor to ceiling glass walls opening up on a landscaped garden.
Another reason to visit: A short drive away from the RHS’s flagship garden Wisley, it would be rude not to pay a visit, really.
The Whyte Harte, Bletchingley (2015)
The low-down: Since the reign of Richard II, The Whyte Harte has offered fine foods, real ales and comfort to travellers. With its snug alcoves and low- beamed ceilings, it has the same appeal today.
Food & drink: As well as spectacular Fishmonger and Butcher’s Block sharing platters, you can expect a host of interesting dishes, as well as superfood salads. They offer a choice of three ales, but also have plenty of wine and cocktail options should the more fruity appeal.
Winter walk: The Greensand Way passes through Bletchingley and offers an easy way to explore the surrounding villages.
• The Whyte Harte, 11-21 High Street, Bletchingley RH1 4PB. Tel: 01883 743231
William IV, Albury (2009)
Little London, Albury, Surrey GU5 9DG: 01483 202685
With a name like William IV, you’d expect there to be an intriguing tale of woe and loss attached. Not in this case, however. Before World War Two, it was known as The Garibaldi but nobody appears to know why the name was changed – perhaps the Italian connotations put paid to it during the war years? Either way, this pub has quite a following, with the landlord even suggesting that the customers are the pub’s most unique feature.
Drinks and nibbles: Stand-out dishes include the quality and value of the steaks, homemade steak and kidney pie and pork from the pub’s own free-range rare breed pigs. They have four cask ales from local brewers and a draught scrumpy cider, the usual keg lagers, ciders and stouts, plus a well-stocked cellar and back bar.
Unique features: There are no fruit machines, no music and strictly no mobiles – you have been warned!
Another reason to visit: Located as they are in the heart of the Surrey Hills, the pub is surrounded by miles of wonderful walking and riding country.
The William Bray, Shere (2015)
The low-down: Refurbished five years ago by an ex-Formula One driver who wanted to create a pub he would like to frequent, The William Bray sports many touches from his background.
Food & drink: Expect food that would conquer MasterChef: The Professionals – and that includes the bar snacks! – plus pints of beers from the Surrey Hills Brewery and top Champagne.
Winter walk: Set in the heart of the Surrey Hills, a bike rack, horse mounting block and dog bowls are all on offer for those looking to explore outside of this beautiful village.
• The William Bray, Shere Lane, Shere GU5 9HS. Tel: 01483 202044
Woodies, New Malden (2008)
The Sportsground, Thetford Road, New Malden, Surrey KT3 5DX: 0208 949 5824
Located in a converted cricket pavilion, every square inch of this unique pub is covered in football programmes and sporting memorabilia. New Malden’s best kept secret, Woodies is a privately owned free house. Its unique decoration and wide range of drinks, including seven real ales and an extensive range of lagers, make it an appealing place for anyone who can find it! It has won the Kingston and Leatherhead CAMRA Pub of the Year two years running, meaning that you can choose from an award-winning selection of ales whilst cosying up in front of the open log fire during the winter months. They serve a traditional lunchtime pub menu seven days a week, and on Sundays offer a carvery. Children are welcomed at Woodies within designated areas, and dogs too as long as they are kept on their leads.
Handy Hint: Taste some of the ale that led them to being named CAMRA Pub of the Year 2007.
Whilst there you must: Check out the walls, or lack of them, plastered in sporting memorabilia from local, national and international teams and fixtures.