Best pubs in Surrey 2016 - summer
- Credit: Archant
From lakeside views and fairy-lit terraces to secret gardens, Matthew Williams picks out 30 pubs around our county that are perfect for a summertime tipple or an alfresco dinner
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2016
What? Quite possibly the best-placed pub in Surrey – found right by a lock on the River Wey – The Anchor can get exceptionally busy on summer’s days, but its extensive riverside seating makes it well worth the trip for a refreshing pint or a bite to eat.
Where? A stone’s skip and a flap of a mallard’s wing away from RHS Garden Wisley, this pub is moments from the M25 and A3 and yet feels like the serene middle-of-nowhere.
- 1 20 of the best places to eat out in St Ives
- 2 8 of the best places for a bluebell walk in Surrey
- 3 17 of the best spots for al fresco dining in Essex
- 4 12 outdoor dining experiences in Surrey
- 5 Win a short break in London at The Dilly on Piccadilly
- 6 35 great Surrey pubs with beer gardens and terraces
- 7 19 great places to eat outdoors in Cheshire after lockdown
- 8 7 magical bluebell walks in Devon
- 9 Bluebell walks in Suffolk: Beautiful spring woodlands to explore
- 10 Bluebell woods in Derbyshire: Top 5 places to go for woodland walks
Why? If you can secure a table outside, you’ll be able to watch the narrowboats pass by – and motorists attempt to navigate the narrow lock bridge! It’s a Hall & Woodhouse pub, with plenty of real ale on tap and an extensive menu of tasty pies, burgers, salads and pub classics.
• Pyrford Lock, Wisley, near Woking GU23 6QW. Tel: 01932 342507
The Bat and Ball
What? With a beer garden that drinks in the sun all day long and a vine-covered pergola for those looking to cool down, The Bat and Ball offers the perfect retreat for summer revellers.
Where? This pub is found just down the road from one of the largest bird parks in the country. Birdworld’s collection has risen to more than 2,000 animals since opening in 1967.
Why? Their summer menu is full of fresh, local produce, and their ice creams are made with milk straight from the cows at Meadow Cottage in Churt. You’ll also find local tipples on their drinks menu, with Greyfriars’ English Sparkling Wine and Silent Pool Gin the latest additions.
• Bat and Ball Lane, Boundstone, near Farnham GU10 4SA. Tel: 01252 792108
The Bletchingley Arms
What? Formerly The Plough, The Bletchingley Arms was purchased by Barons Pub Company and underwent a major refurbishment in November 2014. Now a stylish contemporary pub, inside and out, there’s plenty of space for alfresco dining in the summer months with an extensive patio that spills down the side of the pub and large garden that houses a brand-new kids’ play area.
Where? If you’re looking to explore the area further, there’s a fabulous four-mile circular walk on iFootpath (the website and walking app) that departs from the pub and takes in the Greensand Ridge and beautiful local woodland. The pub is dog-friendly too, providing both water and treats.
Why? You can order drinks and food from the garden bar (well, weather permitting) and, even if things are a little dreary, you can grab one of the cosy dining huts with heaters to keep you warm and, in the evening, admire the fairy lights and smoking fire pit.
• 2 High Street, Bletchingley RH1 4PE. Tel: 01883 740142
The Boaters Inn
What? Reclining alongside the River Thames, The Boaters Inn specialises in real ale and fresh seasonal food. Keep an eye out for their tap takeovers, where one changing microbrewery gets the opportunity to showcase their range. They’re also famous for the jazz evenings every Sunday.
Where? With the sprawling Canbury Gardens outside, an intimate riverside balcony and space for boats to moor alongside, it’s no wonder that The Boaters Inn is such a summer draw.
Why? There’s certainly plenty going on this summer, with a blues festival in the last weekend of May, the launch of sunset music sessions on a Wednesday and a garden cinema club on Fridays. The barbecue will be open and in full flow, from Thursday to Sunday, as well.
• Canbury Gardens, Lower Ham Road, Kingston KT2 5AU. Tel: 0208 541 4672
What? Restoring the pub to reveal its 17th century roots, The Cricketers has been lovingly renovated and modern additions removed to reveal the building’s beautiful original features. In summer, it’s the perfect place to unwind with a leisurely pint overlooking Downside Common.
Where? For horse riders building up a thirst, The Cricketers provides a gorgeous pit stop for refreshments mid-hack, with a dedicated area to tether up horses outside. The pub is located on the edge of tranquil Downside Common, near Cobham, an area popular with dog walkers, families and horse riders.
Why? Part of the White Brasserie Company, who have been busy expanding in Surrey recently, The Cricketers delivers a traditional British pub and French brasserie menu.
• Downside Common, Cobham KT11 3NX. Tel: 01932 862 105
The Duke of Cambridge
What? Among the grand old pine trees of Tilford woods, The Duke of Cambridge has long attracted walkers, locals and passers-by to rest their feet and feast on its local fodder.
Where? If you’ve any interest in re-imagining scenes from some of your favourite films, a trip to Bourne Wood, Waverley Abbey or Frensham Ponds is an extra-special day out – plenty of films were shot at all three (list at surreylife.co.uk).
Why? Just as this magazine hits the shop shelves, work should be completing on the pub’s full transformation ready for the summer. With a large, partly-covered patio and terrace, as well as a garden with a kids’ play area, plus a bar and grill, it remains a real draw when the sun shines.
• Tilford Road, Farnham GU10 2DD. Tel: 01252 792236
The Four Horseshoes
What? A Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards winner from years gone by, The Four Horseshoes is an exceptional village pub in 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- lover’s paradise with numerous training centres, Chobham Common hacks and horsey stores in the area. The pub has a hitching post too.
Why? In the summer, you’ll find the locals stretching out on the patio and green across from the pub. There’s a stunning menu for those looking for the full treatment, but they also offer a mouth-watering bar menu and drinks list for those in search of a ‘proper’ pub.
• 13-15 Burrow Hill Green, Chobham GU24 8QP. Tel: 01276 856257
What? This timber-framed mill dates from medieval times and is found on the River Tillingbourne. There may not be any corn milling here these days but what you’ll find is a lovely secluded garden to enjoy the traditional pub grub.
Where? The perfect rest-stop between Guildford and Dorking on Surrey’s A25 main vein, there are pleasant strolls on offer to picturesque villages such as Shere and Abinger Hammer, once you’ve explored Gomshall of course.
Why? Spanning the River Tillingbourne – the old wheel can still be seen – this idyllic pub conceals many twists and turns and a lovely garden in which to make the most of the four changing cask ales.
• Gomshall GU5 9LB. Tel: 01483 203060
The Hare and Hounds
What? The Hare and Hounds manages to bring a taste of France to proceedings, while maintaining its local credentials too. Seasonal British dishes and regional French classics combine on the menu, while they are proud to boast Claygate’s very own Brightwater Brewery on the bar.
Where? On the edge of Esher, the cosmopolitan life is alive and well in this part of the world and Hampton Court Palace is within easy reach for those in need of a heritage fix.
Why? The outside of the pub is in two parts, with a traditional family pub-garden, with a swing, climbing frame, slide and a tractor, and a smart outside dining terrace at the front, ideal for alfresco meals or just enjoying a summer drink watching the world go by. They have their annual beer festival weekend in July.
• The Green, Claygate KT10 0JL. Tel: 01372 465149
What? Found in a unique converted mill in the village of Elstead, The Mill is steeped in history and offers visitors the opportunity to relax with great food and drink while the swans, ducks and waterwheel outside play their part in the magic. They also have a garden bar, so you never have to take off your sunnies.
Where? The stunning Thursley National Nature Reserve, with its picturesque boardwalk through the marshes, and Hankley Common, the setting of James Bond’s supposedly Scottish home in Skyfall, are both only a short drive away.
Why? The building is worth the journey in its own right, but the menu also offers classic British favourites complemented by daily changing specials and there’s always some interesting options on the bar.
• Farnham Road, Elstead GU8 6LE. Tel: 01252 703333
The Old Plough
What? Once a courthouse, this 300-year-old listed building accommodated Sherlock Holmes, no less, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Speckled Band. Perhaps it’s time to investigate for yourself, with its alfresco terrace, sunny garden and air-conditioned restaurant.
Where? The pub offers a great stopping point, pre or post-visit, for Painshill Park – and there’s also a four-mile walk by iFootpath (the website and walking app) starting and finishing in the car park.
Why? For lunch in the sun, expect sandwiches, toasties, light-bites and main courses, as well as a tempting cocktail menu and wine list. They’ve just added Albury Estate’s Blanc de Blanc as the ‘house’ fizz – available by the bottle and glass.
• Station Road, Stoke D’Abernon, near Cobham KT11 3BN. Tel: 01932 862244
The Onslow Arms
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 last 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 with an enclosed courtyard garden.
• The Street, West Clandon GU4 7TF. Tel: 01483 222447
What? A beautiful 17th century inn found opposite the cricket pitch in the village of Forest Green, the owners of The Parrot farm, just six miles down the road from the pub, produce all the lamb, hogget and mutton and some of the beef for the menu and farm shop.
Where? Once upon a time, the famous composer Vaughan Williams was said to be a regular at
The Parrot, popping in from his nearby home at Leith Hill Place for a little inspiration and to hear
the locals singing their Surrey Hills folk songs.
Why? This isn’t just a stunning pub, it’s also neighboured by The Butcher’s Hall & Country Grocer (which first saw light inside the pub itself, but has since expanded to its own site), so if you like something on the menu, you might well be able to take it away.
• Forest Green, Dorking RH5 5SQ. Tel: 01306 621339
The Percy Arms
What? A little piece of South Africa in Surrey, The Percy Arms specialises in butcher’s block and house-aged steaks from local farms and summer braai (barbecue) in the garden.
Where? The large garden has a stream and is overlooked by St Martha’s Church, perched high on the Surrey Hills above. Venture out into the surrounding area to fish, cycle and walk. Check out the nearby Chilworth Gunpowder Works if you get a moment – a quirky ‘secret’ Surrey attraction.
Why? Always hugely popular, especially when the sun plays the English summer game, the steaks are seriously not to be missed – don’t worry, there are veggie options too. For something different, check out their braai selection with traditional boerewors, juicy short ribs and chicken peri-peri, as well as delicious side dishes.
• 75 Dorking Road, Chilworth GU4 8NP. Tel: 01483 561765
What? Billed as the smallest pub in Surrey (it can fit three people indoors!), Platform 3 is the brainchild of Claygate’s Brightwater Brewery and opens at weekends. Fortunately, there are tables outside, which makes it great for a cheeky summer drink. The brewery itself started life in 2012 and they now brew five beers: Daisy Gold, Little Nipper, Top Notch, All Citra and Wild Orchid.
Where? As the name suggests, Platform 3 is found right next to Claygate Station and has proven a popular addition to the village, for commuters and visitors alike.
Why? Well, it’s a little bit different, isn’t it!? You can hardly accuse this micro-pub of becoming a homogenised High Street outlet with no character! You can also buy flagons and mini-pins to take home with you when you leave.
• The Parade, Claygate KT10 0PB. Tel: 01372 462334
The Plough Inn
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. Formerly a worker’s cottage for the Cobham Park Estate, The Plough Inn has been showered with love.
Where? Located just outside Cobham town centre, it’s also surrounded by fields and next to 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.
• Plough Lane, Downside, Cobham KT11 3LT. Tel: 01932 589790
The Rambler’s Rest
What? Once upon a time, a mere rambling collection of old farm buildings, the oldest surviving part is said to date from the time of Queen Elizabeth I. These days, it’s an open-plan dining retreat inside, while the garden bathes in sunshine outside.
Where? Located down country lanes, it’s only a short drive to the likes of Mayfield Lavender and Banstead Woods, which are perfect places for summer exploration.
Why? From the same stable as the likes of The Seahorse in Shalford, The Wotton Hatch in Wotton and The Derby Arms in Epsom, there’s usually a great selection of wines, ales and lagers, as well as a tempting food menu.
• Outwood Lane, near Banstead CR5 3NP. Tel: 01737 552661
The Red Lion
What? A smart community pub with great fresh food, it should be an exciting year for The Red Lion, not least because it’s just down the road from Horsell Common, which will be at the centre of this year’s Wells in Woking celebrations marking 150 years since the birth of sci-fi author HG Wells.
Where? As well as having Horsell Common within walking distance, a trip into town potentially takes you to a night at the New Victoria Theatre or the latest exhibition at The Lightbox art gallery.
Why? Head outdoors and dine on the sunny terrace among the trees – or the bookable barn in the garden for private functions – and make the most of the delicious dishes and cocktails.
• 123 High Street, Horsell GU21 4SS. Tel: 01483 768497
The Rubbing House
What? ‘The only pub in the world on a racecourse,’ they proudly proclaim, and it certainly isn’t your average pub location: The Rubbing House on Epsom Downs is inside the racetrack – the above pic is the view from the garden!
Where? A stone’s throw from the winning post, the pub is actually older than the Derby itself. And with its panoramic views of the racecourse, it is a second-to-none destination on race days, although perhaps more relaxing when the horses are out of town.
Why? Even if horse racing is not your thing, the uninterrupted views over Epsom Downs are sure to be, drink in hand, as the sun goes down on a summer’s evening.
• 34 Langley Vale Road, Epsom Downs KT18 5LJ.Tel: 01372 745050
What? The site of The Sportsman was originally home to a hunting lodge, built for Henry VIII in 1532. These days, it’s part of the local Time Well Spent group and, fortunately, Mogador is nothing at all like its Tolkien-esque name might suggest – even on the warmest of days!
Where? On the edge of Walton Heath, the pub is a haven for walkers, horse riders, bikers and runners, with miles of fantastic Surrey views. Only three minutes away from the famous Walton Heath Golf Club, the pub has even played host to Tiger Woods.
Why? Found in a beautiful part of the county, which is sometimes all too easily overlooked, this is the kind of country pub where you can leave any stresses and strains behind, but take your dog with you. Definitely worth a journey off the beaten path – although you’ll find it’s by no means a secret on busy days!
• Mogador Road, Lower Kingswood KT20 7ES. Tel: 01737 246655
The Squirrel Inn
What? The Squirrel itself is fairly nondescript compared to its character-packed, 16th-century cottage neighbour, but it’s surrounded by gardens and alfresco dining areas that are highly inviting for the warmer months. A couple of concrete squirrels guard the entrance, of course.
Where? The hamlet of Hurtmore is one of those slightly strange Surrey places that, if approached from a certain angle, you’d presume is utterly in the middle of nowhere. In fact, it’s only minutes away from Guildford and Godalming (and the prestigious Charterhouse School), and a quick twist of the wheel off the bustling A3.
Why? Since November 2011, this frontier-style pub has been run by the owners of The Inn on the Green in the village of Ockley, near Dorking. For a while, their menu offering had been what they described as “basic pub food”, but recently they told Surrey Life that “things are now much more refined” and that their “goal is to put The Squirrel on the map as one of the best food pubs in Surrey.” High ambitions indeed.
• Hurtmore Road, Hurtmore GU7 2RN. Tel: 01483 860223
The Surrey Oaks
What? A Surrey beer legend, the Surrey Oaks was last year named in the top 16 pubs in Britain by CAMRA and included in the 2015 Good Beer Guide. These days, it’s also making a big push on the food side, with their ‘Daily Doings’ largely dependent on the produce supplied.
Where? Before you imbibe too heavily in their ample beer and cider selection, why not enjoy an amble in the local countryside? This is rural Surrey at its best.
Why? This truly is a quintessentially English pub and the perfect place to unwind. The first of their famous beer festivals takes place just as this magazine hits the shops at the end of May, with a second at the end of August. Expect over 50 real ales, craft beers, ciders and perrys, plus the barbecue running alongside their normal menu.
• Parkgate Road, Newdigate RH5 5DZ. Tel: 01306 631200
What? First opening its doors as a pub in the 1770s, The Swan has seen many changes over the years from its riverside location. And, having just undergone a huge transformation, the pub now boasts a beautiful garden area that can sit 350, as well as four newly-built wooden huts with heaters, sofas, TVs and more – available both day-to-day and for private use.
Where? While walks, rowing and picnicking by the river form the main reason to get outdoors in the town, Walton Marina also offers boat sales, berthing and river trips, including motorised boat journeys and hire of punts. Meanwhile, Walton Rowing Club, on Sunbury Lane, is one of the most successful in the area.
Why? Enjoy a unique and tasty burger from the pub’s amazing Burger Shack, or just watch the sunset from their riverside garden with your favourite tipple!
• 50 Manor Road, Walton-On-Thames KT12 2PF. Tel: 01932 225964
The Well House Inn
What? The odds are high that, even if you spent your life driving up and down the A217 between Reigate and our county’s northern border at Sutton/Cheam, you’d never find your way to the Well House Inn unless some kindly soul had pointed the way. Which is a shame, as this quaint pub in Mugswell, somewhere in the area of Tadworth and Kingswood, is about as quintessentially English as it gets.
Where? At the heart of the neatly-kept gardens is the 42-ft deep St Margaret’s Well, from whence the pub draws its name. On the other side of the road, fields and hillside are the only neighbours and you could easily imagine yourself in a far more remote part of the country.
Why? Now owned by Time Well Spent, a family- run business formed in 2002, you may well already know one of their stellar stable, which includes The Sportsman at Mogador, The Black Horse in Reigate, The Royal Oak in Brockham, The Plough & Furrow in Smallfield and The Red Lion in Betchworth. This one offers the same high standards.
• Chipstead Lane, Mugswell CR5 3SQ. Tel: 01737 830640
What? Like the aforementioned The Swan, The Weyside is a Young’s pub with a perfect riverside setting. At the time of writing, they are also busy building their own Burger Shack to add to this beautiful pub’s edge-of-town appeal.
Where? Just minutes from the shops and boutiques on Guildford’s newly re-cobbled High Street and next door to the famed Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, pub locations don’t get much more picturesque and yet convenient than this. Step outside and you can explore walks in both directions along the River Wey.
Why? The food and drink are great, and it’s the perfect spot to watch the stream of narrowboats, kayaks, cyclists and ramblers passing by.
• Millbrook, Guildford GU1 3XJ. Tel: 01483 568024
What? While the majority of our pubs have been located in the countryside, there’s been a run of town pubs at the end with the Guildford additions – but they’re both riverside, which The Wheatsheaf in Farnham is not. What it does have is a newly-opened ‘secret garden’ packed full of quirky furniture.
Where? Right in the heart of Farnham town, twinkling lights and vintage- inspired mirrors have been cleverly combined to offer a peaceful haven in an English country-garden setting.
Why? Part of the local Red Mist Leisure group, The Wheatsheaf adheres to the same high standards with a fantastic food and drink offering. Explore one of Surrey’s most picturesque towns, and then enjoy craft beers, local ales, wines and Champagnes by the glass.
• 19 West Street, Farnham GU9 7DR. Tel: 01252 717135
The White House
What? Something of an icon of the town, The White House is bright, light and airy and found right on the riverside next to the old town bridge. Refurbished last year, it’s well worth revisiting. It’s actually pretty new for a pub, having replaced offices in the 1990s.
Where? Just behind the pub, you’ll find a statue of Alice, her sister and the White Rabbit, to celebrate Guildford’s connection with Lewis Carroll. It’s only a short stroll into town and to the Castle Grounds, where you can continue your adventures in wonderland with the town’s public art. Find out more at surreylife.co.uk.
Why? This is a stylish pub and the conservatory and terrace offer the perfect view to watch the world go by. A Fuller’s pub, the beer is usually well conditioned and there’s always a good range from which to choose.
• 8 High Street, Guildford GU2 4AJ. Tel: 01483 302006
What? With a 26-acre lake and a terrace with thatched private-dining gazebos, The Wiremill comes into its own when the sun shines. In an unusual twist, the waterski club can also be spotted zooming around the water.
Where? A short drive from Lingfield, you can head for a walk into the Wiremill woods that border the lake and see a totally different view of the mill. Alternatively, the nearby British Wildlife Centre should be on everyone’s must-visit list.
Why? In the summer, make sure to check out their vegetarian, locally-sourced dishes and the smoked barbecue spatchcock chicken is a real winner too. They also make their own lemonade and cocktails, as well as delicious smoothies and boozy milkshakes, perfect for the warmer months.
• Wire Mill Lane, Lingfield RH7 6HJ. Tel: 01342 832263
What? The new-look Worplesdon Place promises to come into its own in the summer months, with an expansive garden and chic new decking that overlook its own swan lake, complete with resident family of black swans.
Where? Found in-between Guildford and Woking, Worplesdon Place is the perfect launch pad into two of Surrey’s most thriving towns. Relaunched in March, following a £1,000,000 renovation, this iconic building has been transformed into a rural-chic pub with rooms.
Why? Worplesdon Place has just launched its spring/summer menu, bursting with freshly- prepared dishes. From delicious sharing platters, seafood and salads, perfect with a crisp white, to smoky barbecue or Cuban chilli and lime-coated rotisserie chicken, they offer a real taste of summer. It’s sure to become a destination pub.
• Perry Hill, Guildford GU3 3RY. Tel: 01483 232407
The Wotton Hatch
What? Very much in the style of the times, this is a modern and stylish pub that still packs in the history and is found pretty much at the end of the drive way of the sprawling Wotton House.
Where? With uninterrupted views across the fields at Wotton, between Dorking and Abinger Hammer, The Wotton Hatch must boast one of the best sunset pub views around. Even the road running alongside, rather than a river, doesn’t spoil the magic.
Why? The bar is usually well stocked, from real ales to craft beers, while the food is also very good. Away from the cosy corners inside, the garden is peaceful and has provided a welcome stop-off for many a journey home along the A25.
• Guildford Road, Wotton, Dorking RH5 6QQ. Tel: 01306 887694
Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2016
Make sure to vote for your favourite Surrey pubs in the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards @ foodawards.surreylife.co.uk
PUBS FROM OUR PAST
Every summer, Surrey Life publishes our list of some of our favourite pubs - snippets of previous years entries can be seen below. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your favourite Surrey pubs
The Abinger Hatch (2015)
Found down leafy lanes, near beauty spots such as Holmbury St Mary and Friday Street, The Abinger Hatch is a welcome retreat. You may get a little lost trying to find it, but the adventure is well worth the temporary discombobulation. Their garden bar and BBQ is open on Saturdays from June.
Abinger Lane, Abinger Common, near Dorking, Surrey RH5 6HZ. Tel: 01306 730737
The Barley Mow (2010)
Located at the hub of several walking trails leading to the likes of Frensham Pond and the ruins of Waverley Abbey, the pub is set in an idyllic location with riverside gardens. The unofficial club house of Tilford Cricket Club, which has played on the green opposite since 1886, it is synonymous with cricket and the summertime. Depicting the most typical of English scenes, the pub has been used in many advertising campaigns over the years: British Airways, American Airlines, Rover and Yardley’s Blazer aftershave, to name but a few.
Tilford Green, Farnham, Surrey GU10 2BU Tel: 01252 792205
The Bear (2015)
It’s all change at The Bear! While there have been more hard hats and hi-vis jackets than a David Cameron rally this spring, the pub is set to boast a new conservatory, with glass chimney stack, to complement its lower level veranda decking. In the midst of celeb heartland, you never know who you might bump into…
Leatherhead Road, Oxshott, Surrey KT22 OJE. Tel: 01372 842747
The Bell (2012)
The winner of our ‘best winter pub’ poll at surrey.greatbritishlife.co.uk, The Bell ain’t half bad in the summertime either. Managers Mark and Penny Thornhill took over the pub a couple of years ago, after returning from Florida where they had an English tea room and four restaurants, and have already seen their establishment get a mention in The Good Food Guide. Built on the site of an earlier pub in 1930, The Bell is an impressive building with plenty of seating for alfresco dining in the summer.
Bell Lane, Fetcham, Surrey KT22 9ND: 01372 372624
The Black Swan (2012)
With a pétanque pitch, children’s play area, sectioned seating appealing to all moods and a top class barbeque joining the standard menu fare on warmer weekends, The Black Swan makes a bid for being the best pub garden around. Tucked just off the M25 and A3, you wouldn’t know it with its surprisingly tranquil setting. There are regularly three Surrey ales on tap for those proud of their provenance and the kitchen is also a local standard bearer.
Old Lane, Ockham, Surrey KT11 1NG: 01932 862364
Botley Hill Farmhouse (2015)
It may have been the end of an era for Botley Hill recently, as they were forced to remove their giant tent (which had hosted gigs for 20 years) but there are plenty of other reasons to visit. Not least the great food, drink and countryside views.
Limpsfield Road, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9QH. Tel: 01959 577154
The Brickmakers (2014)
Surrounded by woodland on the edge of Windlesham, close to what was long billed as the ‘country’s most expensive house’, Updown Court, The Brickmakers also has a large attractive garden that is perfect for a pub lunch. Scott Coveney and wife Alex took the place over at the end of 2012 and have since extensively refurbished. Head chef Paul Clarke and his kitchen team serve up a British à la carte menu, with traditional classics. They are up with the birds these days, opening from 9am for coffee, tea, full English breakfast, Danishes and other snack items. On the bar, there are usually four ales on tap, while the wine list ranges from £15.95 to £69.95 with plenty of Champagne on offer too. In a Hollywood aside, the Oscar- winning star Russell Crowe was said to be a regular while filming Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood.
Chertsey Road, Windlesham, Surrey GU20 6HT. Tel: 01276 472267
The Canbury Arms (2015)
At the Canbury Arms, they’ve recently welcomed a new chef from Roux at Parliament Square. If that’s not a good enough reason to visit, sister pub Wych Elm, found just down the road, is almost as well known for its flower displays as beer!
49 Canbury Park Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT2 6LQ. Tel: 0208 255 9129
The Chequers (2013)
Surrounded by large gardens, The Chequers has an enviable location in Walton on the Hill. With a BBQ open every day through the summer, they also offer the newly refurbished garden room and traditional snug as cosy nooks to hideaway on the wetter days. A Youngs pub, they offer the usual range of real ales supplemented by local brewers such as Hogs Back Brewery and Twickenham Fine Ales.
Chequers Lane, Walton on the Hill, Surrey KT20 7SF Tel: 01737 812364
The Cock Inn (2015)
Another magical mystery tour down Sat-Nav defeating country lanes, The Cock Inn is crowing once more following a refurbishment. It’s also blessed with an expansive outdoor terrace, which should help ensure it becomes a must-visit destination this summer.
Church Lane, Headley, near Epsom, Surrey KT18 6LE. Tel: 01372 377258
The Drummond (2015)
A blooming great pub, The Drummond is always alive with colour thanks to its hanging baskets. Found by the Tillingbourne, it’s blessed with a great garden and conservatory to soak up the rays. They also happen to love hog roasts and BBQs.
The Street, Albury, near Guildford, Surrey GU5 9AG. Tel: 01483 202039
Fox and Hounds (2015)
One of Englefield Green’s oldest public houses, dating back to 1780, the Fox and Hounds is blessed with an idyllic location right next to the Bishopsgate entrance of Windsor Great Park, and a short distance from Guards Polo Club and Virginia Water Lake. Expect BBQs on the front terrace in summer. Horses are welcome too and can be tied up at the front of the pub.
Bishopsgate Road, Englefield Green, near Egham, Surrey TW20 0XU. Tel: 01784 433098
The Grove (2015)
Sister pub to another couple of Surrey Life summer pubs mainstays from years gone by, (The Boaters Inn at Kingston and The Black Swan at Ockham), the secret garden at The Grove is a surprisingly sprawling hidden gem – complete with a garden bar to keep up a steady flow of sustenance, good food and a great selection of beers.
9 Grove Road, Surbiton, Surrey KT6 4BX. Tel: 0208 399 1662
The Inn on the Pond (2008)
A quintessential English pub that has recently undergone a very successful restoration, Nutfield’s Inn on the Pond sits alongside the village cricket oval and offers views across Nutfield marshes. Its location proves especially popular with walkers, and as it falls on a cycle route, it has been known for the odd lycra-clad biker to wobble off slightly less steadily than when they arrived...
Nutfield Marsh Road, Nutfield, Surrey RH1 4EU: 01737 643000
King William IV (2014)
You may have driven along the A24 near Dorking hundreds of times and never realised that this stunning gem is hidden away in the hills of Mickleham. With panoramic views of the Mole Valley, the pub really comes to life in the summer when you can eat alfresco on the beautifully kept terrace. Ideally located for walking on Box Hill, Norbury Park or directly on to Mickleham Downs, the food and drink offering is also excellent with everything from fillet steaks and dressed Cornish crab to ploughman’s and sandwiches on the daytime menu. There’s also a well-kept selection of beers featuring local brews. The pub has been around since 1790, so if you haven’t been yet, make sure to pencil a visit in for this summer. Parking is free in the public car park outside Frascati’s Italian restaurant on the A24.
Byttom Hill, Mickleham, Surrey RH5 6EL. Tel: 01372 372590
The King William IV (2015)
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. It also boasts a lovely outdoor area for alfresco drinks and dining.
83 The Street, West Horsley, Surrey KT24 6BG. Tel: 01483 282318
Kingswood Arms (2012)
Privately owned by Linda and Barry Slayford since 1985, the original Kingswood Arms building dates back over a hundred years. In the mid-1960s, it became the Pigeon Pear, reflecting the time when pigeons were brought to Kingswood by train and released with news messages, which helped Reuters to deliver information quicker than their rivals. These days, it’s a destination pub where the popular Conservatory restaurant leads out to a huge landscaped garden that fills up as soon as the temperatures start to warm.
Waterhouse Lane, Kingswood, Surrey KT20 6EB: 01737 354053
The Marlborough (2015)
A perfect spot for sipping G&Ts in the heart of Richmond but away from the hustle and bustle of life, if you enjoy what a modern Youngs pub offers then you’ll love The Marlborough. When the sun shines, the chefs evacuate the kitchen, spark up the BBQ and bring the menu outdoors.
46 Friars Stile Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6NQ. Tel: 0208 9408513
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 every day.
Alma Road, Esher, Surrey KT10 8JN. Tel: 0208 398 4444
Merry Harriers (2015)
A pub with character! Whether it’s indulging in a game of boules or being entertained by their friendly llamas (yes, you read that right), this well-liked pub is a hit throughout the year. On Saturday June 20, they are hosting a Waterloo 200 ‘battle’ and regimental dinner, which may even see water pistol re-enactments in the campsite opposite.
Hambledon Road, Hambledon, Surrey GU8 4DR. Tel: 01428 682883
The Mulberry (2014)
Owned by Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans, The Mulberry Inn is best-known for its annual Children In Need events. The Stereophonics, Eliza Doolittle, James Blunt and Gary Barlow will all be performing in the Chiddingfold pub’s tipi this summer with tickets already auctioned in November. On an average day, the pub’s garden attracts everyone from business people coming in for lunch to families whose children enjoy the play area. Come the summer, the chicken and chorizo salad or classic seafood bouillabaisse, with monkfish, tiger prawns, mussels and clams, are foodie favourites, accompanied by Aperol Spritz or Dinastia Vivanca Rioja Rosé. This summer, they are also serving Laurent Perrier by the glass, while they always have a good selection of ales from the likes of Tongham’s Hogs Back. Bliss!
Petworth Road, Chiddingfold, Surrey GU8 4SS. Tel: 01428 644460
The Plough (2015)
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. What is more, with the National Trust celebrating 250 years of Leith Hill Tower this year, there’s never been a better time to visit.
Coldharbour, Surrey RH5 6HD. Tel: 01306 711793
The Plough (2014)
Proud owner of its own orchard garden, which supplies the kitchens with fruit and herbs, The Plough in Effingham is found down a quiet village lane in the heart of the Surrey Hills countryside. Refurbished in December 2012, the pub combines informal, relaxed dining with restaurant quality fresh food from a seasonal, monthly-changing menu. In summer, the pretty garden and front terrace are popular with families, ramblers and cycling groups who explore the nearby North Downs Way and local Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. On tap are Young’s beers and guest ales.
The Plough, Orestan Lane, Effingham, Surrey KT24 5SW. Tel: 01372 458121
The Plough (2015)
A firm favourite of this Surrey Life writer, some say a visit to The Plough’s garden is more like a trip to the zoo. Giraffes of all shapes and sizes roam the plains, while excellently kept beer is well complemented by summer salads and hearty pub grub. An unpretentious place to relax – and this normally adults-only pub even relaxes the rules on children in summer, as long as they stay outside with the wildlife…
11 Church Road, St John’s, near Redhill, Surrey RH1 6QE. Tel. 01737 766686
The Red Barn (2015)
A beautiful 300-year-old rural retreat, this historic barn turned pub disguises a striking interior. Outside, the garden attracts punters like bees to a honeypot. Geronimo Inns is a group more normally noted for its city establishments, but you can certainly understand what tempted them out to the country air…
Tandridge Lane, Blindley Heath, near Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6LL. Tel: 01342 830 820
The Seahorse (2015)
Steeped in history, The Seahorse still has many features from its old coaching inn days. Guests can eat in the stable stalls, which allows for a semi-private dining experience. When the sun is out, as well as taking advantage of the lovely garden, you can stretch your legs on one of the walks nearby from Godalming to Guildford along the canal.
The Street, Shalford, near Guildford, Surrey GU4 8BU. Tel: 01483 514351
The Skimmington Castle (2015)
As soon as the sun sneaks out from the clouds, it’s amazing how many dog walkers come out of the woodwork in Reigate – all making a beeline for the Skim (as it’s known locally). Unsignposted, and hidden away off the road, people still come in their droves to relax on the pub’s glorious outdoor terrace looking over to Reigate Hill.
Reigate Heath, Reigate, Surrey RH2 8RL. Tel: 01737 243100
The Spotted Cow (2015)
Hidden away in an enchanting wooded location, The Spotted Cow serves home-made pub food, real ales and great wines. Located close to Bourne Woods, the setting for numerous films, the pub provides the ideal launch pad for a country walk. Make the most of their secluded garden and try to spot a film star.
Bourne Grove, Lower Bourne, near Farnham GU10 3QT. Tel: 01252 726541
The Stag on the River (2011)
Set alongside the River Wey in simply beautiful countryside, the quiet village setting of the Stag on the River makes this one for those with a chauffeur – or at least a partner who prefers to stick to the orange juice. However, this picturesque spot is certainly well worth the trek.
Eashing, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2QG: 01483 421568
For the last 10 years, a formerly run-down and vandalised ice cream parlour at Richmond Bridge has been enjoying a new lease of life as a Bavarian beer bar. More recently, owners Bele and Reinhard Weiss have performed a similar trick on a small riverside tea room in Kingston, with wonderful views over the river from its raised terrace. Both branches of Stein’s offer authentic Munich beer, wine and great German food: think Bratwürste, Sauerkraut and even Bauernfrühstück if you wake up with the vögel (birds).
56 High Street, Kingston, Surrey KT1 1HN. Tel: 0208 546 2411
Richmond Towpath, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6UX. Tel: 0208 948 8189
The Swan Inn (2015)
Located in a converted 15th century building, The Swan Inn blends contemporary accommodation and fabulous food. They also, rather conveniently for our list, have a large garden, perfect for summer socialising. Don’t be fooled by the relaxed, informal atmosphere; they take good food seriously.
Petworth Road, Chiddingfold, Surrey GU8 4TY. Tel: 01428 684688
The Tree on Box Hill (2015)
An expansive pub found somewhere between Box Hill and Headley Heath, The Tree has had a new lease of life in recent years. There’s usually something a little different on the beer taps and the seasonal menu has plenty of pub favourites – and, of course, there are some stunning views and walks on the doorstep.
Boxhill Road, near Tadworth, Surrey KT20 7PS. Tel: 01737 845996
The White Bear (2014)
Located in the surprisingly green patch between Croydon and Biggin Hill, you can head back in time in the hamlet of Fickleshole. At its heart, The White Bear is a 16th century pub that is full of character and apparently home to two resident ghosts. 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 – can you find the inscriptions carved by workers from the 16th and 18th centuries? Known for its great beer (usually five on offer) and wines, succulent fillet and other fine steaks served on hot skillets, and tranquil pond and garden to enjoy in the summer sun, it’s well worth a visit.
Fairchildes Road, Warlingham, Surrey CR6 9PH. Tel: 01959 573166
The White Cross (2008)
If you time your visit to The White Cross correctly, you’ll never leave. Well, not for an hour or two at least, as the pub frequently gets cut off with the tide. Rated as one of the best locations along the Thames, it is easy to see why with its fantastic view of the river and Richmond Bridge. With the summer come the crowds of people invading the river banks in their search for relaxed waterside drinking.
Riverside (off Water Lane), Richmond, Surrey TW9 1TH: 0208 940 6844
The White Hart (2015)
Get lost in the east Surrey countryside and you might stumble across The White Hart in Chipstead, one of a number of lovely countryside pubs in the area. Recommended by The Good Pub Guide, this one was built in 1731 during the reign of George II. A great range of ales and ‘Damien’s Special Wine Cellar’ can be explored in the intimate garden.
Hazelwood Lane, Chipstead, Surrey CR5 3QW. Tel: 01737 554455
The White Horse (2014)
Set in a beautiful rural village location on the crossroads of the local public footpath network, there are plenty of lovely walks to and from the 16th century freehouse The White Horse. Surrey beauty spot Winkworth Arboretum is also nearby. With a large garden and secluded dining terrace, there’s plenty of room to enjoy beers from the Otter Brewery from Devon and Dark Star from Sussex, or something off the vast selection of wines, which are priced from £16.50 to £55 per bottle. The menu has a few interesting twists too with the ploughman’s including a scotch quail’s egg and rosemary and garlic focaccia, and a delicious selection of regularly changing specials on the blackboard.
The Street, Hascombe, Surrey GU8 4JA. Tel: 01483 208258
The William Bray (2014)
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. There are also echoes of another sporting heritage: the pub is named after William Bray, the 17th century diarist credited with mentioning the game of baseball for the first time. Set in the heart of the Surrey Hills, a bike rack, horse mounting block, dog bowls and a very large outside area for eating and drinking are all on offer. The pub works with The Wine Reserve in Cobham for the wine list and also has a selection of summer cocktails and Shere Drop on tap. In an unusual aside, the owners’ son is also driving in the British Touring Car Championship under the Crabbie’s racing banner.
Shere Lane, Shere, Surrey GU5 9HS. Tel: 01483 202044
The Windmill (2012)
Located close to the home of Eric Clapton, The Windmill offers absolutely breathtaking views across the Surrey Hills. As well as a balcony that seemingly stretches across half the hillside, with a series of levelled terraces, it is also home to the Pitch Hill Pit Stop, a stop for hungry mountain bikers. The Windmill has a motto: “There are no strangers at The Windmill only friends who haven’t met?”
The Windmill, Pitch Hill, Ewhurst, Surrey GU6 7NN: 01483 277566
The Withies (2015)
This 16th century tavern is smartly civilised with a stunning garden, where meals can be taken under an attractive pergola in fine weather. Weeping willows add to the idyllic scene at The Withies, which is situated on the edge of Loseley Park and close to the recently restored Watts Gallery; a perfect day out.
Withies Lane, Compton, Surrey GU3 1JA. Tel: 01483 421158
Located in a converted cricket pavilion, every square inch of this unique pub is covered in 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!
The Sportsground, Thetford Road, New Malden KT3 5DX. Tel: 0208 949 5824
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