City Break – Pubs around London
The Chaser Inn, Tonbridge
Do you feel affected by the cruel January blues? Is the city suffocating you more and more? Then we wholeheartedly recommend the Chaser Inn located in the Kentish town of Tonbridge. Whiting & Hammond’s flagship dining pub is a striking, colonial-style building has a serene view over the village green. Amongst the locals, the pub is associated with the Fairlawn Estate where steeplechase horses, including the Queen Mother’s, were trained. As soon as you enter, you are overwhelmed by a warren of cosy, country-smart rooms: rugs on bare boards, fat candles on old tables and bookcases groaning with books.
We recommend browsing the papers while enjoying a cold pint of Abbot by the crackling noise of the firewood. Alternatively, you can tuck into some homely authentic British food. The pub is renowned for its potted rabbit or devilled lamb’s kidney garnished with caper and citrus butter. Price-wise, the lunch and dinner are around £9.95 and £12.95.
The Surrey Oaks, Newdigate
Our second pick on this list comes from the surreal region of Surrey. Once upon a time, the Royal Navy got the timber for its vessels from the surrounding woodlands, and some certainly went into the construction of this pub, back in the 16th century. As soon as you enter, you will undoubtedly notice the ceiling beams hanging so low that at one point there’s a piece of leather attached to stop you from hitting your head. Apart from the very authentic and cosy feel, the pub has a very human and pleasant attraction: Ken the landlord. This cheery host, whose fame is known in the whole region, offers a chance to win a free pint by answering his three questions of the day (we assure you, they are quite a challenge)!
We recommend sitting by the fire while trying to decide what pint to go for. Resident beers are those from nearby Surrey Hills Brewery – gentle gold Ranmore Ale and the stronger Shere Drop. On top of the great selection of craft beers, the pub also prides itself on its 9oz Grass-Fed, 28 day matured Surrey Farms Sirloin Steak and Game Suet Pudding. The prices range between £13 and £22.
The Alford Arms, Frithsden
Hidden in the secluded wooded valley of the Ashridge Forest estate, the Alford Arms is a perfect rest stop for weary winter wanderers to warm both their bellies and their hearts. Everyone is welcomed, from travellers with muddy boots to noisy kids and dogs. The rustic charm of the place is completed by the elegant and unique Zoffany fabric decoration and stylish antique furniture.
The pub offers a wide selection of classy European wines, a choice of classic cocktails and the nation’s favourite, beer. The bar is fully supplied with delightful real ales from the local award-winning Chiltern Brewery and Tring Brewery. When it comes to food, the Alford Arms was named the Times “Gastropub of the Year 2013”. We fully recommend the bucks beetroot with homemade ricotta, pomegranate and tiny cubes of local honey jelly as a starter; immediately followed by a thick fillet of pan-fried hake served with steamed kale and sweet preserved grapes! Price-wise, the mains are between £12 and £15.
If we sparked your interest then we fully recommend taking a break from the city maddens and enjoying some peaceful quality time with your significant ones!
The Hoop, Stock
The Hoop was originally three cottages used by weavers in 1460, and 450 years later, it became an alehouse. Nowadays, the pub it’s notable for its handsome brick fireplaces. The bar is ornamented by the building’s original timber framework, most of which formed part of warship galleons lying in the dock at Tilbury. This interesting design comes from the times when the beams were transported from the coast on wagons, after which the drivers would load their carts with freshly cut timber and take it back to the village. The interior is kept simple but stylish in a very successful attempt to blend both the modern and old! The dining room up in the timbered eaves is a very elegant and cosy space, with a big brick fireplace, napery and elegant tall-backed wooden chairs.
Apart from the carefully crafted beers and ales, this pub holds an annual beer festival at the end of May, featuring 100 real ales, 80 ciders, a hog roast and a barbecue. If this pub caught your attention, then we recommend having a Roast rump of English lamb or a Hampshire white belly of pork roasted with orange and fennel. The prices in the upstairs restaurant range from £13 to £30 for a main.
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