Sometimes the hardest part of doing these blogs is deciding which travel “experiences” to lump together and which to allow to shine on their own.
Here’s the four exciting pubs I did from Lymington in what I will call Christchurch Bay. You can see them marked on the second map if you’ve got good eyesight.
Starting with the inevitable wasted journey to the Wheel in Sway/Bowling Green/north Lymington. I’d spent the half-hour walk convincing myself I’d been here before, waiting for my spreadsheet of 10,029 pubs to load so I could check.
It never did load, but that was irrelevant as the Wheel looked very closed, with an “All Enquiries” sign at the front. The very helpful folk at South Hants CAMRA tell me the pub is still open, so worth phoning ahead ,as they say. I do hope it wasn’t just a case of not knocking loud enough on a bolted door.
On toward Milford, passing four hotels offering “wedding packages“. Another first time visit, and another archetypal Hampshire town with no visitors under 50 now the youthful CAMRA conference machine had left Bournemouth.
The Red Lion is clearly the main village pub, an unmodernised local with traditional awkward opening hours (11.30-2.30 at lunch) and as many drinkers as diners.
My Ringwood house beer was impressively cool and chewy (NBSS 3.5), the beer of the day. I wrote done Black Velvet, which might describe the décor or the 1989 classic by Alannah Myles, who can say. Milford is a very 1989 sort of place.
To my left two gents were mixing doms and cider quite enjoyably, “May the best man win” someone said; they take their doms very seriously.
while to my right a lady was consoling a male “friend” (photo withheld for legal reasons).
“Shall we have munchies ?” “Munchies” !
He was a teetotaller, for fitness reasons, dry for a year.
“A year. Well DONE. How are you coping ?”
“I’m (pause) I’m doing OK” He looked SO miserable as his friend sunk her lager.
Milford was very pleasant, in an estuary Essex sort of way. With pleasing walks and shingle beaches, and dozens of gentle folks in their cars gazing out to sea, nibbling on their ham sandwiches.
There were dozens more up the road at the Rising Sun in Wooton, in the heart of the Forest and close to once famous Non-League cloggers Bashley FC.
This is a pleasant OAP-focused diner that managed to still feel quite pubby, despite the sample jars. Some good beers, nice touches, and Flack Manor from the barrel (NBSS 3).
You may recognise a certain Belhaven beer.
Bransgore’s Three Tuns felt much smarter, and less pubbier, with upmarket pub affectations like beer festivals and “Codgers Corner”. Or perhaps it was just the rugby tat I took exception to.
A wedding party was descending on the pub, Seafood Linguine Nero (£16.95) was being mispronounced by the tourists, the Otter was warm (NBSS 2), and in the “public bar”, a nervous couple attempted to order coffees.
“He’s seen us, oh he’s seen us !”
“Calm down dear.
“He’s seen us. Oh !”
“Here he come !!!”
“Two cappuccinos. We’d like two cappuccinos”
Admit it, you don’t get excitement like sitting in front of the telly with a bottle of Hobgoblin.