Probably an inadvisable title, but an irresistible one.  Unless you can think of a better one.  “Going off to croak in Basingstoke ” maybe ?

Perhaps I’d be better off giving it the unofficial title of “Greater Hartley Wintney

At the heart of the famed Newbury-Hartley-Basingstoke beer triangle

But I come to praise the Base (as the kids call it), and the newish Premier Inn is the perfect starting point for a tour of the highlights.

Your vital Basingstoke guide

To get the feel for a town, just do 4 things;

  1. Walk aimlessly for an hour
  2. Breakfast in Spoons; observe the ratio of Professional Drinkers to Gentlefolk
  3. Visit the local museum (if it’s free)
  4. Have a pint in the Beer Guide pub and mark it in pink in your GBG

The aimless walk was a gem.  Observe the brutalism,


the quite gorgeous pedestrianisation,

Great signage

and see what you could have won if you’d turned up a week earlier.

By the rivers of Basingstoke…

Luckily you’ve still time to catch T.R. Dallas at the Irish Centre this month (top).

I thought the town was great, with some little alleys, a decent slope, and a sense of well-being as long as you stayed clear of the Festival Place shops.  The Staines of the West, I say, and they can have that one for free.


The Spoons (sadly named after M********d) was everything you want from a Tim Martin establishment.  Pokey, dingy, full of early morning Carling drinkers, and serving an excellent “small” breakfast at 11.55am via the app.  At only 500 calories, I could have had four of them.  Instead, I had four flat whites.

Spoons life

I carried the resultant buzz into the town museum, the best I’ve been in outside Doncaster, which is another accolade to be proud of.

The highlights are some tiling from a pub called the Grapes (wild guess) and a recreation of a 1960s Basingstoke kitchen (or a 2018 Shoreditch cereal café , who knows).

Great tiling
Home life

Still feeling the love for the Base. I climbed to the Bounty,

Proper Pub
Not only open, but with CLEAR opening hours
Three beers, one of which you’ve heard of

It’s a great looking basic pub, three rooms and an outside toilet.  The sort you’d make a long detour for.

For once, you could guess what I had and you’d be right.

Flat Otter

Really great flat Otter (banish that image) enjoyed to a soundtrack of “This Charming Man” and some grime that Mrs RM would have recognised, but not me.

Sadly, it was just me enjoying the calm.  But I did enjoy it, and I stayed as the barman began to whistle a strangely familiar tune.

It turns out it was the radio, but I complimented him anyway.




  1. I thought I asked you not to use that photo of our kitchen on our blog?

    Quick plug for Clifford Champion Beer Festival – if you want a flat pint like the one in Martin’s picture please do not attend on Sat 30th June noon till 11pm, Clifford Village hall, Albion St, LS23. All cask beers will be cellar cooled and drawn by a beer engine through a sparkler.

    I’m now wondering if the coffee reference is actually a typo and you had four flat pints in ‘spoons?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. No, not serious about the Autovacs !
    “The town was great, with some little alleys” but no Rifle Drum ?
    “The Staines of the West” reminds me of “How to eliminate unsightly Staines”, as in a detergent advert, and then footage of the Luftwaffe
    And that’s a genuine 1964 corn flakes box in the kitchen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many many years ago when I was sports editor of a newspaper in the North of England the local football team was drawn against Staines in a cup competition.
      Obviously I wanted them to win but was quite happy for them to lose as I had the headline set in hot metal ( that dates me ! ) before the game in order to catch the late Pink ‘Un edition on the Saturday evening.
      Fortunately they lost.
      And the headline ?
      And yes I also had one ready in case they won.
      I always did like my puns.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I live here in Ireland on and off for about 25 years and I’ve never heard of ” One of Ireland’s most successful entertainers. ”
    But I admire your enthusiasm for Basingstoke …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The joy of a crystal clear pint with a loose foamy head being presented to you. The head disappearing to leave just a slight scum on the surface. Just how beer should be served (in Hampshire).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Basingstoke is definitely not greater than Hartley Wintney, ( yes I rose to the bait) but fair play to you for venturing to such a good pub wasteland.


  6. “Your vital Basingstoke guide”

    Funny how’s there’s three ‘inns’ listed and they get the icons right; but try to do the same for the Giddy Bridge. 🙂

    “Observe the brutalism,”

    Look, I’m all for making fun of the French (especially the faux Quebecois kind) but I draw the line at pointing out in big bold letters that a certain Gascoigne urinates. 😉

    “By the rivers of Basingstoke…”

    I was a big fan of the song Rasputin back in the day.

    “Spoons life”

    I notice the couple by the window probably sat there in order to keep an eye on her scooter. 🙂

    “Home life”

    You can’t fool me. That was in the museum wasn’t it? 😉

    “Three beers, one of which you’ve heard of”

    The one named after those books by George R. R. Martin?

    “For once, you could guess what I had and you’d be right.”

    It otter be the otter.

    “It turns out it was the radio, but I complimented him anyway.”

    Wot? He was singing “Radio Killed the Video Star”? 😉


    Liked by 1 person

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