Today alone, we have had six new customers visit the shop, who have all moved into Godalming from further afield. It's lovely to see the place through excited eyes, for fresh starts, new adventures and often the need for greener spaces. Without fail, whether they want it or not, I grab a bit of paper and scribble my favourite pubs to visit in the area and send them off on their way! Something a lot of us English have in common is the love for a good pub, not necessarily just for drinking. Often when I am visiting a new place, I head straight to the Alistair Sawday book of Great Pubs, as it has yet to fail me. But, in the event you find yourself in the area close to the shop with a car, or if you are planning a trip this way, I have copied the recommendations from that scrap of paper and put it down in words here.
I will be sure to do these Wattle recommendations on a more regular basis, as there is much to love about living around here and its great to be grateful.
So here goes, my favourite pubs (and a couple of extras) close to home (not in any particular order)...
One little trip I always recommend, is a drive to Petworth, as it really is one of my favourite places to visit. Filled with antique shops, rows of gorgeous houses, and the most divine farm shop, The Hungry Guest, which has its own cheese room, need I say any more. I probably wouldn't recommend trying to do your weekly shopping here, but grabbing some special ingredients whilst you have a coffee at the bar is just the best thing.
Depending on where you are coming in from, the first pub you need to visit is The Horse Guards Inn, based in Tilington, 5 minutes outside Petworth. Full of English Charm, with the best pub garden you will ever likely to encounter. The added bonus, and its a pretty big one is that a little shop called The King and I , happens to be right there in the garden, run by the lovely Claire Priestley.
Next on the list is the wonderful Noak's Ark in Lurgeshall. If you have anyone over that you want to impress, wait for the sun to come out (or not) and take a drive to the prettiest of locations that you ever did see. As you drive on to the village green, your jaw sort of drops. It doesn't matter how many times I visit, I am always excited to get there and then you taste the food and you know you may have found the perfect pub.
White Hart, Witley
If I am honest, half the time I am in the country, I am trying to pretend I am in fact living in the city, which of course is utterly absurd. Its the vibe I miss and just the sheer choice of where you can hang out. The White Hart, always make me feel like I just might be back in London. Every time I visit this pub, it has the same special atmosphere about it, but do go, with the understanding you are going to feel extremely full on exit, as the food is anything but 'light'.
Duke of Cumberland, Fernhurst
If its a view and the best roast dinner you are looking for, then I just found you the perfect pub. Perched on the side of a hill with amazing views, this 16th century pub serves some of the best grub you will likely taste at a pub. But, like the rest of the establishments on this list, unlikely you can just turn up and get a table, so organisation is the key to this plan.
Winterton Arms, Chiddingfold
Linked with the White Hart, another pub which does atmosphere so well, helped by the brilliant gin menu on hand.
The Banyan, Fernhurst
Not strictly allowed on this list, as its a Curry House and not a pub, but I figured whats the one thing we all need after the pub, a curry house. Although the one thing all of these pub recommendations have in common is the amazing food, so unlikely you can fit in a curry as well, but definitely put this one down for a must-to.
the Holly Bush, Frensham
Other than the fact I tend to call this pub Holly's Bush, rather than the Holly Bush, this is a gorgeous pub, recommended by Claire who runs The King and I. The food is always brilliant. If you have dogs, Little Frensham is one of the best places to walk them. In Summer the kids often have a little dip in the lake, so everyone gets something out of this day,
The Stag on the River, Eashing
The closest to the shop, this pub always gets recommended by Godalming folk. An historic pub by the riverside serving gorgeous seasonal food with an outside area. The plus side, you can visit all the lovely little independents that are based in Godalming.
The Harrow Inn, Steep
A proper pub with the menu stuck on the wall, real ale and the original pub singer still sitting with his half pint in the corner. I had the best Ploughmans I have ever tasted (and trust me I have ordered a lot of Ploughmans in my lifetime). Be warned, children are not allowed in the pub, yet there is lots of seating outside in a gorgeous garden and the toilets are across the way in the stables, if you are precious about where you wee.
The Gomshall Inn, Gomshall
So, I haven't actually talked about pubs in Surrey, as I have taken you more the West Sussex route, as its closer to my neck of the woods. I would hope you have already heard about it, but a drive to Shere from Godalming is a really lovely thing to do. Make sure you do the drive, which takes you past Albury, then you could stop off at Silent Pool and do a little tour. Shere has a couple of gorgeous pubs, and just the most gorgeous village to have a wonder around. If you have little children, one of the loveliest things you can do is pop to the stream in Gomshall, just opposite a little shop / tea room on the main road. You can take a little picnic and they can fish for shrimp (or whatever it is, that swims in the little stream). The shop opposite does a great trade in fish nets, so don't worry if you have forgotten yours.
I hope you will try and create some days out from this list. I am pretty sure that this list will be an evolving list, so watch this space.