Great pubs with walks
May is national walking month, and with a long weekend and half-term holiday ahead of us we've found 10 fantastic pubs with walks nearby
Built in 1705, the Barley Mow is steeped in history – and if only those old walls could talk I’m sure they’d have a story or two to tell. The pub is in a picture-postcard setting with riverside gardens, not far from the Bourne Woods and the ruins of Waverley Abbey, each ideal for stretching the legs and getting some fresh air. This 4-mile iFootpath walk starts in the carpark at Waverley Abbey and is fairly flat. And while, I haven’t yet done this 8-mile walk taking in Bourne Woods and Frensham Little Pond, it’s said to be easy going and very pretty. The films Gladiator (2000) and Robin Hood (2010), both starring Russell Crowe, were filmed in Bourne Woods, so some parts may seem familiar. Back at The Barley Mow, expect home-cooked classics from a menu that changes monthly. There’s cask beer and ale, draught Pimms in the summer, and a good selection of wines. Dogs are welcome. thebarleymowtilford.com
This pub is perfectly positioned for a day out to some stunning nearby gardens. Ramster Hall’s 25 acres of stunning gardens are just over a mile away. The gardens feature stunning displays of plant including acers, cherry blossom and magnolia, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias plus a host of unusual and rare trees and shrubs. They’re only open at certain times of the year, but now is a good time to go; they’re open now until Sunday 11 June. If you love looking at gardens (like me!) you’re spoiled for choice here, as the National Trust’s Winkworth Arboretum is only 8 miles away. The Swan Inn is a AA four star inn with a two rosette restaurant, so you could easily make a weekend of it and stay the night. There’s a gorgeous terraced garden and the food is top notch. Then all that’s left is to roll yourself upstairs to bed. I like the sound of that very much. And if you’re coming just for the day, it’s worth knowing htat dogs are welcome in the bar. theswaninnchiddingfold.com
Surrounded by ancient woodland, just a short walk from Leith Hill and a stone’s throw from the tranquil Hammer Pond at Friday Street, the Stephan Langton is in a stunningly beautiful and tranquil spot. There a are dozens of bridle tracks and cycle tracks in the surrounding woodland. If you like to follow a designated walk, try this 6-miler from iFootpath, which starts from Friday Street. Since new owners took over two years ago, the pub’s been pulling in the awards, including finalist in the Muddy Awards 16. You’ll find local ales and fine wine, and a menu with a strong focus on fresh seasonal produce. Dogs are allowed in the bar and snug area. Book ahead if you’re going on a Sunday. stephanlangton.pub
Botley Hill is a favourite pitstop for cyclists and walkers alike, and the pub’s website has several suggested walks. They range from a gentle 2.5 miles up and include walks over 5 miles long, taking in local highlights such as the neighbouring Titsey Estate, with its historic house and gardens, and the pretty little St Agatha’s Church in Woldingham and its 750-year-old yew tree. Back at the pub, there’s a lovely garden with stunning views overlooking the North Downs. Inside, the pub is full of character with rustic oak beams and lots of nooks and crannies. The food is good, and there are a range of options, so it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can read my review here. Dogs are welcome. botleyhill-farmhouse.co.uk
There’s a 6-mile iFootpath walk that starts and ends at The Cricketers in Horsell, taking in the heathland paths across Horsell Common, the riverside paths along the Mill Bourne as well as horse paddocks, meadows and woodland. It’s an ideal morning walk, brining you back to The Cricketers to refuel in the beer garden overlooking Horsell Common. There’s an outside bar hut is, selling chilled bottle beers and wine, and you can also order snacks and food from there for alfresco dining .Food-wise you’ll find an extensive menu of standard pub fare, at good prices. Dogs are welcome in the garden. baronspubs.com/cricketers
Found down leafy lanes, near beauty spots such as Holmbury St Mary and Friday Street, The Abinger Hatch is a gorgeous pub with a large garden bar. There’s some lovely countryside to explore nearby, including an easy out-and-back romp from the pub, through the church yard opposite and along a country footpath. The views are fab. You’ll get quality pub food at The Abinger Hatch, along with a very warm welcome from owners Andy and Sarah. You can read my review here. Dogs are welcome, and if you’re venturing there on a Sunday I’d suggest booking ahead. theabingerhatch.com
We love a pub with a good walk nearby. And a pub that organises the walk is even better. The next walk is on Saturday June 17, meeting at the pub at 9am for tea and coffee before setting off with an expected return for about 11.30am – just in time for lunch! Fido is welcome, and there’s no ticket required, just drop the pub an email or call on 01737 221355 to let them know you’re coming and to reserve a table if you want to stay lunch. If you’re looking for a pub and walk sooner that June 17, Reigate Heath is just a stone’s throw away, with plenty of walking options. Try this gentle 3-mile iFootpath circular walk if you want a walk with directions. brunningandprice.co.uk/pheasant
The Grantley Arms has recently reopened are a refurb. It’s a sister pub to The Onslow Arms in West Clandon, and designed along the same lines with an emphasis on quality food. It’s a friendly pub, with a sunny outdoor terrace – the perfect place to enjoy that post walk spritzer. There are plenty of walking options nearby. The pub is a short hop from the Pilgrims Way and the North Downs way. Or you could try this 4-mile circular iFootpath walk. The National Trusts’ Winkworth Arboretum and Shalford Mill are also just a short drive away. thegrantleyarms.co.uk
Take a meander across Downside Common from The Cricketers in Cobham, or for a more structured walk try this 6-mile circular iFootpath walk through the countryside around Downside. It starts and ends at the Hollyhedge Road pay and display carpark about a mile from the pub. While you’re in the area, the gardens at Painshill are definitely worth a look, with their gorgeous grotto and other follies. If you’d rather be on horseback, there are plenty of stables in the area, and The Cricketers welcomes offering water and treats. Dogs too are welcome. Foodwise, you’ll get top-quality French influenced grub, and there’s a good selection of wine and beers. cricketerscobham.com
On the edge of Walton Heath, the Sportsman is a haven for dog walkers, ramblers and horse riders. The National Trust has a 3.8mile circular walk taking in Margery Wood, Coley Hill and Walton Heath that takes you past The Sportsman, so a perfect stopping off point. It starts and ends at the National Trust car park at Margery Wood. There’s plenty of outdoor space at The Sportsman, and a good menu that includes a selection of burgers made by a local butcher in Banstead. sportsman.timewellspent.co.uk
YOU COULD ALSO TRY
A 10-mile circular walk starts at Mere Pond in Walton-on-the-Hill, near the Blue Ball pub. The walk is said to be fairly easy apart from one or two hills, but after 10 miles you’ll have certainly worked up an appetite.
From the The Ramblers’ Rest in Coulsdon you’ll get easy access to Banstead Woods which has plenty of well marked parths. Park at the pub and take a romp up the hill behind the pub into the woods, or park at the Holly Lane car park near Chipstead. Read my review of The Ramblers’ Rest.
There are gazillions more, so if these ones don’t hit, take a look at my Eating Out maps and plot your eating via destination.