Stag on the River
This relaxed country inn near Godalming has seven charming rooms for an appealing 30 second stagger to bed after dinner. Shall we?
The drive to this charming country pub is almost as good as the pub itself. It’s a bit of a hidden gem tucked away down pretty country lanes and across a medieval bridge spanning the River Wey in the quaint village of Lower Eashing. It’s a pretty red-brick 18-century riverside pub with a gorgeous garden and terrace overlooking the Wey.
Owners, Red Mist describe the Stag as country chic – and that sums it up pretty nicely. It’s a pub full of character, with timber beams, flagstone floors and mismatched tables and chair in a mix of plaid and vintage leather upholstery.
Inside the front door, there’s a small reception area to your right for those booking into one of the pub’s seven bedrooms, but to get to the main dining rooms you go left via a small quirky bar area.
I don’t know if it’s the river lazily meandering past or maybe that I went on a Friday afternoon but there’s a distinct relaxed and informal vibe about the place. We took Muddy paws, and she fit in perfectly – and was also made to to feel very welcome with her own bowl of water and healthy dog treats.
SCOFF & QUAFF
The emphasis is on quality locally sourced food: English cheeses, meat from local farmers, bread baked in Haslemere, salads from Secretts of Milford, ice cream and coffee from Hampshire, plus there are Silent Pool and Mews gins, Hogs Back ales and the company’s own brew, Red Mist.
It being a lazy Friday afternoon, Mr Muds and I decided to meander into this lunch with a sharing mezze platter for two, while the dog snoozed at our feet.
If you were after a light bite, you could stop right there. But did we do that? Of course we didn’t. I snapped the elastic waistband on my trousers and moved right on to mains.
Credit to the Mister though, he did at least go for a salad – the hot smoked peppered mackerel salad – while I went for the pan fried fillet of sea bass. Both meals were well presented and delicious.
And we might have left it there, but really, what’s a lazy Friday afternoon lunch if you don’t have a pud. And besides, the pooch was still napping, it’d be rude to wake her!
It was a cup of that fine Mozzo coffee roasted in Hampshire for him, a mint tea for me and a warm chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and crushed amaretti biscuits to share. That brownie was heaven on a plate.
You’d have no qualms about children being in this pub because it’s super-friendly and laid back, and of course there’s the outside picnic area too if the decibels are starting to rise inside. There’s a menu for ‘little stags’ with most things around the £5-£6 mark.
OUT & ABOUT
You’re pretty well situated here for plenty of nearby attractions. The gorgeous gardens of the National Trust’s Winkworth Arboretum are not far, or for a spot of culture head to the Watts Gallery and Artists’ Village a little further up the A3 in the pretty village of Compton. Godalming is only a few miles away, and it’s a lovely town for a wander around. But you’ll have to tear yourself away for this lovely riverside setting first.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: A lovely lunch spot with friends/family, whatever the weather. Ideal for a beer and snack over summer, and the perfect place to cosy up during the winter months.
Not for: Those after a place with urban appeal. This pub’s roots are firmly in the country – albeit with a very stylish rustic vibe.
The damage: Starters are from £5.75 up to £16.95 for a sharing antipasti board for two. Mains are from £12.95 for classic fish and chips up to £24 for an 8oz sirloin steak. All the bits on the side are £3.25. Homemade pudding are around £7.
The Stag on the River, Lower Eashing Lane, Eashing, GU7 2QG stagontherivereashing.co.uk