Hampton

Hampton is the last station on the Shepperton branch line in Greater London as the next stop, Kempton Park, is over the border in Surrey. The station here opened on the same day as the Shepperton branch itself, 1 November 1864.

It is served by two trains an hour Mondays to Saturdays, but only one an hour on Sundays. It is rare to see any London station with a regular weekday service with such an infrequent frequency on a Sunday.

What’s interesting about Hampton station is while a traditional Victorian ticket office and platform canopy exists on one platform, the other has what looks like ’90s era housing forming the platform wall.

Jolly Coopers, 16 High Street, TW12 2SJ

The pub is just under ten minutes walk east from the station, on the High Street just after the end of Station Road. Inside, The Jolly Coopers is a traditional pub, carpeted throughout with wood panelling, curtains and cut glass windows. Its old school boozer credentials are enhanced by the presence of a bar billiards table, as well as trophies above the bar and lots of old tankards on the walls.

There is also a display on the wall with England’s 1966 World Cup Winning side, complete with a newspaper headline ‘England, Champions of the World’.   There was also a picture on the wall showing a number of different ‘Jolly Coopers’ who the name could possibly refer to, Tommy Cooper being the most obvious spot but I think I could also see Henry Cooper in there too. The pub sign also has three figures on, more Coopers I assume but none that I recognised.

There is a decent selection of ales here, with Courage, Summer Lightning, Deuchars, Opening Gambit and Devon Coast. While the pub itself doesn’t do food, there is ‘Squiffy’s Restaurant’ which is located at the back of the building and does a selection of Tapas dishes. but there is a Thai restaurant connected to the back of the pub

The Jolly Coopers is very much a community pub, a point emphasised by a photo on the wall of a guidedog that the regulars here uccessfully raised money for during the ’90s. There was a decent sized crowd here on the Tuesday evening we visited, with a fair few regulars chewing the cud sat around the bar.

The Jolly Coopers is a solid traditional pub. A good place for a pint on this particular outskirt of London, especially if you enjoy a bit of bar billiards.

(The pub has no website)

 

Fulwell

Fulwell station first opened on 1 November 1864. The route into London was initially only via Strawberry Hill, the link to Teddington opened as a freight route in 1894 and for passengers seven years later. These days only a handful of services each day go from here to Strawberry Hill, virtually all services head on to London via Teddington.

It is located very much in the midst of suburban housing and feels fairly well hidden as its off the main road here. There is a small Victorian station building at street level and a nice nice wrought-iron footbridge which links the two platforms.

The Bloated Mallard, 147 High Street, Hampton Hill, TW12 1NJ

There is not much by Fulwell station, so we took a 10minute walk south down Wellington Road to reach The Bloated Mallard. It struck me as a unique name for a pub and its sign outside depicted a very jovial looking duck.

From first glance, it looks like a fairly small place, with a compact area around the bar. However the pub stretches back a fair way, including a dining area in a conservatory-type back room, which in turn opens up onto their large back garden. We sat in the front section, close to the stove fire that was offering warmth on a very chilly evening.

Decor wise, it has a modern feel with light coloured walls and ambient lighting. Rather appropriately given the pub’s name, the small middle room between the bar and the conservatory is decorated with duck themed wallpaper. There was also a copy of a nice old tube map near where we sat, adorned with some white fairy lights. The Bloated Mallard also got top marks from me for its choice of music, they seemed to be playing a compilation of 80s soul, including this classic by Kashif.  They also have live acoustic music at the Mallard on Thursday evenings.It’s also another dog friendly pub, with treats available at the bar.

On the ale front, two were available on our visit – London Pride and Opening Gambit. The food is provided on Thursdays to Sundays by ‘Up In My Grill’, described as street food pioneers. As the name suggests, its mainly steaks really. The prices are alright too, with £10 for a bavette steak, and for what looked like very good meat, There are some sides available, including the ‘House Hash’ for £4.50 – browns I assume! – and onion rings.

Shortly before I started the blog, I visited a pub in Teddington in October 2012 also called The Bloated Mallard after a failed attempt to see ‘Not Going Out’ being filmed in Teddington Studios. This Mallard closed down soon after, so I wonder if its the same team behind it which made the short journey to Fulwell to set up shop again.

The Bloated Mallard was a fine pub, continuing a run of good boozers in these outer fringes of South West London. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth checking out, even just for a flying visit…

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Strawberry Hill

As station names go, Strawberry Hill has fantastic connotations. Sadly there’s no mountain of that British summer fruit here, the name of the area comes from the 18th Century Gothic Revival villa built nearby.

The station here opened on 1 December 1873, coming ten years after the railway through here first arrived. According to Wikipedia, the platform buildings here date from a modernisation of the station in the 1930s. I am a fan of the footbridge linking the platforms, which to me looks older than that so perhaps it survived the rebuild?

It is located on the Kingston Loop line, in the section which links the two T’s – Teddington and Twickenham. Its location towards the outer edge of the loop means there is only 4 mintues difference in journey time depending on which way you take on the loop to get into Waterloo. It’s the Twickenham and Richmond one which just shades it over the Kingston and Wimbledon option. However the slower train leaves first(by one minute) so don’t be fooled. For the uninitiated, it does look a bit strange when the trains on both platforms are going to the same destination but that’s the delight of the South West Trains loop.

The Sussex Arms, 15 Staines Road, TW2 5BG

The pub is just over 10 minutes walk north from the station, just past Twickenham Green. It looked like there were a few decent pubs near and around the green, I think a pub crawl round here could prove to be a fruitful exercise.

The Sussex Arms has only very recently been refurbished at the start of 2017 but has kept a traditional feel to its interior with lots of exposed brickwork and wooden panelling as well as an open fire on the go on our visit. It also has old stained glass windows and a fine collection of vinyl records, much like The Express Tavern in Kew Bridge. We witnessed the turntable in full-flow playing The Beatles Abbey Road LP, the pub also hosts regular acoustic live music sessions. They also have a large back garden too, complete with a boules area. It was absolutely heaving on our Friday night visit with a varied clientele of all ages.

The pub has won a number of awards from CAMRA in the past, with their large collection of ales – they can have up to 15 at any one time –  it’s not hard to see why. When we were here, these included two from nearby Twickenham Brewery – Grandstand and Sundancer as well as Hepworth’s Sussex Ale. A few had some excellent names including the American Amber Fatal Flaw, The King’s Shilling and Comfortably Numb, complete with Pink Floyd-esque pump art. By contrast, I went for the slightly Alan Partridge sounding ‘Heritage Bitter’, lovely stuff. The walls and the ceilings are also covered with hundreds of different beer mats.

The Sussex does do food but as we got here after 930 on a Friday night, they had stopped serving. However there were both signs in the pub and on their website proclaiming their burgers and their famous handmade pies. The burgers are around £10.50, as are other dishes like fish and chips. The famous pie comes in at a pricier £13.95, including chips or mash and gravy. That does seem quite steep for a pie but with fame comes money I guess? I hope its suitably hefty.

I was really impressed by The Sussex. It’s a spacious, traditional pub with an excellent selection of ales and a great atmosphere, as well as a big beer garden. It might be on the edges of London but it is definitely worth a visit!

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Teddington

Teddington station opened on 1 July 1863, the same day as the London and South Western Railway’s Kingston Loop line, leaving the main line at Twickenham. Unlike Hampton Wick, the station immediately preceding it, Teddington has retained its Victorian station building and an old footbridge linking the two platforms. One of the former waiting rooms is now in use as an office for a local mini cab firm, with two brightly illuminated signs to catch your attention.

In 1913, the station was the scene of an arson attack by the suffragettes who destroyed several carriages of a train which had stopped here.

Abercorn Arms, 76-78 Church Road, TW11 8EY

As a sizeable London suburb, Teddington is well served by pubs. So I did some thorough research before travelling here, opting for the Abercorn Arms on Church Road, a ten minute walk from the station. On the side of the pub, they’ve painted ‘Real Ale, Large Garden, Good Food’, which is certainly getting the key selling points out loud and clear.

The Abercorn is divided into two areas which you can only pass between via the back room with its pool table and dart board. We were in the slightly cosier of the two with its traditional red upholstered seating and walls painted in a similar colour scheme. The decor included some old maps of Teddington as well as some aerial photographs of the area. The other area has lighter painted walls so didn’t feel as warm, it also had a couple of TVs with Sky Sports on. It is also carpeted throughout both rooms. True to the sign, they do have a large garden here with plenty of greenery including some yukka trees, illuminated on our evening visit, although it was a really cold night when we visited so it was totally deserted.

It’s a Youngs pub so had two of their ales on tap, Special and the Bitter, as well as one of my favourite beers, Tribute. The food here was very reasonably priced by pub standards these days, with burgers for £8.95 and fish and chips for £9.95. At that price I couldn’t refuse the burger and am happy to say it was good pub grub with proper chunky chips to go with it too. Cheesy chips are also available for a mere £2.95 too. On Thursday evenings they do a beer and burger for only £9.95. There are also midweek offers with two for one on their sharing platters like nachos and calamari.

On the Friday evening we visited, The Abercorn had a decent amount of people in but wasn’t packed. It lists itself as ‘dog friendly’ on its website and there were a few people who had brought their canine companions, although I didn’t see the pub’s own dog(also mentioned on the website)  when we were here sadly. The cosy room we were in was quieter than the brighter area. I think it’s nice when you have the option to switch between two areas depending on your mood.

I really liked The Abercorn Arms. It’s a homely, welcoming pub with well priced food – I thoroughly recommend it if you’re based in Teddington or the surrounding area.I know Youngs have been modernising many of their pubs over the last few years, please don’t touch this one as it’s a great community pub as it is!

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Hampton Wick

Hampton Wick opened on 1 July 1863. The station buildings date from the end of the ’60s, replacing the original Victorian one. It was not an improvement as the platforms now simply have two little drab shelters, one of which has a roof which is going wonky. The replacement ticket office building from the 1960s has gone now(although as you can see from this photo just after it was built, we aren’t missing much) and there is now a small modern shelter at street level, housing the ticket office.

Hampton Wick is located at the edge of Hampton Court Park. One of my earliest memories of going to London actually involved ending up here by mistake on a family trip with my Grandad, after confusion arose while changing at Clapham Junction. We got to Hampton Court in the end, it just involved a walk through the park first. Hampton Court station actually lies outside the Greater London boundary so sadly I won’t be visiting it for the blog.

The Swan, 22 High Street, Hampton Wick, KT1 4DB

The pub is a short three minute walk south from the station, located on the High Street, with a traditional brick and mock tudor frontage exterior.It is said there has been a pub on the site since the 14th Century, the current building dates from 1905.

The Swan is Shepherd Neame pub and had their signature ale on tap, Spitfire, as well as Hog Island, an American IPA. The decor here is fairly neutral, the walls are painted in light colours and it has a very open feel. I’d liked a quote by Ernest Hemingway written on one of the walls – ‘write drunk, edit sober’, which of course bears no relation to how I put this blog together.

The Swan has a full thai menu as part of its ‘Hong Thai’ restaurant. Small plates like satay gai are around £5.50, noodles £7.50, with larger plates varying in price from £10 to £15. Food is available between 5 and 10pm, so wasn’t initially open as we arrived. When they did start serving it all smelt very nice, I must say. The pub was quite quiet when we first arrived but began filling up as the kitchen opened and the Rugby came on.

They had the Six Nations on the TV screens here, as well on a large projector screen too. We were sat near it and ended up accidentally getting on the wick of a man sat near us who complained we were talking too loudly and he wanted to hear the Rugby. I think he may have misunderstood the concept of a pub. There is also live music here with an acoustic jam night on a Tuesday evening and live bands on Saturday nights.

I liked The Swan, it had a chilled out vibe (well bar the one chap sat near us!) and was a nice spot for a pint. A decent pub to visit out in this corner of Zone 6.

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Kingston

Kingston station first opened on 1 July 1863 on the London and South Western Railway branch line from Twickenham. At the time it was called Kingston Town, partly to avoid confusion with nearby Surbiton and Kingston station(now simply called Surbiton). In 1869 separate platforms were added on the South West Main Line, referred to as Kingston High Level.

The two stations were brought together in 1935 and the station was rebuilt, giving us the brick modernist ticket office building which still stands today. The station building has echoes of some of the Charles Holden designs on the Piccadilly Line.

The Fighting Cocks, 56 Old London Road, KT2 6QA

Kingston is a busy outer London suburb, a mixture of pedestrianised streets and old buildings combined with big new shopping centres. Added to that its riverside location and status as a royal borough, it seemed to me a very unlikely place for a rock bar. But that’s exactly what’s here in the shape of The Fighting Cocks.

The pub is located Just down from the station, on the semi-pedestrianised Old London Road. The mixture of white and black as the colour scheme of the exterior combined with a pub sign of a skull with wings leave you under no doubt this is a rock pub. The decor inside continues the theme with some interesting items including a mock up of an electric chair and a mooses head wearing a gasmask! The fan on the ceiling is also shaped like batwings. Lots of the wallspace is covered with gig posters and information on nights and offers at the pub.

There are gigs here most evenings – The Fighting Cocks has a real history of hosting live music, dating back to jazz acts in the 1930s and 40s. They also have regular comedy nights and even find time to fit in quizzes too. The pub also has a pool table as well as a couple of pinball machines. I was very taken with the Street Fighter 2 machine and had a go on it, the soundclips used from the original game brought back happy memories of one of my favourite games growing up. They also had the Six Nations on here too, albeit with the sound off.  It also runs drink promotions during the week including ‘Cheap Ass Tuesdays’, surely the perfect time to buy a round for your friends?

Normally rock bars aren’t great for ales but there were two on tap here, Hophead from Darkstar Brewery and perhaps appropriately, Trooper, the beer devised by the cult rock band Iron Maiden. They don’t do food but they do sell chocolate bars as well as nuts and crisps behind the bar. There is Happy Hour here every day from 5-8pm, with 2-4-1 cocktails as well as 2-4-1 Jagermeisters. You can also get your hands on a ‘Fighting Cocks’ T-Shirt for a mere £10, which may be a better use of your money than Jagermeister.

The Fighting Cocks is a great rock pub – its a unique place with loads of live music and comedy events. It reminded me a bit of a much cleaner version of The Intrepid Fox(mark 2) which used to be by Centrepoint. Its well worth a visit and once again proof that its not all sleepy in suburbia!

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Norbiton

Norbiton station opened on 1 January 1869, having initially been bypassed by the London and South Western Railway when they were laying out their lines to the South West in the 1840s and 50s due to the strong coaching influence that still existed in the area.

It has retained a very pleasant Victorian era station building which was looking resplendent in the winter sun, the effect only slightly diminished by the dull modern platform canopy. By contrast, the other platform has a small, recent construction.

The Willoughby Arms, 47 Willoughby Road, KT2 6LN

It all seemed very nice around Norbiton on the sunny February afternoon we visited, so the 10minute walk from the station to the pub was an enjoyable stroll. The Willoughby Arms is located on the road of the same name.

The Willougby Arms is a traditional, old school pub. It’s carpeted throughout and has an interesting collection of taxidermy adorning the walls. They also have a fine selection of books by ’90s footballers and sporting personalities including Les Ferdinand’s(which I also own!), David Platt, Ian Rush, Ruud Gullit and Mr Grandstand himself, Des Lynam. Continuing on the sporting theme, there was even a golf themed board game called ‘Fore’. There were lots of cards, playing pieces and dice so we decided against playing.

The pub has won plenty of CAMRA awards before in the past and had several ales available on tap. For the first time on the crawl, I spotted Horsham Pale, Bingham’s Vanilla Stout(which I subsequently found out was CAMRA’s best beer of 2016!) Tower Special Pale Ale, Spirit of Kent XXX Pale Ale, Hop Art Golden IPA , in addition to three more familiar offerings in this part of town in the shape of Tower Special Pale Ale and Winter Warmer and Sundance from Twickenham Brewery. As I’m not the greatest fan of pale ales, I was initially stumped and opted for the Spirit of Kent Pale Ale, which I found a refreshing and enjoyable pint with a bit of a n edge to it. Food wise, they have pies and Chicago Town Pizzas if you’re feeling peckish.

There are lots of signed football shirts in The Willoughby and the whole back room of the pub was packed with people watching the Premier League lunchtime kick-off. There is also a pool table in this back area too. The Willoughby also has a back garden complete with a pond with fish in, so it felt more like someones back garden than a pubs. Their website also says they have turtles but sadly I wasn’t able to spot any when I looked over.

I enjoyed my visit to The Willougby Arms. It’s a quirky pub with bags of character. It’s good to see pubs like this with a bit of individuality surviving at a time where many gastropub offerings have an identikit quality to them. If you like traditional pubs, The Willoughby will definitely be for you!

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