If you prefer a quieter pace on the Underground, then Roding Valley is the spot for you. It currently ranks as the least used station on the entire network, with just 260,000 passenger journeys recorded in 2014. Wikipedia states this is due to its ‘very small catchment area’ – that is also true and I think being at the furthermost edge of the loop makes other nearby stations with quicker journey times into Central London far more appealing.
Like its two immediate neighbours on the Hainault loop, it joined the Central Line on 21st November 1948 having first opened as a rail station in 1903. The platform shelters and ticket office seem to date from this immediate post war period as there were few buildings here during its previous life as a rail station. The footbridge linking the platforms looks to predate those structures though.
The Pub: Monkhams, Buckhurst Way, IG9 6HY
It’s a short hop from the tube to the pub. Exit via the London bound platforms and head east along Station Parade and after a couple minutes, Monkhams will come glowing into view.
It’s part of the ‘Hungry Horse’ chain, a collection of family friendly pubs . Its a big place and has a sizeable ‘family area’ This has one of those toy machines which seem to be a staple in this genre of pub. It has a sports licence and as well as having a few big TVs, you can even enjoy the action at your table thanks to TV screens in some of the seating booths towards the back of the pub – the first time I’ve seen something like this on my travels. The Monkhams also has some outside seating at the front of the pub.
The games area is on the other side of the bar has both pool tables and a dart board. There was also a quiz machine here which we even managed to win a few quid on. A signed photo of Aaron Lennon on England duty appeared to be looking on approvingly as we did so. Overall there was a real mix to the pictures on the wall – shots of Winston Churchill were vying for attention alongside pictures of iMacs(don’t they seem a long time ago now?!) and a Bloc Party logo.
Ale wise, there were three available on tap – Ruddles County, Abbott and Greene King IPA. The food is pretty cheap and included some dubiously named dishes like ‘Oceans a plenty’ seafood platter and the ‘Megasaurus’ 20oz steak. If you’re lucky enough to be a golden oldie(i.e: over 60), you get two courses for £4.49. Another Hungry Horse specialty is their horseshoe of onion rings – akin to their logo – 21 in total I believe! On our Wednesday evening visit, it was fairly busy – as it was getting later in the evening the family area was much quieter than the more conventional bar area.
I liked The Monkhams for some reason – it still had a decent pub atmosphere in a way some of the other ‘family friendly’ places I’ve visited haven’t. If you are one of the relatively few people who ever get off at Roding Valley, coming here for a pint isn’t a bad option at all.