Loughton first opened on the Central Line on 21st November 1948. Rail services started here nearly 100 years before that when the Eastern Counties Railway station opened their station here in 1856, albeit on a slightly different site.
The station building here is particularly striking, opening in 1940 in anticipation of the transfer of this route on the Underground. The ticket office, designed by John Murray Easton, is a tall box with a big arched window at its centre. The heritage plaque at the station pointed out the similarity to the facade at Kings Cross Station. The curved art deco platform shelters are also impressive. It was Grade II listed in 1994.
The Pub: The Victoria Tavern, 165 Smarts Lane, IG10 4BP
It’s just over a 10minute walk to the pub through the leafy environs of Loughton, now past the Greater London boundary. Head out onto Old Station Road until reaching a roundabout, turning north onto the High Street. Shortly after this turn left onto High Beech Road where you’ll find the pub at the junction with Smarts Lane.
The Victoria Tavern is a cosy, traditional pub with a low, wood beamed ceiling. There are lots of nice decorative touches here including a collection of beer bottles on the far wall and a little metal sign above the bar reading ‘In God We Trust, Others Pay Cash.’ There is also a bust of Queen Victoria herself, in keeping with the name, and much like the one that Peggy Mitchell used to have in Eastenders. It was very busy on our weekend afternoon visit with lots of people here having their Sunday roast as well as those who’d just enjoyed a country walk and a fair few dogs too!
The beer selection here was top rate – a fine selection of solid ales in the shape of Doombar and fellow Sharp’s beer Atlantic, Wherry from Woodfordes, Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Adnams Southwold Bitter. The food menu was written up on a chalk board with classic dishes like steak and ale pie and scampi and chips. It wasn’t all old school options as there was also a grilled halloumi burger. The Victoria prides itself on not having any TVs or having any music playing in the background -it’s nice to see a pub keeping it traditional in that way. It also has a decent sized garden with a covered seating area for smokers.
I was very taken with The Victoria Tavern. It’s a good country pub with a very welcoming atmosphere. Highly recommended if you find yourself in these parts!