St. Margarets station first opened in 1876, 28 years after the line passing through here from Richmond to Windsor first came into operation. It has three platforms, although only two are now in use.
Four trains an hour call here in both directions. Technically speaking all eight trains an hour end up at Waterloo, however half of these go round the houses first before heading back towards Central London and actually arrive into Waterloo at a later time than subsequent faster departures from the station. There is a cafe on one of the platforms called ‘Nemos Cafe’ – I wonder if fish is on the menu?
The Ailsa Tavern, 263 St Margarets Road, TW1 1NJ
The pub is just under ten minutes walk from the station. It’s on St Margarets Road so you just have to stick on this road, walking North and passing across the roundabout halfway and continuing to head in the same direction.
The Ailsa Tavern is a Shepherd Neame pub. Despite owning hundreds of pubs, they barely featured at all on my first blog. Given they are based in Kent, they may well start popping up more frequently when I’m on the Southeastern routes much closer to their heartlands. It’s a fairly large, traditional pub with a wood beamed ceiling. As you might expect so close to Twickenham, there is some Rugby memorabilia here including a signed England shirt. More curious decorations here included the rakes just below the ceiling. The Ailsa also has a decent sized beer garden too.
On the ale front, it was four Neame offerings, Master Brew, Bishops Finger, Spitfire and Whitstable Bay. While I am usually a bitter fan, I never been that taken with Spitfire so went for Whitstable Bay instead which proved to be a refreshing pint. Food wise, its mainly pub classics here like Sausage and Mash, Burgers and Pies. I had heard great things about their Pizzas and wanted to give them a try but sadly they were off the menu for the festive season due to the demands of Christmas bookings. I went for a burger instead which was very good value at £8.50, in part thanks to some hearty chunky chips on the side.
There seems to be plenty going on here, with quiz nights on Wednesdays, live music on Fridays as well as open mic nights twice a month. They have a sports licence and a few TVs too, as well as a dart board near the bar. It wasn’t too busy on the Wednesday evening we visited but it wasn’t much after 6 so well before pub quiz territory. The bar staff here were really friendly and helpful too, always a plus.
There are various interesting stories as to the history of the pub, including a former landladies frequenting with a local dignitary and having to use a secret passage from the pub to his house to avoid this cross-class liaison being spotted and causing a storm. There is a nice summary about it all on their website.
The Ailsa Tavern is another excellent South West London pub, continuing a fine run of form in this part of the world. It is definitely worth a visit. I’ll try and find a reason to go back too so I can try the Pizzas!