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!