Chessington North

Chessington North is my penultimate stop on the Chessington branch line. It opened on 28 May 1939 as the route was extended from Tolworth to Chessington South. The station design is very similar, if not identical to the preceding two stations on the branch. Although I have to say I think the curve of the platform shelters is slightly less pronounced here than it was at either Tolworth or Malden Manor.

This is not the right stop for Chessington World of Adventures, as a sign on the platform helpfully informs passengers. That said, it would be more of an adventure getting there from here…

The William Bourne, 273 Moor Lane, KT9 2BQ

The pub is just over 10 minutes walk from the station, heading straight along the main road south. The William Bourne is located near the slightly ominous sounding Bonesgate Open Space which gave the pub its former name.

The William Bourne is a Stonesgate pub, the branding of which is similar to a Wetherspoons and it does have the feel of one. The food is certainly in the ‘spoons pricing range too, with a burger and a drink for £6.25 as well as a two meals for £9.99 offer too, covering options like fish and chips and lasagne. Again, like a ‘spoons, there are different ‘nights’ during the week with themed food discounted, these run every day except Sundays. On Wednesdays for example its ‘Cantina Mexicana’. where you can get a ‘Latin American’ dish(mainly burritos really) and a drink for £5.99. They had three ales on tap on our visit, Deuchars, Doombar and Tribute, so some solid options there.

They have a sports licence – something you wouldn’t get in a Spoons – and the front of the pub was really busy with people watching the 4pm game on Sky Sports. The back area was slightly quieter with families having a Sunday meal out. They also have both a back garden and a small seated area outside the front of the pub. The decor here is fairly generic and inoffensive as you might expect, plus some old photos of the local area on the wall too.

The pub has various events on during the week, including ladies’ darts on a Monday mens pool on a Tuesday and a quiz on Thursdays. I thought only pubs in soap operas had ladies darts nights – a common occurrence in Eastenders back in the day. The pub is actually incredibly close to the border of Greater London, walk a minute further south down Moor Lane and you’re in Epsom and Ewell.

The William Bourne is an alright spot for a drink. It’s nothing special really, as you might expect from a chain, but it would do the job if you were in the area.

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Tolworth

Tolworth station first opened on 29 May 1938. Design wise, it is identical to the previous stop I visited, Malden Manor, with the same art deco architecture throughout. The station briefly served as the terminus of the branch line until its extension to the two Chessington stations almost exactly a year later on 28 May 1939.

Broadway Bar Cafe, 43-51 Tolworth Broadway, KT6 7DW

Tolworth also proved to be barren terrain for pubs. While it may be Zone 5, it still really didn’t feel like London at all here, something further emphasised by the 22-storey 1960s ‘Tolworth Tower’ which dominates the skyline here. Croydon aside, it is rare to see a building this tall in the suburbs. In January 2016, planning permission was granted for four additional towers to go here, so it looks like it will have some high-rise company soon.

The pub we ended up going for, ‘Broadway Bar Cafe’, is part of the low-rise building that is attached to the Tolworth Tower, on Tolworth Broadway a short walk north from the station. It has a curious look from the outside, a design which looks reminiscent of a concrete ’70s carpark.

Inside, the Broadway Bar is a big place. It’s one large open plan room with the bar at the back. The fact it was pretty quiet on our Sunday afternoon visit made it seem even more cavernous. Combined with the bland decor, squirly carpet and stark lighting, it felt like a bar you might encounter in an airport waiting lounge.

The Broadway Bar does food, and cheap food at that. Ham, egg and chips is just £4.95 while sausage & mash is only £5.25. They also do curries which are listed as ‘homemade specials’, a chicken curry complete with rice and poppadom comes in at £7.50. On the beer front I was pleasantly surprised they did three ales, Doombar, Greene King IPA and Bombardier Burning Gold. It will come as no shock that I went for the Doombar, it was an alright pint.

The pub has two pool tables, after all – they’ve got the space for it. They also had a quiz machine but after our recent success at the Earl Beatty, we decided it was best not to try our luck here too. They have a couple of TVs here and have Sky and BT Sports.

The Broadway Bar Cafe fits well with the rather soulless character of the building it is based in. While my pint here was ok, I wouldn’t advocate coming here unless you enjoy soaking up the experience of an airport lounge without having to get your passport out. There are also no other pubs round here, so if you do find yourself gasping for a drink in Tolworth, then you have no alternative but to check in to the Broadway.

(The pub has no website)

 

Malden Manor

Malden Manor is the start of my journey on the short Chessington branch line. The station opened on 29 May 1938, the same day as the line itself.  The station is a simple yet elegant piece of art deco architecture with its slightly curved platform shelters and clear, rectangular ticket hall. The latter could do with a lick of paint though. It was designed by James Robb Scott who was also behind the excellent station building at Surbiton from the same period.

There is also an old permit to travel machine lurking out the front of the station. For the uninitiated, these machines used to be commonplace at stations without ticket machines, allowing passengers to a pay a a small sum(as little as 5p) to get a ‘permit to travel’, allowing them to then purchase a ticket on board their train without fear of being fined. Of course, the flipside to this was that if you didn’t encounter a guard or a staffed station(in the days before barriers were commonplace), you could get yourself a fair distance for a pittance. As the vast majority of stations now have ticket machines, permit to travel machines are few and far between these days. Within Greater London, I doubt the number remaining is in double figures.

Woodies Freehouse, The Sports Ground, Thetford Road, KT3 5DX

Sadly there are no pubs in close proximity to the station. There used to be one at the roundabout just north of it, but this closed several years ago and is now a Coop supermarket. As a result, it is one of the longest walks to a pub that I’ve done for the blog, although am happy to say it is certainly worth it. It’s made longer by virtue of the fact you have to cross the A3 via an underpass that requires a detour. There is a fence in the central reservation so I don’t advocate trying the direct route!

Once you finally reach Woodies on the edge of a sports field, you won’t be disappointed. From the outside it looks like a clubhouse and has an enclosed marquee like area at the front of the pub. This leads to the main pub itself and its spacious interior. My photos don’t really do justice to the decor of Woodies which has bags of character. It has sporting memorabilia hanging from the every free space on the ceiling and plastered across the walls, including FA Cup and Wimbledon Final programmes spanning the decades. A personal highlight for me is a print of ‘The Cricket Match between Sussex and Kent at Brighton’,  from 1849 and showing a game of cricket between those two counties taking place near St.Peter’s Church.

Woodies is a Freehouse but was at once stage run by Youngs, and the breweries signature snap of the Queen Mother pouring a pint is still on the wall. It had six ales on a tap, a mixture of regular faces like London Pride, Youngs Bitter, Broadside and ESB plus a couple less familiar to me in the shape of Horizon Golden Ale and Wellons Tam O’Shanter. It also has a menu of good pub grub at affordable prices – all mains are under a tenner and I had a very tasty burger for £8.95, other options include lasagne for £8.95 and fish and chips for £9.95. As I’ve remarked before, with pub food prices edging ever higher, it is always reassuring to find places where you can still get a decent meal for under a tenner.

The pub was really busy on our Sunday afternoon visit, popular with all ages. At one point I thought we wouldn’t get a table but we found one in the corner by the cricket match picture I referred to. They have a few TVs and were showing the football, having both BT and Sky Sports. Woodies also has pub quizzes every other Monday and open mic nights every other Thursday.

Woodies is a great pub and is a true hidden gem, given its on a quiet road heading towards a sports pitch. It is well worth the schlep to get there – I will certainly be finding a reason to return before too long.

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Motspur Park

Motspur Park station opened on 12 July 1925, over 65 years after the railway first passed through here. It the last stop before the line south splits in two, with services either continuing to Worcester Park and then out of London onto Dorking or Guildford, or alternatively onto Malden Manor and the short Chessington South branch which opened in 1938. This gives six trains an hour into Waterloo, with two on the Chessington South line and then two to Dorking and Guildford respectively.

Motspur Park has a curious layout, the station can only be accessed by a footbridge from either side of the railway line, the two sides of which then join together to reach the island platform here. This is the only London station I’ve come across so far on the blog, or on my travels more generally, which has a layout like this.

The Earl Beatty, 365 West Barnes Lane, KT3 6JF

The Earl Beatty is easily visible from the station and is right by the eastern exit of the footbridge.It is named after the first Earl Beatty, a Royal Navy commander during World War One and then subsequently First Sea Lord. I don’t think this is due to any connection to the local area, although am happy to be corrected on this.

Inside it is a spacious pub which spans three rooms with fairly bland and inoffensive decor, a tone set by the grey paint used on the outside of the pub. There is also a back garden too. It’s run by Greene King so in keeping with their other pubs has the usual range of food offers. This includes the ‘seniors menu’, where anyone lucky to be over 60 can get three courses for £7.99 – they’ve never had it so good! For us young ‘uns, there are a fair few main meals available under a tenner, sausage and mash being only £7.49. Ale wise, the usual lineup of Greene King offerings(Abbott, their IPA and London Gold) was supplemented by Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. As I’m not really a fan of their ales, was very glad to see the Landlord on tap so went for that.

The Earl Beatty also has regular live music and other events. In March, this included both an Elvis Night and a Cockney Night listed on their chalkboard. Sadly neither were taking place when we were here. They have a few TVs which were showing an early kick-off in the Scottish Premier League. It was starting to fill up with people on our Sunday afternoon visit, with a mixture of families out for a meal and people here to watch the football.

Very much saving the best till last, the pub also has a quiz machine. Having a few minutes to kill before our train to Malden Manor, we gave it a go. It was obviously our lucky day as we managed to win £5 on pub quiz and were in turn only a couple of questions away from the £10 jackpot. Anyone who has read any of my reviews where quiz machines have featured will know these kind of victories are a rare occurrence.

The Earl Beatty does the job if you’re looking for somewhere in these parts for a drink. It’s not grim however nor is it particularly interesting.

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Surbiton

Surbiton station stands out as an excellent example of art deco architecture. The building dates from 1937, designed by James Robb Scott and was grade II listed in 1983. With its box-like ticket hall and tall clock tower, it has many similarities with Charles Holden’s London Underground stations of the same period. I think it looks in great condition at the moment, looking very classy in its smart white coat of paint.

The station first opened way back in 1838, at which point it was called Kingston as the initial attempts of the railway company to place a station in Kingston itself was blocked by the Kingston Corporation.  The station was subsequently resited 700 metres west in 1845 renamed Kingston Junction in 1852, Surbiton and Kingston in 1863 and assumed its present name in 1867.  Surbiton is also the only station on South West Trains in Greater London which has services that bypass Clapham Junction. The lucky commuters here have four trains an hour that run direct into Waterloo.

The Antelope, 87 Maple Road, KT6 4AW

If you can tear yourself away from admiring the architecture at the station, The Antelope pub is a short five minute walk away past some grand suburban townhouses which I imagine come with eye-wateringly high price tags. Its on Maple Road which is reached from the station via St.James Road.

Inside, The Antelope is a smart, modern gastropub. The dark colours and ambient lighting gave it a cosy atmosphere when we were here and is a nice contrast to some gastros where the lighting is really bright and stark. There is a small seating area around the bar when you come in, the pub itself stretches back a fair bit with additional seating at a lower level which in turn opens out into their back garden.

A key selling point of the The Antelope is its big selection of beers, ten were available on tap when we visited. It’s an interesting range too, from the ’10 Storey Malt Bomb’ from Alechemy(puntastic!) through to ‘Underworld’, a milk stout and ‘Sun Shower’, an extra pale rye. I went for ‘Dockers Delight’, a bitter which did the job. The food here is primarily burgers and steaks. At £10.50 for a beef burger its better priced than similar pubs I’ve come across recently. If that doesn’t take your fancy, they do also have a selection of ‘smaller plates’ including haddock goujons and cheesy chips with chilli con carne.

The pub has lots of board games as well as plenty of books too. Appropriately for a pub with so many ales on tap, lots of the wall here are covered in beermats, much like the Sussex Arms in Strawberry Hill. It was still fairly busy here even though we got here past 9pm on a cold Tuesday evening, so it certainly seems popular.

I was impressed by The Antelope – it’s a busy, vibrant pub with a strong range of ales. Overall, a perfect trip for ale connoisseurs who also love art deco architecture…

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Berrylands

Much like Strawberry Hill, Berrylands doesn’t live up to its juicy title. The name comes from a combination of words for land on a hill or tumult in Old English and Old Norse. It first opened on 16 October 1933, to coincide with the opening of a new housing estate in the area.

According to Wikipedia, 90% of the station’s cost was financed by the estate’s developers in order to make the housing more attractive to commuters. Interestingly, the station is currently a stop on the proposed Crossrail 2, a line which many have called ‘a housing scheme with a railway thrown in.’ Showing once again how things end up going in circles, the Government is trying to encourage significant contributions from developers to get that project off the ground.

The station building is a non-descript end of ’60s prefab hut. These structures were given the unappealing acronym CLASP, which stood for Consortium of Local Authorities Special Programme. It is the same design as the building which was demolished at Hampton Wick.

The Berrylands, 107 Chiltern Drive, KT5 8LS

The pub is a quick two minute walk south from the station, located on Chiltern Drive. The building has a 1930s look to it, so I imagine it was built at the same time as the housing development which led to the construction of the station.

It’s a big, cavernous pub inside, split into three rooms at slightly different levels. The area at the very front of The Berrylands seemed to be the bar area, where people were watching the football on TV and seemed quite lively. The other two rooms had a more chilled atmosphere and were set out more for people coming here to eat. Each area is decorated in the different way. We were sat in the room at the lower end of the pub which has light coloured walls with various colourful paintings of flowers, still lives and the like.

It had three ales on tap when we dropped in, Youngs Bitter, Old Golden Hen and Trumans Swift. The food here is reasonably priced with a burger for less than a tenner. At that price I couldn’t resist and am happy to confirm that it was very tasty and a good sized portion too. They even throw in a couple of onion rings too.The rest of the menu is decently priced pub grub, with a couple of chillis and cajun chicken thrown in too.

The Berrylands also has a fair sized front patio area with seats, backing onto Chiltern Drive. On the Tuesday evening we visited there were a fair few people here but because the pub is so big, it didn’t really feel too busy. There is a quiz night here on Thursdays and they also have a quiz machine too(will it accept the new £1?!) although it was in amongst the football fans so we didn’t have a go on it as I didn’t want to obstruct anyone’s view of the game!

I enjoyed our visit to The Berrylands. It’s always good to see a suburban pub like this still going strong. Too often on my travels I’ve seen these kind of buildings converted into a Sainsburys Local or Tesco Extra. As Berrylands is only served by two trains an hour, this is perfectly suitated for a quick pint if you find yourself with a near 30min wait for the next train…

 

(The pub has no website)

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)