A walk through Hampton Hill

Over the years I have visited some of the pubs along the High Street in Hampton Hill but I have never made a pub crawl of it. Sadly, I am too late for some; several have closed. Back in the middle of September I took the train to Teddington and then a bus, alighting by the crossroads (A313). It was only a few minutes’ walk to my first stop, an establishment called the Beech House. This is a pleasant enough looking building, the lower half white and the upper of light brickwork with arched windows. Although not originally a pub, it has been a bar for some years, going through several name changes, starting with the Stone House and then the Longford, the Refectory, and now the Beech House.

The Beech House

On entering I was duly signed in, all quite painless, and was given a table at the front. The bar has been done out in a modern retro style in brown, black and cream colours. There are various alloy air ducts and pipework across the ceiling. The bar itself runs along the left hand side. The floor that runs alongside the bar is made of small cream tiles, with wooden tiles either side. There is a mixture of seating, high and low, with leather benches along the wood panelled walls, making for pleasant enough surroundings. The area actually extends back to an open kitchen and a dining area. There was only one ale on, Fuller’s London Pride, which, at £4.20, was good, so, under the current circumstances, not a bad start.

I left there and, after a few minutes’ walk along the High Street, I came to what was once the Jenny Lind, a small locals’ pub, sadly now a KFC outlet. Almost opposite is the Bloated Mallard. This is was not its original name.

The former Jenny Lind

High up on the front of this white painted building you can see that it was called the Duke of Clarence. Inside the décor was mostly wood with a central three sided bar and to the rear is a long conservatory that leads to a good size garden, albeit mostly decking.

There was only one pump badged up which, surprisingly, was Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker. I asked the bar person if it was on and although she seemed a bit unsure, she gave the pump a pull and confirmed that it was. I was signed in and I asked for a pint. They were not taking cash and so a card machine was placed in front of me. Meanwhile the bar person was thrashing away with the pump, extracting more froth than beer, so I waited. She told me to pay by card but I retorted that, given that she was having a problem pouring it, I preferred to be certain that I would be getting a full pint before I paid. She insisted that I pay first and I wondered how easy it would be to get a refund.

The Bloated Mallard

I was assured that I would get a pint and was offered a taster. Although it was more froth than beer, it was OK so I paid. After a discussion about how to serve cask beer with another member of staff, I decided to bite my tongue and went out to the garden to await my cloudy Boltmaker. This was one of those classic circumstances where my most expensive ale of the day (£5.20) would be the worst!

Further down the High Street, passing another former pub, the Valiant Knight (now a restaurant), I came to the Star. This is a fair sized cream and dark blue flat roofed building. This pub also featured wooden panelling with a three sided bar. Here I had the choice of three ales, Courage Best, Wainwright and London Pride. I went for the Pride (£4.50) which was good. I decided to enjoy my pint in the garden with its impressive floral display. Overall, I got the impression of a very well run and popular pub.

The Star

Off down the High Street again, I passed the former Rising Sun. I had visited this pub back in 1992 but since then it had become a café although that had now closed as well.

The former Rising Sun

Walking on for about a quarter of a mile or so, crossing over the Longford River which flows into Bushy Park, I passed my fourth closed pub, the Duke’s Head, which is now residential. I remember coming here in March 2003 for a pub of the year presentation so it must have once been a pretty decent place.

The former Duke’s Head

Bearing right but still keeping to the High Street, I reached the Jolly Coopers, which was a Good Beer Guide entry in 2020. I had been to this three storey brick pub recently so I didn’t plan to go in this time. Instead I turned right into Station Road, heading for the Worlds End. I have been to this pub several times over the years and the ale range has
always been good. I remember the landlord saying he ‘liked to keep his locals on their toes, they never knew what to expect’. Once again there was a central three sided bar, painted blue this time. The floor is a mixture of carpet and wood, the colour scheme a dull green and there are benches around the walls. I was slightly disappointed with the beer range: the ubiquitous Doom Bar and London Pride. A sign of the times, perhaps. I went for the Pride (£4.70), which was good.

That was the end of this crawl. From here the 111 bus, which conveniently stops outside, took me to Hampton Court station for my train home, although I did divert to the Mute Swan (Good Beer Guide 2021 – page 281) and had an excellent pint of Surrey Hills Greensand IPA (£4.60) which was a good end to the day.
Clive Taylor
Clive also took the photographs