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Perfect pubs for an autumn walk

Grab your wellies and wrap up warm, we're going to make you earn that glass of wine. 

Ahhh, autumn. Is there anything prettier (errr… maybe a white sandy beach in Seychelles, but I digress)?

Red, yellow and brown leaves, crunching under your Hunter wellies, mixed with the sights and smells of the colder months in England.

Here in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight we are particularly blessed with some beautiful scenery to lose an afternoon discovering. From bimbling strolls in the New Forest, to the almost untouched landscape of parts of the Island – you’re never more than a stone’s throw away from nature. Thankfully, the same can be said about pubs (Thank you Blighty!)

We’ve hand-picked some brilliant pubs that are the perfect stop-off point on a pre-winter amble.

The Square Cow, Wickham, nr Fareham

Autumn walk bench leaves fallingPark up near the town centre (there’s free parking if you hunt around), to enjoy a leisurely stroll along the old railway lines of Wickham. You’re not too far from busier areas (the M27 isn’t far away), but the town feels like something from yesteryear with its cobbled square.

When you’ve finished exploring the leafier areas, then make sure to visit Chesapeake Mill, filled with antiques, oddities and unusual items.

Pub-wise? We particularly like The Square Cow pub. The food is great and the building is that kind of higgeldy-piggedly rustic that’s equal parts odd and charming.  Keep an eye out for some of the extra touches are somewhat… quirky (unicorn salt shaker anybody?)

The Bell Inn, Winchester

Bell Inn Winchester Pub AutumnThe very fact that Keats penned a poem called “To Autumn” about this particular trail leads me to believe it’s probably one of the best, if not THE best autumn walk in the entire country. Literature proves it.

Starting out in the main city, head towards St Cross following in the wordsmith’s footsteps. Then, when you’re feeling all inspired and cultural stop in at The Bell Inn for a roaring log fire, a nice glass of wine and to beat your walking partner in a friendly(ish) game of dominos – loser buys the next round.

The Thomas Lord, Meon Valley

Thomas Lord West Meon Cosy Autumn PubTucked away in the Meon Vally you couldn’t feel further from city life if you tried. Leading towards the South Downs National Park, you can take some huge lungful’s of air before stopping at the rather tasty gastropub, The Thomas Lord, nearby.

Situated in West Meon, this pub is the perfect stop on a countryside amble – be it autumn or summer. Fabulous food, snuggly little nooks and simple decor make it the ideal spot to rest your weary feet.

The King & Queen, Hamble-le-Rice

King Queen HambleTake a waterside stroll and ogle at the vessels on show in Hamble-Le-Rice, known the world over as a yachting hotspot. Despite its small size, this village has bags of history and plenty of stunning views to take in. Following your stroll make sure to check out The King & Queen, also affectionally known as “The Rum Pub”.

This award-winning spot is famous for its selection of the sugar-based spirit and has enough quirk and personality contained to make it worth the visit. They also welcome well-behaved pups, so Rover can come along too.

Spice Island, Old Portsmouth

Spice Island Inn Old PortsmouthEven though this is in the city, it’s definitely a fab spot to check out at this time of year. Walking around Old Portsmouth you can see sights such as the roofless Royal Garrison Church, the Hot Walls (units filled with local artists and crafters – well worth checking out) and Ben Ainslie’s Racing HQ.

Following your walk, pop into the Spice Island pub for a warm welcome and brilliant views. If you’re wrapped up enough make sure you sit outside where you can watch all the comings and goings from the port – including some of the Navy’s impressive ships.

The High Corner Inn, nr Ringwood

High Corner Inn New Forest InteriorThis pub is deep, deep, DEEP in the New Forest – we’re talking down-a-gravel-path-off-the-beaten-track but, the hunt is definitely worth it.

As well as countryside to stroll through every which way you look, the pub has a cosy and welcoming vibe and is both child and animal-friendly. In fact, they even have stables for lodging your horse overnight should you get here by four legs rather than your 4×4.

The Barleycorn Inn, Bishops Waltham

Bishop Wlatham Ruins Photo Neil Howard Autumn Walks

Photo: Neil Howard

There’s oodles of nature surrounding the adorable little town of Bishops Waltham, with plenty of opportunities for a bit of an explore. After you check out the ruins of Palace (destroyed by Oliver Cromwell), head towards The Barleycorn Inn, a lovely little ye olde pub.

With oak beams dating back to the 17th-century building, lots of super rustic-quirk AND it also happens to have a rather large collection of gin (50 different types in fact), it’s the ideal spot to refuel after a brisk day out.

The Jolly Farmer, Cliddesden, nr BasingstokeJolly Farmer Pub Basingstoke

If you spot wooden beams and horse brasses, you know you’re in the countryside and The Jolly Farmer in the village of Cliddesden has both of these. This place is a great place to get a no-fuss, traditional British lunch and is surrounded by a protected conservation area filled with rare species of plants and animals to seek out on your walk.

The Spyglass Inn, Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Ventnor Beach Isle of Wight Tourism board autumn walks seaside strollTraditionally, The Spyglass Inn is the spot to visit in the balmy summer. With its seaview from the cliff face and accompanying beach – it’s a great place to listen to the waves lap and watch island life go by. However, this also makes it the ideal spot to stop off on a blustery but exciting autumnal wander along Ventnor beach. Sitting indoors nursing a drink as the waves smash into the rocks below, is easily as enjoyable as its summery equivalent.

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Hampshire & Isle of Wight