“ Hurn, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 6AS. Tel:01202 482714 „
I stayed here over xmas and had a really good time. My wife loved the breakfast on the Pullman carriage. The website www.bohpark4free.co.uk was very useful and had info about Hurn Station which is now the Avon Causeway. They also allow dogs. I will be staying again when I go on my next holiday because you get 2 weeks free parking and they are only 1 mile from the airport.
Picking a pub from a symbol on an Ordnance Survey map is always going to be a bit of a gamble. It's even more of a gamble when you've a 3 year old in tow who is hungry and grumpy. That's how we happened upon the Avon Causeway Hotel, however. 3G reception on the phone was non-existent, it was fast approaching 1pm and we had just an OS Explorer map to guide us. Oh yes, and it was a weekday. Thankfully the Avon Causeway was a good find and comes recommended if you find yourself in a similar situation!
Situated in the village of Hurn, near Christchurch, Dorset, it actually looks from the OS map that this pub might be on the main A road. It's not, it's situated just off the road tucked in a valley. Entering the reasonably large car park one is not sure quite what to expect. For starters, although shown as a hostelry on the map this is actually a hotel and bar. There are the obligatory patio tables out front and then what looks like (and actually is) a dining train from the 20s-30s. It's an odd combination.
Entering the bar the impression changes again. Clean lines and funky decor make this look rather like a faceless chain pub/eatery not unlike Table Table or even a decent Weatherspoons. Everything is, however, spotless. On a weekday lunchtime the pub was reasonably empty but the handful of tables that were occupied were made up of customers eating rather than drinking - a good sign. Peeking out back revealed a large patio, garden and basic wooden play equipment for the youngsters. At least we'd be welcomed with the toddler then!
The menu is fairly standard pub fare coupled with a specials board and weekday lunchtimes there's an excellent value set menu with 2 courses for £7 and 3 for £9 (approx). There's also a children's menu which, thankfully, is a little better than the standard fish fingers or sausages.
The children's ham, egg and chips was good value and the portion size easily befitting a small adult rather than a measly offering. The lasagne on the set menu was clearly home-made although I felt the portion size too small (even taking into account the excellent garlic bread that came with). I'd have happily eaten two portions. As part of the set menu I didn't feel too hard done by but I'd have rather had more. The accompanying salad was acceptable but, contrary to the menu, undressed.
Desserts were also acceptable - good English staples and nothing fancy, but tasty nonetheless. Staff were very pleasant and helpful. The toilets were clean and well presented. On Sunday's there's a carvery which is, apparently, recommended.
Lest I've not given the right impression I think that this is clearly a pub which you go to to eat, rather than to drink. There's no drinker's atmosphere here (although there appeared to be some good ales on tap). It's not an atmospheric place, but certainly a good lunch stop off with plenty of room and a welcome for families. The Inn is completely accessible to wheelchairs.
I was rather surprised that there was not more railway stuff around - the site was originally Hurn Station, part of the Bournemouth to Ringwood railway and the dining train that is visible from the car park is now used to host murder mystery dinners. For a site so apparently steeped in history it seems a bit of a shame that the main hostelry is so homogenised and lacking in character.
I can't comment on the hotel element as we didn't stay here but given the standards in the pub I'd be more than happy to give it a go.
For those, unlike us, who like to go prepared:
The Avon Causeway Hotel
This charming Inn has been developed on the site of Hurn Station, which was part of the 1870s Bournemouth to Ringwood railway, and many items of railway memorabilia still remain.