I visited this pub with my wife for lunch on a special occasion and was very disappointed with both the service and the food. The salad starter was served without any bread and we had to ask and both main courses were to say the least below average for this type of pub. The tuna steak was dry and tastless and the Cod wrapped in Smoked Salmon was undercooked, tastless and dry. For the price we paid we expected better service and much better quality food. We will not be visiting this pub again.
Since mid-November 2009 the Watership Down has been under new management. It remains owned by Punch Taverns but is now being run by a keen, commited couple who are determined to return the pub to its former glory.My wife and I have visited the Watership Down on a number of occasions over the holiday season and have always been warmly greeted and on the occasions where we have eaten we have enjoyed well cooked, moderately priced "pub grub". There is a good range of real ales given the constraints imposed by being part of a chain and the atmosphere is bright and refreshingly different.I am a local and am delighted to see the Watership restored to its former glory.
So disappointed! Unfortunately I don't get to out anywhere near as often as I'd like to, and so try to go somewhere special when we do. The Watership Down has always been one of my favourites - great beers, good service, excellent home cooked food and reasonable value. So wow what a shock when I visited tonight! - and so much so that I felt compelled to write a review - something I would never normally do. On arrival the bar was deserted (on both sides), after a few minutes we were served drinks by the 'chef', while apparently his partner was on the phone in the kitchens. The greeting was friendly and welcoming after the false start and we were shown to our table with candles burning - nice touch - and which we'd reserved as it always used to be so popular, but tonight the place was nearly empty.
We were left with menu's and after waiting ages realised that perhaps we were supposed to order at the bar. We were and we did. Waited an age for it to arrive and when it did the main dishes (Steak Pie and Toad in the Hole ) were hot and wholesome, but both were served on a bed of frozen peas and limp and bland frozen carrots . I'd expect to get better from a Harvester at a fraction of the price. Decided to brave the desert thinking not much could go wrong with a cheese board - again so disappointing with dry crumbly cheeses (stilton and brie) served with a slightly stale french bread.
The foods not awful and we ate much of it - it's just about on a par with the large pub chains and the quantities were generous enough, but the quality was so far below the standard for which this pub had become famous. I'd like to wish the new owners well, but they'll need to improve the quality fast if they don't want to lose more 'regular' customers - I won't be making the effort to return any time soon, and if this evening was anything to go by it seems that maybe many others have had a similar experience. It is such a shame and loss to see a once previously thriving business almost completely empty of customers at 9:30pm on a Summer's evening, and I only hope The Watership won't become yet one more casualty adding to the statistics of pub closures.
I met my family there from yeovil and me , my husband and 11 month son came from milton keynes.We booked a table for sunday lunch to be told they had no roast on that day!The customer servive was terrible, we were forgotton about so many times!We orderd the chicken to be told they didnt have any, they forgot our drinks twice and the staff seemed like they didnt go to bed the night berfore hand.The pub itself is absolutly gorgeous and set in such beautiful surroundings.If you were to go there it would be for a pint of real ale and packet of crisps only, such a shame as this place could be a thriving village pub.Mrs Naprous
Very disappointing. We booked for a party of 10 for Mothers Day.We paid £10 for the roast which was only one choice (lamb) and thought the childrens portions had arrived first but were shocked to discover they were ours! Plus we have never had a roast served in a soup bowl! The roast consisted of raw carrots, peas, tough lamb and burnt potatoes. Another customer complained to be told by the chef (the landlady) that they were hardly connoseurs. So much for the customer is always right!Childrens playground a health and safety disaster with a mini trampoline on top of the slide and a stool on top as well. All in all avoid this place at all cost. 1 star for the ale.
I have been visiting this pub for nigh on 30 years due to the quality of food and the great variety of real ales on tap . Last year I felt that standards were slipping somewhat and the food menu had become over-complicated and too international. This year the new Landlord has created a cleaner and brighter ambience with a lick of paint ,de-cluttering and a cheery welcome. The menu is centered around locally sourced produce and I find myself making diversions to eatthere at least once a week ! The Landlord's real ale recommendationshave never disappointed and if you're uncertain you always get a taster . Vive le lapin !!
We used to really enjoy the Watership down. Not any more. Due to very poor management (or complete lack of it), which is illustrated by a very high turn-over of staff, visitors to the pub are likely to wait 2 hours for poorly cooked food. On complaining, they may be confronted by a very aggressive Chef who has obviously had little training in customer service, who will likely argue that, "if you're not happy you could have always have left", and "I can't care less what you think and I can say what I like"....Several other customers made similar complaints during our visit.It's a real shame because it used to be a fantastic family pub where we spent many enjoyable afternoons with our children.
I have a handful of abiding passions in my life. My love of music is legendary and sits way ahead on a plane of its own. Beyond that I have a lifelong love of good beer and rabbits. No! Not rabbit and ale stew!! My father enrolled me into CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) as soon as I was old enough, and introduced me to cask ale at a very tender age. By the age of 15 I was an addicted brewer, none of your Boots kits, proper brewing with hops and malt! It takes the hairs of your chest, my beer, I can tell you! Some of you will know I keep rabbits, another passion. This time last year I had 17 of the little (huge actually) blighters, but we had a few demises and as I didn't breed them this year we are down to nine, an altogether more maneagable number! All but one are German Lops and the odd one out is a wild rabbit, aged 4, whom I hand reared from a few days old when she was brought to me by a pupil who had rescued her from a cat- mum nowhere to be found. She was soon far too tame to release! So, what on earth has all of this got to do with a pub? Lots! I am very fortunate to live on the edge of Watership Down, the area made famous by Richard Adams. Five miles up the road in the hamlet of Freefolk is the Watership Down Inn.This is one of my favourite pubs of all time. It combines two of my great loves and makes for a great night out. The Watership Down can be found on the B3400 road in between Basingstoke and Andover in Hampshire, and only a couple of miles out of Whitchurch. The pub is accessed via a small country lane and you can just see it from the road. It is a really lovely looking traditional pub, quite small. It is in a glorious setting, overlooking the river Test, where there are some fine trout to be had, if that is your fancy! The first thing you notice when entering the bar is the Watership Down memorabilia and lots of "rabbity" artefacts. The book and film were based on the are
a and the inn has capitalised on this. As you would expect. At night the place is surrounded by rabbits. For that reason I enjoy sitting in the pub garden. I am lucky that for some reason wild rabbits seem to trust me and often come very close to have a "sniff"! You may be perturbed by that, but I love rabbits so it doesn't bother me. The Watership Down is a freehouse! That always sits well with me. There is a marvellous choice of beers. They regularly have Archers, Speckled Hen, Ringwood and Bateman XB. What I particularly like is the range of guest ales that the landlord serves. Quite recently he had Brakespeare and Shepherd Neames, both favourites of mine. Oh, what am I saying, I have yet to find a "real" ale that I don't like! I must say, the landlord keeps an excellent cellar. Food is served daily and the menu is super. They have a wide variety of foods and vegetarians are well catered for. They do interesting food, but their standard pub fare takes a bit of beating. They make sausage and chips to die for, both meaty and veggie. On average you can pay approximately £5 for a bar meal and the portions are very generous indeed. Everything is fresh and made on the premises. You can buy a meal at lunchtimes from 12.00 - 2.30, or in the evening from 6.00 - 9.00. The bar itself is open every day, including Christmas Day. The opening hours are 11.30 - 3.30 and 6.00 - 11.00. The landlord will allow children in ,if eating, during the day. It used to be a bit cramped, but this has been enormously improved by the addition of a lovely conservatory, which, unusually,is on the front of the building! It is really nice with a tiled floor and fairy lights. It is very atmospheric and gives a lovely view down to the river. It is just right for that romantic night out! What's one of those? Oh, I don't know, can't remember!! My daughter tells me it is very romantic, so I will take her wor
d for it! For families there is a very pleasant beer garden, where if you are quiet you might be visited by bunnies, and there is also a kiddies play area. Just the job if you want a bit of adult conversation. For the teenagers there is a room with a pool table and table football.Children will love to look at all the bits and pieces connected with the book and film. I like the fact that any music played is kept to a reasonable level so that I can hear myself think! I do like to engage in lively political debate and you can hear what people are saying to you. If I want to have my ears blasted away I would go to a concert or a gig. I don't go to the pub for that. For me going to the pub is about good beer and good company and being able to converse in comfort and chew the cud a bit. So, from that point of view this pub is perfect. The Watership Down also organises special evenings with Quiz Night being a popular and regular feature. They also had a Victorian evening once, which was fun. So, here we have a traditional English pub which is a real "local". Most of its clientele are from the surrounding villages. This helps to give it a homely and welcoming atmosphere. It is a really friendly pub. If you are in a travelleable distance and you enjoy good beer I cannot recommend this pub enough. It is well worth a visit. Sadly, I am not allowed beer at the moment for health reasons, so if you go, please have one for me!
Freefolk Priors, WHITCHURCH, RG28 7NJ Tel: 01256 892254 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org You will find the Watership Down Inn on the B3400 between Basingstoke and Whitchurch. It is just up a little lane but it is well signposted! The pub is named after the book 'Watership Down' by Richard Adams. The book is based on the area Watership Down, and you can actually see where the pub is on the map in the front of the book. This is one of the best pubs I've been to, it is a proper old fashioned English pub with a fine selection of ales, including Archers Best, Brakspear bitter, Ringwood and Bateman XB. It is a free house and sometimes has guest ales. They have a wide range of food and the vegetarian menu is particularly good, I would recommend the chips because no-one makes them quite like the Watership Down do!! An average bar meal costs around £5.50, and the portions are generous. food is available at lunchtime from midday to 2:30 and in the vening from 6:00 to 9:30. All major credit cards are accepted. The bar itself is open every day of the year from 11:30 to 3:30, and 6:00 to 11:00 There is now more table space due to a new conservatory which is lovely, with tiled floor, and lit by fairy lights. It has a delightful atmosphere, perfect for a pleasant evening out. It is also great for families as there is a beer garden and childs play area. Kids may be particularly interested in the memorabilia from the book and the film. For the teenagers there are pool tables and table football! For those with a penchant for trivia, there are regular pub quizzes. The Watership Down Inn is in the AA Good Pub Guide. Go along, you will love it!