Tuesday, November 25

My Mum’s Favourite Pub

Earlier this year my 82-year-old mother, Peggy, took us for lunch at her favourite country pub. The place is called The Bush Inn and I suspect it’s the most perfect pub in Hampshire, and possibly the whole of Southern England. Dating from the 17th Century The Bush is a charming, lived-in sort of place with a compact bar, quirky little nooks and crannies and a shady beer garden. Dogs and children are welcome. More importantly it serves Henry’s IPA, one of my favourite English beers. We walked along the tow path next to the River Itchen before lunch. The water meadows looked ethereal, with impossibly white swans floating serenely across the glass-like water. By the time we got back, the dining room was bustling with locals and tourists alike – we bumped into a group of Aussies who’d motored up from Southampton to have lunch here. It was a wise choice. The kitchen serves pub classics like honey-roasted gammon ham, rump of Hampshire beef and free-range pork and leek sausages. Prices are reasonable, the service cheerful and, dear lord, I want to be back there now. So next time you’re travelling in England, take my advice and make a small detour to the village of Ovington – just a 20-minute drive from the cathedral city of Winchester. The pub serves lunch and dinner seven days a week. The bar rarely closes. We visited on a glorious sunny day in late June, but The Bush Inn is delightful at any time of the year. Any chance of squeezing me in for Christmas lunch? www.thebushinn.co.uk/home

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