The King Rufus – Eling, Hampshire

A hidden gem of a country public house

(Editor’s note: sadly this pub is now closed and is awaiting new tenants – owners. I am leaving the aricle here because of the amazing artwork that the pub displayed. I hope that whoever takes it over manages to keep som of the art. October 2020)

My friend Andy and I on Friday night decided that we should have an afternoon out away from the confines of Milford-on-Sea and Lymington where we normally hang out. I suggested Eling near Totton on the outskirts of Southampton. I had been there once before on a rainy spring day day to visit the tide mill there. That had been an interesting morning. I had never been to a pub there though. This Saturday was to be a pub visiting day. Andy had been to a couple of pubs there and we ended up at one of them, the King Rufus. We had already driven past it and for some reason decided to go back and try it. From the outside it looked like a small probably Victorian built country pub, no great architecture or particularly noticeable features, pleasantly unassuming, possibly dull. Anyway we tried it. I had no great hopes, just another ale house I was thinking, nevertheless worth a visit because if you don’t try you don’t know.

On entry it seemed quiet, a group of about six people round a large rectangular table and us. All was well. A pleasant lady served us and we settled down to enjoy our drinks. Looking around there were a lot of pictures, pleasant paintings. It dawned on me that they must certainly all be paintings by one hand. It turned out the one hand was that of the lady who had served us; Philippa Gould.

Phillipa told us that she had been a an art teacher at a school and hasn’t stopped painting.

The pub sign

The pub is only open 4 days a week, Thursday through to Sunday. It has regular music events, Husband Ray is a musician. They also have Friday night as a Pizza night using the wood fired pizza oven situated in the comfortable garden (well covered patio). The pizzas are made with Italian strong flour (tipo 00) and have a margharita topping as base upon which one can add extra items such as anchovies and olives (my favourite).

We shall certainly be visiting again. Most probably on a Friday night as we both fans of a well made pizza.

About Richard Stokes

Richard Stokes. Childhood spent in Milford-on-Sea. Now lives in Bridport (recent move). Educated in Art Schools - Winchester, Birmingham and Portsmouth. Worked as art administrator: Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Midland Group, Nottingham; West Midlands Arts, Birmingham; Gateshead Garden Festival; Arts Council; Minories Art Gallery, Colchester; West Midland Arts. Also involved with the former Limpets Restaurant. Keen sailor.
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