The Blacksmith’s Arms, Isle of Wight

It is so easy to find disappointing pubs on holiday. Usually, the food is bad. Often, the beer is bad too. Pubs on holiday too often are visited by merit of their location or simply because the kids are starving and/or they need the toilet. “Are we going to the pub, mummy? Look, mummy, there’s a pub! STOP MUMMY STOP! There’s a pub RIGHT THERE!”

However, The Blacksmith’s Arms surprised us. We followed a half-broken sign near our holiday park. The second half of the pub’s name was gone, so we only knew we were going to the Black-something. We followed the sign because it said “fresh local seafood”, but we weren’t holding out much hope.

When we arrived, it was a little worrying that nobody seemed to be there, but it was only just 12pm, which is the absolute latest lunchtime our monkeys will stand for. We decided to go for it and found a table in the terraced garden, which had an absolutely breathtaking view over the Solent.

The view was not advertised on the broken sign. But I’m pretty sure I’ve never been to a pub with a better view. I’m also awarding extra marks for providing tables with sun umbrellas, as we are slightly vampirish in our ways and don’t like being in direct sunlight.

Inside the pub, we received a friendly welcome. There was a large specials board and an even larger menu, and a bit of local real ale on tap (and other more girly drinks as well, obvs). I ordered the local dressed crab with salad and new potatoes, Husband got salmon with a prawn sauce, and we ordered sausage & mash for both boys.

The kids ate more food than they’d eaten in days. You don’t get sausages like that in every random pub with a broken sign. Husband loved his salmon and my crab salad was quite good too. My only criticism was that the salad could have used more dressing. There were only a few splats of balsamic vinegar and full-on vinaigrette would have been much nicer. Also, the portions were huge. This can only be a good thing, but worth knowing if you’re planning to order starters or pudding.

After lunch we enjoyed the playground with the kids. It’s not flashy, but there’s enough there that both our children had tantrums upon being asked to leave. It had a basket swing, a normal swing, and a little wooden castle with a tunnel.

I also can’t sign off without mentioning the ladies toilets. They are clean and a very plush changing table resides within a carpeted sitting room containing leather sofas. It’s so nice to be able to change the baby in a public toilet without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.

The Verdict

ShelliconShelliconShelliconShelliconShellicon5 out of 5 shells – best holiday pub ever

 

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