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“A warm welcome whatever the weather!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak
Hooksway, Chichester, England
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Ranked #108 of 189 Restaurants in Chichester
Cuisines: English
Restaurant details
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“A warm welcome whatever the weather!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

Arrived on a snowy lunchtime in January. Considering the rural location to a very warm greeting.Delightful hosts ready to serve lunch and drinks as required! An honest pub with good value food and a lovely atmosphere. Thank you for a very enjoyable few hours sat by the fire, drinking,eating and plenty of bonhomie! Cheers.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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9 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Chichester, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“Great pub - shame it's closed much of the time”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2013

This is a lovely old pub in a fabulous setting. Inside it has tons of character, and there is a beautiful garden at the front. It sells great ales and the ambiance is very nice. We used to travel here 30 plus years ago for a meal of venison pie (still on the menu) and a proper beer when you had to travel far and wide to track down a glass of real ale. It was always an adventure.

The main problem we've found is that the pub is closed much of the time. For a pub right in the middle of prime walking country this is almost a crime! It is closed all day Monday, it is closed every afternoon including Saturday and Sunday, even in summer, and we have experienced it closed in the evening for a private party. Very annoying when you've cycled 10 miles there and the next nearest pub is miles away! The pub features on The Sunday Times country walks guide and if you are walking the South Downs Way or in the Downs around the area, or following The Sunday Times walk then you had better ensure you get there in time or you will not get served. The walk description mentions (according to my friend who had the details) the 'grumpy' landlord and this is true. He certainly learned everything he knows, from Basil Fawlty.

You know those country pubs that have a cheery sign on the door saying "Muddy boots and wet dogs welcome!"? Well this pub is not like that. A large sign tells you to remove muddy boots. One visit, it was a lovely day and our group arrived tired and ready for a nice beer after a long walk. The main front door was open, and there were people inside. I was leading the group and I started to remove my muddy boots just in the doorway. As I did so a voice boomed out, "Read the door!" I looked up, slightly confused. "Pardon?" I enquired. "Read the door!" the kindly gentleman repeated. I was still no wiser – what was I supposed to be reading? I was taking my boots off! My face still conveyed my confusion so he elucidated: "We're closed!" He was trying to communicate in his inimitable way that I should read the sign which gave their opening times. It was bang on their closing time – indeed maybe we were a minute inside, in other words between last orders and time. Definitely still inside the drinking up time. Another landlord might have said, "You can have a drink...if your quick!"

Still, our party of about 6 walkers were not welcome and so we ceased removing our boots and left, thirsty and warm on this lovely sunny afternoon. (Note to self: bring your own tins of beer on the walk in future!). The fact he is able to stay closed so much of the time and also turn away a party that would have probably spent nearly twenty quid on a round of drinks suggests they are making plenty of money. And I thought pubs were struggling these days! We have met many others who have had similar experiences here. I've seen people trying to get in on a Saturday afternoon, when they assumed they would get a drink there. In an era where most pubs are open all day, it is a shame that the owners of this one are bucking the trend and sticking rigidly to limited opening hours. It is quite crazy that this pub, in the perfect position to supply rest and sustenance to many walkers, cyclists and riders, is more often than not closed when you arrive at its door.

Anyway there you are – a veritable gold mine for some entrepreneur to do the obvious. That is, open at least all day at the weekends. We were walking this area a week ago and the countryside was heaving with walkers. The amount of extra business this would generate would easily offset the costs of opening the extra time.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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