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“Masquerading as something its not!”
Review of The White Hart Inn

The White Hart Inn
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The White Hart Inn
Ranked #3 of 3 Wilmington B&B and Inns
Reviewed August 4, 2012

Arrived at 8.20 on a Sunday eve, after a making an awkward point of looking at the clock for too long the frosty abrupt bar lady (landlady I assumed) agreed we could buy food! For a moment I wondered if it was her doing us a favour rather than us as patrons in a struggling industry - they were hardly busy. From the nearby background a scruffy fed up looking young woman (landlady's daughter I would guess) gave the landlady a verbal list of what was unavailable on the menu, this was then unapologetically relayed to us (no need - we clearly heard the grumbling kitchen staff member who was desperate to be somewhere else). We ordered nachos to start, this was £6.95 and consisted of tortilla chips scantilly covered with half handful of melted cheese and a tiny ramikin of 'long life' bland tasting salsa. It wasn't listed on the menu but no sign of soured cream or jalapenos which would have made this uninspired unimaginitive dish half acceptable. 25 minutes later our mains arrived, ham eggs and chips - ham was rubbery, slimy and shiny, cut a long time ago, it is not too much to ask for fresh cut ham. Only 1 of the three mustards I asked for hadn't 'run out'. The other main was 'pie of the day' - steak in gravy (ok) in a dish with a lid of badly made over cooked pastry which would have broken your toe if dropped. Veg was roasted new pots (ok) and a few overcooked beetroot with scrawny carrots which had seen better days (a few times). Then the Foster's 'ran out'. Before our mains were finished the lights had been turned off in what looked like the dining area of the pub, everyone had gone and we were left feeling rather alone and unwelcome. We had a constant distraction though, a stereo speaker above our table which was in a poor state of repair but still managing to produce audible crackling and creepy outdated claustrophobic dreary 'music'. I was not surprised when we were not asked whether we would like desserts, come to mention it we weren't asked anything throughout! I visited the ladies loo and was met with tiles falling off the wall, flaking unfinished paintwork and an offensive 'air freshener' staring you in the face with its inners hanging out like a botched medical procedure. When I returned to the bar area an elderly couple had arrived and bought a drink, they were smartly dressed and well spoken, the kitchen lady was behind the bar talking to them and the landlady in a loud, disturbing, false, over pronounced cringe making gentry accent, when she spoke to us she had clearly not attended a finishing school! The place had hints of a 'contemporary' food pub, spoiled by poor taste and disillusionment. When I felt compelled to write this I had a brief look at the pub's website, it speaks volumes that it is littered with spelling mistakes and poor grammar. The final insult was the bill - £40 (incl 3.5 pints lager), I think the food just about reached the standard of 'average', but certainly did not exceed that, the welcome was curt and unobliging, the atmosphere was such that we were keen to leave! I believe that I have a good grasp of what makes a decent pub, for one I have frequented many and also my family (not including me) run a very successful award winning country pub in West Sussex which is a far cry from The White Hart Inn at Wilmington

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled on business
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1  Thank Zoe J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sam b, Owner at The White Hart Inn, responded to this reviewResponded August 5, 2012

I was stunned and shocked to receive your review, my family and I are working very hard to rebuild the reputation of The White Hart and trying to create a thriving local community pub since we took over in October last year. We have absorbed all your comments and are altering our working practices to be more pleasing.
The web site inaccuracys I will be raising with my website provider. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, as I suffer from dyslexia I struggle with picking out spelling mistakes!
I remember the evening in question and the reason we were slow to offer food, was that we do stop serving food at 8pm on a Sunday night, we are the only pub in the area which serve food at all on a Sunday night!
"The frosty and abrupt landlady" is my mother (64 and semi retired!) who is kindly helping me get the business off the ground, she is dismayed that you found her less than accommodating but is extreamly puzzed how you found her south east estury accent "gentryfied"? She is also extreamly upset at your personal comments towards her "loud, disturbing, false, over pronounced cringe making gentry accent".
I, the landlady in question, am "the scruffy fed up young woman" who was working in the kitchen on the night in question. The reason I was "scruffy" was I had been washing up all day due to staff shortages. I am far from fed up! I am doing an average of 90 hours a week so tired covers it more accuratly! As I am sure your pub running relatives will confirm for you running a pub is not a 9 - 5 job more a lifestyle decision and can be extreamly stressful.
When we took over the pub last year it had been allowed to slip into some disrepair which we are in the process of rectifying, the half painted ladies loo is work in progress and will be finished once we have got to a quieter time. I am sorry that you found an air freshener "offensive".
As I am sure you can appreciate in this current economic climate we are struggling to make ends meet at times and keeping stock levels to a minumum is essential for us. I apologise that we ran out of Fosters part way through your visit but we do have another draft lager and two further lagers in bottles.
We are trying to run the business along ecologically friendly lines hence all the light bulbs being low energy, the window insulation tape on all windows and the expansion filler used to fill in the gaps between the beams. As part of our environment policy we turn lights off in the restaurant and other unused areas when they have been vacated and were in no way an attempt to make you feel uncomfortable. It is unfortunate that you find our eclectic taste in music to be "creepy, outdated, claustrophobic and dreary" it varies from UB40 and Micheal Jackson to The Worzels and Benny Hill!
Now for your comments on the food! My chef is extreamly good at his job and has over 20 years experience in a variety cooking styles from tapas to traditional pub food. We are aiming to be a good pub that serves excellent pub food at a reasonable price. We price check ourselves against all the local competition regularly and are not expepensive by any means.
Just so you are aware, in an attempt to give something back to the community we have recently employed a young apprentice who we are training in conjunction with Exeter College. He has taken a great leap of faith to be willing to be paid so little for a year just for the training we are offering him. The pie was his first attempt and we had many very positive comments from other customers about it.
If you felt a 25 min delay in receiving your food was excessive then I sincerely appologise but we cook all our food fresh to order, we do not pre cook everything as many places do and pride ourselves on using Westcountry products whenever possiable.
Nachos - As you so rightly pointed out soured cream is not in the menu in conjunction with the nachos and therefor is not served with them. We don't stock it as the vast majority of our custom are travellers and not looking for a three course meal. Selling starters is a rareity for us.
Ham, Egg and Chips - The "slimy and shiny ham" is cut to order not cut days before and allowed to dry out. The "slime" in question is the jelly that comes with traditionally cooked ham.
Pie - I am sorry that you felt the suet crust to your pie wasn't up to standard and if you felt you had too few vegetables we would have been more than happy to have given you extra had you mentioned it however we did not want to intrude on your evening. The beetroot and carrots are oven roasted in olive oil and fennel seeds so will have a shrunken appearance and be quite crunchy. Your veiled accusation that we reuse our vegetables was not only extreamly inaccurate but potentially libelous.
Desserts - I apolagise for not offering them, that is our mistake and not one that will be repeated.
I hope that this reply has settled your mind that we are trying our hardest to raise our standards to your level. If you would like to discuss your experience further please email me and am more than happy to continue dialogue. I would also like the name of your family's pub so that I would be able to visit to improve the experience we can offer. I am always willing to learn from more experienced operators.
Kind regards sam.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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73 - 79 of 80 reviews

Reviewed April 1, 2012

My wife & I stayed the weekend in the Marwood-Elton room, the room was very clean & tidy and also beautifully decorated, the bed was like sleeping at home, other than it was a 4 poster bed.

The staff was on hand at all times and was willing to help with any queries, strong local knowledge about trips and places to see.

Breakfast was beautiful and very good selection of food and would highly recommend to anybody who was looking for a stopover or a weekend. We would be looking to visit again in the near future

Many Thanks to the staff for a wonderful stay

Room Tip: The Marwood-Elton room was superb 4 poster bed like staying in a 5 star hotel
See more room tips
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 1, 2012

My wife & I stayed the weekend in the Marwood-Elton room, the room was very clean & tidy and also beautifully decorated, the bed was like sleeping at home, other than it was a 4 poster bed.

The staff was on hand at all times and was willing to help with any queries, strong local knowledge about trips and places to see.

Breakfast was beautiful and very good selection of food and would highly recommend to anybody who was looking for a stopover or a weekend. We would be looking to visit again in the near future

Many Thanks to the staff for a wonderful stay

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Thank John A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 12, 2012

I have never felt so welcome anywhere else before......the accomodation was 1st class, like staying in a 5 star hotel, very clean, tidy, everything i needed and very homely and comfortable, the trip info in the rooms was brilliant and easy to make sense of. The bed was more comfortable than the one i have at home. The staff were fantastic, very happy to help and nothing was to much trouble, The Pub was very inviting and the food was fantastic, homemade and very tasty. Im going back there again this time for longer......Thankyou to Sam and Steve and the staff.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
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Thank tania t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2011

My husband and i stayed here in a lovely comfortable room with a four poster bed which has recently been refurbished by the new owners/management.
The night before we choose the friday special homemade fish n chips and a bottle of wine.
The food was lovely, so much on the menu to choose from, all at reasonable prices.
Nice atmosphere and cosy log fire make it a very homely place to visit
Overall a very enjoyable stay, helpful and pleasant staff.
The new owners are a lovely family and wish them all the best in there new venture.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank helen t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2010

I stopped at this bed and breakfast as I was passing by. I was not asked to fill in a name and address form which I thought was rather odd but the keys were handed over. The room itself was beautifully furnished. On closer inspection though, the bathroom had not been cleaned. The glass was full of used toothpaste, the sink and bath had hair in them, an empty used toilet roll was left on the floor, I had a lovely hospitality tray but no cup and saucer!

I went back to the staff who were lovely. Although the management were there, they stayed in the background and did not apologise. The young girl at the bar went back to the room and cleaned it. However please shine the taps and clean the mirror in future as they were water stained and dull.

The bed was lovely and comfy

At breakfast, the young lad that waited was very pleasant. There were cereals in packets to help yourself to but no milk to have with them. There was no menu, I was just asked if I wanted a full english. I had to query what was in it. The breakfast was cooked well and was tasty but I was not offered any toast

On check out there was no one around at all. I left the key on the bar as I had paid the night before

I left feeling that the management could have done better. It is not enough just having a nicely decorated room

Stayed: October 2010, traveled solo
Thank kerindag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2010

No idea if this place is any good as the only telephone contact number is an O2 mobile which does not get answered as it diverts to the messaging service. Cant they afford a land line? Are they having difficulty paying their bills? If they exclude telephone bookings, they may as well throw the towel in now and save us all wasted time.

Because I could not speak with anyone, I could not book a table for the restaurant. Is this a professional way to run a business?

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with friends
    • Service
Thank RestaurantProfessor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The White Hart Inn

Address: Trafalgar Way, Wilmington, Honiton EX14 9JQ, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Devon > Honiton > Wilmington
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 B&Bs / Inns in Wilmington
Price Range: $98 - $100 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The White Hart Inn is a pet friendly, family run pub. Situated in Wilmington on the A35, this is a great stop off for any traveler, for an over night stay or just a bite to eat. Our menu consists of tasty, popular homemade food. We also offer beer gardens and a kiddies play area. Our accommodation consists of three double en suite letting rooms. Come have a drink and relax in the heart of Devon. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The White Hart Hotel Wilmington

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