THIS is one Southampton pub full of surprises.
At first glance, The Duke of Wellington, in Bugle Street, is just a small pub, overflowing with character.
Dating back to the 12th century, the building has maintained all of its beautiful beamed ceilings, wooden pillars and open fires.
And with the bar brimming with the usual selection of draught beers, complemented by a fine selection of real ales including Horizon and Swordfish, it appears a small, yet quaint pub.
But take a moment to explore the place and you realise that this is a deceptively large pub, with plenty more to offer.
Out the back is a dedicated restaurant area, serving the usual pub grub at lunchtimes, including jacket potatoes, sandwiches and chips, with home made specials like pies, faggots and fish dishes on the menu in the evenings.
And it’s all reasonably priced too, with sandwiches starting from £5 and main meals available from £7.95.
Upstairs is where the magic happens, in the kitchen, and there’s also a function room here that seats up to 50 people – another well hidden secret.
Oh, and there’s one more slightly different surprise in store.
When the Daily Echo last visited the pub six months ago, the landlords told us they felt a “ghostly presence” in the pub.
And new licensees, Vic and Lynn Taylor, who have only been at the pub for seven weeks, said they had witnessed their own paranormal activity.
But the couple, who formerly ran the Tramways pub, in Shirley, for 20 years, have already made their own presence felt here too.
The restaurant was previously only available for functions, but this is now open on a daily basis, with tables regularly booked solid for lunches and evening meals.
Vic said he and his wife had wanted this pub “for some time” and that it would be their last before retiring.
Given the start they have made, they look set to bow out of the industry in style.
The Duke of Wellington
36 Bugle Street
023 8033 9222