The Kings Arms pub in Lymington is certainly one book that cannot be judged by its cover.
Located on the busy St Thomas Street, its 17th century cottage exterior gives the same impression as many other pubs around the New Forest.
But as soon as you step inside, you realise it is anything but.
Small, humble and decorated in a modern and homely fashion, this is a New Forest pub with a difference.
There is no loud music, no pool table and no darts board.
But if you are looking for a family pub that provides genuine, friendly service, pleasant surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere, the Kings Arms provides a very warm welcome.
It hasn’t always been that way though. When landlady Marisol Crouch first took the reins as manager almost three years ago, it was a very different story.
“When I first came it had been closed for about five months because the prior landlord and landlady had ran it into the ground and it had a bad reputation, unbeknownst to us,” she said.
“It had a reputation for drugs and fighting. Police would be in here on a regular basis.
“Since we took over we’ve started with a clean slate, but still no decent customers would come in at first because of its past reputation.
“But through word of mouth we are getting there now and our regular customers feel more like family.”
The phrase may be clichéd, but it is obvious that Marisol really does feel that way towards her punters.
She serves every customer with a smile and makes the effort to talk to every man woman and child that walks through the door.
As she says herself: “I literally know everyone that comes in here by name, and if I don’t know their name when they come in then I certainly do by time they’ve left!”
Her enthusiasm and dedication to the Kings Arms has seen it completely rejuvenated. From its dilapidated interior to its flagging reputation, it has undergone a complete transformation.
It now hosts an increasingly popular jazz session on the third Sunday of every month, with live bands on most Friday nights.
With a good selection of reasonably priced beers and wines, and a growing reputation for its Sunday lunches, this is certainly a pub on the up.
Luke Tugby Kings Arms, St Thomas Street, Lymington. Tel: 01590 672594.