King Rufus, Chandler's Ford

IT has come a long way since the time when a tree was growing through the walls.

And these days it is not just the name that gives the King Rufus pub a regal feeling.

This watering hole, in Winchester Road, Chandler’s Ford, is royally big – from the 280-cover food operation, to the large car park and the sizeable pub garden.

It was almost exactly a year ago that the pub reopened after undergoing a major £400,000 refit. The outdated decor was torn out, fancy fittings installed and the tree that was making its way through the walls was swiftly removed.

Despite having ample bar space, there can be little doubt that this grand establishment is geared up towards eating – on a large scale.

Inside, there is room for 160 while the beer garden has space for a further 120.

The pub gets its name from William the Conqueror’s son who was christened Rufus because of his red hair.

He was killed in an accident while shooting. The history books say that his body was brought through the Chandler’s Ford area during the 12th century en route from Southampton to Winchester Cathedral.

So that is why the inn has its name and the menu is overflowing with a feast fit for a King and a Queen.

On Wednesdays guests can treat themselves to a fish supper for two with wine for £19 while there is also a grill night along similar lines. During the day, five dishes are priced at £6 each, making it popular with businesses and pensioners at lunch.

Families flock in at the weekend to capitalise on the appetising prices while a series of deals are currently on offer to celebrate the first anniversary of its opening.

New landlady Liz Elliott moved up from the West Country to take up the reins at the pub – but she knows Hampshire well having been raised in East Boldre in the New Forest.

She said: “People seem to like the friendliness of the place and the quality of the food.

I have settled in really well and have been made to feel really welcome.”

135 Winchester Road Eastleigh, Hampshire SO53 2DU 023 8025 5165

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