IT’S the mouth-watering carvery that is helping a picturesque Hampshire pub to carve out a reputation for fine food.

Diners in the New Forest area are making a beeline for the Walhampton Arms near Lymington to sample the delicious range of meats on offer in the former Victorian dairy.

The pub is run by husband and wife team Andy and Natasha Edwards, who took over two-and-a-half years ago.

They have seen the popular watering hole go from strength to strength after undergoing a raft of improvements, including a new carvery area installed in a £20,000 upgrade.

Natasha, 44, said: “The business is going brilliantly. The past year has been fantastic and trade is continuing to go up.

“I think a lot of it’s down to the quality of service customers receive. There’s a very high standard of service in South Africa, where I come from, and we’ve tried to instil that in our staff. People say the service here is outstanding.

“Another factor is the consistently high quality of the food.”

Key members of staff include assistant manager Caroline Robinson and the head chef Andy Clarke, who has worked in the building for 25 years.

Natasha said: “We get a lot of elderly people who like coming here time and again. Caroline really looks after them.”

The Walhampton Arms, pictured below, was originally Home Farm, part of the Walhampton Estate.

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Perched on a hill overlooking the centre of Lymington, the pub is near a monument built to honour one of Britain’s greatest naval heroes.

Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale, who lived nearby, rose to become Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.

He also captured or destroyed 20 enemy vessels during his career as well as helping to defeat a mutiny.

Campaigners are restoring the 173-year-old monument as well as improving a neighbouring section of the famous Solent Way footpath.

Natasha said: “Our customers are locals for most of the year but it tends to get very touristy between May and September. Sometimes we get a whole campsite in here on a Monday night.”

The pub, which boasts a patio garden and a large car park, stages a popular music quiz on the first Friday of every month.

Other attractions include regular appearances by pianist Cornel Oprea who used to entertain passengers on the world’s most famous train, the Orient Express.