IT'S the aptly named historic pub with a tree literally growing out of it.

The Royal Oak at Downton, Lymington has the forest and the coast on its doorstep and is gaining a reputation for its seafood specials, high end wines and cheese trolley.

The pub has been transformed from an 18th century coaching house into a stunning country pub and restaurant on the edge of the New Forest, but also close to the coast.

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Owner Debbie Lewis told the Daily Echo: "When the Oak Tree appeared is a mystery but it is clearly old. Whether it is a “Royal Oak” we have yet to discover, but it certainly makes people look!"

Fresh home-cooked food is prepared on the premises and ingredients are sourced locally where possible.

The delicious seasonal menus are full of pub classics alongside more elaborate dishes.

Daily Echo:

The daily specials board always has Lymington fish or seafood offerings and people travel from miles around to sample the Sunday roasts.

On the current menu, the most popular dishes are the venison haunch steak, coq au vin and cajun marinated salmon, alongside a great selection of vegetarian and vegan offerings.

The newly-introduced trolley - a selection of amazing cheeses to end the evening with - is going down a storm.

Daily Echo:

Local ales and seasonal beers are on the drinks list alongside an extensive wine list with some unusual but stunning top end wines to try. The menu now has wine pairing suggestions from a sommelier to help you along.

The Royal Oak enjoys a spacious beer garden with secluded areas and comfortable benches spread out on gravel and paved areas. There's also seating underneath the oak tree for locals and visitors who fancy watching the world whizz by.

Plans are afoot to reintroduce quizzes and acoustic music evenings and a special three-course Christmas menu has been launched, priced £27.99.

  • The Royal Oak is our pub of the week. To be featured, click on the link below or email