It's the perfect English pub with a Ploughman's Lunch so good it attracts punters from miles around. 

The signature dish is back on the menu for the summer at The King Rufus at Eling Hill, known as 'the pub that gives you a hug'.

Mike and Cat Wallace have been running the friendly pub since 2021. It was sitting empty after closing during the pandemic one day when the couple drove by after a trip to their nearby allotment and fell in love with it. 

Daily Echo: Cat and Mike Wallace behind the bar at The King Rufus

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The 170-year-old pub is going from strength to strength in its latest chapter with an impressive selection of chilled ciders, legendary toasted sandwiches, live music and a fantastic feel. 

But, it's the superb Ploughman's Lunch which are proving the most popular. 

As well as hunks of locally baked bread and butter, you get to choose two main ingredient items from award-winning pork pie, free range Scotch egg, traditionally cured honey roast ham, Wookey Hole cave aged cheddar, 18 month matured vintage Somerset cheddar, Red Leicester, French brie or English vintage stilton. 

Daily Echo: Cat Wallace with some of the famous Ploughman's lunches served at The King Rufus

Ploughman's supremo Cat explained: "We didn't want to be just another generic food pub.

"Whilst doing our research, we visited the award-winning Wonston Arms near Winchester. Matt Todd the owner gave us some great advice, ‘whatever you do, do it narrow and deep’. So the idea of specialising in a signature Summer Ploughman's Lunch was born.

"‘We try to source as much of our ingredients as locally as possible and everything is prepared fresh for each plate of food.

"Its proved really successful and people come back year after year for their favourite lunch."

The Ploughman's Lunch is served every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer, while The King Rufus is also open on Friday nights serving toasties which often sell out. 

Upcoming live music events include singer songwriter Kalo, a classic vinyl takeover by Frantic Records and bluegrass and country group Tannersbrook. 

Daily Echo: The King Rufus

The pub is also available for private hire for up to 50 on Saturday nights. 

It was built around 1850 and was owned by brewer Ashby's of Totton and later Strong's, based in Romsey. 

In the early 1980s, the landlord  was the recently retired local football legend Peter Rodridgues, who captained Saints to their historic 1976 FA Cup victory over Manchester United.