The East End Arms is pub/bar restaurant – place where you can enjoy if you have extra time. This place was bought by ex-member of Dire Straits – John Illsley. He was so worried that someone else would buy and destroy it, so he decided to buy it before something bad would happened.
Here you can find country-traditional charm and style, while its food is one of the best in the New Forest. Upstairs you can find five comfortable double bedrooms, each individually designed, perfect for anyone looking for characterful but inexpensive accommodation in the New Forest.
The pleasingly unassuming white-painted, brick-built pub stands in a quiet backwater between Beaulieu and Lymington, well-placed for exploring both the New Forest, with open heath and woodland all around, and the Solent shore, half a mile away.
Style & Character
When local resident John Illsley bought the East End Arms in the middle of 90’s, he received a letter from the regulars: “Hands off our public bar”. “They wouldn’t even let me repair the hole in the ceiling and when we repainted, it had to be exactly the same colour. Fine by me.” If only all new owners of old pubs were as receptive. Most would have turned the whole ground floor into an open plan restaurant to maximise revenue, but Illsley kept his word and kept the public bar intact.
If you want an attractive dining room and posh food, turn left; if you want a pint in a plain room with open fire in a simple brick grate, a chatty barmaid and plenty of locals, turn right. The recently redecorated dining room has attractive floral patterned linen curtains, two sofas either side of an open fire, wooden tables and weathered oak dining chairs from Oka. On the walls: a collection of black and white photos of well known musicians – a constant talking point amongst diners (few recognise the youthful Neil Young).
Service & Facilities
Danielle Ball makes a popular, practical and hands-on manageress, with a small team of friendly locals to assist. As well as the public bar and the dining room, there is a garden to one side of the pub for outdoor dining and a pavement terrace in front. In this place you will have access to Wi-Fi, Bar, Restourant.
Designed by Steph Illsley, John’s wife, the five bedrooms on the first floor are all that they should be stylish and cosy – with luxurious beds dressed in crisp white linen, fabrics by Mulberry at the windows, TVs, Nespresso machines and Temple Spa products in the bathrooms, each with bath and overhead shower. Bedrooms are also equipped with gun cupboards for visiting shooting parties. Decorating each room are paintings by John Illsley, who is a successful artist as well as musician, and by Canadian artist Mark Karasick.
Food & Drinks
The food has gained an impressive reputation in recent years and now ranks amongst the best in the New Forest. Chef Mark Davison and sous and pastry chef Krystyan Daraszkiewicz have forged a formidable team and the highly popular lunch and dinner menus change daily, though favourites such as rib-eye steak and beer battered haddock remain constants. Other dishes might include honey roast confit duck leg or fillet of stone bass with soya dressing. Wine expert and author of the Knackered Mother’s Wine Club Helen McGinn has created the wine list, which features all the most popular grape varieties, but from unusual and interesting makers. Beers are excellent and a guest beer is always on offer. In the morning, expect a full English for breakfast.
Value for money
Double rooms from £110 rising to £130, including breakfast. One couldn’t expect to pay a penny less. This charming spot has a notably high percentage of returning guests. Free parking and Wi-Fi.