Dear Mummy, we were invited to a lovely country pub called Titchfield Mill just outside Fareham in Hampshire to review their menu and soak up the atmosphere. On a dull winter morning we headed into the frosty air and into the unknown. We hadn’t really ventured into this part of Hampshire before so I was eager to know where we were going. As the name suggests, the Titchfield Mill was originally a water-mill, with its origins dating back as far as 1779. Titchfield has had a history of water mills, due to the natural availability of water from the river Meon and the Mill ceased operation in 1939, becoming an inn some years later.
The first thing we saw when we were nearing the Titchfied Mill was the old Tichfield Abbey ruins and we made note to explore them after lunch. We were joined by my Grandparents for a lovely Sunday meal. It was too cold to spend much time outside without my waterproofs so we hurried inside. We could see that there was an outside area, however it was a bit tired looking with lots of dirty ashtrays and some broken tables so wouldn’t have been good for a toddler to explore. Hopefully they will tidy up before the summer hits.
The inside of Titchfield Mill is gorgeous, exposed beams and lovely country pub decor. We loved the fact that the workings of the watermill outside were incased in perspex so you could see them from inside. The bar area was warm and cosy with mismatched chairs and tables and Titchfield Mill had a wonderful quirky feel and a real feast for the eyes even before we sat down.
My folks were really impressed with the selection of ales on pump and the quality of bottle drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. It would make a great pub to spend an evening with friends by the open fires chatting away. Even furry friends are allowed to sit in the bar area, perfect if you are exploring the surrounding areas.
There are loads of little rooms splitting off from the main bar area, these small dinning rooms make the atmosphere really intimate and cozy. The main restaurant areas are downstairs and upstairs above the bar area. We noticed a couple of rooms that would be ideal for larger parties and functions too.
The toilets were upstairs and the whole mill was higgledy-piggledy with lower ceilings in some places, different levels and local historic pictures dotted on the walls, we could have spent the whole afternoon exploring. It really held our interest. Lots of closed and private rooms upstairs would suggest that some staff may live on site. We were some of the first customers through the doors at 12pm which gave us the opportunity to take quieter photos….but trust us the place was heaving when we left shortly after 2.30pm.
We were suitably impressed with Titchfield Mill’s menu and selection of food for little people. The children’s menu included fish dishes, sausages, miniature roasts, chicken and a good selection of puddings. We also liked the children menus which you could draw on and had games and puzzles inside. As you can see from my face I was happy with my choice.
The adults at my table had different dishes ranging from traditional Sunday Roasts which were good portion sizes through to pasta dishes. Grandma particularly liked the soap of the day which was spicy carrot soup and came with fresh rolls. My folks enjoyed their starter sharing platter which was a mix of prawn & lobster cocktail, oven-baked garlic & cheese mushrooms and a duo of pâté with rustic bread.
Grandpa had this wonderful looking chicken and mushroom pasta dish and his only comment that it could had done with more of the amazing sauce!
Everyone wanted to try the deserts, but unfortunately they were sold out of our favourite which was the Melba Mallow Mess, a quirky twist on Eton Mess with crushed meringue, peach slices, raspberries in sauce, rosehip syrup and marshmallow fluff. Such a shame. So we opted for selection of ice cream and Belgian chocolate brownies.
The staff on our visit were kind and accommodating, however they were rushed off their feet. You could tell that one or two were new (or stressed) as they rushed to put plates down on tables, but apart from that the lunch service seem relatively seamless. Afterwards we were filled to the brim and also noticed around us that the restaurant was also busy so we opted to get out in the fresh air and explore. As we mentioned before Titchfield Mill’s outdoor area was a bit of a state, which is a huge shame as a little tidy up and a kids corner (or play area) would have really made the whole experience family friendly.
We walked out of the car park and 3 minutes walk down a country road (be careful as it was a busy little junction) was a garden centre and some abbey ruins just behind.
Titchfield Abbey is an English Heritage site but the gate was open and it was free to walk around. Titchfield Abbey is free for entry, between April and September the abbey is open daily from 10am-5pm. Between October and March it is open from 10am-4pm, daily. It is very derelict, so don’t expect to be going inside and staying dry if it is raining! It is open to the elements and played a leisurely game of hide and seek which I loved while my folks chased after me with full bellies!
Titchfield Abbey was built in the 13th century and the home of a community of canons (who are like monks) who preached in the local community. After the Suppression of the Monasteries, Henry VIII gave the abbey to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, who transformed the buildings into a grand Tudor mansion called Place House. On the death of the 4th Earl of Southampton, Titchfield Abbey passed through several families, until 1781, when most of the building was demolished for building stone. The remains were purchased by the government in the early twentieth century and are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument under the care of English Heritage.
It was a really great place to explore after our lunch and made for a great afternoon. Afterwards we walked back to the car, stopping in at Stewarts Abbey Garden Centre next door to have a cup of tea and see the fishes in the tanks.
We’d definitely recommend both places to anyone visiting Hampshire. It’s great to combine good food with local history and being so close to the M27 is easy to get to. A lovely day out.
Love Bella x