Red Lion. North Street, Wareham BH20 4AB, England.
A little gem in Wareham
Camping is not a thing I do lightly; >30 years in HM Forces saw to that. My wife and our girls want me to bed under canvas yet they haven’t promised it to be bug free and bullet free, they claim they’re working on it; I remain sceptical.
After an investment of several hundred £ in tents, sleeping bags and the best toilet on the market I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt beginning with the most expensive camping/fishing bed (complete with memory foam). Also, a slight insistence that for the 4 of us we required an 8 person tent. Anyway, I digress………
We pitched the tent on the Saturday afternoon, late. We tried for a space in The Granary in Wareham but none was forthcoming. The New Quay Inn looked appealing from the outside but my wife and girls had sampled the wares recently on a day trip and deemed it not up standards that I would require; both buildings are adjacent to one another. However, parking was useful at the site of the bridge over the River Frome.
A 2 minute walk into the town, up North St. saw us arrive at a magnificent building The Black Bear, as we entered it resembled, in part, The George and Pilgrim in Glastonbury with the central corridor. However, it soon became apparent this was no George and Pilgrim.
We eventually found the bar complete with a “CASH ONLY” sign; seemingly as the building is being sold in October and was advised “the restaurant is through there and you order at the bar”. The restaurant, which can only be described as a side room had nobody in it. I could understand this if it was a mid-week afternoon but this was a Saturday evening. The bar itself had 3 teenagers watching football. As soon as we were able and akin to a News Of The World reporter, we made our excuses and left.
As it transpired, 100 yards up the road was the Red Lion. A very well presented and bustling hotel and restaurant. Securing one of the many tables was no problem and the staff were wonderful throughout our visit(s). We were extremely pleased to have left the Black Bear and found something decent.
Eager to eat, my eldest chose the Red Lion Burger with Chips and Coleslaw for £6 whilst her sibling chose Sausage and Mash with Gravy and Peas, also £6. My wife opted for the Home Made Steak & Real Ale Pie with Seasonal Vegetables and Chips for £13 whilst I, seemingly the only healthy one selected a salad (£6 for a starter, £11 for a main course) and opted for the Crab and Prawns with a Lemon and Lime Vinaigrette as a main. All food was superbly presented and tasted exceptional, was this just a product of us being tired after putting the tent up?
The next evening we decided that as we only had the one night remaining we wouldn’t risk a bad experience and so returned to the Red Lion. This time the eldest chose the Sausage and Mash with Gravy and Peas (that the youngest had the night before) whilst the youngest chose Seasonal Soup of the Day with Bread, which was Chicken and Vegetable (from the starters as a main for £4.95) and my wife chose the Fish and Chips (hand beer battered fish fillet with chips, minted pea puree and home made tartare sauce) for £10.50. For the second meal running I chose a salad, this time Caesar with Chicken (yes, I know, what other kind is there?) Caesar dressing and Croutons; again, ALL the food and service was superb on both visits.
Our bills for each night including drinks were amazingly good value for money at £42.80 for the Saturday and £56.10 for the Sunday which also included 2 desserts of Decadent Trio: Candyfloss, Caramel and Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Served With Homemade Shortbread for £6 each (shared between the 3 ladies). All in all incredible value, fantastic service and attention and a total pleasure; thank you.
As a consequence of our very positive experience on both nights we shall most definitely be visiting again whilst on day trips with the boat.
Originally posted on TripAdvisor