We have a pint in the posh Bristol pub with real fires, a huge riverside garden and food grown by the locals

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It has the feel of a tucked away country pub even if the M4 is a stone’s throw from the door

‘Expensive’ with ‘zero customer friendliness’ or ‘great value’, ‘cosy’ and ‘wonderful Sunday roasts’ - The White Horse at Hambrook certainly divides opinion if you take any notice of TripAdvisor reviews.

But on the wintry Friday afternoon Bristol World stopped off for a pint, there was nothing but love for this lovely old coaching inn and a warm welcome.

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‘God, I could stay here all evening mate,’ sighed one regular, supping his pint in front of the crackling woodburner.

Having cleared the lunchtime tables, staff were preparing for an equally busy evening - there were 70 booked for dinner already. That's good trade at a time when some pubs are lucky to see tumbleweed pass the door on a January evening.

With woodburners at both ends of the pub, bare wooden floors, leather sofas and armchairs, paintings of dogs and cushions with pictures of pheasants, The White Horse has the sumptuous look and feel of a tucked away country pub even if the M4 is a stone’s throw from the door.

Tall candles jammed into wax-encrusted gin bottles, baskets of posh Pipers crisps and dogs lounging around beneath hunting pictures add to the Cotswolds-meets-Clifton gastropub style.

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Inside The White Horse at HambrookInside The White Horse at Hambrook
Inside The White Horse at Hambrook | mark taylor

This is a place where muddy walking shoes and wet wellies are as welcome as out-of-the-box suede loafers and polished Chelsea boots.

On tap are local ales such as Hambrook Pale (a beautifully kept pint and not too expensive at £4.70) and Butcombe Original. There are three types of Thatchers cider, Guinness, Amstel, Moretti and Cruzcampo.

When it comes to food, most of the produce is locally sourced and generally from within 25 miles. This includes beef from Chequers Farm in Pilning, fruit from Tanners Farm at Frampton Cotterell and free-range eggs from Chestnut Farm in Coalpit Heath.

Vegetables often get dropped off by greenfingered locals - presumably in return for pints. A fair trade indeed.

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The menu isn’t especially cheap but then you get what you pay for when it comes to top notch seasonal produce.

Starters are around £8-£10 and there are warm ciabatta sandwiches with French fries for £12 at lunchtime. Whether it's lunch or dinner, a burger will set you back £16 and a 10oz sirloin steak is £29.

The large garden at The White Horse in Hambrook is a real draw in summerThe large garden at The White Horse in Hambrook is a real draw in summer
The large garden at The White Horse in Hambrook is a real draw in summer | mark taylor

But it’s the large rear garden that’s really the secret weapon at The White Horse. Running down to the Bradley Brook, there is seating on different levels and a 19th-century barn that was once a brewery malt house.

These days, the barn is used for events and weddings - a hugely popular option in summer.

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It might split the vote when it comes to some hard-to-please visitors but nobody could accuse this delightful pub of not catering for all and we already plan to return to try the Sunday roasts. If you want to visit a smart country pub in the city, The White Horse is a racing cert.

The White Horse, Bristol Road, Hambrook, Bristol, BS16 1RY.

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