William IV

William IVWilliam IV
William IVWilliam IV

Little London (OS066467)
Albury Heath, England, GU5 9DG
United Kingdom

+44 (0)1483 202685 | map

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TheLongBeachBum from California

4.59/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

There are few moments in my life that I wish to freeze in perpetuity; but even after the earlier experience of the wonderfully atmospheric Compasses Pub in Gomshall set in its tranquil country setting, followed by sitting outside The White Horse and absorbing the ancient architectural wonders of the gorgeous ancient Saxon village of Shere, it would seem very difficult to espouse anything better. But the third stop of the days Country Pub Ramble with my good mate BA RichLightWeight had me doing just that. The “William IV” is the archetypal classic 16th Century English Country Inn surrounded on all sides by acres of expansive fields and rolling hills.

The walk from the White Horse in Shere, up and down Dale, across fields, through wooded areas and across the North Downs, eventually had us arrive at a roadside clearing which had a small triangular grassed intersection. Here a single signpost was bedecked with many arrowed signs pointing to such romantic places as Farley Green, Shere, Aldbury, Shamley Green and Peaslake to name but a few. However, the only sign worthy of our real attention was the unassuming black on white street sign which had the words “Little London”, and whilst it had no directional indications we knew that this was the road to follow.

There are no footpaths, pavements or sidewalks; the rambler has to walk down Little London lane on the road surface, occasionally taking care to avoid various forms of passing motorized transport. The wooded areas either side of Little London lane slowly clear and peel away, leaving only a high bramble hedge to your left. Walking downhill the road sweeps ever so gently to the right and the William IV slowly reveals itself, this really bestows an incredible sense of discovery as you happen upon this secluded gem, with its fenced off grassy outside drinking area entrancing the fine double gable frontage. Hidden in expansive countryside it would be easy to drive past here and miss its charm, but a sedate paced walk lends the discovery a special slow motion fascination that has you slow down to a complete stop right outside, just so that you a take a look at this wonderful gem with a static stance and take it all in.

A tall swinging sign hangs high in a full frame, the colorful Royal Coat of Arms that was in effect at the time of the short reign of William IV (1830-1837) barely moved in the gaze of the warm low setting Sun on the first day of Winter in 2006.

The exterior has a light cream painted outside that also had some feint pink looks to it at times. A small stone flagged frontage sits to the left of the gateway entrance set into the fence that surrounds a grassed frontal drinking area; there are several picnic tables here. Inside, a roaring real fire, fed by one large piece of tree trunk, blazed away inside the large stone fireplace to our left. Dogs are allowed in this part of pub and add yet more country atmosphere but the usual pub restrictions apply to children, nice! Stone flagged floors worn by decades of drinkers add a solid feel. To the right, a raised area had a more traditional furnished seating area suitable for eating. The small but perfectly formed dark wooden bar faces the entrance, affording a cordial “welcome nod” from the bar staff if they catch your eye when you enter.

Service was friendly with a brevity that befits the level of business and need to keep the thirsty locals watered. Up to Five real ales are on offer from two scattered clumps of Beer Engines, and except for the Flowers IPA, they are all local brews including; Hogs Back TEA, Surrey Hills Ranmore and Shere Drop with a seasonal brew from the Surrey Hills Brewery often on sale too.

Food Menu is well known and highly regarded, though I didn’t eat here. Lunch is served 12pm till 2pm Monday to Sunday with a Supper 7pm till 9pm Monday to Saturday. Lots of Home cooking which relies heavily on fresh ingredients and locally supplied produce when the chance affords. It certainly looked good as I watched the fare presented to those eating who eating al fresco.

Sat outside the William IV, in the warm and dying throngs of the English Summer, with a fine quality Pint of the locally produced Ranmore Ale in hand, listening only to the babble of fellow walkers and locals, occasionally punctuated with the sound of singing birds and rustling trees often merrily slashed by the throaty tones of many passing Classic English Sports Cars and Motorbikes that were all older than me, was just incredible - and getting to share this with my great friend BA RichLightWeight, was simply Nirvana.

A short one pint visit, sadly, but undoubtedly a long fond memory, and one that will most certainly go to the grave with this old fart. It really just does not get any better than this.

HIGHLY Recommended. ....and walk here, don't drive, if you can.

Last Visit: Sunday 29th October, 2006.

Nov 09, 2006
William IV in Albury Heath, GB2, United Kingdom
Place rating: 4.59 out of 5 with 1 ratings