The Richard Onslow in Cranleigh is more than just a pub; it’s a delightful blend of historic charm and modern comforts. My visit encompassed a delicious meal with seasonal, locally sourced British cuisine and a comfortable stay in their character-filled rooms. Interactions with their staff were engaging; they have a passion for service and quality.
Their commitment to sustainability and community involvement is admirable, making The Richard Onslow a true embodiment of British pub culture and a heartwarming symbol of community spirit.
The Onslow Arms
Stepping into the Onslow Arms in Cranleigh for the first time at 18, I was immediately thrust into a scene that felt more like a dramatic film than a night out in Surrey. Picture this: a traditional English pub steeped in history, where instead of the usual clink of glasses and hum of banter, I was greeted by a sight that was, to put it mildly, unexpected. There they were, a group of grown men, tops discarded, engaged in a rather unconventional display of strength—bench pressing the pool table!
As an onlooker to this spectacle, I remember thinking, “This is it; this is the night I might not make it out alive.” But, as it turned out, this began my long association with The Richard Onslow.
Under the stewardship of the Gasgoine family, it was more than just a pub; it was a cultural landmark. The Gasgoines, with their charismatic presence and keen sense of community, turned the pub into a focal point of life in the village. They weren’t just landlords; they were the heart and soul of a place that buzzed with energy and camaraderie.
Back then, The Onslow Arms had its rough edges, a trait that added to its charm and made it the epitome of the classic British pub in its heyday. Pubs were the cornerstone of social life and, led by the Gasgoines, were no exception. It was where everybody who was anybody in Cranleigh wanted to be seen. From local personalities to the occasional visitor looking for the authentic English pub experience, all paths led to The Onslow Arms.
The atmosphere within its walls was electrifying, a melting pot of laughter, lively banter, boyish charm, and the clinking of glasses. It was where friendships were forged over pints, bonds destined to last a lifetime. I’m still in touch with so many all these years later.
The Gasgoines had a special knack for creating an environment where everyone felt welcome, a skill that made their patrons feel more like family than customers. Thinking back to those days, I’m filled with nostalgia, a longing for the simplicity and pure joy that defined that era. The Gasgoines had this incredible ability to make everyone feel part of something special. Their warmth and hospitality were the glue that held the community together, making The Onslow Arms the beating heart of Cranleigh’s social life.
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The Richard Onslow
Despite my dramatic first encounter, The Richard Onslow ( Name change and rebrand ) has transformed significantly. Gone are the days of impromptu weightlifting competitions. Instead, the pub has garnered acclaim, notably named the Best Sustainable Pub Company at the Publican Awards. This accolade speaks volumes about the transformation and growth of The Richard Onslow. It reflects their commitment to sustainability, ethical practices, and dedication to providing high-quality service and a welcoming atmosphere.
Today, The Richard Onslow stands as a testament to change, resilience, and the ability to adapt while keeping the essence of tradition alive. It’s a place that balances its community legacy with a forward-thinking approach, ensuring that each visit, whether it’s your first or your hundredth, is memorable for all the right reasons.
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A Culinary Journey
Dining at The Richard Onslow is an experience that tantalises the senses and warms the soul. The ambience perfectly balanced rustic charm and contemporary elegance when I entered the dining area. The warm glow of the lights, the soft hum of conversations, and the clinking of cutlery against plates created an inviting and intimate atmosphere.
As I sat to read the menu, I found it was a celebration of British cuisine with a modern twist, promising an adventure in every bite. The chefs at The Richard Onslow take pride in their craft, curating a menu that changes with the seasons, ensuring freshness and variety. Each dish, crafted from locally sourced, ethically produced ingredients, told a story of tradition, creativity, and sustainability.
One of the standout dishes was the wide selection of steaks, a classic British favourite reimagined with a contemporary flair. The beef, sourced from nearby farms, was cooked to perfection, its tender, flavourful meat that melted in my mouth.
Accompanied by chips and salad, each element on the plate complemented the other, creating a harmonious blend of textures and flavours. The commitment to using fresh, local produce was evident in the greens’ vibrancy and the root vegetables’ earthiness, which brought a comforting, home-cooked feel to the dish.
My dining partner had the Calamari. The fish, caught from sustainable sources, was expertly cooked; it was crisp and golden, while the meat remained delicate. Paired with bread, salad and sauces, the dish was a delightful dance of subtle yet complex flavours, showcasing the natural taste of the sea without overpowering it.
Throughout the dining experience, the service at The Richard Onslow was impeccable. The staff, knowledgeable and passionate about their menu, provided recommendations that enhanced the meal. Their attentiveness and warm hospitality added extra enjoyment to the evening.
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The Accommodation Experience
The accommodation, comprising ten uniquely characterful bedrooms, offers a charming retreat into comfort and style. Each room, distinct in its design, echoes the pub’s rich history while providing modern comforts for a memorable stay.
My room was a delightful blend of rustic charm and contemporary elegance. The first thing that struck me was the attention to detail in the decor. The walls, adorned with tasteful artwork, complemented the deep, warm tones of the room. Original features like exposed beams and low doorways added a touch of historical authenticity, transporting me to a bygone era.
Despite these quaint touches, the room was equipped with all the modern amenities one could wish for. A plush, king-sized bed promised a night of restful sleep, and it delivered. The mattress was sumptuously comfortable, with crisp, high-quality linens that felt luxurious against the skin.
The room also featured a flat-screen TV with Freeview, free WiFi, and tea and coffee-making facilities, ensuring all my needs were met. Including eco-friendly toiletries in the en-suite bathroom was a thoughtful touch, aligning with the pub’s commitment to sustainability. The bathroom was a haven of relaxation, with a powerful shower and soft, fluffy towels that added to the indulgence.
One of the most charming aspects of the room was its view. Overlooking the quaint streets of Cranleigh offered a picturesque glimpse of village life, infusing the room with a serene, almost idyllic quality. It was the perfect backdrop to unwind after a day of exploring the local area.
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The Hospitality Experience
My interaction with the staff at The Richard Onslow was a key highlight of my visit, particularly my encounters with General Manager Camilla Baldwin and Head Chef Gavin Chilcott. Camilla, a local through and through, exudes an infectious passion for hospitality. Her knowledge of Cranleigh and its people adds a personal touch to the pub’s management. Seeing her interact with the guests, many of whom she knew by name, spoke volumes about her dedication to creating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
Gavin Chilcott, the mastermind behind the exquisite dishes, is equally passionate about his craft. His commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and creating menus reflecting the best British cuisine is evident in every dish served. What truly stood out was Gavin’s enthusiasm for culinary innovation while respecting traditional methods. His interaction with guests, often seen explaining the inspiration behind his creations, adds a personal touch to the dining experience.
Camilla and Gavin embody the spirit of The Richard Onslow – a deep-rooted love for the local community and a commitment to providing exceptional service. Their teamwork and leadership set the tone for the entire staff, creating an environment where hospitality is a service and a shared experience among friends.
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Sustainable and Social Responsibility
Richard Onslow’s commitment to sustainability and social responsibility is not just a business strategy; it’s a core philosophy that resonates throughout its operations. The pub’s efforts in reducing its environmental footprint are commendable, from sourcing ingredients locally to minimise transportation emissions to implementing eco-friendly practices in its day-to-day operations.
Their involvement in community projects highlights their commitment to social responsibility. Richard Onslow actively participates in local events and initiatives, contributing to the welfare of Cranleigh and its residents. This sense of community engagement extends beyond mere participation, as they often lead and organise events that bring people together for a cause.
One of the most significant achievements of Richard Onslow in sustainable practices is their recognition by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. This accolade highlights their dedication to serving the community and protecting the environment. The pub has set a benchmark in the hospitality industry, proving that business success and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand. Their approach to sustainability serves as an inspiration, showcasing how small changes can make a significant impact.
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Address: 113-117 High St, Cranleigh GU6 8AU
Telephone: 01483 274922