A pretty pub in a village no one can ever pronounce.

Located in Surrey, The Spring Tavern is situated in the heart of a teeny, tiny village named in the Doomsday book as Etwelle.

Derived from Old English, it means ‘spring’ and today, it’s more commonly known as Ewell and for locals, it’s well known as the place that no one can ever pronounce.

While the correct pronunciation is ‘yuwl’ or ‘yule’ or ‘you’ll’ – if you don’t know (and I mean, who would?) more often that not it’s incorrectly referred to as E-well (especially on the trains!)

It’s no biggy!

I’m still hesitant at the pronunciation of Hygge (hoo-gah) the cosy Danish-wellness-way-of-living and Mr Husband still struggles with the berry, acai (ah-sigh-ee).

What IS A BIGGY, however, is The Spring Tavern.

After it’s recent makeover, I was invited to have a nosy and couldn’t believe how different it now looks. I was only in there a few months ago for a friends 40th!

I’ve got a real thing about velvet sofas, too (I’m dreaming of a bright orange one for our little renovation project next year) so I found the emerald green velvet decor very strokable and satisfying! (I think the staff thought I was a bit bonkers pawing the upholstery!)

Fair dues though, business only closed for a little over a week to complete this project! Impressive AF!

It’s always lovely to be invited to review an experience, but as a local girl, The Spring Tavern has always been a bit more spesh.

I studied English Literature for my A-levels at a local college just a minute down the road from this pub. It was there that I was taught by the most inspiring lecturer.

To this day, he probably doesn’t even know how inspiring I found his teaching.

The copies of the texts that we studied (which I still proudly own!) have all been annotated to f*ck!

Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, in particular but also Maya Angelou’s ‘I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings’ and also Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’.

However, it was the tragedy by the Bard, of the Prince of Denmark and his internal over thinking and procrastinating that really resonated for me as a 17 year old – and it still does.

Ophelia’s madness (Hamlet’s love interest) can still make me cry. The way she was driven out of her mind, due to unrequited love, rejection and the death of her father is something that still makes me catch my breath.

So, when Dave (in some ways, our lecturer should have had a more literary given name like Hugo or Laurence) told us that the infamous painting by Sir John Everett Millais of ‘Ophelia in the Lake’, (spoiler alert: she died) was painted in the picturesque spring, opposite The Spring Tavern, it’s always become a bit of a poignant place of local interest for me.

‘Ophelia’ by Sir John Everett Millias | Picture: Tate.org

As soon as we parked up at The Spring (as it’s commonly known to locals) I began to wang on to Mr Husband about Millais’ painting; how it’s just the background that he began painting in 1851, how the model who was added in afterwards, spent many months in a bath tub and how the flowers in the painting are of extreme significance.

As  I looked over at him, I saw that all too familiar look in his eyes – he was bored and hungry! FFS!

OK! Here is what we ate…

And our recommendations are…

Starters: Soup of the day (pumpkin) and the duck liver and port parfait comes with a Prosecco compote and ciabatta bread.

Mains: The pork belly (you can add scallops at a small charge) and the steak (rare) were IMPRESSIVE! Great big portions, too. Mr Husband was happy!

Pudding: My fave! Apple crumble and custard – of which I had to ask for more custard as I prefer mine to be DROWNING!

Our reservation was for Friday lunchtime and The Spring Tavern had that well known, welcoming buzz of a country pub.

Together with my flexible freelance hours, Mr Husband’s shift as a firefighter and with both kids in school, lunch dates can sometimes work out better for us.

A familiar mixture of locals were in attendance, in their waterproofs sat chatting in the cozy bar area, a couple of mums & their toddlers too – taking advantage of the open dining space – and extended families catching up over large tables put together and platters of food  – plus there was that extra bit of magic with the Chrissy decs all out. There’s a huge fireplace too but sadly that wasn’t lit when we were there.

Oh and how can I forget – The Spring serves up a stonking espresso martini, too! (I may have tried a few, just to be sure!)


Thank you to all the staff at The Spring Tavern for looking after us during our complimentary visit.

For more info, click here.


  • These days so many humble pubs are beautifully decorated as I’d like my home! This one is no exception FT.
    Your meal looks fantastic too, I mean 5 star restaurant quality right?
    Thanks for the lovely literary lesson mate. Do you remember when Kylie and Nick Cave collaborated and released the video of her as in this painting? Such a beautifully shot homage to Ophelia xx

    • LOVE that video – so beautiful and haunting! Well remembered. Also a friend messaged me this morning to say that the model was Lizzie Siddal, who was Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s mistress and model for several of the pre Raphaelite brotherhood. She got so ill from sitting in that freezing bath that it started her opium addiction which eventually killed her!

      FT xx

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