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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

#171 Red Lion Hotel, Atherstone, Warwickshire : 1995 to 2014

Atherstone sits on the Coventry Canal and boasts a pretty, but maddeningly frustrating, flight of locks (they are very slow to fill, but empty quite quickly, thus leading to queues of boats even in not-so-busy times!).

Although our visits to Atherstone are quite sporadic, there are many pubs to choose from, although some have, sadly, disappeared over the last few years!

Our first visit to the Red Lion Hotel was on the evening of Monday 4th September 1995.
On this occasion we'd moored above the locks and the Red Lion was our second port of call for the evening. I don't remember too much about the inside and I suspect we had one pint and moved on!

We visited Atherstone several times in the following years, but didn't go back to the Red Lion until the evening of Tuesday 26th May 2009.
Although the outside appears to be superficially unchanged, there are several subtle alterations - a new hanging sign, flag poles with flags, outside seating and canopy. Also there is a new bench seat and the litter bin has had a makeover - not a great deal of change in 14 years! Inside? Still no recollection!

Finally, we move on to our most recent visit - another evening stop this time on Sunday 5th October 2014.
Again we'd moored part way up the lock flight and the Red Lion wasn't our first port of call. Some more subtle changes in the intervening 5 years - the outside seating has transformed into standing room only and the hotel has added an Italian restaurant to its offerings.

Indeed, it was this latter addition that attracted us there. As it was a Sunday evening we were struggling to find anywhere to eat and an Italian meal sounded like a good option - if only we'd known! The place was quite empty, but the staff were very helpful so we decided to have a meal. It is safe to say that it was the worst Italian meal I've ever had and one of the worst of any cuisine I've had anywhere! I ordered a pasta dish which had a cream sauce (might have been carbonara, but I've blocked the details from my mind!) It had no taste of Italy and apart from the overall complete blandness of it, there was an underlying, slightly rancid taste to it. I regret not sending it back, but the other dishes served to our table were no better!! (If only we'd seen the Trip Advisor reviews!)

Next time we're in Atherstone, we won't be going into the Red Lion Hotel!


  1. That's me in the photo and the food was comically terrible. Not just the worst Italian meal I have ever eaten but problably the worst food I have ever had in a pub or restaurant.

  2. Sounds utterly dire. Over the years I've had a few meals in pubs that gave the impression the cook had never actually encountered the dish in real life.