The Culver Haven Inn is a free house set in the stunning surroundings of Culver Down between neighbouring Sandown and Bembridge. The family run pub has a brilliant variety of drinks including an ever-changing selection of real ale, cider, lager and a great wine list.
As well as a tasty range of pub grub and light dishes in the main menu, they also serve a delicious array of daily specials curated by the head chef.
The Culver Haven’s small team of three chefs, led by head chef Paul McGuire, work hard to make sure your lunch or dinner is enjoyable, satisfying and tasty. Whether you fancy a hearty serving of the best-selling homemade steak and ale pie, made with island beef, or something lighter such as the popular prawn salad; the main menu has a variety of dishes to suit any appetite.
Traditional pub dishes and favourites made with local ingredients can be found under the ‘Main Courses’ section and ‘From the Grill’ includes a local beef and a chicken breast burger, in addition to Isle of Wight beef steaks with an option for a side of homemade sauces to add even more flavour.
Between 12 noon and 2:30pm the pub produces an assortment of sandwiches, freshly made to order, served with a side of French fries and a salad garnish. These include classics like BLT or cheese and pickle, as well as interesting combinations such as grilled halloumi, sun-dried tomato and red pesto, all of which are served in sliced white bloomer, malted brown bread or a crusty white baguette.
Another favourite lunch item, especially amongst walkers, is the homemade soup of the day served with a homemade crusty bread roll. Furthermore, the pub also serve their ‘Soup and Sandwich’ – a combination of the chef’s soup of the day in a nice warm mug, accompanied by one of their ham or cheese sandwiches.
The Culver Haven Inn understands the importance of assuring that individual dietary requirements are met as best as possible, therefore their menu includes an array of meals suitable for those who are gluten-free or vegetarian. A popular gluten-free dish is the haddock fillet in a homemade beer batter, made with gluten-free flour, as well as the pan-fried chicken breast with a garlic sauce.
Head chef Paul puts together a fantastic board of primarily homemade specials everyday with a brilliant variety of choices. With over 15 years of experience, working in kitchens all over the island, Paul has a knack of creating an eclectic range of meals to suit all palettes. Most popular are the fish dishes, which regularly include whole plaice, lemon sole and fresh mackerel fillets.
Past dishes include lamb’s liver and bacon with rich red wine onion gravy, pork belly on top of mashed potato with a homemade mustard sauce and green beans, and a homemade prawn risotto.
Every Sunday the chefs prepare two meat roasts in addition to a vegetarian nut roast, all of which are served with a plethora of trimmings including roast potatoes, stuffing, Yorkshire pudding and fresh vegetables. Booking is definitely advisable on a Sunday, as it tends to be the busiest day of the week.
If you still have room after all that, The Culver Haven Inn have an excellent daily choice of homemade desserts regularly including classics like bread and butter pudding and traditionally made syrup sponge, as well as lighter options like their meringue Eton mess and delicious New Forest ice cream sundaes in the main menu.
Overseen by the landlord Tim, the bar at The Culver Haven is stocked with a wonderful choice of drinks. Tim takes great pride in his cellar and beer store, making sure that all drinks are kept to the best they can possibly be. Being a free house, The Culver Haven Inn is well-known for their constant variety of real ale; their four real ale pumps take centre stage on the bar. Favourites among regulars are the local Goddard’s ales that make appearances frequently on the taps.
As well as these, popular ales include those from Wadworth, including their 6X, Swordfish and Horizon. The Culver Haven is also one of very few to keep Orchard Pig’s Reveler on draft, in addition to lagers and other ciders.
Compiled by Tim, the pub features a substantial wine list with a great choice of reds, whites, rosé and sparkling wines by the glass or bottle. Behind the bar, the shelves are stocked with an assortment of spirits, whiskies and most impressively over twelve different gins. Housed within are the island’s own Mermaid’s Gin at 42% and the HMS Victory Gin at navy strength, 57%.
After you’ve eaten, or perhaps on a slightly chillier day, hot drinks might be more what you’re in need of. The Culver Haven grinds fresh Lavazza coffee beans for freshly made Americanos, lattes, espressos or cappuccinos. They also stock various teas and hot chocolate for a nice winter warmer.
The pub is owned and run by Tim and Kate, the landlord and lady. Living upstairs, the pair are always around with Tim in charge of the bar and the drinks, assuring your pint is poured perfectly. Tim himself had 25 years of experience behind the bar and running a large pub in the centre of the island, before making the leap to owning and running The Culver Haven in 2014.
As well as working behind the bar and meeting and greeting customers, landlady Kate’s role is primarily in the kitchen, working with cold food and putting together her pride and joy – the ploughman’s lunch. Kate works with the chefs to come up with ideas for fantastic desserts, as well as the special ice cream sundaes.
Tim and Kate live on site with their two children, Bella and Joseph, who are frequently keen to help their mum and dad out in the busy periods, and the family’s cockapoo Humphrey – a favourite friendly face among diners and locals.
The pub itself features a main room, a slightly smaller room (both only separated by a small partition) and a conservatory. As with the majority of the site, the windows of the main room look out to 270° views of the surrounding sea, but none more so than the ‘View Room’, a unique alcove housing a table for six which is hexagonal and has windows around the whole area. Whenever you visit, rain or shine, you are guaranteed a staggering view of the sea off of the north-east of the island. As expected, this is the first room to be booked at busy periods, so if this sounds appealing don’t forget to give them a call.
Outside of the main pub building is a quaint patio area leading from the front to the back. Their picnic benches and colourful umbrellas (when it’s not too windy!) fill this space, which overlooks Bembridge, the Yarborough monument, and the surrounding sea; and on a hot summers day there is no nicer place for a refreshing pint.
On occasion the pub hold events. Previously these have included quiz nights, a murder mystery dinner, and a wine tasting evening with a six-course taster meal to accompany each libation. As well as Christmas functions, The Culver Haven have catered for large wedding parties and other large events. Inside the main areas the pub does seat around 60 people, so may be ideal for your next do.
The Culver Haven is very popular with walkers with multiple walking routes leading from Bembridge and Sandown. For more information on these walking routes, please see the links below. Furthermore the pub is extremely dog friendly, with dogs welcome anywhere in the main pub areas. They will even fetch you a bowl of water and dog biscuit for your furry friend.
- The ‘Red’ Route. Distance 0.76 miles. Download map
- The ‘Green’ Route. Distance 0.83 miles. Download map
- The ‘Blue’ Route. Distance 2.74 miles. Download map
- The ‘Mauve’ Route 4 Distance 5.3 miles. Download map
Monday 10.30am to 4pm (For the 6 Weeks of summer holidays it will be to 11pm)
Tuesday Closed (for our sanity)
Wednesday to Sunday 10.30am to 11pm
Food served 12 noon to 2.30pm & 6pm to 9pm