Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
One of Brading’s most famous residents was Little Jane, an eighteenth century villager who featured in the wildly successful religious pamphlet “Annals of the...

One of Brading’s most famous residents was Little Jane, an eighteenth century villager who featured in the wildly successful religious pamphlet “Annals of the Poor”, by the then curate of Brading, the Rev. Legh Richmond. Rather in the manner of a catholic saints’ shrine, the site of Little Jane’s Cottage and her little gravestone in the churchyard became one of the Island’s must-see locations for early tourists.

A typical Dairymans dinner - photo courtesy of transatlantic blogger Mike, see link to his blog, Another Pint Please, below

It must have been a little galling for the town of Brading, therefore, when another character in Rev. Richmond’s tales became even more famous – not someone from Brading, but a resident over the down in Arreton. The colourful life of Elizabeth Wallbridge was featured in another epistle called “The Dairyman’s Daughter“. Like all good religious heroines of her day, Miss Wallbridge dutifully died in dramatic circumstances. She was buried at Arreton where a gravestone can still be seen today, complete with pious and pitiful verse. This grave became an even more popular tourist destination, so much so that Queen Victoria herself reportedly visited it on more than one occasion. By the most ironic of twists, her epithet is now synonymous not with the sober and pious life that Rev. Richmond celebrated – but rather with a local drinking-house.

A regular stop for coach tours in the day time, when it trades as a tearoom (see note below); after hours Arreton Barns is perhaps better appreciated as the home of the Dairyman’s Daughter pub, a splendid drinking and eating parlour, full of character, with good beer, good food and live music most nights. If you are lucky enough to get a seat by the real fire in the winter, or in one of the snug ‘alcove’ seats, you really will be settled in for a splendid evening.

Matt and Cat enjoy a quiet drink down the Dairyman’s now and again, occasionally combining it with the enjoyable quiz night, hosted by the highly entertaining ‘Rodney Stardust’. Despite the fact that it is a tourist Mecca, part of a (local) chain of pubs, and able to cater for several coach loads of old dears at once, the place still feels like a comfortable village pub – no mean achievement. It is a welcoming atmosphere, and if you feel peckish, a bite to eat is also worth the trouble.

Good basic pub fare is available from the comprehensive menu. Steaks, salads, sandwiches, burgers and other favourites are all dished up with enthusiasm, plenty of chips and salad. The kids section is also particularly diverse. The food is fresh, well presented, generous in size and delivered fairly promptly. The place is also set out to cater for a multitude, so even at busy times if you can get a seat, you will probably get served soon enough.

Addendum: Matt and Cat and some friends paid a visit to the Dairyman’s on a Bank Holiday afternoon to try the cream teas. Sitting in the charming courtyard in the shade of an olive tree, they found this pub to be a delightful spot. A cream tea with an extra pot of tea was ordered, and proved to be generous enough for two. As much tea as Matt and Cat could drink combined was supplied, in pots, with milk in a jug, and yes, hot water in another pot. Exactly right. Two large fresh scones made up the cream tea, with a big dollop of clotted cream, not in a little plastic pot but on a china plate. Jam of two types – red and yellow – also occupied a china plate of its own. The actual flavours of the jam were hard to determine as there wasn’t a huge amount of fruit in it; but for the cost (£5) this was not a bad cream tea. The only fly in the ointment was the insistent piped music: indoors, you can just accept it as a price you have to pay, but outdoors? Please, no more.
The Dairyman’s Daughter, Arreton Barns

  • IW Regular says:

    An extremely personable young chap at the bar started what was a very enjoyable experience.

    This is a very busy pub and yet the service was fast and efficient, unlike the quiet Horse and Groom (see separate review).

    I had the Gourmet Burger which was gorgeous and I would recommend it.

  • islander says:

    Just had a lovely meal at the dairymans daughter me and my partner had the bacon cheeseburger which came with chips a pot of relish a side salad with dressing the meal was very generous in size we couldnt finish it and reasonably priced. It was a sunday evening and the place was quite busy, after coming here to eat today i can see why. The atmosphere was great will be returning again

  • Sailor Sam says:

    Yeah Paul… thanks for RAISIN the issue!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    No problem, Lee, I just wondered if the assistant cut the cake in half of her own volition or she had been instructed to. Ah well, c’est la vie as they say in Clacton!!

  • Lee says:

    Hi Paul – thank you for your observation and your point is taken. I must defend myself a little however and say that it was never our intention to mislead and never will be – it seems like an isolated incident and should it have been a constant issue, I can assure you it would have been dealt with accordingly. We do appreciate your feedback as it helps us to improve our ethic and business standards. Ps – if I am lucky enough to meet you in person I would gladly buy you a coffee!


  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Thanks for replying, Lee. I was not disappointed as I did not order any cake but I could see the lady’s point of view. It is not a question of generosity but a matter of trading procedure. If you see an article for sale with a price you do not expect the article to be altered prior to sale. For example, if you go to a grocer and see a pack of butter marked £1.20 you would not expect him to cut it in half after you ordered it. I, personally, have had no issues about the food but the sales procedures need to be addressed to ensure customers have no cause for complaint. With respect to Sailor Sam, stop being childish or I will slap your legs!!

  • Lee says:

    Hi Paul – not sure what to say!How can I defend it. The only disapointment on my part is the way my staff were not helpful in resolving the situation. I am sorry that you felt the portion was not satisfactory for your needs, this is a complaint we rarely get because we normally pride ourselves on our generosity. I can only appologise that you felt misled, this certainly is never our intention.

  • Sailor Sam says:

    Crumbs Paul… do you want to have your cake and eat it?? I think you are CURRENTly taking the biscuit mate.

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Hi Lee, while your on the explanation mode, do you have any comment about my previous post (12/2/12) concerning the case of the disappearing cake?

    Even now, every time Arreton arises in conversation she starts on the cut cake.

  • Lee says:

    Hi Martin, I’m Lee and the General Manager at Arreton Old Village and The Dairyman’s Daughter. I am really sorry that your experience with us was’nt what it should have been. Please, in future, if you choose to dine with us again feel free to ask to see myself or a duty manager so we are aware of your last visit. Complaints can be dealt with properly and efficiently should the customer complain to the right person at the time, and it seems we were not given the chance to rectify the situation, which is a shame. I hope you do give us another chance to put this right.


  • Sailor Sam says:

    Martin, could you not have ordered something from the children’s menu for your daughter? I know the DD’s child menu includes burger dishes. Mind you, the member of staff could of advised you of this. I agree that the staff should not address you in that manor and although it wouldn’t bother me, if you found it ‘dis-tasteful’, you could of mentioned it to the manager. Personally I have eaten quite a few times with my children at the DD and have never had cause for complaint about the food or the service.

  • Martin says:

    Went to the Dairyman’s daughter today for a meal for three at around 4.30. Was left unimpressed by both the food and the service.
    When ordering a burger for my daughter i asked wether she could have a small version of the adult bacon burger. Was told i could have a small version but pay the full price by a young girl that insisted on referring to me as ‘Luv’. Not wanting to cause any fuss i paid for the full adult version, which my daughter then ate half.
    I chose the chefs special Chicken with Goats cheese, the Chicken was very dry and the salad that came with it was very dull.
    The final meal was the vegetarian mushroom burger which was enjoyed by my second daughter.
    This is the first time i have been here and will probably be the last. 🙁

  • Jo says:

    Just returned from a very pleasant late lunch here with friends. Was not sure what to expect having not visited for such a long time. We had some very tasty sweet potato and onion soup served with some lovely fresh bread. I had a pot of tea which I am pleased to say had an excellent taste and enough for two cups. The prices are fair and there is an excellent choice of food. We sat in the delightful conservatory with the grapes above our heads. I do think however that the Ladies are in need of refurbishment. I expect I will be visiting again some time in the near future.

  • This is our favourite Pub by far on the Island. We only ate there once but the food was excellent. However we enjoy the selection of fabulous beers and the decor the most

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    Some time back, Louise, I visited the Dairyman’s Daughter with some friends. One saw a nice chocolate cake which she fancied with her coffee. The cake was pre-cut into 8 equal slices. The tag just indicated chocolate cake and a price. When she ordered the cake, the assistant cut a slice in half again so instead of receiving 1/8 of the cake as displayed, she received 1/16. Not a pleased customer at all!! I suspect Trading Standards might have also had a view on that little wheeze also. Never been again.

  • Louise says:

    My husband and I decided to invite some friends for a relaxing meal at The Dairyman’s Daughter for some ‘proper pub grub’ well this turned out to be a huge disappointment! I ordered the macaroni cheese which was disguisting! (sorry to use such an emotive word, but completely relevant in this instance) The sauce was runny and tasteless and the pasta overcooked. However, the worst was the fact that they had topped the pasta dish in some sort of tortilla chips! Due to the tasteless and runny sauce these were soggy and revolting! Maybe I’m behind with my pub grub I actually appreciate and expect a herb crust or a layer of melted cheese! Needless to say the food and the poor attitude of the waiting staff means I won’t be going there again; a shame it used to be a good authentic pub!

  • Island Girl says:

    I have eaten at the Dairyman’s many times and only had one lunchtime meal below standard. I visited on Saturday evening and the service was good. It was only 5pm so not hectic but the staff were accomodating when I requested no side salad/peas but onion rings instead. The food was served quickly, hot and good portions. My mum had the home made lasagne which came with a salad and 4 slices of garlic bread. I had butterfly chicken in garlic butter. It was a delight to sit outside and enjoy our coffee’s in the sunshine. I must also say how beautiful the garden/patio area is with all the colourful hanging baskets/troughs filled to the brim. We shall be back!

  • We provide guided tours for visiting coaches to the Island and we recently (last Sunday) included Arreton Barns in an intinerary for a tour involving 2 coaches from a well known firm from Surrey. The feedback we have (so far) is very positive indeed in all areas (including the Dairyman’s Daughter. From my own personal experience, I have eaten there on many occasions and have to say that the service has been more than satisfactory. And as the food is (to my knowledge) locally sorced, it has always been as good as you would expect it to be. Certainly no complaints from me!

  • PAUL MULLERY says:

    I was in the Dairyman’s Daughter with a couple of friends. His wife looked at a very nice chocolate cake which had been pre-cut into 8 segments with a price per portion next to it. She ordered a portion, thinking she was receiving one of the 8 but the assistant cut one of the segments again so she only received half of what she saw. I don’t know if this is a trades description matter but none of us were impressed with that wheeze.

    When she queried it the assistant was sharp and unhelpful. We have never been again.

  • Mark says:

    We are “tourists” and indeed annual holiday vistors to the IOW in a group of 10. Because of this we normally visit the same premises each year and therefore the Diaryman’s Daughter. Whilst lacking in atmosphere, the portion sizes in the past were good, however standards have slipped considerably this year.

    After successfully ordering a variety of items from the main course and lite bite menus, the wait did not appear to long. However when the food was brought to the table it was at that point we were told that there was no longer any prawns, to accompany the salad. However there was no apology, no alternative offered, and the “manager” concerned then walked off to bring the next batch of plates which left the person in our party pondering over the choices whilst we were eating our meals.

    What angered me more though was the attitude of the staff concerned who were rather abrupt. For the rest of the party it appeared that some were satisfied with their meals and some were okay.

    I personally had the meat and meaty 8oz burger which unfortunately came without some main ingredients the chilli and cheese!

    We were not in the process of having anything further from the establishment desserts or drinks, and on leaving the premises a couple of the party went to speak to the “manager” We were then giving the usual excuse by the manager of ” I will speak to the chef “. Our concerns were really with the waiting staff and not the chef as such.

    On the plus side of our stay we did have a couple of meals in the superb White Lion Arreton, round the corner, which had a comprehesive menu, good array of beers and pleasant staff members and would certainly recommend this in future instead

  • Sarah says:

    For the past 7 or so years, we have been coming to the beautiful Isle of Wight for our holidays, usually twice each year. Each time we have been to the Dairymans Daughter probably about three times (sometimes more) each of those weeks. We have never had a bad meal there. We find it very charming with friendly staff and a great atmosphere on the nights they have music (even if it’s not always to my taste!). The slow cooked belly of pork is a favourite of mine! I don’t have a bad thing to say about DD at all. If you maybe had a bad experience yourself…give it another go, but don’t make up your mind before you have eaten.

  • Jim M says:

    I went to the DD this year after hearing that the fare was good, however, having joined a long queue of ‘tea tray’ people we finally gave up waiting and figured that if it takes 20 minutes to order food then it may take 40 minutes to receive it – we left and went to the White Lion, where we go regularly. We were served straight away and the food as usual, was excellent.
    We wont go back to the DD, too many ‘tea tray’ people where serious foodies requiring more substantial menu items are not considered as restaurant clients but must queue out of the door. Snobbish? potentially, however, not good for business either when a family wants to spend a substantial amount of cash. So we didn’t get to try it out.
    No problem , the competition are glad to have us – we’re going back at the end of the month, we’ll head straight for the Lion.

  • Kathryn & Robert Sherlock says:

    Best place to eat on the island, we cannot wait to visit again this summer

  • Reeny says:

    We visited the DD recently when they were celebrating ‘Breakfast week’. Naturally I chose one of the many breakfast offerings, believing (foolishy) that this would be something that they would be proud to serve. It was dry and poorly presented. The couple sitting opposite us weren’t overly impressed with their meals either (non breakfasts).

    The positives were the staff were very friendly and it was very quiet when we visited, but I prefer that over coach loads which this place attracts.

    I doubt very much we’ll go again.

  • James P says:

    You might find the DD “full of character” but it has very little in my opinion, especially in comparison to its previous incarnation, when it was simply known as ‘The Barn’, for the very good reason that it had once been just that. It was wonderfully unreconstructed, with a magnificent hide-covered bar planted in the middle, and a charismatic owner who was formerly a member of the Temperance Seven (a name that was always intentionally ironic, but especially so when he became a landlord).

    Sadly, it was sold on and not long afterwards caught fire, razing it to the ground, which is why I do not rate the rebuilt version so highly. Character is not something you create simply by adding a few beams or folksy accessories.

  • Gill says:

    Sorry I seem to be the first to leave a negative review! We visited last week, having turned away from the Horse and Groom at Ningwood because food was not being served between 2.30 and 5.30, and were filled with anticipation of a great experience, having read the reviews beforehand. We were reading the menu when young chap came along and took them away, telling us that the menu had changed and the correct menus were in the leather wallets in the tea rooms. It might have been more customer friendly to simply exchange them for us, rather than to expect us get up and fetch the other menus, which incidentally were housed in wipe clean burgundy coloured plastic. Hubby went to the bar to order and was told that they’d had a problem with the electrics, but they could cook burgers for us. I had the 8oz burger with chilli and bacon, hubby hasd burger with cheese and mushroom, son had plain burger. The portions were generous but the burgers were 2 flattened pattie style quarter pounders and the appearance and favour very much reminded me of the type served in Wimpy bars a few years back. Son was not impressed and neither was I. Hubby agreed that they were not particularly good, but managed to wolf it all down as he was particularly hungry.

  • Gina says:

    Well, we went back to DD’s..twice this year. Once again, we were not disappointed, the food was fab. We even hung around for the “folk music” on the Tuesday. It was great. Locals arrived with instruments and sat round by the fire and took turns to play and sing. A very enjoyable evening was had by everyone. We had a great honeymoon on the Island, the only disappointment being that we had to come home and possible wait yet another year before we get to visit again.

  • Matt says:

    Thanks for your very kind words and for pointing out the broken link Nigel – it’s fixed. We love getting feedback, and yours was particularly constructive. And fancy us being pinned up in the Pointer! How exciting. You’re quite right about the Gibbs chain pubs, they are woefully unrepresented in our website so far, and we do intend to rectify it. We do have the Bargemans, but no doubt there will be a few more in due course.

    As for the music, well, we agree top marks to Gibbs pubs for a constant supply of local talent – that rocks. I’m pleased to hear that you like it all, I should hope so, if you play some of it! We do think that some of the music is great, and some is still on the way. As for changing the review, well, what you perhaps don’t know is that these reviews do all change over time, as we revisit venues. Sometimes they are upgraded, sometimes the other thing. So, if the music consistently pleases us at the Dairymans then no doubt eventually this will be reflected in the review… keep sucking on that harp, Nigel, and we’ll hear it!

  • Nigel Foster says:

    Hi Matt & Cat,
    Just had a look at your very well informed site, having seen a printout of it in The Pointer Inn in Newchurch. I must say that your evaluations pretty well coincide with my own. However, I feel I must disagree with you regarding the “reasonably good live music” link (which, incidentally doesn’t work!).
    “Reasonably”?!! In general the quality of music is very good, being provided by the cream of Island pub bands (and personally vetted by Andrew Gibbs himself). You are assured of good music whenever any of the following acts are playing: The Chale Wailers, JC & Angelina, Pete Hogman’s Blues Band, Menage, ContraBluesBand (which, incidentally, is the band I play with not wishing to be accused of nepotism of course!), Dave Packer, The Griffins, The Lonesome Valley Boys………….the list is endless. I don’t know which night you were there but I am surprised the band that particular night only merited the phrase “reasonably good”! Most of the above mentioned bands also play at the other pubs in the Gibbs “Empire” including The Steamer Inn at Shanklin which, unless I’ve overlooked it, you haven’t listed yet. Believe me, if you love fish then they have a specials board with a fish selection to die for which is cooked to perfection by their chef who really knows his stuff.

    Another good pub for fish is The Spyglass in Ventnor, likewise The Mill Bay Inn also in Ventnor (neither of which, unless I’ve overlooked them is listed. But then again there are an awful lot of pubs on the Island!).

    So, how about it, drop the word “reasonably”…………………please?

    Kind regards,

    Nigel Foster (Island musician)

  • Gina says:

    heya..just found this website..brilliant!! We have been holidaying in the IoW for the past 5 or so years and look forward to visiting the Dairymans Daughter everytime 🙂 The food has always been fantastic, and from the moment we arrive on the island we start planning what we are going to try this time round.

    Again, a great website..will be visiting DD’s again this year while on our honeymoon…can’t wait.


  • Cat says:

    Hello Jonty,

    Glad you liked the website! We are aware of your chip shop, but have yet to try it, and that’s why it’s not on our list yet. You have a very good website, and perhaps, one day, we shall venture in your restaurant to try your wares. Don’t worry, we don’t expect special treatment either, so you can put away that ‘Welcome Matt and Cat’ banner until after you’ve read the review! In fact, you won’t know when we’re there as we don’t want to compromise our integrity.


    EDIT: OK, we’ve been! Go and see.

  • Hi Matt & Cat – love the website 🙂 just wondered if you’ve been in to try us out, or even if you’re aware we exist?!

    I’m always interested to get genuine customer feedback, so don’t let me know if you decide to come, so you won’t get any special treatment!

    Keep up the good work!



  • Cat says:

    Thank you for your support for Matt and Cat’s Eating Out Diary. M and C visited Dairyman’s Daughter again last night, this time with a load of friends, to celebrate Cat’s birthday. As usual the food was superb – the shoulder of lamb was delicious and tender – and, as always, the portions were spectacular! Lamb balti was the curry of the day and it was excellent; really tasty with good big bits of lamb. The wine and conversation flowed. It’s a very friendly pub, the service is good and Cat got a birthday kiss from local man Vince!

  • Mike says:

    Matt & Cat – I’m glad to see you were able to find good use for my picture! I about laughed when I saw it because I have had your fine blog plugged into my RSS reader since last year. Keep up the good work, your reviews only beg me to return to IOW sooner.

    Here’s looking to a return visit to the Dairyman’s Daughter and most definitely, an alcove seat.


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