It was a surreal experience drinking at the Hand in Hand last Sunday, and I simply have to begin this Pubspy by highlighting it.

To sum up, I have never in all my life seen so many dogs in one pub at any given time. They were everywhere. Indeed, I felt as if I had somehow done something wrong by not entering with a canine companion in tow.

Seated at a table towards the back of the joint, I was surrounded by rich-looking, wellington boot-wearing middle class Wimbledonites, who all carried with them, almost as a compulsive accessory, a lead with a dog attached to the end of it.

But this is, of course, Wimbledon Common that we’re talking about, a land whose rich and indulgent landscapes are matched only by the swank and ostentation of its inhabitants, a bunch of Hooray Henrys and wannabe aristocrats, who make the Common seem about as far removed from the town centre as any two entities can ever be.

The Hand in Hand is a popular spot for walkers and Village yuppies, and serves as a quint-essential Sunday afternoon roast dinner/ afternoon drinks venue.

It is a beautiful, traditional pub, with its old beams and low ceiling making you feel as if you’ve been transported through time.

The small court yard at the front of the pub is a welcome entrance point, while the interior, with its old fashioned décor, friendly but distinctly middle class custom and large square bar, makes you feel like you’re in a Cotswolds Village, not in London’s Zone Three.

What we have here is the finest example of a traditional country pub that I have found thus far in south west London. Wandering around this cosy and endearing watering hole, and trying not to fall over all the dog leads, I could not help but think that this is what a public house should be like. It is hard to believe that the hubbub that is Wimbledon town centre is less than a mile away.

The Hand in Hand is a real ale aficionado’s dream, serving Young’s, Young’s Special, London Gold, Wells Bombardier, Courage, Directors and something called Banana Bread Beer. The latter has to be tasted to be believed. I can confirm it does indeed taste of banana bread.

Elsewhere, the most interesting activity on offer was people watching. For perhaps the first time in my many years of visiting pubs in Wimbledon, the custom seemed to be made up entirely of English people, and posh ones at that.

The dog situation was unusual, but as long as you haven't got a problem with the creatures, you’ll be fine. They were all well trained, and, for all that canine action, I can’t remember hearing any barking at all during my stay. But, then again, there seemed to be as many water bowls being filled up as pint glasses behind the bar!

Hand in Hand, 6 Crooked Billet, Wimbledon Common. SW19 4RQ.

DECOR: XXXXX Wonderful. Very quaint, cosy and old-fashioned, akin to a pub in the country.

DRINK: XXXXX As a real ale man, I was in heaven.

ATMOSPHERE: XXXX Very middle class, but friendly. More dogs than humans though.

PRICE: XXX Not as bad as I thought it was going to be.

STAFF: XXXX Friendly, helpful and happy in their work.