Sunday night saw a steady flood of 4x4s returning to our Cambridgeshire village from Latitude, the music festival for people who like music they like, washed down with Adnams wines. I’m sure there will have been polite political debate.

Mrs RM would like to go, but she doesn’t get it all her own way in her household (about 97%), and we went for a night in Bury St Edmunds long-stay car park at the weekend.  £1 to park our campervan overnight, and about £20 on popcorn for our sons who went to watch “Independence Day Regurged”.  The last film I watched was “Finding Nemo”.

This is a shopping centre, not Ailsa Crag

I wrote about Bury’s independent scene last year, but this was very much big business Bury, a chance to see how East Anglia’s fast growing town looks on a weekend.

Ruin buildings awaiting conversion to micropub

Impressively busy was the answer, with a warm night thronged with the younger folk who’d have gone to Cambridge or Ipswich five years ago.  The modern entertainment and shopping complex isn’t quite Spinningfields, but it’s all nicely done and the chain places were packed.

The pubs were doing OK too, though being contrary sods we chose to start the evening in a place that would have no more than a half-dozen folk in it all night.

Pokémon hunting in the Nutshell

I first went in the Nutshell when I did assignments at NHS Supplies in the late ’80s as a keen student, leading to an assumption on my part that all pubs were wonderful, and that all pubs sold Greene King IPA. Rather like the Olde Trip or the Peveril, it’s not a pub I’ve needed to revisit on each trip to Bury, though the beer has always been decent.

Pretty much a panoramic view

But what can you say against a friendly pub with bench seating, clutter, irreverent chat, classic folk/rock picked by the barman and good beer (IPA NBSS 3.5, Abbot 3). Shame about the mummified cat but not much can be done about him/her now.

Only two things could improve it; the sight of a straggle of grown men outside trying to capture virtual creatures on their I-phones (tick), and a distressed man asking us all individually what the name of the little lady with the crutches was (tick). That’s him on the left.


In a pub with six drinkers, all human life was represented.   It reminded me of Cambridge’s St Radegund with Terry at the helm, which is high praise.  Yes, a Cloudwater Pale would have been nice, but that’s not even going to happen in The Free Press.

First time I’ve ever visited the upstairs toilet (singular); unmissable graffiti, the best since Cuba. Lovely view from the top too.

Pokémon sight point (2)

A must-visit, smallest pub or not (who cares ?), but every trip to Bury must end at The Dove, Greene King’s finest pub, where the Mighty Oak Kings served flat from the jug, scored 4.5 .  The chap next to me said “What do you think ? Neil thinks it’s the best he’s had here“.  Neil was right.

QUIZ TIME – Who is the Nutshell’s oldest resident ?

17 thoughts on “IN A NUTSHELL

  1. The oldest resident is the canine looking creature mounted on the wall, which was born in 1242 BC.

    How many kernels of popcorn do you get for £20 these days? The last film I saw in a cinema was Chicken Run. It is still about my level.


    1. You win the internet Tom. I don’t want it.

      £20 gets you about 2,500 calories worth.

      Was that the film about folk from Goole running across the M62 to get to the Chinese takeaway at Rawcliffe ?


  2. I went to Bury St Edmonds once and we visited The Nutshell, along with a few other places. Quite an intriguing little boozer and well worth a visit, as is the rest of this lovely part of the country. Only thing that I couldn’t get on with was the flat Greene King. If it had been nearer to bonfire night I would have bought him a sparkler!


      1. Adnams every time for me, spent some nice time in Southwold, where as you will know, they have a monopoly, or they did when we were there.


      2. Last time I looked al but one pub in Southwold was tied to Adnams. Beer quality not always stellar in my experience (except Lord Nelson). Queen’s Head in Newton the place for Adnams !

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the Lord Nelson. Great to have a Broadside and then walk down to the end of the road. You sit on the benches looking over the water. What a great spot.


  4. I’ve taken 20 trips to England, Wales and Scotland. Ten or so specifically beer focused. Five of those ten really beer focused. I think I can honestly say that I have been to every region other than Pembrokeshire which we are visiting this year. (My wife loves coastal areas.) We have been lucky to visit a lot of classic pubs. A lot of our best experiences have resulted from websites like yours and CAMRA information. This fact is one reason we see such a value in what CAMRA groups do. We hope we have helped out on the use or lose it idea a bit! The English pub is truly a unique place. Always easy to say when it isn’t yours, but I don’t think people understand what a treasure they have in the pub. And I don’t mean that in the overly sentimental way. We like our pubs pretty gritty.


    1. I know what you mean by gritty ! The English pubs folk get sentimental about tend to be restaurants in a lot of places, though to be fair that reflects reductions in social drinking now.

      We’re touring the Welsh west coast in early August so expect some posts. Dyffryn Arms in Pontfaen is the classic, of course.

      20 trips to UK impressive, only managed half a dozen to US myself, and they weren’t for beer !


  5. Looking forward to those posts. The Dyffryn Arms looks really interesting. What percentage of Wales have you covered on your “tour?”


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