A first new Guide pub in many years in Rugby, followed by an overdue newbie in Sudbury.  Which is possibly the only thing those two towns have in common, unless you know better.

There’s a temptation to make this post about opening hours, or more specifically the display of opening hours, but I know you have boredom thresholds.

But this was a second attempt in a week to visit the Bay Horse, which was firmly closed when the GBG and WhatPub said it was open.

As you’ll see, the board listing Opening Hours didn’t help.


The website was silent, and the phone just rang.  That seemed odd, as there’s 5 rooms out the back.

The full house of opening time irritations. It fair makes you spit, as we say in the Fens.

But these things happen, and we popped back at the weekend.


One of the bigger towns in the Suffolk wilderness between Cambridge, Bury, Colchester and Ipswich, you always assume Sudbury is an upmarket commuter town, a Lavenham with shops.


A stroll down pedestrianised North Street shatters that illusion.  Look at the shop names, straight from the Essex School of Puns.


This Chinese takeaway (one of about 325 in town) has a sense of humour.


This is their “Good View“.


Church, Gainsborough museum and meadows apart, the town is proud of its surviving classic ’80s culinary options. It must be worth a visit just to have Starburger for lunch and Wimpy for tea (we didn’t).



A look at the map shows you the size of the light industry to the east, and this feels like a proper working town, with lowkey shopping, fruit and veg market traders and a busker singing “Take me home, country roads” and Tom Petty’s greatest hits.

Mrs RM wanted to do the Sudbury Trilogy of GBG pubs.  I managed to divert her away from the Greene King pub with a horse on it.


Instead, a trip round the ring road to the Tap.


On our previous visit, the Mauldon’s Brewery Tap had been rammed.  On Saturday lunchtime, it lacked the famed soup and chilli but compensated with a crystal clear pint of Silver Adder (Mrs RM score – “MMMm“), ginger beer and crisps at bargain prices.


It’s a calm, unfussy place to drink local beer with folk even older than you, worthy of its many accolades. The sun streamed in through the huge windows, Old Boys talked about their shopping, it was glorious.


With their beers so good, why the need for Adnams and Oakham as well ?  At the risk of becoming a stuck record on this, seven beers (and craft keg as well) seemed ambitious.

Still, a proper mix of pub seating, proper pub games, and a slice of Suffolk life.


If Pub Curmudgeon made pubs like this that didn’t serve Draught Bass, he might well make them like this.

How would the rest of Sudbury size up though ?




  1. I know what you mean, ‘you always assume XXXXXX is an upmarket commuter town, a Lavenham with shops’.

    Called in at Dereham on the way down to Suffolk. F. me, it made Castleford look posh! I chatted with one of the locals, in a very thick E. European accent, he told me they were looking at implementing a ‘Café Culture’ sometime in 2033?

    Getting back to your post; sadly Bar Billiard tables are a rarity these days. Very tricky game to play competently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Surely Dereham must be a nicer town than Castleford,never been to Dereham,but have done Castleford,its a dump and that is in the middle of town,i would take a punt on Dereham without doing any planning.

    Regarding Bar Billiards,

    Me and my mate played loads of different tables while in Kent for two weeks in 1983,you have to play the game very slowly,no wacking balls in this game,knock the white mushroom over and lose your score for that break,knock the black mushroom over and you lose all of your score for the whole game.
    I quite like the game.


    1. Dereham’s a pleasant enough town, Alan. I know it well as it’s close to the village my parents retired to, 27 years ago. I will back there next weekend, visiting my father, who is now in a care home, and also my sister, who still lives in Dereham.

      I visited Castleford briefly, in the mid 1970’s, although I can’t remember anything about it.

      I used to play bar-billiards a lot, when I was younger. There aren’t that many tables around these days, even in the game’s Kentish heartland, which is surprising seeing as bar-billiard take up less space than that unwanted, American-upstart, pool.


    2. Not much to choose between Cas’ and Dereham. The main difference being Cas’ is characterful and cheerful and Dereham characterless and cheerless. Wished we’d stopped at a service station on the main road, rather than trying to find some independent traders and support the local community.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The size of those peripheral estates gives a good idea of what the town is going to be like. Some of East Anglia is very touristy, but a lot, especially in the middle, certainly isn’t. I assume you’ve been to Stowmarket?

    Liked by 1 person

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