Come on, what rhymes with Brandon ?

Two pubs into the new Beer Guide, and already two of the best pubs in West Suffolk.  What’s going on ?  Perhaps this summer of soup was just a nightmare.

Hands up who could place Brandon on the map.  Apart from Mudgie and Pubmeister.

Lost in a forest

I bet even the lycra-clad Guardian readers down the road at Center Parcs couldn’t place it.  Our neighbour went to Elveden, and had no idea she’d been within a couple of miles of Thetford. I blame SatNav.

It’s a decade since I last visited a town most famed for its former state-of-the-art cinema, if you believe Wiki.  That one hasn’t lasted well.

Future micro (obvs)

The walk from the tiny station into town isn’t one of our finest perambulations, and I’m a bit surprised to find the attractive new Beer Guide entry where the dull hotels used to be.  Quite why you’d spent a night here rather than in Mildenhall I can’t imagine.


The Ram is very Breckland.  Old, rambling, unimproved, virtually unused restaurant, Old Boys.

The Ram

Six Old Boys at the bar, six ales on the bar, perfect symmetry.

All craft

The barmaid looks like a lady who knows what she’s doing, and I beave the question.

“What’s going quickest please ?”

“Abbot” comes out before I finish the “please“.  No tasters or jam jars needed here.

Proper tables and bench seating next to the big window. Perfect.

Proper Pub alert

OK, a branded Abbot glass would be nice, but I like John Smiths.  Just pretend it’s cask not Smooth.


Pub Curmudgeon wrote eloquently about the cask crisis (here), noting how rarely you have a pint “where you would turn to your drinking companion and say “Taste this! This is what cask’s all about!” “

This Abbot was that good.  Cool, rich, tight head, as good at the end as the start. NBSS 4.5.


The banter was what you come to Brandon for.  The price of potatoes, and the big news of the day.

“Salisbury’s a wonderful town”

“‘Ave you been then”

“No. Not even twice”

All played out to the accompaniment of Abba’s Eagle“, a rarity in pubs these days.


I spent ten minutes searching the three rooms for the Gents, before finding the classic outside loo. It was flooded, and filthy.

Do NOT use these

And also presumably decommissioned, for as I came back through three doors marked “No Entry” I noticed the sign for Rest Rooms behind the bar.  Never mind, I shall never go back.

The pub wall has a sign for a walk along the meadows, so I took it.

View of the Little Ouse

It was pleasant enough, with a footpath free of dog mess, which is all you can ask.


My mini town guide for Brandon could just say “Littleport, but with Portuguese cafes“.

A few signs of what must have been a lucrative flintknapping industry survive.

Stay here, I dare you

Two former Guide pubs, the Bell and Five Bells, looked strangely alluring after a pint of Abbot, but you have to be disciplined with limited train services.


My coffee and cake in “Flavours of Portugal” cost £2.40, so I had enough pennies for the tinned octopus in the colourful tin.  Now this is craft.



So Brandon has it all, even a leisure centre, an Aldi and a chimney sweep.


What more could you possibly want ?


NB  The Beer Guide just turned up.  Report to follow.

20 thoughts on “BRANDON – POTA GIGANTE & ABBOT

  1. It’s many years since I visited Brandon, and I’ve not stayed there since1987, but for my last pint I would have a window seat in the Great Eastern overlooking the platforms and when the signal, a proper semaphore one, changed indicating that the level crossing gates were in the train’s favour I would drink up and walk out and onto my westward bound train.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. At the end of June and beginning of July 1987 I had an East Anglia rail rover ticket for a week to get round some pubs and stayed in Ely, Sheringham, Great Yarmouth, Cambridge, Colchester and Brandon.
        I’ve now remembered that in the Great Eastern it was actually the level crossing gates moving, rather than the semaphore signal, that prompted me to drink up and walk out and onto my westward bound train.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Apologies, I didn’t mean right now.

        I meant at the dying light of the day (i.e. very old age)*


        * – or maybe when the GBG is delayed again? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. How much does Phil Wittam charge? When it got to £40 for just a visit and cleaning one chimney I bought a sweeps brush to fit onto my drain rods (£9). Saved a fortune, mind you, I didn’t know you had to be insured? BTW I love tinned Octopus.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah, if you have a Portuguese shop handy you can get a decent selection of tinned seafood, just like with a Polish shop you can get a decent selection of good-value canned lager 😛

    Does anyone actually call it “The Brecks”, as shown on the map?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, The Brecks is probably a spoof place name thought up by Ordnance Survey so that if it then appears on another publisher’s map the OS can prove plagiarism.
      I’ve always known it as Thetford Forest.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “Come on, what rhymes with Brandon ?”

    Abandon or Ugandan?

    “Hands up who could place Brandon on the map.”

    (puts hand up)

    But that’s only because I’d be pointing to Edmonton, Alberta, where my son Brandon lives. 🙂


    That photo almost looks like a painting.

    “with a footpath free of dog mess,”

    I was pondering something similar on our walk in the woods yesterday. It’s the law to pick up after your dog but those going for a canter on their horse don’t have to bother. Hmmm.


    I’m assuming the lettering in the window is how you pronounce Cadbury’s peanut butter chocolate if you had a mouthful.

    “What more could you possibly want ?”

    The GBG?
    (looks below)

    Magic! 🙂



  5. Brandon rhymes with random…obviously 🙂 and yes puts hand up I know where it is on the map, been through it enough times, to Thetford or Mildenhall, but never a place I think Ive stopped off at. Though Ive been to Centre Parcs at Elveden and they do know how to discourage you from exploring off campus

    Liked by 1 person

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