Oh noes, he’s lost his hat

I couldn’t put it off any longer; Norfolk needed to be nipped in the bud (there’s a pun on local CAMRA there somewhere).

Yes, I feel the same way about the North Norfolk coast as I do about France. The locals are fine but the (mainly North London) visitors are generally ghastly.  Think of my worst experiences in West London gastropubs with scarf-wearing middle-class table reservers standing at the bar indecisively. Burnham to Brancaster make those look like Wigan boozers.

Search for the Hero inside yourself” sang Heather Small, on possibly the worst record to ever come out of Manchester.  Clearly a reference to my need to show inner fortitude as I approached prime coastal gastro on a Friday lunchtime in November.



Most of the visitors arrive by boat from their Chateaux-en-le-Loire, and head out across the sands, at funereal pace, counting down the minutes till they can respectably head to the Hero for lunch and Pinot.

This is Norfolk
All happening here

I think you’re supposed to enjoy this scene, you know, but to me it’s a third-rate Pin Mill or Wivenhoe.

So I head to the pub, which promises beer from 9am.


The best that can be said for these “Dining with Rooms” type places is that they’re often open all day, and not just for coffee.

Are you open for coffee” ask the folk in Barbour, Helly Hansen and Oakley sunglasses, recovering from their 1.75 mile walk.  No, just beer, mate.

Do you have decaff ?”  What is the point of decaffeinated coffee ?  It’s the pashmina of hot drinks.

On finding out they weren’t yet serving lunch, the child shouted “But why not ?”

Because it’s Norfolk, child.

One sugar or two ?

It took ages to get served, which can be quite useful when you’re setting up shots of  blue Nelsons and sugar cubes on the bar.

Can’t fault the simple beer range, either.  Clearly you don’t always need home-brew from Madame Jo Jos or whoever to get in the Guide.

I retired to the table near the bar with an earthen jug on it. If I’d taken the candle out I could have poured the beer away, but it wasn’t that bad (NBSS 2).  Just that dull Norfolk Wherry that ensures cask sales will continue to slide round here.

Two members of staff stood at the corner of the bar, ignoring customers and chatting loudly about WiFi and tips, while toddlers ran around unchecked.  Simon will love it.

Unacknowledged, they gave up and walked off




    1. No, I can somehow believe that ! Actually, it’s the Islington group, often with children, who ALL stand at the bar cluelessly looking at menus and the bar as if they’d just arrived at a Shisha bar in Bahrain or something. SIT DOWN.


      1. it was empty when we got there -the lady behind the bar tried unsuccessfully to light the fire so we sat in the cold,on our own & had a rather jolly quiz which we found amusing as we were 3 sheets to the wind & rather noisy.Last time we went with 4 others & played Jenga -also rather robust -they probably sighed with relief when we left

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In the parts of GOC best known to me, when things get noisy, it generally involves the word “DUBAI” being regularly dropped into the roar, and twenty decibels louder than everything else, for some reason.


  1. Was there yesterday. Took me ages to get served too. Also took some near identical pics. Guess I might have followed your footsteps to Great Yarmouth via Holt (now there are two contrasting places).


  2. Don’t waste your time wondering, what might be the worst song to have come out of Manchester.

    I come from Nottingham, mate.

    We had Paper Lace, whose offerings I won’t list here.

    But hey, then along came Jake Bugg.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My daughter’s a Jake aficionado.

      However, with reference to your title, tragically, the said hero was born too soon to take Paper Lace’s advice.

      He probably wasn’t known as Billy anyway.


  3. Sadly pubs like these could never survive without the dry side of business and catering for visitors. It’s the same in many rural areas where the local trade is mainly ‘last hour’. You either target the day time visitors with food and coffee or you close up until 5pm and have a bit of a day job/sideline. Norwich may be a veritable ‘city of beer’ but the rest of the county is sparsely populated and rural, the pleasant seaside locations are all second homes and retirees who are not traditional wet led pub people. You can substitute Suffolk, North Yorkshire, vast expanses of the West Country and many other areas for Norfolk.

    Pubmen or not, we have to appreciate local economics and the fact the times they are a changing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree. Beer on Norfolk coast often bitterly disappointing; I guess Wherry suffers even more than Doom Bar from low turnover. These places shouldn’t be in a Good Beer Guide unless they can offer consistently GOOD beer though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. With only three CAMRA branches covering the whole of Norfolk, it must be a nightmare trying to pick out suitable entries for the guide. More than ever this highlights the need for visitors to the county to submit NBSS scores, wherever possible.

        On the plus side “Norfolk Nips & Cask Force” is an excellent quarterly CAMRA magazine, and with a print run of 12,000 copies, the local branches must be doing something right.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kings Lynn really struggles. In fact this year there’s just ONE longstanding hotel bar in the Guide, and some very marginal entries round the coast. To be fair, I think that means the branches probably apply some discrimination in entries. The CAMRA enthusiasm mainly comes from the county town/city, of course, with it’s 373 ale shrines.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. it is notable certainly from a Suffolk perspective, how many more GBG entries Norwich gets as an overall submission of Norfolk. But the problem is getting to these further out of norwich places regularly enough to survey them and you almost want to avoid holiday season, its autumn when you want to get them, but North Norfolk is a bleak old place when its cold and grey and that northerly wind bites

        Liked by 1 person

      4. This won’t be popular, but Suffolk has better beer than Norfolk, and I’m not talking Southwold (though just the Lord Nelson in the Guide seems a bit mean). There’s better cask in south Suffolk than north Norfolk, for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Paul,
        The Norwich and Norfolk branch is the third largest in the country ( after Nottingham and Cambridge ) with over 4000 members which is two for every square mile but maybe not many get about much or submit beer scores.


      6. The branch magazine has good coverage of the rural pubs and they still do their First Friday Five, but a lot of their focus is on the Beer festival and Beer City events which focus on the city centre free houses.



    I thought you were taking Si around Cambridge, not Norfolk? (LOL)

    “All happening here”

    That’s just the same photo right above from a different angle. 🙂

    “It’s the pashmina of hot drinks.”

    Or, as some call it over here, ‘brown sadness water’.

    “One sugar or two ?”

    I like my beer like I like my coffee… black, like my men. 🙂

    “I retired to the table near the bar with an earthen jug on it.”

    I thought you were already retired. Or was that where you were planning to sleep?

    “Unacknowledged, they gave up and walked off”

    In a huff? 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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