Hard to keep up with the blog now, as I’m managing at least one trip out a day and I still have 377 football programmes to analyse in painstaking detail for you.

It’s getting tougher by the day to find decent sized places that I’m not bored to tears by, but Stowmarket fits the bill nicely.

47 minutes and no tractors

I was trying to remember my last time in this plain little town overshadowed by bucolic Bury and idiosyncratic Ipswich.

Then I remembered John Kimmich.

A busy pump clip there

Unless you’re one of the 99% of my readers who ignore Beer Twitter you’ll remember the fuss about the Kimmich/Adnams collaboration being sold in the “soulless pit” of Spoons to craft beer peasants for £2.35 a pint (rip-off).

I had two pints of that beer for less than £2 a pint on the train back from Ipswich in 2014 and it was nectar.

Oddly, the Willow Tree never made the Guide. Why do people hate them ?

They’ll be back

Despite being the proud owner of a Spoons (beating Ely, for instance), Stow feels a bit underpubbed. Nearly all the central pubs are marked on this extract.


But then you realise its population has trebled in size in 40 years, folk drawn by the arrival of John Peel and affordable housing near the A14.

You can walk the whole town and touch all 10 pubs in an hour, but of course you’re not allowed to touch anything anymore.

Here’s the highlights; solid but unspectacular but I suspect you’d give a lot to be in any of them RIGHT NOW.

Walnut Tree
The Stag
Royal William – the classic, reminiscent of Bury’s Dove
Portable bar selling Bud
The Crown
Little Wellington – the 2nd GBG entry
The Pickerel – best Tolly fascia
King’s Arms – short-lived GBG pub near the station
Queen’s Head
The Oak – the Sky Sports pub

Nothing stunning, but they all looked in decent shape, considering. The Museum of East Anglian Life is an essential visit for anyone who finds National Trust outbuilding exciting; I must go one of these days.

Sadly the shop selling PPE was closed,

Knights outfit useful when food riots start

but Subway had just re-opened, and McCarthy’s van was bringing joy to the market square with its trays of sourdough, strudel and cheesecakes. Baked products; another small step on the long road back to normality.

I spent £15 with Mr McCarthy, enough for his petrol back to Brentwood

Suddenly Stowmarket looked rather lovely, and I took my meat feast sub and coffee to the grounds of St Peter & St Mary.

The best bit

An old boy my Dad’s age was giving a young lady (in her 70s) his life story.

Escape from Clapton and the Smoke to Suffolk in ’41, stuck-up folk from Babergh, a bloke who always had his belly button on display, the Filipino boy who danced on graves, local churches which were a bit “clicky”.

After eleven (11) weeks without pubs, this joyous banter was almost as good as an afternoon in the Royal William, the best pub in Stow.

“2020 – The year I went heywire”. You can say that again.


7 thoughts on “STOWMARKET – WHO ARE YOU ?

  1. You live in a very pretty area that only lacks hills. These towns have been impressive. Royal William and Dove are two I keep missing. Sad. Need to make more effort and tick them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s something about the Walnut Tree that’s drawing me to it, more than the others, don’t know what, but you’re right, I want to be there RIGHT NOW.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. well the Walnut Tree is Ipswich and East Suffolk branch cider pub of the year, urban pub of the year and overall branch pub of the year 2020, awarded just before lock down happened, so I know which one Ill be going to first when they reopen.

        as to why the Willow Tree has never made the guide,same problem we have with all our branch entries, we simply dont have enough spots, and when youve only really got 3 or 4 slots for Stowmarket, as Combs Ford is really part of Stowmarket,it you add a 5th then its nearly on a par with how many entries Ipswich alone gets thesedays.

        plus fwiw whilst it started out fairly decently, last couple of times Ive been in there, its been at the lower end of Wetherspoons offerings, youd not see anything like a Kimmich in there anymore,they just seem to offer 1 or 2 of the standard set beers.


      2. Cheers. I’ll not hold it against the branch that they didn’t put in the Guide a Spoons I had too good pints in 6 years ago ;-0

        The Walnut Tree ? You’re kidding me ! Looked great but obviously not touched the GBG in 30 years at least so must be a recent transformation. Hope it gets to enjoy its time in the sun.

        Out of interest, the Southworth Brothers and stayed in a Leek Guest house last year; owner used to run the Combs Ford Guide entry (Gladstone I guess).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s