I visited my parents from Monday to Wednesday to take my Dad out to garden centre to buy plant spray and fix the Virgin remote control with too many buttons on it.

Visiting early in the week means half the pubs are shut, of course, but I did find one GBG newbie in Ipswich.

In the late ’70s Ipswich was my introduction to top-class football, which in 1977 involved Paul Cooper bouncing the ball six times before hoofing it into the Portman Road sky.

Yesterday in Sheffield I met two deflated Ipswich fans who’d got hopelessly lost trying to take the tram back from Leppings Lane to the Malin Bridge Park & Ride.

I sympathised with them, but wondered how on earth two people younger than me couldn’t have walked the 0.8 miles back to their car.

Ipswich itself looked a bit deflated this week, with more boarded up shops than I’ve seen anywhere in “The North”. Even the Ancient House on Buttermarket was up-for-sale (make a great Brunning & Pricey).

But the town retains a stately splendour built on the wool trade (Norwich/Ipswich half-and-half scarves, mainly).

In fact, and I’m going to upset a lot of folk here, I reckon that the Cornhill is one of the finest public squares in England, and perhaps the closest to a Flemish town square (see also : Newark).

Rather beautiful, and rather lost on a podgy 12 year old only interested in football programmes and league tables back in ’77.

Of course, an historic wool trade and gentlefolk shoppers from Woodbridge don’t keep town pubs in business anymore than lads and teetotal Dads did,

There’s only one central Beer Guide pub anyway, and the Arcade Street Tavern is closed, which tells you all you need to know about the state of midweek drinking in 2022 England.

I attempt to reflate the Suffolk economy by buying a tenner’s worth of Baklava from the new deli on The Walk.

With barely a pause to admire the detail along the Buttermarket (make a great Sam Smiths), I headed up Woodbridge Road to the Grand Old Duke of York.

Where has this one been hiding all these years ?

4pm opener, with the usual mystery of how there’s already 3 in at 15:55.

It’s a little corker. Music venue at night, easy going beer house by day afternoon, with a soundtrack of Parliament deep cuts (“Flash Light”) to boot.

That’s Oscar Wilde Mild, a gorgeously rich pint in lovely condition (NBSS 3.5+), and to be fair nearly all the beer I’ve had in Ipswich over the last two decades has been worth the trip.

Oh yes, Grapevine, East Anglia’s top gig listing magazine.

You’ll be wanting to know what cutting-edge bands are heading east in February, won’t you ?

Genesis (tribute), The Stranglers, Purple Zeppelin (tribute), Fleetwood Mac (tribute), The Animals, Pure Floyd (tribute). Hey, are you SURE it’s not still 1977 ?


  1. If we’re doing Flemish-style squares I will also offer Northampton and the Tuesday Market Place in King’s Lynn. But not Stockport, where the Victorians built an iron-and-glass market hall in the middle of it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had advised any Town fans visiting Sheffield on Saturday just to stay at the Tap, as thats what Id have done and I think Id have made the right choice, though actually I stayed here and went to my local Fat Cat instead and just moaned at the result instead 🙂 But even I was surprised on my last meander through town how many shops have closed since March 2020,and Im local, and lots of the pubs are only now even getting back to more regular opening times.

    And Ive been trying to think of another guide worthy central pub in Ipswich, but get stuck thinking how far is central Ipswich anyway, given from the outskirts its still walkable to the centre, and yet the Cornhill to the waterfront is considered disconnected,much to the annoyance of property developers. Maybe the addition of a BrewDog down there will finally liven things up.

    I would point out a minor correction though, thats not the Buttermarket, thats the Ancient House, famous for its pargeting and its Ipswich windows, thats in the area of the Butter Market 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, plenty of good Ipswich pubs 10 minutes walk from the town hall, just nothing much in that central area I picked out on the GBG App. If you stood outside Norwich castle you wouldn’t find many GBG pubs close by either (probably just that Vine with Thai food at the market).

      I knew while I was writing it that was the Ancient House, thanks for polite correction. Gorgeous area.


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