Ticking the GBG vastly improves your knowledge of the UK, if not your liver.

Who knew California was a holiday park on the Norfolk coast ?

Actually, Scratby has claimed it as its first ever Guide entry after a long and acrimonious dispute with “Parkdean Resorts”, who own 88.6% of the properties here.

The California Tavern, a highlight of the tickers GBG22 year, even provided that vital “is she/isn’t she* open” tension tickers crave, as I phoned up a Guvnor who seemed to consult the tide tables before concluding that my visit coincided with the Easter fortnight when he’d be open Tuesdays.

I’d have been disappointed if the sea of caravans couldn’t provide enough custom at 18:15 for a cheerily solid diner (see also : the Ship on the A10), and to be fair most tables in the dining room had “Reserved” signs on them, if not actual bums on seats.

Not much action at the bar, which reveals its Locale credentials so I can pick the Wherry, which come to think of it is even more Locale, isn’t it ?

The problem with Wherry is that I’ve forgot what a really good pint of it taste like, bit like Landlord, and regretted my choice even as I admired the trophy for best canine pub or whatever.

And so it was, the Wherry is once again a 2.5+, CAMRA having cruelly voted against the addition of 0.25 increments on NBSS at Eastbourne last week. But 2.75 isn’t bad, and with a soundtrack of Roxy, ELO and Thin Lizzy it’s an enjoyable 20 minutes in which I’m the only ale drinker. Norfolk really is a lager county.

All the action is coming from the table opposite me where a loveable toddler is telling us “I’m NOT a cheeky monkey !”. (he’s not).

Be quiet or I’ll send you to Timbuktu**” says the Guvnor, who then brings an empty box to put the cheeky monkey in.

I love that sort of interaction. You don’t get it in a Chobham Brunning & Price.

Once again, our publicans really are the stars.

*Pubs are always “she”, except the Donnington estate.

** Timbuktu is a small hamlet in West Dorset.


  1. Haven’t been to Norfolk for over 10 years, but I remember Wherry as being pretty good.
    So Donnington’s pubs are “he”? Bit like the Tirpitz. It was Die Bismarck, Die Scharnhorst, etc but Der Tirpitz. Don’t ask me why.


    1. Did I say “he”. No, they’re “ugh”.

      Wherry was good in the late ’90s/’00s and I’m sure the beer is the same (though the latest pump clip is dreadful). I think it’s just lost its market, rather like Deuchars IPA.


  2. That looks quite different from the California in Derby.
    And I expect Dick or Dave could confirm that it’s very different from the, probably newer, California near them.


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