March 2012 - Fenman Abroad Again - Norfolk by Bus
Although Fenland county may not provide much of a public bus transport system for the country pub explorer nevertheless there is quite a good service from Spalding to Kings Lynn and from there links to various Norfolk villages, enabling return in the same day. Two intrepid Fenmen tested out such a route, based on military precision planning and a determination not to linger too long in any hostelry that might warrant full sampling of ales on offer.
The 9.40 double decker allowed views of numerous villages from the top deck rarely seen by car, and by 11am the Kings Lynn single decker connection to Snettisham had been boarded. Forty minutes later the explorers alighted at Snettisham and entered the Rose and Crown. As the GBG reports this well preserved 14C inn has small unspoilt front bars with low beams, stone floor and old fireplaces. A hogshead barrel has been converted into a small chaise longue. Draught Bass and Wherry were dispensed, without sparkler, and in good condition, and whilst the Wherry had its distinctive dry hoppiness the Bass these days seems to lack its nose and body of old. Adnams Southwold was also sampled, leaving just the Broadside for another day/session. The rear of the pub has been tastefully extended into large dining rooms.
A pleasant walk then northwards through Ken Hill Wood with its splendid species of trees, along field paths and eventually the large swathe of Heacham beach led the two trekkers past huge caravan sites and into the village. The Fox Brewery has its adjacent tap, the Fox and Hounds, which offered five of their beers. Heacham Kriek, Summit IPA, Gold, Hair Brained, and a 4.9% porter Punt Gun, most of which were sampled and found to be of a similar style. The guest being from Smart brewery - Smart Arse (tasting note lost so not so smart). At this point the bus was seen gliding to a halt outside the pub so a hasty departure was made.
On return to Kings Lynn the pub name, The Fenman, was spotted and so could not be resisted. Hobgoblin, Elgoods Pageant and Spitfire were in reasonable condition as was the excellent pricing structure with some of the beers at £2.10 a pint. Railway etc. memorabilia adorned the walls making this an interesting pub to spend time in whilst awaiting train or bus.
A walk round the town's grand old buildings and streets and along the quay raised the thirsts again and so on then to the Lattice House. This surely one of the very best Wetherspoon hostelries as regards architecture, beer range, warm welcome (inc real roaring fire) and manageress' beer expertise. The Brains St David's Ale could not be resisted nor could the Wolf Battle of Britain, Golden Jackal, Lupus Lupus, or the meaty Straw Dog in Sheep's Clothing. Batemans Veto Ale had to be .. well.. vetoed but the Brentwood Winter Warmer was indeed. After the various nooks and crannies had been explored, and promptly served excellent meals were enjoyed before the bus beckoned and return to Fenland.
An excellent day out and a most enjoyable use of a bus pass out of the county.