Oxborough – Bedingfield Arms

This historic country pub has the benefit of being opposite the entrance to Oxburgh Hall, the large National Trust property. Like the country house, it’s not accessible by public transport, so it’s car-only or by bike. Or you can walk from Swaffham as I did, but this is probably not a common option.

There’s a well-managed system given the current crisis, which was to wait at a designated area for a member of staff to seat customers. This designated area has a bell to summon staff, which makes entire common sense, but being slightly British I felt it made me look too demanding to press it. Not this proved to be an issue, a staff member came over after ten seconds anyway, resolving that potential dilemma.

I think that there were tables inside for customers who wanted them, but I was happy in the beer garden. The staff member took the order and then brought the drinks over, all very simple. The pub was asking for customers to pay by card, but since I prefer this payment solution, this didn’t prove to be a problem.

There was a choice of only two real ales, and no craft beer, but since the pub re-opened yesterday that’s at least better than nothing. The Woodfordes Wherry was well-kept and at the appropriate temperature. I’d have preferred something a little more innovative, but it’s a local beer and I’m sure it’s a popular option. I think it was priced at around £3.60, which is entirely reasonable for a pub in this location.

The pub’s menu was quite broad, although I felt slightly sorry for the serving staff after three groups in a row asked for sandwiches. The staff politely explained that they weren’t an option at the moment and the three groups then didn’t order any food at all.

I didn’t order food since I was half-way through what transpired to be a 20-mile walk, and sometimes anything too stodgy at lunchtime can be hard work to walk off. Having said that, if there had been an intriguing dark beer, then I might have ordered the cod and chips. But there wasn’t, so I didn’t.

I have no idea.

This is a perfectly pleasant pub, it’s got a charm to it and the owners are quite honest in their responses to TripAdvisor reviews. I like the:

“One of the chefs has chosen an alternative place to work where the pressure is less and better for his nerves.”

and:

“A new chapter has begun with the return of Patron Chef, Giles Cunliffe, who is very personable and often ‘out front’ happy to be in touch with his customers and not hiding in the kitchen!”

and I like the honesty with this response to one long-winded review:

“Paragraphs make for easier reading…”

I appreciate responses that are to the point and answer the question. Some chains insist with posting responses such as ‘all your feedback is really important to us’ and then some bland and dull apology. Anyway, all very relaxing and a peaceful way to spend 45 minutes.