Wymondham – White Hart

I’ve never been to the White Hart in Wymondham before, but it has a grand frontage and was once the town’s main coaching inn.

Within the building, the heritage of its time as a coaching inn is evident, I hadn’t expected such impressive interiors. The building was constructed in the early seventeenth century, likely after the fire which devastated much of the town in 1616. Originally, the above wall was the back of the wooden structure, but it was expanded backwards in the eighteenth century and that’s when the frontage was redone.

The White Hart has been a licensed premises for four centuries or so, but for reasons that must have made sense to someone, it was renamed to the Heart of Wymondham for a few years. Irrelevant as my view is, that’s an awful name for such a historic pub and bizarre to make it sound like a cross between a nightclub and a radio station. Fortunately, the pub has been renamed back to the White Hart and normality has resumed.

There were people in this room, so I didn’t take a photo inside, but this is the pub’s Masonic Hall from when there was a lodge held here. That’s another impressive interior though, this is a quite glorious pub in terms of its history. But, going back a little to my visit. I noted other reviews of how good the pub’s one-way system was, although I was entirely confused where I was supposed to go to order. It seems the answer is that you hover near the bar, but I suspect there’s table service when it’s busier. It only occurred to me after leaving that the pub isn’t operating track and trace, or at least, I wasn’t asked. Sometimes systems have to be idiot-proof as otherwise I get confused by them.

The staff member was friendly and helpful though, there was a welcoming atmosphere about the pub. It has new owners and from what I heard from others there’s a focus on the food which is being served here, and they certainly have a delightful environment for diners. The beer selection wasn’t marvellous, just Doom Bar and I don’t think any craft beer, but it was well-kept and these are challenging times in terms of customer numbers. The food menu does that strange thing of offering a separate option for senior citizens without mentioning whether it’s also available for those just with smaller appetites. Not that having a smaller appetite much impacts on me, but I’ve heard so many people over the years want to order from such menus but not feeling they’d be allowed to.

Another interior as I sat inside, primarily as I wasn’t entirely sure if they had any seats outside and I didn’t want to get caught up in the pub’s one-way system. Although I like indoors to be fair, there are fewer wasps and bees. Looking back at historic newspapers, there have been hundreds of different meetings held here over the centuries, this was once a pub that was very much at the centre of the community and the new owners seem keen to restore that ethos. The pub’s web-site makes nearly nothing of the building’s history, which is a moderate shame, although I wonder whether that’s a limitation of EI’s (Enterprise Inns) technology.

Anyway, it’s marvellous that this pub is still trading, so much heritage packed into this building and a relaxed, friendly and calm environment. If the number of real ales or craft beers were increased with some more exotic options, this would very likely be a pub that should be listed in the Good Beer Guide.