This post is also available at www.norfolksuffolk.org.uk where our back catalogue of posts about pubs in Norfolk and Suffolk can be found 🙂
We visited Attleborough at 21:00 on a Saturday night and the two town centre pub options listed on CAMRA’s Whatspub were the London Tavern and this former coaching inn, the Griffin Hotel. I have to some degree wax lyrical about the Griffin Hotel as it first opened in the 1560s when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne. I’m enthralled what the atmosphere of coaching inns would have been like. Travel was more dangerous and challenging during those times, so travellers reaching their accommodation for the evening would have had an element of relief. They would have been keen to have a meal, several drinks and accommodation provided, all the elements of a positive jamboree of entertainment.
The venue notes that this passageway was once paved with wooden cobbles to muffle the sound of horses arriving and departing, to prevent disturbing the sleep of the weary travellers already in their beds.
This wing overlooking the church was added in the eighteenth century.
The venue’s dining and breakfast room. It might not look the most modern, but it’s in keeping with the building and its cosy feel.
The special’s board.
There was just one real ale, the Battle of Britain from Wolf Brewery. It wasn’t quite the choice of four or five real ales that we had seen listed on Whatpub, but it was a well kept copper coloured ale.
The bar itself is in keeping with the general decor which is full of character and I have a sense of wonder of just how many people have walked through here over the centuries. The pub was quiet when we visited, just a couple of other customers which couldn’t have been in much more contrast to the London Tavern. Julian noted that he could hear the music from the louder pub whilst in this pub, it’s nice of them to share their entertainment like that.
The smaller snug room to the left of the main entrance.
A beer pump. There were numerous framed photos on the walls, somewhat eclectic but adding atmosphere to proceedings none the less.
I very much liked this venue, the heritage is undeniable and it had a calm and cosy feel to it. This must be one hell of a challenge to operate at the moment given the sheer size of the building and the energy demands that it must have amongst all of their other costs. Attleborough no longer needs the level of accommodation that it once did when it was a coaching town, but there were still numerous places to stay and so that means room rates aren’t likely to go that high.
Their on-line reviews on Google aren’t perhaps helping them much as they picked up several negatives a few years ago, which might put current potential diners and guests off. However, their accommodation element seems to have better reviews and I imagine that this is what is sustaining them at the moment. It’s essential to the community that venues such as this continue to thrive, as it would be horrifying for an Elizabethan pub to close after so many centuries. It’s reassuring that such places are still open and it was a delight to have a drink in an environment with so much history.