Swaffham – Red Lion

The Red Lion has been selling beer to the people of Swaffham since the late seventeenth century and there are also rooms at the rear of the pub for those wanting accommodation. The landlady at the Red Lion from 1896 until 1956 was Emma Dickerson, that’s certainly some stint working at any location. There’s a nice vibe about the pub, with the service being friendly and it feels like a community pub which is welcoming to all.

In August 1761, someone pinched a “badly engraved and bruised on the foot” silver pint mug from the pub, with the landlord putting up a reward of half a guinea for its return. There’s such a sense of history about locations like this, albeit a crime that took place 258 years ago isn’t an inspiration for the future, it’s intriguing to think what this pub looked like back then.

There were six real ales, which was a number that surprised me slightly, with a varied choice available. Unfortunately, my half pint of Elgoods Blackberry Porter was on the turn, although it remained drinkable. I suspect the staff would have happily changed it, but it wasn’t unpleasant, although the flavour was wrong, so I just kept it (I probably wouldn’t have been so forgiving if it was a pint). I’m moderately surprised that what appeared to be their only dark beer hadn’t sold a little quicker.

All told, it’s a friendly little pub and the staff were cheerfully putting up Christmas decorations to make it feel festive. Not sure I like the positioning of the pool table there as it has taken out some of the space for seating and distorted the atmosphere somewhat, but if that’s what the customers like then I suppose it has to go somewhere. I didn’t order food, but it’s well reviewed and seemingly unpretentious. The owners seem to be working on improving the look and feel of the building, with everything being clean and well maintained. Hopefully, it’ll merrily on serving for customers for another few hundred years….