The Cross Keys, visible at the left of this photo showing the incoming rain, was the third of the pubs that we visited on our study tour of Wymondham.
The pub has been used as a hospitality venue since the end of the eighteenth century and there are numerous areas which have that historic feel. The building itself is older and dates to the sixteenth century. Until relatively recently the venue offered bed and breakfast, but there isn’t an accommodation option at the pub today and the food service also seems to have come to an end. The furnishings were comfortable, although Julian pondered why numerous seats had wet patches and stains, but it’s probably best not to know.
They’ve got a gaming area in one section of the pub. This isn’t part of the original venue, they extended into this section in 1961.
Decorative bottles in the wall.
There were four different real ales available, but the JHB that I went for wasn’t in the best of conditions but was still drinkable. Julian, who is typically more direct in these matters, noted that he thought it was “a bit soupy with notes of cellar imperfection”.
Trying to use my language carefully, this pub had the most vibrant of customers we encountered on our day out, which is quite an impressive achievement in the early afternoon. I’d suggest that the excitement of the customers does make this a venue that children or the easily upset might best be kept away from, although it never felt threatening. As a positive, it does mean that the pub has character and an element of liveliness to it. Indeed, Julian in particular rather enjoys it when it all becomes too excitable, especially if he doesn’t have to witness it for a prolonged period.
The local press reported in the 1970s that the new landlords of the pub, Eddie and Anne Nelson, were keen to ensure that there was “no disco and no noise”. He added that he wanted a pub where customers could “relax and enjoy themselves” and planned to introduce a menu offering “a fine selection of grills”. Today, the venue seems to be focusing on live music and there are plenty of positive reviews about that. The service was personable with a prompt welcome and a friendly farewell, so it all felt suitably inviting. I’m not sure that it pretends to be a venue that is suitable for those who want a quiet drink, it’s a lively pub which aims to be informal and welcoming, something that it is doing well.