This proved handy for visits to my parents, who’d recently retired to Norfolk. I’d purchase a discounted ticket; we’d take the train to King’s Lynn and my father would collect us from the station. Mrs PBT’s also used the route to drop off and collect son Matthew, when he spent time away with his grandparents.
Matthew and I drove up to King’s Lynn last Sunday, and after checking into the bargain-priced Premier Inn on the edge of the town shortly after 2.30 pm, set off to explore the town. A look at the map revealed a 40-minute walk – eminently doable, apart from Matthew’s aversion to exercise, so we ended up taking the car.
There was the occasional wrong turn, but we arrived at a suitably empty car park, behind the High Street, without incident. I made him pay for the parking though, but surely only a tight-wad council would charge motorists to park on Sundays and Bank Holidays.
I remembered this view from that previous visit with my parents and although the tide was out, exposing banks that are part sand and part mud, the Ouse is still an impressive site. Much of the water collected inland from the Fens, drains into the Wash; a large and wide inlet of the North Sea. King John reputedly lost some of his royal jewels there, when his baggage train became trapped by the rapidly rising tide.
I thought I’d throw in that piece of local history, but perhaps more importantly is the fact that King’s Lynn was one of the most important ports in the country during the 12th and 13th centuries, after establishing links with the powerful Hanseatic League. This association of traders and merchants from Northern Germany and other countries bordering the Baltic Sea, was an early type of “common market” which contributed greatly to the town’s prosperity. It left a legacy of medieval buildings including two former Hanseatic League warehouses, which have now been adapted for other purposes, (one houses a pub and a restaurant).
I’d wanted to sit outside, but all the table at the front of the pub were taken. Instead, we approached the front door where one of the barmaids was enjoying an afternoon ciggie. She showed us inside and allowed us to approach the bar. There were two hand pulls, one of which was for Ringwood Brewery Boondoggle. I opted for that, especially after the barmaid answered my question about it selling well.
I don’t what it is about those who have taken too much drink, but it seems to do something to their voices. The more they have to drink, the louder they become, but fortunately my choice of seating, in an alcove away from the bar, did muffle their drunken ramblings, somewhat. So, the lad and I still managed to have a good chat and made some progress in trying to map out a way for him to get a rung on the housing ladder.
After leaving the Maid’s Head, there was time for a walk to the other end of the High Street, in order to view this well-preserved medieval part of the town. There were some rather attractive looking buildings, including King’s Lynn Minster (St Margaret’s). We also noted a place called The Wenns, which is described as a “Chop & Alehouse.” This was an establishment I had briefly considered for a Sunday evening meal, until I discovered it specialised in “sharing platters” – something we don’t really do in the Bailey household!
After seeing the sights, we drove back to the Premier Inn, where we were staying for the night. Knowing the difficulty of finding a pub serving food on a Sunday night, I’d taken the precaution of booking a table at the adjacent Freebridge Farm, Brewer’s Fayre.