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King’s Lynn Heritage Day was wonderful

In his weekly Bar Man column, Jeff Hoyle discusses Heritage Open Day...

Many years ago, when I used to play Dungeons and Dragons, there was a fashion for obscure multi-class characters such as warrior/cleric and sorcerer/thief. You never came across ninja/Morris dancers though, and after wandering around town on Heritage Day I know why.

The sound of bells was everywhere. It might be the green-faced side that seemed to take their inspiration from Tolkien’s Ents dancing up a storm on the South Quay or our own Kings Morris side rushing between appointments. And what a welcome sound it was, after several years of disappointment due to Covid and then the death of the Queen.

Lynn Heritage Open Day
Lynn Heritage Open Day

Competing with the dancers were all kinds of activities from an all-girl rock group, musket-firing military reenactors and hundreds of classic cars. However, this was a sideshow to the real stars of the day, the open buildings.

I started at Marriott’s, upstairs in the Fred Hall room where his models attracted a steady crowd. The first couple I talked to had come all the way from Vancouver, attracted by the chance to visit the Captain’s home town. Keen travellers, they had been to Whitby to see the Captain Cook Museum and even, on a past trip, New Zealand to explore the Cook connection down under. More evidence, if needed, that heritage sells.

From there, I had a brief window to check out the Temperance Bar operating in The Hulk, these days better known as the Friends Meeting House. Sadly, not the range of drinks available at Fitzpatrick’s in Rawtenstall, Britain’s last remaining authentic Temperance Bar, but maybe my chat about dandelion and burdock and sarsaparilla has planted a few ideas for the future, and my cup of coffee was very welcome.

The secret garden behind Hampton Court and the TS Vancouver were both delightful stops, and then it was time for my second assignment of the day at Wenns. I have visited the bar many times, but this time my mission was to escort people upstairs to see the hotel bedrooms. What a revelation. The two suites on show had comfortable sitting rooms with kitchens, stylish bedrooms, one with a free-standing bath, and luxurious bathrooms. The Japanese bath looked wonderful, and one of the showers looked big enough for about five people. How much to stay? was the question on everyone’s lips. I was told that the rates are very reasonable, less than £100 per night and the best prices are available by booking direct. So next time you have extra visitors, check it out before lodging them at a budget hotel.

My day was nearly done. Just time see the great set-up at Whatahoot, to check out the exhibition in the Fermoy gallery and see how many great value Cinema Club memberships the Bar Wife had managed to sell.

On I went, following the sound of the bells, to the classic cars and Tuesday Market rock band before grabbing a sandwich, leaving only one call left to make. The Live and Let Live have been keen supporters of this event for many years so it only seemed fair to pop in. I could have read all about the history of the pub and area, tried my hand at a variety of games or indulged in a stunning-looking afternoon tea, proceeds to charity, but what I did was have a super pint of Moon Gazer Pintail. And what do you know? That filled up my Thursday Club drinks card, so I was entitled to one on the house. A perfect end to a great day made possible by the hard work of the organisers and the many volunteers.


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