Welcome to the 'Marmite' pub. You either love it or hate it.
For some, (including the two of us) it's the best pub in Norfolk and one of the best in the country.
It is eccentric. The art on the walls can be fascinating, amusing, contentious, and may offend the more sensitive recluse. (But in reality, probably the most offensive thing is Tracey Emin's complete lack of drawing ability.)
Thank goodness it is not decked out in shiny new furniture, linen tablecloths, swirling carpets and sweet soft music. Instead, imagine recycled school furniture (complete with carved initials), old unrestored leather armchairs, proper bar stools, a (very) honky tonk piano, pool tables and big open fires. Even the walls, ceilings and doors have been painstakingly and expensively painted to appear as if 100 years of cigarette smoke have contributed to the patina.(This is all in stark contrast to the bedrooms and resident's lounge, by the way, which are oh so cosy.)
If you are in the restaurant, you will not be served by uniformed identikit waitresses. We go there regularly; the service is generally efficient, always charming, and the food is generally first rate.
It has its off moments, like any big, bustling pub will, generally when its own popularity contributes to tensions. One such moment happened last weekend, when a 'honey festival' in the grounds attracted a very different element whose main intention was to get very, very drunk. This caused some upset in the crowded bar, where three bar staff struggled to cope. (And was compounded by one visiting couple who must have thought they were in a Cotswold Tea Shoppe, and proceeded to order a pot of Earl Grey amongst the mayhem. Clearly they need a new Satnav.)
We live in an increasingly homogenised, mass produced, mass market World. Thank God for the Gunton Arms.
- Also Known As:
- The Gunton Arms Hotel Thorpe Market
- The Gunton Arms Thorpe Market, Norfolk