Goldings in King’s Lynn, a pub with rooms and a deli, has been open just over a year now, thanks to the vision of owners Lucy and Richard Golding. Emma Outten pays a visit, and is impressed by both the pub and the historic town centre
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the historic town centre of King’s Lynn is marketing itself as quite the place to be at the moment, particularly when it comes to going out to eat and drink.
So the time seemed ripe to head west and see what all the fuss is about. Certainly there is a noble history: King’s Lynn was one of England’s most important ports, from as early as the 12th century, and Britain’s first member of Die Hanse (The Hanse), an active network of towns and cities across Europe, which historically belonged to the association of merchant towns known as the Hanseatic League. And the Tuesday Market Place is one of England’s grandest squares and is home to the King’s Lynn Mart, which has traditionally taken place for a period of two weeks each year, starting on Valentine’s Day.
However, I was more interested in the somewhat smaller Saturday Market Place, home to a new monthly Farmers’ Market and, also, Goldings.
The pub with rooms and a deli was formerly the Wenns public house, named after James Wenn, who was born in Downham Market in 1836. It reopened at the end of 2017 thanks to Lucy and Richard Golding, who also own and run the award-winning Market Bistro next door.
The couple have clearly injected a lot of much-needed love into the pub, parts of which date back to the 18th century.
There are six rooms in all – four suites plus two studios – and each is named after a different licensee from the building’s history. Our room for the night was the Luckly, a well-positioned corner suite, which would have formed part of the restaurant back in the 1800s. To the front, the original sash windows overlook the mighty King’s Lynn Minster – formerly St Margaret’s Church.
The kitchen area in the living room comes fully equipped, complete with Sage by Heston kettle and toaster, and Nespresso machine. We were greeted by complimentary chocolate brownies, fresh from the deli, which we enjoyed with a cup of Nelson and Norfolk Tea.
In the bedroom there was a king size bed with free-standing bath (with a cheeky Get Naked sign above it!), and there’s also a separate shower room.
After settling in, we went downstairs to the bar for a late lunch. Goldings serves traditional pub food and real ales, so it was a nut roast with Adnams Ghost Ship for me and roast shoulder of pork and Grain ThreeOneSix for him (both roasts come with cauliflower bake, roasted roots and potatoes, and a massive ‘Yorkie’). Behind the bar are craft beers and spirits – Hoptons (made using the aptly-named Golding hops!), Bullards, Fenlands Distillery, and the English Whisky Company are all well represented here. Whereas Winbirri Vineyards features on the wine list and there’s always Norfolk Cordials, if you’re planning on Dry January continuing into February.
In the evening we enjoyed a stroll, past Hanse House, England’s only surviving example of a Hanseatic business headquarters; Marriott’s Warehouse, along the bank of the Great Ouse; the iconic Custom House, lit up thanks to the Lynn Lumiere; the Corn Exchange, and finally the thoroughly modern Vancouver Quarter Shopping Centre, where the new H&M anchor store is nearing completion.
Back at the bar, we decided to have a cheeky half before bed and got more than we bargained for as the friendly Bar Manager, Levi, was experimenting with a new gin cocktail ready for Valentine’s Day, involving a homemade rose syrup – delicious!
Breakfast was also back at the bar. My partner had the full English (what a surprise), consisting of two Goldings sausages, two smoked streaky bacon rashers, egg (any which way), fried bread, mushrooms, black pudding, and homemade beans on the side.
On Levi’s recommendation the night before, I had the salmon and eggs, and I’m glad I took his advice because Executive Chef Richard’s house smoked salmon was something else.
We came away thinking it had been well worth heading west for the night. The marketeers are right: King’s Lynn really has got some great food and drink establishments worth shouting about (not least Goldings and Market Bistro), with many housed in the most beautiful of buildings. And there are plenty of events to look forward to throughout the year – first up is Cocktail Week, which takes place this month.
Published in Feast, issue 33.