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Pub Crawl

Though the statistics are pretty scary - in 2019, 235 hostelries reportedly shut up shop each month - the decline in pub numbers is said to be slowing. Our area’s pub trade is proving the point, with four inns on the doorstep getting a new lease of life

Flying High

Destroyed by fire in 2018, The Three Blackbirds in Woodditton has risen from the ashes, with The Chestnut Group, its parent company, about to unveil its new look - and new menu.

“While carefully retaining a lot of the pub’s old charm and character, the restoration has also added a burst of colour and personality, with the addition of nine beautiful bedrooms and a few surprises upstairs,” say the team.

“The menu has been thoughtfully crafted to celebrate all that is great about our fantastic region and retains a lot of old favourites, including locally sourced steaks and hearty roasts. Expect to see some new dishes on the menu too, including delicious vegan options and even a special doggy menu.”

The Three Blackbirds, Woodditton (28826750)
The Three Blackbirds, Woodditton (28826750)

A much-loved pub that has long been at the heart of the village community, the Blackbirds, which dates from the 17th century, will, they add, “remain as warm and welcoming as it always was – the perfect place to enjoy hearty food, great wine and special times with friends, family and, of course, the four-legged companions.”

The Three Blackbirds is at 36 Ditton Green, Woodditton, Newmarket CB8 9SQ. See theblackbirdsinn.com

Out of Africa

Bobotie - a signature South African dish, made from minced lamb, topped with egg custard and served with chutney and rice - will soon be on the menu at Three Ways in Cowlinge. New owners Basie and Ellie van Rooijen intend to bring a flavour of their South African homeland to the Camra award-winning pub. “As soon as we are settled into the rhythm of things we will look to introduce some traditional South African meals,” explains Basie.

The pub, which dates from 1643, closed after the previous owners - Chris and Sue Smith, who had run Three Ways for 14 years - retired.

The van Rooijens moved to the UK in 2016 and have been looking for the perfect pub to purchase ever since, reopening Three Ways last month.

Adds Ellie, who’d like to hold a weekly friendship club for older locals in the future: “It’s a very warm friendly community, so it’s really lovely.”

The Three Ways is at Queen Street, Cowlinge, Newmarket CB8 9QD. See thethreewayspub.co.uk

Changing Rooms

Sicklesmere’s Rushbrooke Arms has undergone a dramatic makeover, which, in the space of just three weeks, saw its rooms revamped floor to ceiling. Following a six-figure investment, The Greene King pub has been redecorated in a contemporary-yet-cosy scheme: cream walls, wood floors, leather and checked-tweed upholstery, all in keeping with its thatched exterior and beamy interior.

Inside the revamped Rushbrooke Arms (28835445)
Inside the revamped Rushbrooke Arms (28835445)

The menu has been refreshed, too, says manager Rebecca Goodwin: “We’ve built our menu around quality chargrilled steak, chicken, fish, vegetarian dishes and burgers – plus a choice of pub classics that everyone loves. Our brand-new pub and grill offers something for everyone.”

The Rushbrooke Arms is at Sicklesmere, Bury St Edmunds IP30 0BU. See greeneking-pubs.co.uk/pubs/suffolk/rushbrooke-arms/

Coming Up Roses

The Rose & Crown has been a landmark in Histon for some 450 years: set on the main road through the village, it was built as a farmhouse, became a pub in the 1840s, and is now poised to open a new chapter in its history.

The owner, Leicestershire-based brewery Everards, is looking for a partner to collaborate on developing the pub, specifically “an independent business owner with a great vision to bring a new and exciting food and drink offer to Histon.”

“This opportunity has so much potential. The building is a great size and, being in such a fantastic location, lends itself to be an all-day café/pub style of business,” explains Gareth Smith of Everards.

“We have drawn up plans to showcase this unique opportunity, but we’re seeking a business owner to bring their own ideas and work with us to transform this characterful building into the right venue for their vision and the local community.”

It won’t be the first time Everards, itself a 170-year-old family business, has teamed up with an indie: they’ve collaborated in pizzeria, cafes and even a bakery.

For more information, contact the Everards team on 0116 201 4260 or attraction@everards.co.uk

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