Smugglers Trail: A Route in Beer, Gin & Whiskey Part 4
In the 18th century, the crown was constantly raising taxes to fund foreign wars. At one point levies on tea made it six times more expensive in England than in Europe. Not popular! So merchants and innkeepers were in cahoots with free-traders, buying rum, gin, tobacco, tea, brandy, silks and lace from smuggling networks running contraband from the continent. Most welcomed help with the cost of living, so fine city people asked no questions. But you can investigate! Discover the history of Norwich through its exciting food and drink scene. So good it’s criminal!
Norwich is justly proud of its boozers and legend has it the city has 365 pubs – one for each day of the year. (And 52 churches so if you feel the need, you can repent at a different one every Sunday!) The Fine City’s a fantastic bet for a beer all year round, particularly cosy and welcoming on chilly winter days. With so many excellent pubs, it’s hard to know where to start. Unless, that is, you have an expert guide!
This relaxed walking tour takes you to six celebrated public houses in and around the centre of Norwich, each one known for its warm hospitality and beautifully pulled pints! Your guide is not only super knowledgable about the city’s rich heritage, she’s a trained sommelier who’ll introduce you to the friendly local bar teams. While learning about the fine art of brewing, you’ll sample lip smacking local and specialist beers. Your guide’s always ready with brilliant anecdotes and stories to entertain in classic pub style so you’ll be able to ask questions and enjoy yourself in warm, like-minded company.
It’s possible that accessible public transport might be used to reach destinations a bit further afield. With advance notice, the guide offers tours in BSL and can adapt delivery styles for varied sensory needs. Please allow around four hours for your tour. The cost is £40pp which includes half a pint of delectable local beer or cider at each stop and a tasty light snack.
Small, passionate and bubbly as the beer, the brilliant award-winning Redwell Brewery taproom team are well known for on (and off!) site merriment, guaranteeing you’ll drink, you’ll laugh, and you’ll learn! There’s a warm welcome for everyone whether you’re a long seasoned beer-lover or brand new to the world of craft brewing, there’s something special here for you.
So what happens during a tour? You’ll have an hour behind the scenes discovering each stage of the brewing process with entertaining guided tastings of all the excellent beers brewed at Redwell. Then enjoy two pints of your choice either to quaff on-site or to take away to enjoy at home. Mostly you’ll have a good laugh as the Brewery Tours are designed to be both informative and entertaining! The core range is created from scratch in small batches here at the Trowse brewery in Norwich, using locally grown Norfolk malt and all kinds of exciting hops from around the world. Beers range from the popular Chewy Passionfruit IPA and fruity Extra Pale Ale to a clear, golden, easy drinking Norwich Pilsner with the flavoursome depth of good Czech-style lager and a good honest stout called Lusty Newton, a proper winter comfort drink for dark beer lovers.
At Redwell, they believe in beers for everyone so the whole range is certified vegan and gluten-free, meaning everything can be enjoyed by one and all. Join them at the on-site Taproom to get yours!
Walk the streets of historic Norwich with an expert food guide, taste and drink the culinary diversity present in this impressive historic but vibrant city. Explore its history and drink in its atmosphere, amble through the biggest open-air market in the country with dozens of local produce food stalls. Norwich is also home the best darn’ mustard in the world and has over five hundred restaurants, cafes and bars. Nestled between medieval churches, cobbled streets, a bustling high street, and the winding River Wensum are hundreds of independent food places, with dozens serving locally sourced foods. Your guide Zena is a professional chef, food writer, blogger & cookery tutor at Lodge Farm Kitchen. She has huge passion for all things food and a great knowledge about the City’s food scene, with a tad of interesting facts thrown in. Norwich has much to offer with delicious local flavours fabulous independent restaurants, shots of local ale, a mini cone of fish n chips, a sweet treat or two, tea or coffee. There are different options available all bring out different aspects of Norwich’s food and drink scene. Find out about Norfolk local cheeses, ales, and wines as well as foods from around the world. The real difficulty is which one do you choose?
Popping corks, laughter, glasses clinking in friendship. Wine is woven through our celebrations from romantic autumn picnics to fabulous festive feasts. But why do wines taste so deliciously different? And how do you choose what to try?
Norwich Wine School is independently owned and proud to work with local suppliers.They host regular wine tastings, courses and food and wine experiences in Norfolk, ideal if you enjoy wine and want to learn more. All events are run by friendly wine tutors and are relaxed and informal with an emphasis on learning by tasting. The best way!Whether you’re new to wine, want to explore different countries or grape varieties, or simply want to enjoy good times in good company, there’s a tasting you.
Try the indulgent ‘Saturday Course’, a full day flagship food and wine experience. Ease into the morning with a glass of English Fizz and breakfast canapés and later, tuck into a delicious 3-course seasonal lunch. You’ll taste at least 15 wines, from all around the world, learn what makes them sing and find out how to make amazing food and wine pairings.‘Themed Food and Wine Evenings’ explore local wines matched with the world’s most famous cuisines. And informal ‘Food & Wine Workshops’ explain why wines can work well with some foods yet not others. Norfolk Wine School is excited about the future for wines made from grapes grown in Norfolk, supporting local vineyards by showcasing their wines and training the next generation of winemakers. Cheers!
Historical documents rarely reflect servants’ voices. Get the below-stairs low down from Florence Wadlow, a kitchen maid who worked at Blicking Hall in the 1930s.
Her charming memoir ‘Over a Hot Stove: A Kitchen Maid’s Story’ is a must-read for fans of Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, although such programmes didn’t impress Flo. When she died in 2013, The Daily Telegraph quoted her as saying: ‘They have got it wrong. They should have talked to people like me.’
Flo was born in 1912 in West Ham, London. Her life in domestic service began aged 16 as a kitchen maid in South Kensington. Rising quickly through the ranks, by 23 she was taken on as a cook for Lord Lothian, Blicking Hall’s last private owner, cooking for the Astors, Queen Mary and Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, who stayed at Blickling during the 1936 abdication crisis. Flo recalled his wife, Lucy Baldwin, tipping her a pound, nearly whole week’s pay in those days! When Lord Lothian was appointed Ambassador to Washington, Flo moved to cook for the Bulwer-Long family at Heydon, where she met her husband Robert Wadlow.
Blickling Hall is now a National Trust property and Flo’s fourth floor bedroom is recreated just as she’d have known it. Heydon Hall is a private home, but you can explore the immensely pretty village where Flo once walked with her beau. Stop for a pint at The Earle Arms or book a luxurious cream tea at the delightful award-winning Heydon Village Tea Shop.
Have you heard the saying that Norwich once had a church for every Sunday of the year and a pub for every day? Not strictly true, it was more like two pubs for every day of the year at one point! These days things are a little less boozy, but not much! Join The Shoebox Experiences on a fascinating, walking and wheelchair friendly tour of Norwich to discover more about the city’s taverns, pubs and inns, led by a local storyteller, history enthusiast and performer who’ll bring the good old days to life. From brewing and body snatching to swan keeping and smuggling, you’ll hear tantalising tales from Norwich’s rich past as you weave your way through time.
This 1.3 mile tour takes you through the most scenic, photogenic parts of Norwich. Starting on Bishop Bridge, Riverside Road you’ll meander along the river, through wonderfully picturesque streets – be sure to have your camera ready! Perfect for visitors and locals who want to see the city from a different (possibly slightly blurry) perspective, this 2-hour tour is sure to whet your taste buds! Having fun is thirsty work so you’ll end at The Murderers Pub on Timberhill for a tipsy tipple and a Q&A session. A half a Murderers Ale, local beer, cider or soft drink is included with your ticket. And if you’re feeling peckish, your ticket also gives you a 25% discount off food at The Murderers when you show your booking confirmation, valid only on the day of your tour.
Suitable for over 18s only.
Want to discover fabulous award-winning English wines? Just follow your nose! Learn about wines and vines on a two hour tasting tour of award-winning Chet Valley Vineyard in Burgh Apton, South Norfolk.
Wine is a joyful expression of place and time, bottling seasonal harvests to savour in future years. Cultivating vines and making wine is a fascinating science with a splash of romance. There are no shortcuts in the wine business, it’s built on passion, dedication and, in the case of John and Bridget Hemmant, more than a decade of hard work. As owners of this lovely family-run single estate Norfolk winery, they have a strong philosophy of sustainability, deeply rooted in respect for the natural elements of winemaking and love of the local environment.
Head winemaker John shares his knowledge of England’s rich terroir, cool-climate grape varieties and how to handcraft a delectable range of sustainable artisan wines.
You’ll visit the land and taste the passion, sampling five Chet Valley wines (red, white, rosé and sparkling) with a delectable cheese and charcuterie tasting plate. There’s the option to add a delicious locally sourced lunch platter, with meat and cheese, fish or vegan/vegetarian delights, to enjoy before or after your tour.
Chet Valley Vineyard is happy to cater for bookings of 10 people or over from November to end of March and groups and individuals at other times. An ideal gift for wine-loving family members or friends. Cheers!
Down the winding lanes of South Norfolk’s Brecklands, England’s oldest and most prestigious whisky distillery sits amongst a grove of cricket bat willows on the banks of the softly flowing River Thet. Creating both unpeated and peated varieties, The English Whisky Company’s St George’s Distillery was the first to produce whisky in England for over 100 years. Even Scottish whisky distillers secretly agree Norfolk grows the best barley, and blended with fresh water from the Brecklands aquifer, running beneath the distillery, it’s a winner!
Tour the magnificent distilling floor and barrel warehouse, built by the Nelstrop family for the sole intention of handcrafting the finest English Single Malt Whisky. Embraced by the warm aromas of a working distillery, you’ll learn the history and see the behind the scenes process accompanied by an expert guide. And naturally, you’ll be wanting a taste! You’ll be talked through the tasting notes of an award winning English Whisky and a delectable liqueur. The shop has an amazing selection of small batch releases from the ongoing cask trials, as well as the renowned core range, all ready to sip at leisure.
You can also take a stroll through the gardens and along the bank of the River Thet. Look out for a flash of turquoise in case the kingfisher’s around! At the end of your trip, over 18s receive a £5 discount voucher, redeemable on English Whisky branded items (RRP over £30, see T&Cs) and a mini tasting glass to take home.
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