An Inspector Calls: The Crown in Suffolk has gone in for the old-boozer-poshed-up routine and rooms leave guests feeling as if they're sleeping in a large beach hut

  • The Crown at Woodbridge in Suffolk is made up of ten light and airy rooms
  • Rooms have free-standing baths and lots of powder blue wood panelling
  • Sits in a little town near a medieval church, theatre and a working tide mill

Rating:

The two-carriage train from Ipswich to Lowestoft rattles through such lovely countryside that the stop at Woodbridge comes all too quickly — though those who commute to and from London every day from here might not agree.

On arrival, the River Deben is on one side of the station, the pretty market town on the other. And it’s a proper little town (population 11,000), with a medieval church, theatre/cinema, a working tide mill, even ten-pin bowling.

The Crown, just off the High Street, has gone in for the old-boozer-poshed-up routine and comes up with ten light and airy rooms done up as if you’re sleeping in a large beach hut.

The Crown, which is located just off of the High Street, has gone in for the old-boozer-poshed-up routine

The Crown, which is located just off of the High Street, has gone in for the old-boozer-poshed-up routine

Mine is a standard, but much bigger than expected. There’s a requisite free-standing bath, separate walk-in shower (Ren products), lots of powder blue wood panelling, two sash windows, large comfy bed.

Everyone is friendly, the atmosphere down to earth. Luke (splendid beard) is behind the bar and happy for us to try before we decide on the wine.

A friend who lives nearby joins me for dinner. But first he introduces me to the affable Mayor of Woodbridge, who has popped in for a quick half and stays for a proper session. The mayor is an enthusiastic Brexiter, by the way.

There’s a big emphasis on local produce — which means asparagus looms large on the menu. My friend opts for grilled asparagus with ricotta dumplings and poached pheasant egg to start, while I go for crab ballontine with broad beans and caramelised yoghurt. There’s not much of his and mine is far too dry.

‘What’s this?’ I ask Luke, pointing at what must be the caramelised yoghurt.

‘That’s pork scratching,’ he says.

Woodbridge is a proper little town (population 11,000), with a medieval church, theatre/cinema, a working tide mill, even ten-pin bowling

Woodbridge is a proper little town (population 11,000), with a medieval church, theatre/cinema, a working tide mill, even ten-pin bowling

We both move on to the spring lamb with ‘peacake, asparagus, confit lemon’, plus rosemary fries and extra asparagus on the side. It’s all a little poncey and the asparagus is over-cooked. We ask for mint sauce and redcurrant jelly, but Luke shakes his head. Instead, he comes up with a rhubarb sauce, which shows imagination.

My friend shuffles off into the night and I take myself off to Room 8. Far too quickly I’m back in the dining room for breakfast.

Each table has a small carafe of orange juice on it — decanted from an overly sweet carton, sadly. My scrambled eggs are overdone, but the coffee is delicious, the mood full of spring promise.

At checkout, the machine wants to know if I care to leave a tip. I hate these situations because I don’t want to leave a tip in this way, but can’t bring myself to chicken out, so add a further £20 to the bill.

The Crown is the sort of place that should know better.

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