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Eaton: Red Lion

PUBLISHED: 17:31 17 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:33 01 July 2010

WHERE IS IT?

The Red Lion was once a landmark on one of the main thoroughfares into Norwich. Then the road entered the motoring age, became the A11 and the narrow stretch through Eaton, which was fine for carriages but not up to scratch for cars, was bypassed.

WHERE IS IT?

The Red Lion was once a landmark on one of the main thoroughfares into Norwich. Then the road entered the motoring age, became the A11 and the narrow stretch through Eaton, which was fine for carriages but not up to scratch for cars, was bypassed. Today thousands of cars fly past but you have to take the Eaton turn off to stop at the fine red brick building that was built in 1643 by Robert Holmes who was sheriff of Norwich in 1646.

WHAT'S IT LIKE?

It has been described as the finest example of a house of that date in Norwich. It still retains many original character features and in 1954 was accorded Grade II Listed status. Even from the outside it's a splendid pub. Inside its even better with wood-panelling and ceiling beams in the bar and restaurant areas at either end of what essentially one long room. With suitably historic artefacts incorporated into the decor, including a suit of armour, it has a warm, welcoming feel. The bar area is a little squashed by the restaurant, so beware if you're a big non-dining party. The business is owned by the Paul and Laura Wilson and is part of the Colchester family group of pubs, which includes the Recruiting Sergeant at Horstead and the Black Boys Hotels in Aylsham, and it shares the same ambitions.

THE DRINKS

Well kept lagers and ales including Courage Directors, Greene King IPA and Adnams Broadside, plus ever changing guest beers. A selection of fine wines and speciality coffees.

THE FOOD

There are separate breakfast (served from 8am), lunchtime and evening menus with a bar snack selection too. The evening meal options are as extensive as they are expansive - this is proper food, not a quick snack. Produce from local suppliers is used wherever possible for the wide range of traditional and imaginative choices on the menu. Daily specials £12.95. And a chargrill menu with steaks ranging from £10.50-£17.95.

THE ENTERTAINMENT

Not really. Generally low key, conversational sort of place that mainly concentrates on good food and friendly hospitality.

THE REGULARS

Generally more mature locals, regular diners, some passing trade and people staying in the attached B&B. The quality is way above pub average though and by drinking or eating here you'll be adding to a long history.

t The Red Lion, 52 Eaton Street, Eaton, 01603 454787, www.redlion-eaton.co.uk

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