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Secret Drinker reviews Ye Olde Abbey at Crowland





You’d think that if this column had taught me anything by now it would be that you should never judge a pint by its pump… or a pub by its facade.

But - like Rishi Sunak strolling out of Number 10 and saying ‘don’t worry about the brolly lads, it ain’t that wet out’ - I’ll never learn.

On a journey I decided to treat myself to a slight detour off the A16. Partly because the road is horrible and time was on my side. But mostly because I don’t get enough opportunities to visit Crowland, one of the county’s most beautiful - and happy - towns.

Ye Olde Abbey in Crowland... a happy place
Ye Olde Abbey in Crowland... a happy place
Ye Olde Abbey was a nice, bright venue... nothing like I expected
Ye Olde Abbey was a nice, bright venue... nothing like I expected

I don’t know what they put in the water, but wherever you go the locals seem ridiculously pleasant and cheery. Even the teens hanging round the benches near the glorious Trinity Bridge found time to nod and smile rather than glance shiftily at their phones and ignore the old weirdo plodding past.

Perhaps everyone’s so jolly because when you live that close to Peterborough - but not actually in Peterborough - you start to realise how lucky you truly are?

Read more Secret Drinker reviews here.

Anyway, I digress. I was looking for a drink in this three-pub town and felt the urge to try Ye Olde Abbey because, at first glance, with its picturesque namesake in the background, it just seemed appealing on this summer’s afternoon.

Drinkers hold court
Drinkers hold court
The restaurant area
The restaurant area

From outside I must admit I wasn’t expecting a lot. This three-storey pub looks the kind of place that will be a dark little spot; you know the sort with its dim lighting, brown beams and traditional old patterned carpet.

Of course, it’s anything but. The interior is bright and breezy, with light walls, big screen TVs and dart boards giving a real lift to the the traditional old walls.

And, because this is Crowland, everyone was having a great time.

The beer garden was a good size and soon filled up
The beer garden was a good size and soon filled up
The outside bar
The outside bar

The ladies lined up the bar, the old boys sat around gassing and the lads watching the sport on the big screen were all larking about and having a flipping good laugh.

With the exception of the empty restaurant area (my visit was between the lunch and dinner slots), I was struggling for a seat before I spotted the beer garden out back.

Heading past the bustling smokers shed in the rear car park, again filled with people having a good time, I found plenty of seats awaiting me in this sun trap; a lovely little outdoor area with the bar, barbecue and stocks - yes, stocks - hinting at some lively summertime fun.

A pint of Loom went down well in the beer garden
A pint of Loom went down well in the beer garden
Somewhere to stick Bruck Bogtrotter during the barbecue
Somewhere to stick Bruck Bogtrotter during the barbecue

While I pondered exactly how much of an gluttonous git you’d have to be to warrant being locked up in the stocks as everyone else barbecued, the beer garden began to fill with families, young and old, and groups of drinkers getting into the spirit.

Pint done I headed back inside to drop my glass off only to be greeted by, well, nothing. In the bar, which had previously been nothing short of vibrant, was virtually empty.

Had there been a mass alien abduction? Did the Pied Piper pop by and lead the punters away? Had they all just headed out to the beer garden?

Where everyone had gone, I don’t know. But wherever they were I bet they were happy.

I grabbed this snap after returning inside... and discovering everyone had vanished
I grabbed this snap after returning inside... and discovering everyone had vanished
A peek inside the gents
A peek inside the gents

YE OLDE ABBEY, 21 EAST STREET, CROWLAND, UNITED KINGDOM

DECOR: A nice, bright interior with something for everyone, whether they’re a diner, lounge lizard, sports fan or sun seeker. 3/5

DRINK: I went with a pint of Loom Pale Ale (ABV 4%). It was the first time I’d tried this and it stood up to the Atlantic Pale Ale, a personal favourite, which was also on offer at the pumps. 4/5

PRICE: I paid £4.50. It could have been more, and these day’s it’s rarely less. 3/5

ATMOSPHERE: The place was just fun. A nice, lively atmosphere with everyone chipping in. 4/5

STAFF: A jolly couple held court behind the bar, laughing and joking with drinkers, while another cheery staff member seemed particularly grateful I’d returned by glass to the bar. 3/5

Click here to follow Secret Drinker on Twitter/X.

Do you agree with the Secret Drinker or have any suggestions where he should go next? Where is your favourite beer garden? Email secretdrinker@lincsonline.co.uk or comment below.



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