Needless to say there's much more to this great pub - two more rooms for starters. One is a games room, basically an extension of the public; you can play devil-among-the-tailors here. The no-smoking lounge has a wood-burning open fire, especially welcome at this time of the year.
The Queen's Head is one of a handful of pubs to have appeared in all 34 editions of the Good Beer Guide. Although a free house, the beer has always come from Adnams. At this time of the year Bitter and Broadside are complemented by the luscious Old whilst when ALE visited just before Christmas there was the added attraction of a 14-month old cask of Tally Ho. This classic barley wine starts off at around 7% abv but after more than a year's maturation it would be something else (tragically I was driving!) All the beers are served by gravity straight from the barrel.
In the lounge you'll find a list of all the licensees since 1729. It's amazingly "short". Current landlord David Short has been in charge since 1971, having taken over from his dad (David's own son, Robert, is now joint licensee). David has been a great friend to CAMRA over the years and holds the licence for our summer Beer Festival. Entrusting your livelihood to a bunch of amateurs involved a huge leap of faith, especially in our early years, and we owe David an immense debt of gratitude - not just around the festival but for running such a wonderful pub.
On the food side of things, simple but delicious is the formula. You can choose from a wide variety of fresh-cut sandwiches including roast beef, smoked ham, stilton and Humphry (bananas are involved). Toast and beef dripping will set you back ?2 and at lunchtime Aga-baked potatoes are available. It's the soup though which has become legendary. It changes continuously depending what's added to the pot and a "soup chart" is helpfully provided to enable you to match the day's colour (from Dark Brown to Greenish) with the likely taste experience. At £3 a helping, with chunky bread and butter, it's a must-buy,
The pub sign features a final eccentricity, the queen's head in question being that of Anne of Cleves who has no connection with the pub or area. On one side she looks very fed up but on the other, presumably a few pints of Adnams later, she is much jollier.
The Queen's Head will no doubt be well known to most of our readers but should you never have been there for some reason do yourself a favour as soon as possible. There are sadly few places like it.