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Horse and Groom pub in Sudbury enjoys buoyant atmosphere as popular gin festival returns



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A festival atmosphere filled a Sudbury pub over the weekend, which enjoyed a bumper few days of trade during one of several planned events of the coming weeks.

The Horse and Groom in East Street brought back its popular gin festival over Saturday and Sunday, following an evening of live music on Friday.

Customers flocked to the pub in large numbers to sample a variety of different gins, alongside a barbecue on both afternoons.

(L-R)Laura Hawkins, Kevin Hawkins, Steph Hawkins and Ash Webb pictured at the Horse and Groom Gin Festival in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (58336553)
(L-R)Laura Hawkins, Kevin Hawkins, Steph Hawkins and Ash Webb pictured at the Horse and Groom Gin Festival in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (58336553)

The pub was particularly packed on Sunday, as patrons celebrated England’s historic and dramatic 2-1 victory over Germany, in the final of the 2022 Women’s European Football Championships.

Landlord Ashley Webb, who lives at and runs the Horse and Groom with his family, said he had lost count of the turnout over the weekend, such was the festival’s popularity.

“It was a brilliant weekend,” he told the Free Press. “We had loads of people in and the barbecue on the Saturday sold out.

Sam Britton-Gant mans the barbeque at the Horse and Groom Gin Festival in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (58336561)
Sam Britton-Gant mans the barbeque at the Horse and Groom Gin Festival in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (58336561)

“We had the Women’s Euros final on Sunday, so we were full inside and outside, which was brilliant to see.”

Mr Webb confirmed that they also plan to stage a cider festival over the August bank holiday weekend towards the end of this month, as well as a follow-up to the gin festival in September.

Having signed a five-year lease on the Hawthorn Leisure-owned pub earlier this year, he praised the pub’s loyal customer base, particularly during the recent challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Tim Singleton enjoys a drink at the Horse and Groom Gin Festival in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (58336558)
Tim Singleton enjoys a drink at the Horse and Groom Gin Festival in Sudbury..Pic - Richard Marsham. (58336558)

“It’s tough because of the cost of living, but we’re very lucky in that we’ve got a great bunch of regulars.

“They all come in, they have great fun, and they really seem to enjoy themselves.”