The Three Blackbirds – Newmarket
Review by Rachel Ducker
Set in the rural village of Woodditton the recently refurbished pub, The Three Blackbirds, welcomes guests with stylish décor and charm, it’s still very much a traditional village inn but with a magnificent modern twist.
You would never know this grade II listed 17th century inn suffered a huge fire a short while back and spent two years closed whilst new owners from The Chestnut Group lovingly restored the building.
It reopened in December 2019 but as we all know, the pandemic hit and we entered our first national lockdown shortly after, so sadly it had to close once again with intermittent reopening’s.
Despite a difficult year the team supported its local community through a challenging time. Head chef Phil Skinner informed me during our stay that The Chestnut Group were dedicated to being a hub for locals during this tough time and sent out hundreds of free meals to key workers. A lot of warmth surrounds this village inn.
With restrictions lifted and rooms now open again, I was invited to stay for my birthday weekend. I was over the moon to get a glance of The Three Blackbirds in all its newfound glory.
Although in horse racing country this pub is renowned for being dog friendly, in fact most guests including us, came accompanied with canine friends with wagging tails. Our Norfolk Terrier Archie was also delighted to be welcomed in the outdoor dining area which offered a doggy menu, a sweet touch.
The Barn offers nine newly built boutique style bedrooms, our room, Juniper, featured battleship grey tongue-and-groove panelling set off by bold blues and soft furnishings, not forgetting the wonderful, oversized headboard.
Although we were provided with a small bed included for our son Leo, it was inevitable he would end up in the middle of the bed, so the large king size bed was a blessing as we needed the extra room.
Inside the pub expect to see roaring fires, exposed brickwork, and wooden beams with flourishes of contemporary statements including copper painted finished on bar and colourful bold banquettes.
At the time of our visit outdoor dining restrictions were still in place, but to be honest I found the spring garden terrace a treat.
As we sat underneath a large green tent warmed with fire burning heaters and lit with fairy lights I enjoyed listening to the sounds of the raindrops on the roof– it was exceptionally cosy.
If you visit for a drink there is a multifarious wine list, great range of beer and craft ales – including non-alcoholic and low alcohol – and well stocked gin shelf.
For foodies, you will find all your pub classics but a cut above normal pub grub.
Let’s start with the soughdough focaccia bread – you must try this whilst you browse the menu, its salty, bouncy and probably one of the nicest I have yet to try.
Sections made – my husband and I followed suit, a simple but tasty plate of chargrilled Suffolk asparagus, dusted with Parmesan and topped with a poached egg set the standard, followed by the breaded cod cheek scampi, minted braised peas and lettuce, triple cooked chips. So delicious and perfect portion sizes, the chips were something else!
Nothing is complete without a dessert and being five months pregnant my sweet tooth has certainly been heightened. The white chocolate and praline cheesecake, with raspberries and toasted hazelnut was a triumph, served in a very cute individual glass pot – much better than a piece of birthday cake in my opinion.
My son Leo ordered from the kids’ menu, the fish goujons, fries and peas went down a treat followed by his first ever jelly and ice cream, I only wish I had of considered the sugar rush that close to bedtime, but a lesson learned!
We retired to our room for an early night, (as parents of a one-and-a-half-year-old do) and enjoyed coffee and peppermint tea in the room.
So, whether you are looking for a romantic break away, family trip with the kids or a little adventure with your four-legged friend, The Three Blackbirds have a warm welcome for all.
I am a big fan of The Chestnut Group, there is heart at the essence of everything they do, with strong yet caring teams in place they never skip on quality and service.
Wishing them every success with restrictions lifting again as they can welcome people back inside.
Address: The Three Blackbirds, 36 Ditton Green, Woodditton, Newmarket, CB8 9SQ
Telephone: 01638 731100