Cold bleak day in Newark

Newark is one of those places one passes through but never visits. Maybe change trains for London King’s Cross or alight from a King’s Cross train.

Midway between Lincoln and Nottingham, trains pass through en route.

I did visit once. I noticed a large market square, rows of market stalls, but no market. I was told Wednesday. Whatever day I visited, it was the wrong day, not Wednesday.

Today was Wednesday. An LNER Azuma train to Newark North Gate, which was surprisingly busy, then walk into Newark.

I did not encounter a soul on the way. Even when I reached the town centre, or at least the edge of the town centre, still deserted. It was only when I reached the market was there people about, and even then not many.

And the market, a couple of miserable stalls and that was it.

What I did notice, the number of tea shops and cafes which seemed to outnumber the people.


I looked in a general provisions store, yes they do still exist, and next door jars of coffee beans. But nearly every jar was dark roasted.

They roast their own coffee beans. I asked did anyone serve their coffee? Yes, Secret Garden. I was told where to find, but never did find.

The other thing I noticed, everywhere closed at four if not earlier.


I then walked down a little alley, I think was called Chain Lane, and there found a delightful place, soup, a choice of three different, and that was all the shop served.  What I love to see, a shop with the emphasis on quality, not serving paninis

I was their only customer, sadly soup in takeaway,  for which the lady apologised.I was shown some beautiful bowls they will be using once a dishwasher installed.

My mushroom soup was excellent.

I looked in the Butter Market, currently being renovated by the local council. They have kicked out all the little independents, for what, to bring in Cosy Club. A very very bad move, a crap corporate chain, fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake.  No lesson learnt from destruction of Sincil Street in Lincoln, the local council in bed with the local Coop. Why do local councils not learn, build on what you have , what makes you unique, not destroy to make every town centre look kike every other ugly town centre.


It was then find Stray’s, claimed to serve best coffee in Newark. A stupid claim to make, as usually means they don’t.

What I found, a greasy spoon cafe serving very bad coffee.

I asked for burger, claimed to be homemade. Did not have. Offered chicken burger. Yuk, No thanks.

I ordered a coffee. Service abysmal. A long wait.

When it arrived, looked disgusting, cappuccino carpet bombed with chocolate. A tiny sip, scalding hot, tasted disgusting.

I took it back. Then had argument, told I should have said if I did not want chocolate, the till said chocolate.

I asked of the coffee they use. No one knew. The bags of coffee on sale, appeared to be catering supply coffee, no roast date.

Second cappuccino arrived a little quicker. It too looked disgusting, a quarter of an inch of froth and foam sitting above the cup. I dipped my spoon in. There may have been coffee somewhere in the bottom of my cup if plumbed the depths my spoon came back up with a slight brown tinge.

A tiny sip, scalding hot, tasted disgusting.

The cookie I had ordered came later. It was not good, sugary and sweet, cheap chocolate.

I was pleased I did not have anything to eat. Not going by the coffee.

I was also pleased I did not have anything to eat, the vile stomach churning stench emanating from the kitchen, I was tempted to ask but thought best not to know.

My cappuccino left untouched. I should have demanded a refund.


Then a little real ale shop. They had cans from the brewery I had visited in Sneinton Market a couple of weeks ago. But not the beer I had tried a couple of weeks ago. Tried an alternative.The brewery makes a beer once, then tries something new, never or rarely, the same beer twice.

The Real Ale Shop had an excellnt range of beer, cans, bottles and growlers.


I then came across a little coffee shop as I headed back to the market square.

Beautiful old building  both outside and inside.

I had a coffee. Not the greatest but far better than what I had at Stray’s which must count as one of the worst I have ever been served.

This little coffee shop, they need to source better coffee, then it will be a really top class coffee shop.


Back to a butcher I had spotted earlier. Not long gone three, already everything packed away. Picked pork chops and Lincolnshire sausages.

Tried the Lincolnshire sausages a couple of days later. Not very good, not in the same league as Redhill Farm or the butcher at Heighington.

Back to the general provisions store, a couple of slicers of ham, then head to the station, this time Newark Castle.

Now cold, raining, not pleasant at all.


Cross the River Trent, cross railway line.

At the station, on the platform a bus shelter.

A few minutes wait for a  train. I was pleased to leave and get on a warm train.

— to be continued

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