Quirky ‘dining greenhouses’ are coming to Norfolk Broads’ pub

The Lion at Thurne is launching a takeaway service and has created bike racks out of pallets Picture

The Lion at Thurne is launching a takeaway service and has created bike racks out of pallets Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant

Dining greenhouses that have sprung up on the banks of Amsterdam’s scenic canals are coming to Norfolk’s waterways.

The Lion at Thurne is looking at a range of ways of getting back to the pumps in the open air.

With the camping and boating trade cut off, publican Ricky Malt said he had to “think outside the box” in order to survive being closed at what should be his busiest time of year.

Inspired by the Dutch distancing model, widely shared on social media which showed people dining in candle-lit greenhouses, he has bought three similar units each seating six.

Meanwhile, the 35-year-old is set to launch a food and drink takeaway service at the pub this week.

Tables set out to host takeaway diners waiting for their food and drink at The Lion, in Thurne Pictu

Tables set out to host takeaway diners waiting for their food and drink at The Lion, in Thurne Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant


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And although nothing can be consumed on the premises or in the large garden at the moment people can hire picnic blankets and take their food and drink to the playing field or riverside.

Mr Malt said the pub was well off the beaten track with plenty of space and that the service was more for locals or people dropping by on their bikes rather that those driving from Norwich or beyond.

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A limited menu of fish and chips, pizzas and deli board would be on offer with everything including drinks served in sealed containers in line with regulations.

In time he hoped the rules might be relaxed for those with ample outdoor space as the country moved out of lockdown.

A trio of dining greenhouses are coming to the Lion at Thurne inspired by similar ones in Amsterdam

A trio of dining greenhouses are coming to the Lion at Thurne inspired by similar ones in Amsterdam Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant

Mr Malt, who also has the White Horse, at Neatishead, said he had always wanted to find ways to boost trade in the middle of winter at his pub which was in the middle of nowhere.

The dining greenhouses seemed a quirky way of addressing social distancing during lockdown and providing a fun venue later on.

Bespoke picnic benches will be going inside but the greenhouses themselves will probably not be ready until the peak summer months.

“I am probably working harder now than I normally do,” he said.

The riverbank at Thurne is being billed as the perfect place for a takeaway picnic meal from the Lio

The riverbank at Thurne is being billed as the perfect place for a takeaway picnic meal from the Lion nearby Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant

“It means we have something to work towards.

“But we are still chasing our insurance which they have rejected but may pay out.”

He said he was planning a soft launch this week with the takeaway and picnic blanket hire, stressing they would be washed between uses.

“We are trying to come out fighting,” he added.

Ricky Malt at the award-winning Lion pub with general manager Rachel Parr Picture: Ricky Malt

Ricky Malt at the award-winning Lion pub with general manager Rachel Parr Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant

Customers enjoying the garden at the Lion at Thurne last summer July 2019 before the lockdown. The l

Customers enjoying the garden at the Lion at Thurne last summer July 2019 before the lockdown. The landlord is looking at ways to start trading again while all staff are furloughed and social distancing remains in place Picture: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

Tables set out to host takeaway diners waiting for their food and drink at The Lion, in Thurne Pictu

Tables set out to host takeaway diners waiting for their food and drink at The Lion, in Thurne Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant

Tables set out to host takeaway diners waiting for their food and drink at The Lion, in Thurne Pictu

Tables set out to host takeaway diners waiting for their food and drink at The Lion, in Thurne Picture: Ricky Malt - Credit: Archant

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