Our series editor Fiona Duncan says that, as usual, the reason why this place stands out is the hosts. Some years ago the Dorbers acquired this formerly run-down, boring pub in the village where Sophie Dorber grew up. (She and Mark had run the hugely popular White Horse – aka the Sloany Pony – pub in Parson’s Green, Fulham. Sophie did the food, he was the landlord, with a special interest in wine and beers from the world over.)
The Anchor is far from boring now: it’s a welcoming, comfortable place, very popular with the locals. The staff are relaxed, but attentive (unless overrun at peak times), kind and sometimes funny (watch out for Luke’s unexpected quips). Sophie’s food is full of flavour (she modestly describes it as tasty) and Mark has done something with the wine list that’s unique as far as we know: matched dishes with not just wines but beers. He’ll even tell you which beer to drink with your breakfast porridge.
The Dorbers are highly committed, having personally financed the venture. Don’t be misled by the building’s nothing-special exterior – it’s improved since it was painted blue. The 11 bedrooms (five in the main building, six more spacious ones in chalets in the garden) aren’t as inviting as the colourful bar and restaurant – in fact they’re simple, if not a little homespun. But they are priced for what they are. Bathrooms have underfloor heating.
It’s a terrific weekend getaway, with much of interest nearby: not least the town of Southwold, and, on the doorstep, the famous Walberswick reedbeds with their board walks – a birder’s paradise, with bearded tits and grasshopper warblers among the specialities.