A lovingly refurbished pub with rooms surrounded by a 1,000-acre historic deer park in North Norfolk, The Gunton Arms hit the mark on all counts: stunning location, stylish accommodation, cosy pub, great staff, fantastic food & drink and impressive art collection. It was the perfect getaway, only two hours from Cambridge.
Paulo and I visited The Gunton Arms with our friends Peter and Jenni, who had dined at the restaurant and were keen to repeat the experience in our company, as well as stay on the estate.
The location was a little difficult to find but it added to the cachet of a unique hideaway. We spotted the neon sign to reception where we registered our arrival.
We were directed to the car park and once inside the remarkable inn, staff welcomed us and showed us to the residents’ lounge, the coffee/tea making facilities and our rooms.
Eric’s Fish & Chips, located in the pretty village of Thornham on the North Norfolk coast, is home to some of the best fish and chips I’ve tasted. Well-known local chef Eric Snaith opened the restaurant in 2015 and it’s been a huge success with locals and visitors alike.
The minimalist décor is bright, cheerful and modern with a nod to the fish and chip shops of yore. Concrete floors, multi-coloured wall tiles, rustic jam jar lights as well as stools, chairs and tables with hints of vibrant yellow and green all add to the fun and welcoming atmosphere.
The focus is on local, seasonal produce… from the sustainable MSC-certified fish to the potatoes (there is even a sign indicating the potato of the day).
The Flying Kiwi Inns is an independent group of luxury hotels in coastal Norfolk purchased by New Zealand Master Chef Chris Coubrough who has settled in the area. The Ship Hotel in Brancaster is one of those luxurious hotels. I already stayed at The Crown Hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea and blogged about it here a few years ago. Paulo and I really enjoyed the great food, wine, service and ambience and were eager to repeat the experience at The Ship Hotel. I’m pleased to say we were not disappointed.
We had a bit of a stressful drive during Storm Doris but when we arrived at The Ship Hotel, check-in couldn’t have been more effortless. Within minutes we were shown to room 9, which I requested upon booking over the phone, where we could unwind before dinner.
The deluxe Moroccan-themed room on the top floor featured a comfy King-size bed, a luxurious roll top bath, separate shower cubicle and a great little nook with a sofa bed nestled in the corner.
Room 9 on the top floor was the pub’s attic before the refurbishment but the high ceiling in the roof’s apex and the original wooden beams made the room feel spacious.
The White Horse overlooks the marshland coastline in picturesque Brancaster Staithe, North Norfolk, which is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I’ve seen The White Horse described as a “pub with rooms” and I think that’s quite the understatement. It’s so much more than that… an award winning establishment with coastal contemporary style rooms (15 in total, some of them dog friendly) and a casual bar that leads to a gorgeous conservatory restaurant serving some truly outstanding food. There’s even an elevated deck terrace to take in the panoramic views of the tidal salt marsh. Sounds like the perfect getaway? Well, it was!
Paulo and I booked the “Room at the Top”, a spacious, split-level room complete with telescope for taking in the breathtaking views of the marsh, Scolt Head Island and the sea beyond. Definitely a wow factor!
North Norfolk is one of my very favourite places to eat. Its seafood, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables are always fresh to the plate. In my search for new places to indulge in some local food and drink, I came across an interesting article written by James Ramsden for The Guardian, which addresses why we return to our favourite restaurants time and again (read “Why we never get fed up of our favourite restaurants”). The Anchor Inn in Morston was recommended by Sarah Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage. Now Sarah lives in Norfolk and makes the best pork pies on the planet… so I took her word for it and promptly booked a table for 2 at The Anchor Inn.
The result? A delicious lunch in a very charming country pub which, by the way, was a one time haven for 19th century smugglers and fishermen!
The Crown Hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea is one of the luxury hotels in coastal Norfolk owned by The Flying Kiwi Inns. They are known for serving some excellent food as the restaurants have New Zealand Master Chef Chris Coubrough at the helm. My husband Paulo and I had these places in our sights and we finally decided on an overnight stay and dinner at The Crown Hotel.
This charming former coaching inn overlooks The Buttlands, with its spacious village green and majestic trees. Picture perfect.
The magnificent golden crown at the entrance assured us of a regal experience as we eagerly explored the rest of the hotel.
We were impressed by the pleasant bar with its cosy little nooks in which to unwind, the bright and cheerful orangery and the more formal dining room. After checking in, we were shown to a spacious deluxe room with a comfy sofa and bed, including an abundance of pillows to help us settle in and relax.
Happenstance…something that happens by chance bringing about a good result. This isn’t a word I use on a regular basis but it describes perfectly my visit to Back to the Garden, a farm shop, café and restaurant in Letheringsett, near Holt. My husband Paulo and I were on our way to Holt and Back to the Garden’s clean, modern signage from the A148 caught my eye. I have a penchant for visiting farm shops so we decided to stop and have a look.
I was immediately impressed by the majestic barn and its double-height windows set against traditional barn doors, which give the illusion of being flung open.
Everything about the building said “come on in”. You can’t get a better welcome than that.