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North Norfolk

North Norfolk is famous for its many fabulous beaches. Long sandy stretches at Holkham, Brancaster and Wells next the Sea, or pebbles further east at Salthouse, Cley next the Sea, Sheringham and Cromer. There are plenty of spots for fossil hunting too, try West Runton, where in 1995 an entire woolly mammoth was found in the cliffs, part of it is on display at the Castle Museum in Norwich.

You can catch the train, (Bittern Line) from Sheringham to Norwich, but if you fancy an old fashioned steam train then try the Poppy line from Holt to Sheringham.

Holt is a Georgian market town and has many country shops as well as boutiques, antiques shops, art galleries cafes and restaurants. Try Number 28 on the High Street a new cafe offering breakfasts, lunch and very good coffee and cakes. Butlers and Byfords have restaurants as well, both very good and Byfords has a "posh B&B". The Osokozi gallery on Albert Street is a great place for unusual jewellery ideas and there is a Christmas shop on Bull Street opposite Byfords which is great fun.

Burnham Market, is another market town but is based mainly along one street. In the summer it is packed with tourists and the pretty village is jammed with cars parked around the green. Best advice is to go in the winter and stick to the beach in the summer!

Pubs are plentiful in North Norfolk, try The White Horse at Blakeney, the Anchor at Morston, The White Horse and the Jolly Sailors at Brancaster, the Three Swallows at Cley and the Kings Head at Letheringsett to name but a few!

Morston boasts the only Michelin Star restaurant in 50 miles at Morston Hall. Sea trips are very popular to Blakeney point. The boats run from Morston but you can boot tickets at Blakeney Quay as well as Morston. Numerous companies run trips but Temples offer a commentary of the harbour as you are taken out which is good. Some let you land on Blakeney Point for a walk, but only if the tide is right so check before you book.

Norfolk has many historic houses to visit. Holkham Hall is privately owned, the entrance is opposite the road to the beach. You drive down a long windy drive and park anywhere on the grass under the trees when you reach the house. Parking is free and you can walk around the grounds and round the lake free of charge too. When you enter the house you are greeted with "please take as many photographs as you wish" by the gentleman at the door, very different to other stately homes! There is a bygones museum and teashop too and the estate makes its own ice cream in the summer.

Holkham Hall

A bit further along the coast to the east near Cromer is Felbrigg Hall owned by the National Trust. There are some lovely walks around the grounds, down to the lake, through the woods and around the house, it has the usual tea rooms and gift shop located in the old stable block. Blickling Hall near Aylsham, is an impressive Jacobean house and is supposedly home to the headless ghost of Anne Boleyn. Dogs are welcome here in the park and woods. Head west and you will find Sandringham House, the country home of the Queen. The house is set within 60 acres of the most amazing gardens and there is a church in the grounds you can visit too.

Holkham Beach

The village of Heydon is archetypal England - all owned by the local estate, it is a relaxing place to visit with an interesting church with very old wall paintings. Walking in the parkland is currently allowed. I am told the pub has good food.

The Earle Arms in Heydon
Queen Victoria Memorial Heydon Village Green

I had an excellent lunch at the Wiveton Bell - a ' gastro-pub' mentioned in the 2010 Good Food Guide and 4 miles from Holt. A reservation did not seem to be necessary in low season. The hamburger with Norfolk Dapple cheese was 8-95 in June 2010 and the ubiqutous pint of Wherry 3-10. Lunch for 2 - 25 quid. The bedrooms look very pleasant but can only be booked for a minimum of 2 nights- rates 80-140 pounds inc breakfast - unclear pp or per room from brochure - Summer 2010 prices.

The Wiverton Bell at Wiverton

The superb mackerel starter, chips, date pudding and strawberry trio at the White Horse in Brancaster are also worth investigating - reservations definitely suggested. Large lunch for 2 about £50 in 2010 - again excellent Wherry. Rooms vary a lot in price between £45-97 per person depending on season - Summer 2010 prices.

The Muckleburgh Collection

On the site of an atmospheric former military camp at Weybourne A149- - a privately owned collection of predominantly Allied armoured vehicles. I found the Suffolk and Norfolk Yeomanry collection the highlight and worth the visit on its own - large collection of Victorian ceremonial uniforms. Museum shop full of childrens toys.

On Mondays Tuesdays and Saturdays, tank rides can be booked - tel 07747 798393 (brochure price £100 !!!!)and a separate 15 min ride in a cross country truck can be booked from reception - somewhat cheaper at £2.50. Admission £6 adults, £4 for children.

Spring 2012 Pub update

A recent Spring visit to the Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham was worthwhile - I am assured that if you pronounce the a 'arr' you will blend in with the locals - who don't dine in this gastro-pub.

An outstanding host and good service - the burgers were perfect as was the Wherry. PE32 2HN 01485 520827

B and B 6 rooms advertised 50-80 quid per night


I was most impressed with the range of Beer in the Real Ale shop at BrantHill Farm on the Fakenham - Wells Road and would suggest a case of Stirling Bomber ale. Wherry is a favourite of mine but I found the Light Dragoon themed beer a little bland.
Mixed cases are possible and the manager is very knowledgable.
I am told there is also an Adnams outlet nearby.

For authentic guernseys visit Stratton Long Marine chandlery in Blakeney - stunning walking in the winter but I am told is extremely busy in the Summer.

I would agree with the comment on Burnham Market - reminded me of Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds ! However, the chemist has an unusually good selection of shaving kit and the the Gun Hill clothing company has a good range of RM Williams kit.

I was most impressed with the range of Beer in the Real Ale shop at BrantHill Farm on the Fakenham - Wells Road and would suggest a case of Stirling Bomber ale. Wherry is a favourite of mine but I found the Light Dragoon themed beer a little bland.
Mixed cases are possible and the manager is very knowledgable.
I am told there is also an Adnams outlet nearby.
Adnams shop in Holt (cellar and kitchen store) - Lees Yard, next to the picture framing shop and The Tannery. Open Monday to Saturday 9am - 6pm, closed Sunday.
Bank Holidays 11am - 4pm
For authentic guernseys visit Stratton Long Marine chandlery in Blakeney - stunning walking in the winter but I am told is extremely busy in the Summer.

I would agree with the comment on Burnham Market - reminded me of Bourton on the Water in the Cotswolds ! However, the chemist has an unusually good selection of shaving kit and the the Gun Hill clothing company has a good range of RM Williams kit.

The Albion was built in 1898 and is one of the few surviving examples that can be chartered by groups of up to 12 with its crew for the day or longer.
Be prepared to help on board and bring a picnic to include the crew.
A most relaxing way to spend a day and you will receive envious waves from passing canal boats and cruisers.
Tel Stephanie Gowman - 01508 470992 albioncharter@btinternet .com

The Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham continues to impress. A smart gastro-pub with excellent draft Wherry. The haddock and chips is enormous, sea bas first rate and the burger as good as any rival.
After lunch , visit Houghton Hall PE31 6UE. The opening hours are eratic- 1-30-4-30 , Weds, Thurs, Sun and bank holiday Mondays - but the routedoctor would rate this with some of the great houses of England.
A 5 acre walled garden and the world famous Cholmondeley colection of model soldiers completes the visit. Finish with the superb ice-cream from the restaurant.

Holt - the quality of the coffee in Byfords and free wifi with newspapers puts this place ahead of its rivals in this enticing market town.
The farm shop at Letheringsett outside Holt opened a couple of years ago and is a civillised spot to stop for even more caffeine. The butchers counter is the place to stock up on local meat especially the steak burgers and pigeon.
Beer and wine cheaper elsewhere and the similarly smart farm shop in Walsingham is probably its main rival. Locals favour the Letheringsett option.

The routedoctor and blonde escort recently had supper in the HunnyBell Hunworth NR242AA.

The bar could be desribed as a mixture of locals and 'Yah' loicals (overseas readers Google OK Yah)

61 quid dinner for 2 with plenty to drink.
The Shiraz branch creek perfectly quaffable 6-20 for 250ml. The steak and beefburger of suitable gastro pub quality served on wooden boards and the chocolate fondant and hazlenut parfait (£6) worth tasting.
Service has been described as slow by previous diners. The young staff a little vacant - they wouldn't last long in the US .

The blonde would return I am told.

Booking advised 01263712300



The Kings Head Letheringsett - south of Holt.

The routedoctor visited following a truly fantastic lunch in Arbutus in Soho and a somewhat dissapointing steak at the Gaucho Grill in Chancery Lane (he was not up before the beak).

Hence, the routedoctor was wearing his London eating hat. Top tip - forget London , come here for your steak. It is quite simply the best the writer has had outside Argentina.

Daniel the manager is a high quality individual and this place is spot on. One of the routedoctor's colleagues who appreciates fine dining was similarly impressed.

32 oz steak £38
Malbec £16

Chips £3

Dinner for 5 on a quieter evening £165.

UPDATE 2015

? new chef and definitely a new manager. The routedoctor felt the need to email the manager about the change in standards.We haven't returned

The Moorings High St Blakeney

A busy and established fish restaurant which will require booking. Reliable fish - the lobster sold out quickly and was excellent. Dinner for 2 Summer 2015 £85. Service is friendly - try chatting to staff - its not London.

Start with a glass of Sancerre rose in the Blakeney hotel at £5 and end with a walk by the creek. Better than
St Tropez or Chelsea.


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