Saffron grower Sally Francis chats to us about her favourite spots in North Norfolk, where she runs an eco-friendly saffron business
1. Brancaster Beach is a fantastic spot for a walk. Tread the miles of golden sand here and you may spot the old shipwreck that can be seen when the tide is out. Sally is a regular visitor: ‘There are some interesting things thrown up on the beach – it’s fantastic for beach combing. I’ve picked up seashells, fossils, semi-precious carnelian stone, even a whale’s vertebra.' Even your four-legged friend can benefit from the wide expanse of Brancaster Beach, as it's dog-friendly throughout most of the year.
Photo: Tom Stilwell/Shutterstock
2. Nearby, The Jolly Sailors (jollysailorsbrancaster.co.uk), a cosy, rustic pub in Brancaster Staithe, serves delicious food. ‘I love their stone-baked pizzas with ham and rocket,’ Sally says. The 18th-century watering hole also serves seafood landed from Brancaster Bay and opens an ice-cream beach hut in the summer months.
3. For a great selection of local produce Sally likes to visit Walsingham Farm Shop (walsingham.co). ‘I enjoy coming here to browse and pick up something as a treat.’ Inside the shop, visitors can expect to find high-quality meats and cheeses, plus fresh fruit and veg. One member of the Walsingham Farms Shop Partnership, Elizabeth Meath Baker, says 'We embrace the theatre of shopping. Being here should be a pleasurable, fun experience whether you are watching sausages or game pies being made, or tasting something from a nearby producer. Shopping with us is experiencing Norfolk food.'
4. For local fish, Gurney’s (gurneysfishshop.co.uk) fishmonger in Burnham Market is hard to beat. Sally is a big fan: ‘They’re in touch with all the local fishermen. As well as fresh fish they do a lot of smoked fish and the fishcakes are the best in the world!’ As well as great fish, Gurney's has a great history. Around 40 years ago, Mike Gurney learnt to grow oysters in the North Norfolk creeks and was taught how to smoke fish, so he opened up a tiny shop in Brancaster dubbed 'the hole in the wall'. As much of a success then as it is now, Gurney's Fish Shop has been a Burnham Market staple since 1992.
5. In summer, Sally likes to peruse the auctions on the green (burnhammarket.co.uk) held in Burnham Market every Monday. ‘It’s a bric-a-brac jungle with everything just laid out on the grass. You can see some wonderful things.’ To have a browse yourself, pop along at 1pm, which is when the auction begins.