The Norfolk coast has it all – enviable beaches, fine dining, wondrous wildlife and fabulous walks. Alice Westgate picks out some excellent accommodation options for a memorable visit.
1 For seal trips… Blakeney Hotel, Blakeney
This family-run hotel wins hearts thanks to its quayside location and views across the estuary and salt marshes. There are more than 60 rooms, many of which look out over the water. Others have direct access to the garden and are perfect for dog owners. While away some time in the heated indoor pool and be sure to take a boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point. Prices start at £306 for bed and breakfast (blakeney-hotel.co.uk).
2 For romance… Cley Windmill, Cley-next-the-Sea
Full of character and history, Cley Windmill has been a North Norfolk landmark since the early 19th century. It’s full of quirks, including a circular dining room, four-poster beds and even a bedroom in a tower that’s accessed by ladder. The balcony that encircles the windmill has amazing views over the marshes and the sea. Prices start at £179 for bed and breakfast (cleywindmill.co.uk).
3 For rooftop bathing… The Crown Hotel, Wells-next-the-Sea
The Crown makes a great base in this bustling town, which is well-known for its lovely sandy beach. For a touch of luxury, several rooms have old-fashioned freestanding copper baths – one sits on a roof-top terrace that opens off your suite, alongside sun loungers with sweeping sea views. From £150 for bed and breakfast (crownhotelnorfolk.co.uk).
4 For walkers… The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe
In a glorious spot by the marshy coastline in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this dog-friendly hotel is a great choice for walkers as it sits right on the coastal path. As a reward at the end of the day, the White Horse’s award-winning restaurant serves up culinary delights including shellfish freshly landed by local fishermen. Prices start at £140 for bed and breakfast, minimum stay two nights (whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk).
5 For country style… The Victoria Inn, Holkham
At the gateway to Holkham Hall and Holkham National Nature Reserve, The Victoria is a 19th-century English inn serving delicious local food – much of it from the estate itself – and offering an array of individually designed rooms and suites. Owned by the Earl of Leicester, whose ancestral home is Holkham Hall, The Victoria Inn is every inch the elegant country retreat. Prices start at £250 for bed and breakfast (holkham.co.uk/stay-eat/the-victoria-inn/welcome).
Read our hotel review of The Victoria Inn.
6 For gastro-pub lovers… The Chequers Inn, Thornham
The local inn has been a feature of this lovely coastal village for more than 500 years and has exposed beams and open fireplaces to prove it. It has just 11 rooms but each one is luxurious and elegantly decorated, making it the ideal place to unwind with top-notch food including local meat, fish and game that changes with the seasons. From £110 for bed and breakfast (chequersinnthornham.com).
7 For fine dining… Morston Hall, Morston
Morston Hall’s Michelin-starred restaurant is famous for its outstanding cuisine thanks to chef patron Galton Blackiston, whose tasting menu changes daily to showcase the finest seasonal produce Norfolk has to offer. This country house hotel dates back to the 17th century and has 13 individually designed guest rooms, some in the main house and others in a pavilion overlooking the garden. Prices start at £200pp for dinner, bed and breakfast (morstonhall.com).
8 For dog owners… The Ship Hotel, Brancaster
You and your four-legged friends will love the wonderful walks along miles of sandy beaches near The Ship, which has six dog-friendly rooms, some of which can accommodate up to three pets. Dogs are also allowed in one of the restaurants, as well as on a large patio if you prefer to eat al fresco. From £130 for bed and breakfast (shiphotelnorfolk.co.uk).
9 For birdwatching… Titchwell Manor, Titchwell
Relaxation is pretty much guaranteed at Titchwell Manor, which overlooks the RSPB reserve at Titchwell Marsh. Some bedrooms – plus the hotel’s two luxury shepherd’s huts – have their own hot tubs. Others, located in the main farmhouse, look across to the North Sea. All guests can enjoy fine dining in a choice of two restaurants. Prices start at £150 for bed and breakfast (titchwellmanor.com).
10 For tales of smugglers… The Lifeboat Inn, Thornham
Situated on the fringes of the marshes, it is not hard to see why this 16th-century inn was frequented by smugglers. These days it’s a relaxing spot popular with dog-owners and famous for its roaring fires, hearty pub food, good beer and outdoor bar. There are 16 comfortable bedrooms, each designed to have its own distinctive character. Prices start at £175 for bed and breakfast (lifeboatinnthornham.com).
Read our hotel review of The Lifeboat Inn.
Planning a break in Norfolk? Check out the 10 best places to eat on the Norfolk coast or discover 5 secret spots on the North Norfolk coast. Pick up the latest copy of coast magazine for more coastal escape inspiration.