A Summer Holiday in North Norfolk

Avoid the crowds and live like a local on the North Norfolk Coast

Stunning at any time of year, it’s no secret the North Norfolk coast is a great place to holiday, but if you’d prefer to distance yourself from the traffic, queues and buckets and spades that come with this time of year then base yourself among the magical marshes of Cley-next-the Sea.

Cley next the Sea

Crowds are minimal, there’s a couple of great local pubs and plenty of seafood pit stops including Cookies and Cley Smokehouse. Pick up local produce for a beach lunch at Picnic Fayre.

This part of the coast with its bright flora, windswept beaches and cobble lined windy country lanes, gives it a sense that it’s somewhat off the beaten track. Follow the coastal footpath for a refreshing one hour walk to neighbouring Blakeney, which was recently listed by The Sunday Times as one of ‘the best places to live in the UK in 2019’.

Blakeney Quay

If you’re feeling fancy stop for Champagne and lunch overlooking the quay at the Blakeney Hotel or tuck into traditional fish and chips at the King’s Arms; a welcoming rustic pub with no Farrow & Ball colours insight, just honest Norfolk character. It’s dog-friendly too! 

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Coastal Cottage Rental in North Norfolk

For a home away from home, bed down at one of the Blakeney Cottage Companies self-catering holiday rentals. We had the pleasure of staying at the cute and cosy Bradwell Lodge in Cley-next-the-Sea.

Bradwell Lodge

A two bedroom stylish house located next to Cley Windmill, the holiday home is the perfect location for exploring this part of the coastline. Ideal for a family of four or couple of couples (the twin room can be made into a double at request), it’s spacious and offers everything you need for a self-catered break.

Set back off the main road, the front courtyard is the perfect place to sip wine after a day of exploring. Take in the golden hour of sunset with a walk along the marshes, which can be accessed via a remote footpath between the cottage and windmill, offering a sense of exclusivity! Should the rain fall, as it did during our visit, snuggle down in the living room and enjoy a film or board game.

On a clear night, step outside into the silence and look up at those big skies Norfolk is famous for, you’ll be thankful you did!

Things to do in North Norfolk when it rains

Of course the British summer doesn’t always plays nice so should the rain fall, take shelter in one of the many antique stores. During a torrential downpour we took cover at Bayfield Hall Antiques & Interiors – if only the car was big enough to take home the gorgeous mirror I spied. You can read our guide to antique stores in Norfolk here.

Nestled in the Bayfield Estate is Natural Surroundings, a small café located among a nursery of wild flowers, pots and plants. A must visit for the green fingered among you!

To escape the miserable weather we stopped at Wiveton Hall Café, along with every other tourist. Made famous by the BBCs ‘Normal for Norfolk’ it serves up tea, coffee, homemade cakes and lunch. The interiors are bright, bold and brash. Take a walk through the gardens or stay in one of the bell tents. Whether it lives up to the hype is up for discussion, but if you’re looking for an alternative that captures the true beauty of Norfolk, visit the NWT Cley Marshes Visitor Centre. An exhibition and bird watching space, guests can enjoy a cup of something warm in the glass fronted café overlooking the reeds and marshes which stretch out to the sea. It makes for great views whether the skies are grey or blue!

Beach at Wells-next-the-Sea

The best places to eat in North Norfolk 

It’s quite easy to spend your days eating and drinking on the coast. With little tearooms and coffee shops in almost every town and village, cake is no short supply. Try Owl Tearoom in Holt. One of the oldest in Norfolk, it is tucked away on White Lion Street and has a great courtyard for al fresco dining in the summer.

Stiffkey Stores

On a little country lane between Wells-next-the-Sea and Blakeney is Stiffkey Stores; a quaint interior and botanic store that is also home to the village post office. Stop to browse the homewares and enjoy a cup of tea and cake in one of the cute converted sheds.

Everyone loves a bit of pub grub, however North Norfolk pubs have an advantage over others as they have some of the UK’s best produce on their doorstep. The Wiveton Bell is a multi award-winner, The King’s Head in Letheringsett is quirky, and the Dun Cow in Salthouse is a must for a seafood dinner. A five minute drive from Bradwell Lodge, the Dun Cow is a favourite among locals and visitors. The menu is plentiful with something for everyone. I started with fresh oysters followed by crab linguine, simply divine.

Beach huts at Wells

Seafood fans should take a trip to Wells-next-the-Sea and book a table at Wells Crab House or Seasons. Finish with a tasty treat from the Wells Ice Cream Company. For something different hop aboard Albatros moored in the Quay. Opt for one of the seasonal dishes or their signature pancakes.

Foodie delights, local wildlife and stunning scenery are just few of the things that make the North Norfolk a beautiful UK holiday destination. The stretch of coastline from Wells to Cley is perfect for those looking for a break that encourages a slower pace of life…you just might not want to leave!


Bradwell Lodge, Cley-next-the-Sea 

  • Sleeps 4
  • Two dogs allowed
  • One private parking space
  • Garden

Price Per Week: £595 – £975

Book your stay at www.blakeneycottagecompany.co.uk | Tel: 01263 741777

Want to know more about the area? Read our guide to North Norfolk afternoon teas, dog friendly pubs and more

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