Royal Norfolk Coast food and drink
Eating out in Royal Norfolk is a sheer delight, with numerous award winning restaurants, gastro pubs, country pubs, cafés and tea rooms all with their own style and illustrious chefs; you will easily find somewhere to keep the hunger and thirst at bay and fit the budget. If you are self- catering whilst you are here there are also some great farmers markets, farm shops and delicatessens to visit, all of which champion fabulous food locally grown and made in and around west Norfolk; look out for such delights as samphire, asparagus, saffron, lavender bread, mussels, oysters, crab, stewkey blues – cockles to you and I - venison, pheasant and pigeon in season.
When on holiday it’s great not to have to think about the cooking and this part of the county has some excellent places to relax in, unwind and let someone else do the hard work for you. Try the Farmers Arms Inn at South Wootton a former stables, byre and grain store that has been converted into a welcoming country pub with plenty of nooks, crannies and exposed beams. Sit on the decking in good weather at The White Horse Inn at Brancaster and watch the catch of the day come up from the beach – it won’t be long before it is on your plate! If fine dining is what you seek, try The Neptune at Old Hunstanton, serving modern food the restaurant has retained a Michelin star since 2009. Congham Hall is a beautiful Georgian manor set in extensive grounds and uses vegetables and herbs from its own gardens, worth a tour to walk off lunch. The Duck Inn at Stanhoe is an award winning pub, using local produce and has a Michelin Guide listing for 2015. If you are a large crowd and looking for a Sunday Roast, why not pre-book at the Marriotts Warehouse Café & Restaurant in King’s Lynn where they will cook a roast of your choice; set down on the quayside in the historic quarter of the town, it is an ideal spot to relax on a Sunday. Other great places to try along the coast are Titchwell Manor, which has a bar with a sea view terrace and if you have the dog with you, try The Orange Tree at Thornham, where apart from the great food for you, there is also a special menu for your canine friend, here it is literally a dog’s life!
Afternoon tea is another perfect thing to do on holiday, as it’s not often something we have time for at home, so schedule in a tea time slot and seek out the many splendid cafés and tea rooms in this part of the county. The Creake Abbey Café & Food Hall at North Creake is worth a visit; here you can have a scrumptious tea and then take some delicious things home for supper from the food hall next door. Enjoy a cream tea at Bircham Mill, with scones and cakes made from the flour milled here; the tea room also features local art works, which changes monthly. The Lavender Kitchen at Norfolk Lavender in Heacham has a great selection of mouth-watering afternoon delights, some featuring lavender of course and afterwards you can tour the gardens and distillery. If you like a little history mixed in with your tea, then after a visit to the monastic ruins of Castle Acre Priory, find Barnfields Café situated on the green for a warm welcome and in the knowledge that you have arrived at delightfully old fashioned tea room.
If you are catering yourself for some of the holiday then look out for wonderful farmers markets, delis and suppliers that will fill your foodie basket with great local and home-made goodies. Try the farmer’s market at Docking every Wednesday or the one at the Royal Sandringham Estate held every last Sunday in the month for fish & shellfish, chutneys, preserves, old fashioned puddings, local honey & jams, locally reared rare breed pork and beef, game in season, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses and much more. Good delis to try are the newly re-opened Thornham Deli on the coast, the Humble Pie delicatessen in Burnham Market, also check out Gurneys Fish Shop whilst you are there for delicious home-made fishcakes and if you are in Hunstanton, go to the award winning Norfolk Deli for local produce and themed hampers to take the hard work out of putting a picnic together, try their Beach Day Out, Family Day Out or The Weekender – all provided in a recycled sail bag.
Finally if you happen to be travelling in and around the south of Royal Norfolk, look in at the Railway Arms on Platform 1 at Downham Market railway station – yes really! Voted Overall Winner of the National Cider & Perry Pub of the Year in 2013 and listed in the Good Beer Guide for the last 5 years, this award winning micro pub serves a selection of guest real ales and traditional ciders, has a notable record collection and a second hand book shop, what more could you want?!