My Norfolk… With Monica Vinader

Spanish jewellery designer Monica Vinader grew up between Madrid and London, but it’s coastal Norfolk she now calls home. Over two decades ago, she fell in love with the county’s wild marshes, romantic beaches and blue skies, and decided to move both her home and business there. She let us in on all the best places to eat, stay and shop…
Sculthorphe Mill, Fakenham

HOTELS

Titchwell Manor, Brancaster

Titchwell Manor is a beautiful country home just around the corner from Titchwell Bird Reserve. There are 26 stylish bedrooms, most of which lead to a patio or small garden space. It’s also a great nesting hole for those wanting to explore the local area, thanks to its proximity to Burnham Market, Hunstanton Beach and the market town of Holt. 

Visit TitchwellManor.com

The Harper, Langham

Some friends recently stayed at this new boutique hotel and they absolutely loved it. Located in Langham, just inland from the coast at Blakeney (a beautiful and unspoiled part of Norfolk), the hotel has its own spa with a swimming pool and beautiful countryside views. You can easily get to Stiffkey to see the saltmarshes or travel a little further to Holt. 

Visit TheHarper.co.uk

Sculthorphe Mill, Fakenham

Set right over the River Wensum in Fakenham, Sculthorphe Mill is totally idyllic and lots of people have been talking about it recently. There are seven ensuite bedrooms, plus a fantastic pub below. When I last visited a few weeks ago, the food and atmosphere were fantastic – I had a divine squash risotto.

Visit SculthorpeMill.uk

The Gunton Arms, Near Cromer

The Gunton Arms is also home to some gorgeous rooms, decorated by renowned interior designer Robert Kime. Each looks out over Gunton Park, which you can stroll around before heading to the restaurant for dinner – an ideal spot in the summer months. Situated in a thousand-acre deer park, expect to see a few four-legged friends while tucking into your meal. It’s also home to owner and art dealer Ivor Bracka’s personal collection, with works by Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud featured on the walls. 

Visit TheGuntonArms.co.uk

The Victoria, Holkham 

Part of The Victoria Inn pub, this hotel is so close to the beach you can smell the sea from your room. There are 20 cosy bedrooms all within walking distance of Holkham Park, which offers a plethora of woodland walks and deer spotting opportunities. Dogs are welcome, too. 

Visit Holkham.co.uk

The Assembly House, Norwich

Norwich is on the rise with lots of fantastic places to visit. So if you’re in the city, stay at The Assembly House. This hidden gem is set in a historic building which dates back to the 18th century. There are 15 spacious rooms as well as a grand dining room where you can eat afternoon tea. 

Visit AssemblyHouseNorwich.co.uk

PUBS

The Jolly Sailor, Brancaster 

This is a go-to spot for a weekend treat where you can tuck into some great home-cooked classics like whitebait and juicy burgers – but it's the stone-baked pizzas that are the real showstoppers. The owners also own Brancaster Brewery, so expect to find some exceptional real ales on the menu.

Visit JollySailorsBrancaster.co.uk

The Duck Inn, Stanhoe

The food here is sensational. The Duck Inn uses local Norfolk produce and there’s always something exciting on the menu. It’s fantastic for Sunday lunch where I sometimes meet girlfriends – you can eat outside in the sunshine or indoors during the colder months.

Visit DuckInn.co.uk

Holkham Estate

The Victoria Inn, Holkham

Just a few steps away from the golden sands of Holkham beach, The Victoria Inn is a lovely spot to relax after a long walk. Alongside bar snacks and a smart lunch menu, this pub also serves dinner dishes featuring ingredients from local farmers. Book a table or enjoy a pint in the garden after a day at the beach. 

Visit Holkham.co.uk

The Hero, Burnham Overy Staithe

This cosy pub is just five minutes from Burnham Market. In the winter, you can keep warm in the bar next to the wood burning fireplace, while the large garden is buzzing in the summer. Expect a seasonal menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, with the fish and chips being one of the most popular dishes.

Visit TheHeroBurnhamOvery.co.uk

RESTAURANTS & CAFÉS

Socius, Burnham Market 

This restaurant is run by a wonderful husband and wife team and serves up modern tapas dishes designed to share. Highlights include the burrata and the in-house cured smoked salmon. It also has a great cocktail menu, with offerings ranging from a classic Aperol spritz to an apple, elderflower and mint martini. 

Visit SociusNorfolk.co.uk

The Lookout Café, Holkham

This cosy little café can be found on Lady Anne's Drive at the entrance of Holkham beach. Warm up after a windy beach walk with a menu of locally roasted coffee, tea and homemade cakes. If you can secure a spot outside, it overlooks the nature reserve, making it ideal for birdwatchers. 

Visit Holkham.co.uk

Socius, Burnham Market 
Socius, Burnham Market 

Morston Hall, Morston

Morston Hall is home to a Michelin-starred restaurant headed up by Galton Blackiston, and is the perfect place for a real treat. The seven-course tasting menu features a range of seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients, with canapés served in the lounge or garden beforehand. It sits right on the coast, so you can take a walk on the beach before or after your meal. 

Visit MorstonHall.com

The Tuscan Farm Shop, Burnham Market

You’ll find this deli perched on the edge of Burnham Market’s green but expect to be transported to an Italian vineyard once inside. It serves up some tasty antipasti platters along with soups, Italian wines and indulgent homemade desserts. Head there for a coffee and pastry, or book a table for an Italian feast-style lunch. 

Visit TuscanFarmShop.com

The Beach Café, Wells-Next-The-Sea 

The aptly named Beach Café in pretty Wells-next-the-Sea can be found right on the sand, with a large outdoor seating area. Everything on the menu is locally sourced, from the sausage rolls to the Victoria sponge. Relax here after a walk on the wild and windy beach.

Visit Holkham.co.uk

ANNA, Burnham Market

SHOPS

Gurneys Fish, Burnham Market

Head to this fishmonger for the freshest catches, as well as homemade pâté and soups. A small delicatessen, Humble Pie, lies above it, so be sure to stock up on treats if you’re entertaining. Pick up a loaf of their freshly made bread, too, along with some local cheeses, homemade quiches and summery salads. A slice of their famous chocolate cake is also a must-try, as are the jam-filled donuts. 

Visit GurneysFishShop.co.uk

Nomad And The Bowerbird, Wells-Next-The-Sea 

Wells-next-the-Sea is brimming with quirky, unique shops. Nomad And The Bowerbird sells funky clothes, along with beautifully designed homeware. Stocking everything from pretty ceramics, fragrant candles to summer sandals and slogan sweatshirts, there’s something for everyone. 

Visit NomadAndTheBowerbird.co.uk

Bayfield Hall Antiques, Holt 

Located in a converted stable yard at Bayfield Hall, this is where you'll find some one-off gems. Home to a range of antique dealers and specialists, selling everything from colourful glassware to Persian rugs, it’s where you’ll track down a one-off piece for your home, a gift for a loved one, or just some broader inspiration. 

Visit BayfieldHallAntiques.com

ANNA, Burnham Market

ANNA is known for its beautiful selection of clothes and accessories. Along with some lesser-known designers, it also stocks big names like Anya Hindmarch, Isabel Marant Étoile and Rixo. Accessories wise, expect pretty, colourful braided bracelets from Mishky and beach friendly totes by The Jacksons. 

Visit ShopAtAnna.com

SITES

There are so many beaches on the Norfolk coast, but two worth a visit include Brancaster and Holkham, where they filmed Shakespeare In Love. Holkham is romantic, rural and wild, with unspoilt stretches of sand leading to the water, while the National Trust-owned, family-friendly Brancaster is great for sandcastle making and picnics. For some wild swimming, head to Stiffkey Freshes, near Morton. 

Especially if you’re with the grandchildren, a must-see sight is Blakeney Point – home to England’s largest grey seal colony. Many of the local ferries and boats run seal-spotting day trips, most of which can be booked online. Once you’ve secured a slot, make sure to wrap up warm, as even in summer the spray from the boats can be chilly. 

For some culture, visit Holkham Hall and Houghton Hall, both of which are open to the public. The houses and grounds are spectacular, and well worth a visit even if you’re not staying in the immediate area. Holkham is part of a 25,000 acre estate, surrounded by vast parkland and a plethora of wildlife, while Houghton is known for its pretty walled gardens and outdoor sculptures. I also love Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts in Norwich which is on the University of East Anglia campus and has regular exhibitions plus an eclectic array of art – not to mention a sculpture park on its 350-acre parkland. It also has a lovely café at the back, plus a great bookshop. 

Norfolk is also home to some eerie yet stunning ruins, such as Binham Priory, which was once a monastery, and Castle Acre Priory, a ruined Cluniac priory in the village of Castle Acre. There’s also an array of churches to visit. Norfolk has the greatest concentration of medieval churches in the world, with one of the most famous being Norwich’s Norman Cathedral.

HOLKHAM ESTATE

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