Every month our friends at Cool Places give us a Top 10 of places to see, to eat and to drink that can be easily accessed from some key YHA hostels. This month it’s off to Norfolk, where there are three fab YHA hostels evenly spaced along the beautiful North Norfolk Coast – in Hunstanton, Wells-next-the-Sea and Cromer.
This lovely old inn serves great food that makes the most of the abundant produce of the local region, which you can sample in any one of three wooden-beamed bars or outside in the lovely walled garden. Their breakfast also attracts non-residents who want to fuel up before walking or cycling and they serve tea, coffee and excellent cakes all day.
Holkham Bay, just outside Wells, needs little introduction – it’s the finest stretch of beach on the Norfolk coast, with golden sands backing onto a ribbon of sand dunes and a beautiful stretch of pine forest. Wading birds galore paddle about in shallow lagoons at low tide, and who in their right mind would not want to join them?
A family-run company for over 50 years, Beans run daily open boats from Blakeney to the shingle spit of Blakeney Point, where you can get up close and personal to the grey seal colonies that live nearby, stroll to the nearby bird hides or simply bask and splash on the beach or roam around the ample dunes.
Just inland from Blakeney, this gastropub sits right on the village green and enjoys one of the most iconic North Norfolk Coast views you could imagine – looking right across the marshes towards Cley and its famous nature reserve. All in a great place to eat or just stop off for a pint – walking boots and dogs are virtually obligatory!
Time was this quirkily delicious farm shop café was known only to devoted locals. Since making several appearances in TV’s Normal for Norfolk show, it’s now rather better known, but none the worse for that, and you can still see much of the menu growing in the surrounding fields.
Situated right on the green in the tiny coastal village of Salthouse near Cley, Cookie’s is another local eatery whose legend has almost outgrown its premises, but you can still enjoy Cookies’ signature salads, piled high with dressed crab, smoked mackerel, chunky hot-smoked salmon, cockles and prawns.
An incredible assortment of seashell sculptures and art that is the life’s work of sometime radio actor and local celeb Peter Coke, who died in 2008 and left this vast and unique collection to the local community.
Sheringham is a great place to enjoy that staple of UK seaside life, ice cream. Ellie’s serves Norfolk’s own Ronaldo’s ice cream in a mouthwatering range of flavours from chocolate and ginger to cinnamon and lavender.
Footpaths and bicycle trails criss-cross this National-Trust property a couple of miles southwest of Sheringham – most of it woodland but with magnificent displays of rhododendrons and azaleas that are at their best in late May to early June. A series of purpose-built lookout posts give amazing views over the coast.
Something of a local institution, this long-established Cromer chippie serves some of the freshest fish and chips in Norfolk so don’t be surprised if you have to queue. Eat in or on the nearby beach.