Whether you are thinking about time away for a special occasion or simply a break away from work, we’re here to help you make the most of your time in North Norfolk

Explore Norfolk’s wonderful beaches, harbours and countryside; here are just a few of the wonderful places you can visit and explore along the beautiful North Norfolk coast.

All of our luxury Barefoot holiday homes offer a unique experience through our luxury concierge service so we can respond to your hearts desire.

Blakeney & Cley-next-the-Sea

The village of Blakeney slopes down narrow streets towards the harbour from the coast road where its magnificent 13th century church of St Nicolas is located.  This is quintessential North Norfolk with all the classic coastal village ingredients; a pretty harbour, old flint-pebble fisherman’s cottages, fishing boats and shops cascading down its high street.

The eventual silting of the estuary meant Blakeney ceased as an active harbour in the early 1900s.  The silting has however created the characteristics of the coastal landscape here, with twisting muddy channels and creaks meandering out across the tidal flats of Blakeney Channel which are still navigable for smaller craft at high tide.  High tide is when Blekeney really comes into its own as the village is a favourite of North Norfolk’s yachting set both for its moorings and for the unspoilt feel of the village itself.  In the summer month’s children can enjoy ‘crabbing’ from the harbour walls and play on Blakeney’s sandy estuary shores. St Nicholas’s Church sits on the hill above the village and well worth a visit too.

Blakeney Point is Norfolk’s most northerly point and one of several spits along the North Norfolk coastline, the result of drifting sand and pebbles being deposited by offshore currents.  Curved like a bird’s claw it is home to a visitor centre and houses colonies of nesting terns and common and grey seals.

Cley-next-the-Sea has a wide range of natural habitats for breeding and feeding birds and the NWT centre is must!  Apart from bird-watching Cley-next-the Sea is also a charming flint and pebble village which has wonderful walking potential right on its doorstep.  Cley also boasts an 18th century windmill which is a North Norfolk landmark.  The high street is quaint and narrow and boasts some lovely flint cottages and beautiful shops; the buildings being a mix of style, some with Dutch gables.  Pronouned ‘Cly’ not ‘Clay’ it is no longer next-to-the-sea but it once did stand at the mouth of the River Glaven.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Blakeney and Cley-next-the-Sea

Brancaster & Brancaster Staithe

A key destination for any visit to the North Norfolk coast, the Brancasters offer a wide range of activities and opportunities for all ages. Both villages have been formed around the ‘coast road’ (A149) and can easily be explored by walking the pathways that link the two together. You will find excellent places to eat, offering locally caught produce from the harbour at Brancaster Staithe, mussels and oysters are real local delicacies but a special mention goes to samphire which can only be found in Norfolk (and contains more iron than spinach!).

Brancaster also offers one of the UK’s most challenging links courses, the Royal West Norfolk. The adjacent beach features spectacular wildlife including seals, waders, skylarks and the odd passing hobby. For those looking to explore the surrounding seas and creaks, boats and canoes can be hired from Brancaster Staithe harbour. For the uninitiated, why not begin your sailing with some expert training with the local experts.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Brancaster and Brancaster Staithe

Burnham Market

The seven Burnhams by the sea consist of Market, Thorpe, Norton, Deepdale, Overy Staithe, Overy Town and Westgate, each with its own charm and history.

The Georgian town of Burnham Market is the largest of the seven, sometimes referred to as ‘Chelsea-on-sea’ because of its famous retailers and hostelries. Tailors, local arts and crafts, delicatessens and other specialists can be found around the green in the centre of the village and are well worth a visit!

See our luxury holiday cottages in Burnham Market

Burnham Overy-Staithe

For immediate access to the coast, Burnham Overy Staithe has a small fishing harbour and supports a local industry based mostly around the local shellfish. Excellent coastal walks are numerous, but a special mention must go the isolated bay that can be accessed from the harbour, no cars!

All Burnham’s may be explored by taking the Burnham’s circular walk, allowing you to take in the surrounding gorgeous countryside where the walking takes you through conservation areas and offers superb views of the coastline.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Burnham Overy-Staithe

Burnham Thorpe

Burnham Thorpe was Horatio Nelson’s birthplace and although the original rectory in which he was born was torn down and replaced, there is a plaque on the wall that commemorates the man whom may regard as one of the greatest.  The village pub, The Lord Nelson, dates from Nelson’s time and serves as a shrine to his memory as does the church which has a crucifix and lectern made from the wood taken from HMS Victory.  A very pretty village within walking distance of Burnham Market.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Burnham Thorpe

Docking

Situated a stone’s throw away from the glorious North Norfolk coastline with its many stunning beaches, wide open spaces, some of the best coastal walks, renowned restaurants and hotels, Docking is ideally situated for you to experience the traditional village atmosphere.

Historically the village was once known as Dry Docking as, due to its relatively high altitude (for Norfolk!), it was without a water supply until 1760. Over the century’s the village has also acted as a gathering point for traders coming to and from the adjacent coastline, such is the convenient nature of its location. The village was also host to a RAF base during World War II and the re

Close by you will find a village store, public house, fish and chip shop as well as weekly local produce market every Wednesday between 9am-1pm at the Ripper Hall. There is also central playing field with children’s play area.

Field Dalling

Field dallingField Dalling is just over two miles inland from the North Norfolk coast at Morston, lying between Langham and Bale.

There is a wide range of shops, pubs, restaurants, banks, schools in the Georgian town of Holt and the pretty coastal village of Blakeney with all the leisure facilities, including many good restaurants not too far away.

In an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the village of Field Dalling has some fine old buildings and the interesting church of St. Andrews.

At nearby Morston you can take a boat to see the seals or enjoy a spot of sailing or enjoy good food at The Anchor Pub in Morston which is well known for serving locally sourced produce, plus the wonderful Morston Hall which is Michelin-starred and run by celebrity chef Galton Blackiston.  Perfect for a special occasions, you won’t be disappointed.  Wiveton is close by too.  Don’t miss out on a meal at the renowned Wiveton Bell and equally impressive Wiveton Café which serves wonderful cakes, light lunches and Tapas.

Norfolk is undoubtedly the birdwatching capital of the UK and it is easy to see why. With the RSPB Visitors Centre at Cley-next-the-Sea with its café, shop and exhibition and the equally engaging RSPB centre at the Titchwell Reserve further along the coast, this area is a birdwatcher’s delight.  With trendy Holt and Burnham Market only a short drive away, where you may even spot a celebrity or two, or indeed a member of the Royal family!  With an array of independent shops, boutiques, café’s, foodie shops and restaurants, you are sure to fall in love with this more undiscovered part of North Norfolk.

Holkham

Barefoot Retreats is proud to offer our guests a unique opportunity to stay within the walls of one of East Anglia’s finest and most recognisable Palladian country houses, Holkham Hall. Owned by the Coke family since 1609, the Holkham Estate continues to this day to be a key constituent in the fabric of the local community, with many conservation and agricultural interests still at the heart of its day to day operations.

 

Over the last 400 years the park has seen many developments and the continuing legacy can still be appreciated by visitors who are able to explore the myriad of habitats to which the estate plays host. Within the 25,000 acre estate you will find the wide expanse of Holkham Beach stretching towards the east and the west, lined with sand dunes, Corsican Pine and Holm Oak. A trip to Norfolk is surely never complete until you’ve explored these wild sands. Beyond this you’ll find wetland grazing for tens of thousands of migratory birds, ancient woodland, parkland herds of Fallow and Red Deer and other livestock.

 

The estate also continues to have many thriving farming concerns and much of the adjacent countryside and farmland is very productive. The fruits of this labour can be enjoyed in numerous locations around the north Norfolk coast, including the menu at the estate-owned Victoria Inn in Holkham village.  More recently, visitors can now interact and learn more of the historical significance of this great agricultural estate and where your food comes from with Holkham’s latest visitor attraction the ‘Field to Fork’ experience.

 

The Hall, to which guests staying in the Holkham Lodges will be in close proximity, and its immediate surroundings have been nurtured through the last 400 years and the influence of Humphrey Repton and William Kent are keenly felt. Many of the lodges sit within, or are close to, woodland that was planted on an industrial scale in efforts dating back to the 1720s and again in the late 18th century.

 

To have the estate and its abundant opportunities upon your doorstep is truly a unique chance to experience country living. Guests staying in a Holkham Lodge will be able to take advantage of several benefits including parking passes for the park and beach, 10% discount at the following Holkham businesses – The Victoria Inn, The Beach Cafe at Wells-next-the-Sea, The Courtyard Gift Shop and Café in Holkham park and 10% on standard admission to Holkham Hall, Field to Fork Experience and the Walled Garden during the visitor season from 1st April to 31st October 2017. Click here to check details of opening of each attraction.

 

As the estate is very much an active enterprise and working environment, guests are asked to abide to a few key requests while staying, read more on these by using the following link. It is also to be noted that, due to the nature of these listed properties, that they offer basic kitchen facilities. With this being the case, continental breakfast items are left at the property for you to enjoy on the first morning of your stay.

Holme-next-the-Sea

Holme-next-the-Sea is a pretty village on the North Norfolk coast with a lovely sandy beach, reached by walking down Beach Road.  With a Norfolk Wildlife Trust nature reserve, Holme-next-the-Sea is a nature lover and bird watcher’s delight.

The village sits on the North Norfolk coast at the point where the coastline starts to twist south to face the Wash and is the ‘elbow’ of the combined Peddars Way and Norfolk Coast Path.

Around a decade ago, Holme-next-the –Sea was put firmly on the map with the discovery of an arrangement of ancient wood; ‘Seahenge’.  Although the timbers are now displayed in the Lynn Museum in King’s Lynn, you might still be able to see the remains of it at low tide.  What seem to be black peaty discs on the beach are in fact the fossilised remains of a large, prehistoric forest that once extended across the North Sea.

Holme-next-the-Sea extends beyond the scattering of houses which sit along the coast road.  Turn left off the A149 and you will discover a wonderful collection of flint, chalk and brick cottages with orange pantiled roofs.  At the heart of the village is the church and The White Horse public house with its pretty beer garden and play area for the children.

Within easy walking distance of Old Hunstanton  beach to the west and Thornham with its harbour, beach and eateries to the east and just a few miles drive from chic Burnham Market and fun Wells-next-the-Sea with its beach huts and glorious beach; Holme makes a wonderful base for a fantastic self-catering cottage holiday in North Norfolk.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Holme-next-the-Sea

Holt

Holt image 1 Holt, is situated close to Norfolk’s prestigious North coast. An old market town that has found renewed life, it revels in the popularity that comes from its proximity to places like Blakeney and Cley-next-Sea.

Almost all of its buildings were burnt down in 1808 when a fire broke out and obliterated the town. The rebuild has resulted in a rather handsome Georgian centre. One of the oldest surviving buildings though is Gresham’s School; Norfolk’s most prestigious public school dating from 1555.

Holt imageHolt is a cosmopolitan town, with elegant colour-washed houses and narrow lanes running off the high street. With numerous independent shops, there are some pretty courtyards too; Old Stable Yard, Lee’s Yard, Chapel Yard, Feather’s Yard and Apple Yard.

As well as some fabulous bakers, fishmongers, butchers a fish and chip shop and newsagents, there are a large number of clothes shops, galleries, food emporiums and kitchen shops and a plethora of cafes and tea rooms for you to enjoy.

Drive out of the town and you will come across lovely villages such as Wiveton with its renowned pub, The Wiveton Bell. Don’t forget to also visit the Wiveton Café between Blakeney and Cley-next-the-Sea and Picnic Fayre; a delightful deli in the village of Cley. Cley-next-the-Sea is also great for a day out and be sure to visit the RSPB nature reserve. Drive a little further east along the coast road and you will come across Salthouse with a great pub, The Dun Cow and the quirky Cookies; a famous fish shed which serves wonderful fish dishes overlooking the marsh. Nearby Weybourne is also a visit. A pretty village with a windmill, it sits on the coast road just west of Sheringham. Weybourne’s North Norfolk Railway station lies a mile from the village.

Be sure to also take a trip to see the Seals at Blakeney!

See our luxury holiday cottages in Holt

Morston & Stiffkey

Morston and Stiffkey are close relatives on the North Norfolk coast, both within the Area of Natural Beauty. A visit will reward you with numerous opportunities to explore the landscape as well as the characterful cobbled lanes of this most quintessential of Norfolk locations.

The surrounding countryside features protected salt-marshes, creeks, fenland and farmland, much of which is under the stewardship of the National Trust. Walks along the coastal path will often reveal spectacular views of the shoreline and its incumbent species, such as Curlews and Redshank, summer visitors will be treated to the sights and smells of purple fields of sea lavender. Winter visitors will be provided with a soundtrack of the geese and ducks, many of which migrate into the area for its good winter grazing. Many seal trips launch from Morston harbour and head out to Blakeney Point; this is highly recommended!

Visitors are also spoilt for choice when looking for places to eat. Depending upon your preference, you may wish to go for the full Michelin starred experience with Galton at Morston Hall, or if you prefer, more traditional pubs can be found at The Red Lion or The Anchor. All take advantage of the local produce, much of which comes from the small fishing fleets based between Wells and Blakeney.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Morston and Stiffkey

North Creake

North Creake is an attractive village about three miles south of the beautiful village of Burnham Market and located north of the market town of Fakenham. There is a village shop/post office and the welcoming Jolly Farmers traditional village pub. The old forge is now run as a living museum of the blacksmiths art. North Creake is perfectly positioned for the North Norfolk coast with its long sandy beaches, walks and wildlife.

The River Burn runs through the village, flowing onwards to Burnham Overy Town and Burnham Overy-Staithe. At one time this was a major waterway for trade but in latter centuries the river has silted up and no longer has the capacity to allow passage from the sea.

On the perimeter of the village there lies the ruins of Creake Abbey, a 12th century Augustine Abbey that was once a local powerhouse, holding much wealth and influence. Now under the stewardship of National Heritage, a visit to present day Creake Abbey could include flower shows, theatrical events, craft shops and an excellent farmers market. Wonderful walks through the countryside can start from the abbey grounds with much of the local farmland having byways to explore.

Burnham Market is a stunning Georgian village with a green surrounded by 18th century houses, shops, chic boutiques and The Hoste Arms, one of the best known and most popular places to eat and drink in North Norfolk. There are bookshops, art galleries, a good wine merchant, Satchells, and a popular delicatessen, Humble Pie. The village is close to the sailing harbours at Brancaster Staithe and Burnham Overy Staithe and the Royal West Norfolk Golf Course at Brancaster. The closest rail links to London King’s Cross are at Kings Lynn.

North Creake is only a short journey away from Burnham Market, Holkham, Wells-next-the-Sea and Brancaster and is your quintessential Norfolk village.

See our luxury holiday cottages in North Creake

Old Hunstanton

Old Hunstanton is the perfect base for discovering everything that North West Norfolk has to offer.

With its stunning sandy beach, sand dunes and pretty beach huts, Old Hunstanton also has an excellent 18 hole golf course. Some of the very best links courses that the UK can offer can be found right on the doorstep, including the Royal West Norfolk golf course at Brancaster (just a five minute drive away).  All of these golf clubs combine a great game of golf with stunning Norfolk coastal scenery.

Enjoy a delicious meal out at the Michelin starred Neptune Inn or The Lodge Hotel or Mariners pub/restaurant.  The Lifeboat Inn, Chequers or Orange Tree at Thornham are all well worth a visit as is The Gin Trap Inn at Ringstead.  Head to Brancaster and enjoy marsh views while dining from the verandah at the rear of The White Horse.

Some of Norfolk’s most historic halls and houses are situated very close by to this pretty medieval village; Sandringham House, Holkham Hall, Houghton Hall, St Georges Guildhall and Blickling Hall are all nearby.  And on a Thursday, visitors can explore the grounds of Old Hunstanton Hall which offer a complete contrast to coastal scenery.

Norfolk is also one of the country’s leading bird watching areas and the North Norfolk coast between Hunstanton and Blakeney is particularly famous. This includes the renowned RSPB Titchwell reserve,  Holme Nature Reserve, and Scolt Head Island.  Holme is only three miles away and Snettisham RSPB Reserve is just seven miles away. The National Nature Reserve at Holkham, Blakeney Point and Cley Reserve offer the opportunity to see wildlife in its natural habitat and are all worth a visit.  Make sure you don’t leave North Norfolk without taking a trip to see the seals.

From Brancaster Staithe, you can catch a ferry to Scolt Head Island, if you truly want to get away from it all and appreciate how beautiful and unspoilt this coastline really is. Or alternatively try the sailing facilities here. Don’t forget to stop and buy a crab or samphire from the hut on the hard at Brancaster Staithe or from one of the fishermen’s housese in the village.

Old Hunstanton is conveniently located for visiting many of Norfolk’s places of interest. Those craving some retail therapy can visit trendy Burnham Market with all its independent shops, boutiques, art galleries. Don’t leave without visiting its famous fish shop; Gurneys to pick up some local delicacies.  If you’re looking for some shopping closer to home, then visit Le Strange Old Barns in Old Hunstanton.

Hunstanton town offers plenty of fun for the whole family and the Sealife Sanctuary is well worth a visit along with a trip on the Wash Monster, a visit to the fun fair or a round of crazy golf.  For those wanting more adrenline, enjoy one of the many activities on offer at the water sports centre.

Burnham Thorpe, Nelson’s birthplace is also worth a visit to discover Norfolk’s close association with the naval admiral.

With historic King’s Lynn only 30 minutes drive away and the cathedral cities of Norwich an easy drive away, you are spoilt for choice!

See our luxury holiday cottages in Old Hunstanton

Ringstead

Ringstead is one of Norfolk’s best kept secrets, choked full of character and history and slightly off of the beaten track but close to the coast and its many attractions. Only a few miles from our Barefoot base in Thornham, our neighbouring village is nestled into an area of beautiful countryside and much of the village has been part of the Hunstanton estate that has been part of the Le Strange family for nearly three centuries. From Ringstead you are only a stone’s throw away from the beaches at Hunstanton, Old Hunstanton, and Holme-next-the-Sea, which offer a completely different day out for their visitors.

Good eating is never far away in Norfolk. The local pub in Ringstead is The Gin Trap, an old coaching inn and pub of grand age and is still a stop-off for walkers nearing the end of the Peddar’s Way.Aside from the Gin Trap, the village also has a pleasant children’s play area, a well-stocked village store and the quirky interior design shop ‘Hidden Treasures’. The nearest rail link can be found in King’s Lynn and frequent trains to London Kings Cross.

The Victorian holiday resort of Hunstanton is the home to the Michelin starred restaurant ‘The Neptune’, a small dining area makes pre-booking essential. Other eating highlights nearby include The Rose & Crown in Snettisham, The Orange Tree and The Lifeboat Inn in Thornham and Titchwell Manor.

The local nature reserve at Ringstead Downs has one of East Anglia’s largest chalk grasslands and is the home for many specialised species of flower and bird. The chalky nature of this area is typified in the numerous chalk pits that existed in many of the inland villages; look out for the many ‘Chalk Pit Lanes’ that pay testament to this industry.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Ringstead

Snettisham

The village of Snettisham is situated on the North Norfolk coast, just a few miles from the royal residence at Sandringham and boasts a superb RSPB reserve, award winning 15th century coaching inn and Snettisham Park Farm, a working farm offering fantastic family days out.

From the RSPB reserve you are able to look westwards, across the teeming mudflats of the Wash, towards Lincolnshire. At most times of the year you will be treated to a vast array of species that depend upon the fertile, ever-changing flats, during the Autumn and Winter it is at its very best. A trip to the reserve will reward you with great gatherings of waders, tens of thousands in number, or flocks of Pink-footed Geese flying out to spend the night in safety by the sea where they are inaccessible to predators. Look out for the special RSPB events!

For those of you that are more attracted to warmer environments, the bar at Snettisham Rose and Crown is an attractive option well worth consideration. This 14th century coaching inn has provided respite to weary travellers for nearly 700 years and in 2015 it was recognised as the UK Pub of the Year. Fantastic for families, couples and dog walkers, you can equally enjoy a fancy three course meal as you can a pint of Woodfordes in the enclosed garden while the children play in the pirate ship play area.

Just up the road from the Rose and Crown, standing proudly over the village, you can see the 175 ft. spire of St Mary’s church. The building has had to withstand many threats, ranging from the Black death to World War One zeppelins. Today it stands as a monument to a prosperous past that the village once enjoyed through trade and through the quarrying of Carrstone. Walking around the villages of this area you soon see evidence of this locally sourced, red sandstone, with much of the Victorian town of Hunstanton being built from this. A meandering walk through the rock pools of Old Hunstanton beach bring you past the often photographed where you can see Carrstone in its natural form.

Famously, Snettisham has been the location of several nationally important archaeological discoveries. Over the last 70 years the field surrounding the village have yielded several iron age and Roman artefacts, some of which can now been seen in the Norwich Castle Museum and British Museum. Of particular note were the discoveries of the ‘Snettisham Hoard’ in 1950, and the ‘Jeweller’s Hoard’ in 1985.

Snettisham Park Farm is a working farm spread across 350 acres of mixed agricultural land, pasture and woodland. It offers visitors a chance to view livestock up close through daily feeds of the various animals, a deer safari and a network of walking routes through the estate.

The royal estate at Sandringham is only a few miles inland and gives guests a chance to view the grand rooms of the main house, the extraordinary collection of classic cars in the museum, the formal gardens of the immediate surrounds and the wider woodland estate that lies beyond. Well worth a visit!

Thornham

The peace and tranquillity of present-day Thornham belies its interesting and sometimes fractious past.

Formerly a centre for trading and seafaring, the village was also once used by the Romans as the perfect place to keep tabs on nearby Brancaster Bay. Latter centuries brought heated conflicts between smugglers until the harbour finally silted up and ceased to be in the early 20th century.

The village sits in the North Norfolk Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and visitors can enjoy excellent views of the coast from the chalk ridges that lie just inland, before descending onto the saltmarshes and beaches of the coastline. Sandwiched between the reserves at Holme and Titchwell, you may also see a wide range of nationally scarce species, such as Marsh Harriers, Barn Owls and Avocets. By following the North Norfolk coastal path, you will be taken to either reserve or far beyond to the east or the west.

Thornham also plays host to two of the county’s most recognised eateries; The Orange Tree and The Lifeboat Inn. In recent years, The Orange Tree has been the recipient of numerous awards including; Norfolk Dining Pub of the Year and Seafood Pub Chef of the Year. The Lifeboat has recently been taken over by new management and the 16th century coaching inn looks to be in secure hands.

Lastly, it is the home of Barefoot Retreats, found on ‘The Boardwalk’ and open six days a week; come in and see us anytime.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Thornham

Titchwell

Located five miles east of Hunstanton and just two miles from Brancaster on the A149 this lovely little village stretches along the coast road with its pretty flint and chalk houses.

Titchwell is home to the 420 acre RSPB nature and bird reserve, an area of salt and freshwater marsh that stretches out to the sea and towards Brancaster.  Home to thousands of birds it has a visitor centre, shop and café.  Enjoy the guided walks or family events all year round with its nature trails and hides.  The best thing is there is no cost to enter the reserve on foot.  Open all year, it is a must to appreciate how special North Norfolk is and how wildlife is such an intrinsic part of this coastline.

The reserve offers a good chance of seeing bearded tits, avocets and bitterns among its many breeding species, including pink-footed geese, plovers and harriers in winter.

Walk through the reserve via the boardwalk to the beach, or access the beac via a right of way from the village.  If you’re lucky you might just see the seals basking in Titchwell Creek just on the edge of Brancaster beach.

Titchwell boasts two hotels with restaurants and bars; Titchwell Manor and Briarfields.

Titchwell Manor is a fabulous boutique hotel with fantastic views from its lounge and bar area, where you can enjoy delicious food and afternoon tea. Offering award-winning dining in the informal Eating Rooms, it also has a sea view terrace and wonderful conservatory where you can enjoy fine dining.  With 3 AA  Rosettes it was recently named the county’s Best Restaurant and Pub for Dining.

Briarfields offers an extensive menu of locally sourced seafood and has a sun deck overlooking the marsh and sea beyond.

Titchwell offers easy access to the whole North Norfolk coast with its miles of sandy beaches, footpaths, fabulous pubs, restaurants, eateries, local ales, boutiques, galleries and delightful independent shops. Stop on the road and buy fresh crab from the local fishermen or take a boat out from Brancaster Staithe.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Titchwell

Walsingham

Walsingham village sits in the midst of the lush North Norfolk countryside, just four miles in from the glorious North Norfolk coast just four miles south of Wells-next-the-Sea. Historical records of the village go back to Saxon times when the village was first established on the banks of the River Stiffkey and it is listed in the Domesday Book under the name of Walsingham Parva. Today’s village incorporates both Little and Great Walsingham, together representing a population of about 800 people.

Walsingham is very much a rural village, in touch with the natural rhythms of the seasons and is a delightful place to visit and has been welcoming visitors since 1061.

Walsingham holds a unique place in history as the premier place for pilgrimage in England. At its height in medieval times, Walsingham rivalled Canterbury and the great shrines of Europe. Most kings and queens of England made pilgrimages here, from Henry III to Henry VIII. Today, more than 300,000 visitors flock to the village each year to visit the two shrines and experience the deep sense of peace and tranquillity.

But though its fame lies in its religious significance, Walsingham offers other numerous other reasons to visit. There is a stunning collection of rare medieval half-timbered buildings, Georgian facades, an 18th century model prison, a Russian Orthodox church in an old railway station. There is also the award-winning Walsingham Farm Shop, Norfolk Riddle fish and chip restaurant and Chocolate Deli to enjoy along with the renowned pub, The Black Lion and numerous cafes and eateries.

Enjoy horse riding, walk the Holy Mile, or wade through the snowdrops in the Abbey grounds in early Spring. Don’t go home before riding on the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway to visit the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea. It’s the longest 10 ¼” narrow gauge steam railway in the world and a wonderful experience any time of year.

Wells-next-the-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea is one of North Norfolk’s larger coastal destinations, offering visitors a wide variety of ways to while away the hours either exploring the vast beach or the town. Formerly a major port for the export of grain, its harbour is now used by smaller craft offering fishing cruises and boat tours. The Albatross, found on the quay, is a relic from grain trading with the continent, possibly the last of the commercial vessels to use sails.

Children love Wells for its many amusements, its boating lake and its beach hut lined sands. A day at the beach can be easily filled and it is often a favourite spot for families. If the beach isn’t for your little one, perhaps they would enjoy crabbing off of the quay, or a steam train ride to the mini-golf and boating lake.

Several dining highlights await; The Crown and The Globe, both of which are on ‘The Buttlands’, are excellent gastro pubs, whereas for a taste of locally caught seafood you cannot do better than the Wells Crab House Cafe.

See our luxury holiday cottages in Wells-next-the-Sea

West Raynham

Nestling in the heart of the North West Norfolk countryside, West Raynham is a small historic village, approximately six miles from Fakenham and just a short drive to the beautiful North Norfolk coast.

The church, St Margaret’s was first built in the 11th century and extended in the 14th century and is used occasionally now. The RAF once had a base two miles from West Raynham from the 1930s, but this closed in the 1990’s.

The fabulous Raynham Hall just outside the village, was built in 1619 by Sir Roger Townsend and many believe that it was designed by Inigo Jones. The estate covers 7000 acres and occupies the first seven miles of the Wensum River. It is one of the oldest buildings in Norfolk and is heavily inspired by European architecture. It’s was the home of the Townsend family for more than 300 years. Probably the Hall’s most famous resident was Charles Townsend, who lived there from 1674 to 1738, who was once the leader in the House of the Lords. With wonderful walks down the River Wensum there are beautiful trails on the doorstep and plenty of wildlife to see. Offering seclusion and peace and quiet this village is close to some great places to eat including The Dabbling Duck at Great Massingham and The Crown at Rudham.

The nearby market town of Fakenham offers a variety of shops, restaurants, pubs, cinema, bowling alley, golf and race course and of course the North Norfolk coast with its RSPB nature reserves, stunning beaches and visits to see the seals at Blakeney point is just 20 minutes’ drive away.

See our luxury holiday cottages in West Raynham

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