Cley-next-to-the-sea in Norfolk tropics

Easter bank holiday weekends in England tend to be a little bit grim, cloudy with a few showers here and there. Well, not in Norfolk they’re not. The two times I’ve been there over Easter, BBC Weather has always predicted rain and what we got is this:

imageCley-next-to-the-sea (pronounce it like ‘eye’) is probably one of the cutest villages I’ve even been to. Long walks along the sea side, cute places to stay and eat at make it the ultimate destination where to go for a bit of relax and fresh air. Previously we stayed at the Cley Windmill, however as it was booked this time, we ended up booking a room at the Old Town Hall House, and thank god we did as we loved it so much! The Town House is run by a wonderful couple Jennie and James. As it happens, James has the experience of working at three-Michelin-starred Lucas Carton in Paris, the Ritz and Le Pont de la Tour in London under his belt. Therefore he offers fabulous gourmet meals to both his guests and locals on Friday evening for as little as £30. It’s an absolute treat, served in an intimate dining room, where one can also get some tips on the area from locals. The Guardian also published a review on the Town House whilst we were there, which was discreetly displayed at the sitting room (read it here). Apparently, the whole village is buzzing about it..image

Just to tempt you a little bit, I’ve religiously photographed almost the full menu that night below:

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Fried poached hen egg, spinach & Iberico bellotta ham
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Saltmarsh lamb, Boulangere potatoes, sweetbreads, wild garlic, almonds & mint

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St Marcellinimage

Bahibe chocolate tart, banana ice cream, peanuts & honeycomb .. and a little piece of gold!image

Chocolate truffles

The day can easily be spent in Cley by walking and walking and walking. We did a lot of walking trying to see the seals that basked out in the sun at Blakeney Point. I think the whole walk took us about 5 hours. It also helped that it was low tide in the afternoon, meaning that we didn’t have to walk on the shingle. If you do not like to walk as much as we do, there’s also an option of taking a boat tour to see the seals from Morston Quay.

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It was quite a relief to get back to Cley over the marshes, the familiar windmill greeting us back. Famished as we were. To satisfy our appetite, we went to the Dun Cow in Salthouse, where the Old Wild Rovers sing some wonderful sailor tunes to fundraise for local charities. The food there is simple, but just what you’ll like after a very long walk.

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An excellent tip we got from locals on Friday night was to go to King’s Head at Letheringsett. Beautifully decorated with different rooms, fireplace and sun beaming in through the windows, it was a great place to wrap up our trip. With some more food. The staff were very friendly. I wonder whether everyone in Norfolk is so friendly.image

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imageIf you ever think of an area to explore in the UK, then Norfolk is a great option. Places I’d also recommend to visit are Burnham Market and Holt, two cute cities and I hear that Holkham beach is one of the most beautiful beaches there.

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