Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Uncover a whole new Norfolk

pottingshed-rt.jpg
bar-rt.jpg

Debbie McQuoid revisits Norfolk and discovers a blossoming gastronomy scene, at a fraction of the price of the Cotswolds.

Since university, myself and five girlfriends have met up once a year somewhere in the British Isles for a good old-fashioned knees-up. A few years ago, it was Norfolk and, although the crazy golf and soggy fish and chips of this famed bucket-and-spade destination were fun in a retro kind of way, I never thought I’d ever consider this the place for a romantic getaway.

But driving through the postcard-perfect villages of north Norfolk, it struck me that I’d overlooked just how enchanting this area of wide sandy beaches and cobblestoned villages is. Busy city-dwellers tend to head for Cornwall, the Cotswolds or the Lakes for weekend escapes, but I’m always keen to get off these tramrails and find a new escape route. Particularly a region that’s increasingly being namechecked on restaurant menus...

Near Brancaster and the antique-shop-crammed Burnham Market lies Titchwell, with its beautiful RSPB nature reserve and salt marshes. It’s also home to Titchwell Manor, a former Victorian farmhouse run by Ian and Margaret Snaith, who have cultivated a contemporary, relaxed vibe among the stylish interiors of designer Shaun Clarkson (of Four Rooms fame), with none of the pretension the ‘boutique’ tag can bring.

Titchwell Manor’s bar offers relaxed dining and chic decor

We’re staying in the Potting Shed, a recently converted outhouse that is now a warm and welcoming cabin with a walk-in shower and freestanding roll-top bath, gas fire, private porch and an excellently eerie view over the marshes to the sea.

Margaret and Ian’s son, Eric, was recently named North Norfolk Chef of the Year, and his contemporary British menu stands out in a part of the UK that is fast becoming known for its cuisine. Making the most of local fresh fish, mussels and oysters from Brancaster Staithe, Cromer crabs from just along the coast and herbs from the Manor’s own extensive garden, everything about the menus – both fine dining in the conservatory or more relaxed in the bar – is both appealing and adventurous.

We can never resist an eight-course tasting menu, and while my husband champions the mackerel with cucumber and caviar, I could’ve eaten five of the venison with parsley root and beetroot. We both loved the yukon gold potato with hay, buttermilk and sea purslane.

The commitment to local produce continues through to breakfast: eggs with smoked salmon; wild mushrooms, duck egg, and smoked Norfolk dapple cheese; porridge with whisky, honey and almonds; all perfect to set you up for a day of bracing coastal walks and exploring nearby treasures such as Holkham Hall, Sandringham House or the gardens of Norfolk Lavender.

For anyone tired of hotels that presume everyone wants London sophistication over rustic charm, unpretentious Norfolk is a delight. There are signs the area is going that way – Farrow & Ball is almost everywhere – but Titchwell Manor has its feet firmly planted on the ground.

Double rooms at Titchwell Manor start at £75 including breakfast. The tasting menu (evenings only) is £65pp for eight courses, £95 with wine pairing; titchwellmanor.com

Related

hero-exterior-rt.jpg

Cosy Up In The Cotswolds

rexfeatures-3335019a.jpg

Destination guide: Durham

PoolatNight_V2_rt.jpg

Sip poolside cocktails in North Yorkshire

Comments

More

Retreat to a fantasy pad in northern Cornwall

Stylist is one of the first to stay at the UK's coolest self-catering bolthole

by Susan Riley
25 Jul 2017

This magical treehouse is the most popular Airbnb listing ever

Featuring a bed under the stars and swinging bridges bathed in fairy lights

by Anna Brech
20 Jul 2017

Three flying secrets that airlines don't want you to know about

“We don't tell you that we're flying this plane half-awake because we don't want to scare you”

by Anna Brech
19 Jul 2017

Mermaid wannabes, you need to visit this incredible underwater winery

Life is the bubbles under the sea…

by Megan Murray
18 Jul 2017

Explore Europe's unsung wine region in the Douro Valley

Stylist jets to Portugal to experience a tranquil spa hotel in the unspoilt region of the Douro Valley

by Lucy Foster
18 Jul 2017

These fantastic UNESCO heritage sites are right on your doorstep

How many have you visited?

by Jasmine Andersson
13 Jul 2017

TfL drops the term “ladies and gentleman” in gender-neutral move

“This is so awesome and about time.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
13 Jul 2017

Scared of flying? This trick curbs your take-off and turbulence fears

Try it to dial your anxiety down a notch

by Anna Brech
13 Jul 2017

Tinder sends near-miss couple on epic date to Hawaii

“It's time you got together IRL”

by Anna Brech
13 Jul 2017

Embrace Stockholm Syndrome

Stylist discovers Sweden's capital is a city to savour for distinctive culture

by Amelia Trevette
11 Jul 2017