Walking and birdwatching are very popular pastimes in North Norfolk. Try walking from Salthouse to Cley along the footpath which runs parallel with the coast road, have lunch at The George and either walk or catch the coast hopper bus back.
Salthouse beach is shingle but there are plenty of sandy beaches within easy reach. There is a big sandy beach at Holkham (access opposite The Victoria Hotel NR23 1RJ) which has miles of sand when the tide is out. It is most famously known as the location for the ending scene from the film 'Shakespeare in Love'.
At Wells-next-the-Sea you can catch a small train from the harbour out to the sandy beach next to the pine trees; a better option if you have a pushchair. Plus there are sandy beaches at Sheringham and Cromer which are traditional seaside towns. Cromer in particular has a cafe with great sea views at the Henry Blogg lifeboat museum.
There is a set of OS maps at Gannets which you are welcome to borrow.
Walks & Beaches
Holt is small town with many Georgian buildings, ideal for a visit on those days when you must go shopping! It has a number of art galleries, clothes shops and a famous department store 'Bakers and Larners' which has a wonderful food hall (see below). Galleries include the Bircham Gallery on the main street, and Baron Art in Chapel Yard near the car park.
Also in Holt are Doodle Pots, a “Ceramic Café” where you can paint your own china - a fun rainy day activity for children (it's on the Cley Road just off the main street) and Starling’s newsagents on the main street – perfect for children, it has a great selection of toys upstairs.
Holt at Christmas is even more wonderful! All the shops and houses in the centre use the same icicle lights. The overall effect is magical. If you're here in the Christmas season it's a 'must-see'.
No trip to the area is complete without a visit to Blakeney. It's very busy in the Summer, but has an atmosphere all of its own. A walk out from the village along the path past the Harnser (car park) is worthwhile. In front of you is the Blakeney spit, on which is Halfway House, the old lifeboat house (blue building) and, right at the end, the seal colony. Up the streets off the harbour are galleries, shops and a delicatessen.
Blakeney is also where you can buy tickets for a boat trip to see the seals. There are various companies selling their tickets on Blakeney quay, but the boats depart from Morston a few miles down the coast – the ticket sellers will give you details.
Other attactions include steam trains from Holt to Sherringham which is full-sized and a narrow guage railway from Wells to Walsingham. There is a wildfowl park at Pensthorpe which has a huge indoor play area for children and Cley Marshes which has a visitor centre, cafe and views over the marsh.
Places to visit
North Norfolk is increasingly becoming a foodie paradise. Locally there are some excellent deli's selling local produce and some excellent eating places.
Salthouse Village Shop sells very good local marsh-grazed beef along with other foods and gifts.
Cley Smokehouse has a good selection of smoked meats and fish. The smoked duck is particularly good.
Picnic Fayre in Cley has a wide selection of fruit, vegetables, olives, wines, breads, cakes, sausages, bacon and more.
Back to the Garden (NR25 7JJ) on the A148 west of Letheringsett is a deli and cafe housed in a large converted barn. It stocks organic produce including vegetables, meat, cheese, olives, cakes, wine and unusual dried goods.
Food and drink
Dun Cow, Salthouse 01263 740467
Busy pub and restaurant. Serves local marsh-grazed beef and a selection of real ale. Spend a warm summer evening sitting in the beer garden overlooking the marsh.
Wiveton Hall, Blakeney 01263 740515
As seen on 'Normal for Norfolk' it is an eclectic combination of cafe, gift shop, pick-your-own soft fruit and gardens. Booking in advance is recommended as it is very popular.
Open day time end of March to end of October and Friday and Saturday evenings in summer.
The George, Cley 01263 740652
Try a walk from Salthouse along the footpath (maps in cottage) and enjoy lunch at The George. Either walk back or catch the Coast Hopper bus. Modern British done very well.
Bolton's Bistro, Cliftonville Hotel 01263 512543
Don't be put off by the exterior! It is a traditional seaside hotel with lovely Art Nouveau interior and the food is good and reasonably priced. Sit in the bar and ask to see the Bistro menu.
The White Horse, Blakeney 01263 740574
Modern British food done well in the formal restaurant and a conservatory cafe which serves a different menu.
The Wiveton Bell, Wiveton 01263 740101
Another good option not far away.
Blakeney Hotel, Blakeney 01263 740797
A more traditional restaurant. Ask for a table next to the windows to enjoy views of the marsh. Very friendly and helpful staff.
Fish and Chips
Albert's (22 Albert Street, Holt NR25 6HX, 01263 712955) serves excellent fresh fish and good chips.