Hoste barn is perfectly situated to explore the North Norfolk coast (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Norfolk Broads National Park and the cathedral city of Norwich all within 20 mins by car. Standing in unspoilt countryside not far from the National Trust’s Blickling and Felbrigg estates and the private stately homes of Mannington and Wolterton. There are walks straight from the front door.
Meander from Hoste Barn to the North Norfolk coast pottering up on pretty back roads. You’ll find old-fashioned English seaside bliss with rock pools, miles of sand, country pubs and a vast sky renowned for its beautiful light and vast horizons. There are plenty of seaside towns to amble in around along the way, including Blakeney (a gentrified fishing port with sweeping views), Wells-next-the-Sea (where colourful beach huts line the sand) and Cromer (famed for its crab-fishing and Victorian pier) a traditional Victorian seaside town with a pier and sandy beaches. Mundesley is also lovely.
Head to Cley, a lovely little village marooned among salt marshes. Practice your camera skills at the postcard-pretty windmill, then browse handmade pottery and jewellery at artisan co-operative Made in Cley
There are more shopping opportunities in Holt and Burnham Market, both packed with delis, art galleries and homeware boutiques.
Don’t miss the chance to tuck into some of the fresh-from-the-boat seafood available in the area. Try The Oyster Shack in Blakeney for delicious shellfish, Cookies in Salthouse for Cromer crab and great-value lobster, and The Smoke House in Cley for all sorts of home-smoked fishy treats.
Or visit grey seals at Horsey Beach or Blakeney Point. Boat trips run from Morston Quay and Blakeney Harbour between April and October (book in advance). Keep your eyes peeled and you might even spot a head bobbing around in the water from the shore.
Spot birds around the marshes and Broads wetland National Park. The area is a twitcher’s paradise, with owls, egrets, herons, waders and harriers – head for the RSPB reserves at Cley, Titchwell and Snettisham and walk to or alongside the sea for waders, owls and harriers. Cruise or canoe the broads or use the boardwalks. Early birds set the alarm nice and early and head to Blakeney National Nature Reserve and hear the dawn chorus crescendo as the sun rises. Pack a flask of cocoa and some bacon sandwiches for a breakfast picnic by the sea.Pack up a picnic and stretch your legs on the wide, golden sands of Holkham Beach. The sense of space is incredible, and the dunes give way to fragrant pine forest criss-crossed by boardwalks. It’s spectacular at sunset, and after dark when razor-sharp skies make for excellent stargazing.
Marvel at the magnificent interiors, gardens and deer park at Holkham Hall – an 18th-century Palladian mansion on a large estate, Holkham Hall’s highlights include the Statue Gallery, paintings by Rubens and van Dyck, and the Marble Hall, with trompe l’oeil ceilings.
Houghton Hall , once home to Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, has early 18th-century interiors sumptuously designed by William Kent. Other highlights include a superb five-acre walled garden and model-soldier collection.
Or head to National Trust-owned Bickling Hall (once home to the Boleyn family) for impressive Jacobean architecture and a lake. Both host outdoor concerts in summer. Blickling Hall, once home to the Boleyn family, is now a large National Trust estate with a magnificent library and Second World War history.
Or visit stately Felbrigg Hall, one of the finest 17th-century houses in East Anglia, now run by the National Trust.
Skim the waves south atop the cliffs to Cart Gap Beach, snack on cake at delightful Smallsticks Barn and dip your feet in the sea before wandering home.
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