Great British Boltholes: Titchwell Manor Hotel, Brancaster, Norfolk

Fancy a relaxing seaside break? Then try this easygoing boutique hotel on the North Norfolk coast

Fancy a relaxing seaside break? Then try this easygoing boutique hotel on the North Norfolk coast

Why go? To enjoy a friendly, stylish three-star hotel that’s close to terrific beaches, surprisingly chi-chi shops and a string of inviting pubs and restaurants. The village of Titchwell lies 19 miles north of King’s Lynn and sits on a coastline of undulating dunes and bird-rich nature reserves. In high summer North Norfolk becomes a classic English holiday spot complete with crab sandwiches and cricket on the beach, the rest of the year it’s a smart choice for an affordable and restorative getaway with plenty to see if you like to explore.

Bright bites: the Eating Rooms at Titchwell Manor Hotel

Best for: Couples, families, walkers, dog-owners, lovers of fish and seafood. This is a fine area to stay if you want to take things easy, yet there’s always something going on too – for a list of key events see northnorfolkfestivals.org.

The look: At the heart of Titchwell Manor is a Victorian redbrick house dating from 1891 that sits beside a road that can get busy but not oppressively. The majority of the 27 bedrooms are in this main building and come in a mix of styles ranging from traditional to colourfully eclectic. Three of these have views across the road to the distant sea. Other rooms are set in a separate courtyard wing with a herb garden and have a simple, contemporary style – four of these (our pick) are classed as ‘superior’ with sun-trap patios with loungers looking onto a lawn and fields beyond – well worth the extra in summer. Children and dogs are welcome, and grandparents etc would like it too if you’re feeling big-hearted…

Bear essential: a bedroom at Titchwell Manor Hotel

I’m hungry…
That’s fine because award-winning chef Eric Snaith will you sort you out very nicely. Breakfast is excellent, a generous buffet supplemented with fresh dishes such as wild mushrooms on toast with a fried duck egg. This is served in the Conservatory Restaurant, which is exactly that, filled with light with a view into the walled garden. The mood at dinner tends to be rather quiet and grown-up with many guests taking a set ‘Conversation Menu’ (from £55 for five courses) that might feature Norfolk specialities such as crab, lamb and strawberries. For something less formal, you can also dine à la carte at the Eating Rooms, where locals drop in and the menu includes fish pie and Sunday roasts. There’s plenty of good restaurants close by, including a few within walking distance, but book ahead for weekends and in peak holiday periods. The White Horse (whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk), in Brancaster Staithe, and Marco Pierre White’s Lifeboat Inn (lifeboatinnthornham.com), in Thornham, are reliable options. For something different, seek out La Campagna (lacampagna.co.uk), which serves Mediterranean fare in a yurt during the day and on Friday and Saturday evenings, and the tiny Crab Hut at Brancaster Staithe (brancasterstaithe.co.uk).

Ocean drive: you’ll enjoy great fish and seafood on the North Norfolk coast © imagepalace.co.uk

While you’re there…
Holkham (holkham.co.uk) is a splendid stately home completed in 1764 in Palladian style. The house is only open three afternoons a week until 31 October, but it’s also lovely to walk in the grounds enjoying the peace and maybe a picnic. Holkham Beach is a huge, uplifting swathe of sand (you may remember it in the final scenes of the film Shakespeare In Love) but allow plenty of time to enjoy it – if the tide’s out it’s a 20 minute walk to find some water. On the shopping front, close by you’ll find Drove Orchards farm shop (droveorchards.com) and Nelle (nelle-dk.co.uk), which sells elegant Danish womenswear. Drive inland and Holt is well worth a potter – don’t miss Old Town (old-town.co.uk) – while Burnham Market is home to upmarket boutiques such as Anna (shopatanna.com) and Urban Armour (urbanarmour.co.uk).

Creake Abbey Market (creakeabbey.co.uk), a farmer’s market held in North Creake on the first Saturday of the month, is a great place to pick up foodie treats to take home, and when you need to walk it off do a stretch of the Peddars Way (nationaltrail.co.uk), or follow the six-mile walk round the wildflower-filled organic fields of Courtyard Farm at Ringstead (courtyardfarm.co.uk). And when you want some good old-fashioned seaside fun, play some crazy golf at Hunstanton or hit the pier at Cromer.

Stately progress: take a walk in the parkland at Holkam Hall © imagepalace.co.uk

Dress code: Smart casual with a summer by the seaside flavour.

Book now: Titchwell Manor Hotel, Titchwell, near Brancaster, Norfolk PE31 8BB (01485 210221; titchwellmanor.com). Double rooms in August cost from £155 with breakfast. Wifi and parking are free. A taxi from King’s Lynn rail station takes around 45 minutes and costs £50, or you can use the Coasthopper bus service (coasthopper.co.uk).

Info: Norfolk & Suffolk (£12.99; Rough Guides) is an in-depth guide. Useful websites are visitnorthnorfolk.com, literarynorfolk.co.uk and producedinnorfolk.com.

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