Old Town Hall House
There are numerous incredible culinary establishments throughout the UK, especially in the larger towns and cities, however, if I told you there’s a place you must try in Cley-Next-The-Sea, I’m sure your next question would be: ‘where on earth is that?!’. Well, it’s a beautifully picturesque village on the North Norfolk coastline and it hides a real hidden gem when it comes to dining: Old Town Hall House.
If you’re a bit of a ‘foodie’ like me, you’ll adore finding a culinary treasure that’s off the beaten track and that very few people know of… yet. Meet: Old Town Hall House, built back in 1896 and now an elegant guest house, this little piece of history overlooks the vast salt marshes of the North Norfolk and comprises of three beautifully furnished guestrooms, each charmingly named after local birdlife: Spoonbill, Sandpiper, and Kestrel. All of the rooms feature incredibly comfortable kingsize beds (so cozy and snug that you don’t actually want to get out in the morning!) and en-suite bath/shower rooms. Embracing the age of the property and local area, each room features vintage furniture and lovely ornaments that are actually made in Cley, along with complimentary Norfolk magazines in case you want to gen-up on the area!
But here’s the bit for us foodies – this incredibly welcoming guesthouse has a secret: James, who is joint owner and has also worked in some of Europe’s finest restaurants, including the Ritz in London and Lucas Carton in Paris. James creates a really hearty and delicious breakfast featuring everything from delicious homemade jams, flavorsome duck eggs, freshly baked croissants, fluffy American pancakes, to rare breed bacon and award-winning sausages and you simply can’t leave without trying the scrummy Cley Smokehouse Kipper with poached egg and sourdough toast! But although breakfast here is truly second to none, it’s the Friday night Supper Club that you simply cannot miss. Every Friday at 8:00 pm, James whips up a sumptuous gourmet meal. Lit by candlelight and set around a large table in the elegant dining room, up to 10 guests can enjoy James’ wonderful creations which use the natural flavors of delicious, local, and seasonal ingredients and really are mouth-watering masterpieces and something you’ll never forget. The Old Town Hall House is not yet licensed so don’t forget to bring your own bottle(s) and James can even recommend local wines to match your menu.
Having said all this, it’s not just the delicious food that draws you to Old Town Hall House, there’s so much to see in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Why not stroll through the reedbeds of the Cley Marshes, visit the famous Cley Windmill, or simply discover the plenitude of wonderful little country pubs in the area, after all a good brisk walk always works up an appetite, and if it’s a bracingly cold day you can be sure James and Jennie will thoughtfully welcome you home with a roaring log fire. Oh, and if you’re an ornithologist, don’t forget you’re binocs as you can visit what I have been assured is the bird watching Mecca of the UK: NWT Cley Marshes Nature Reserve.
So if you want a real rural coastal escape combined with delectable dining to enchant any palate, a weekend at Old Town Hall House is a must, but don’t tell everyone, let’s keep it our little secret!
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