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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

Speakeasy Vibes on the North Norfolk Coast - Marlings Bar & Grill

In major cities, for the past decade, there’s been a trend in the rise of "speakeasies” — cocktail bars and restaurants that mimic the illicit, hidden bars that arose during the 1920s Prohibition Era in the US.

In New York, I’ve been to a bar that was hidden through a secret door in a hotdog shop. In London, I’ve been to a bar/restaurant that was hidden through a secret door in a 'detectives office’. Now a-days, there are loads of variations, but I never expected to find one hidden on the North Norfolk Coast.

Now technically Marlings Bar & Grill isn’t officially a Speakeasy, but to me it feels like one. Hidden within a Holiday Park (that looks/feels like a Country Club) in the small coastal village of Trimingham, it screams speakeasy vibes to me all day long. Unless you ventured down the long drive of the Holiday Park and then past the entrance to their amazing gym and spa (which I’ve been a member of since we moved here), you’d never even know it was there.

And just like every speakeasy I’ve ever been to, not only is it hidden, but it’s great.

Split between a restaurant, bar and snug, Marlings has been part of Woodland Holiday Park for years. But in January 2023 it was completely transformed and now resembles something you’re much more likely see in Norwich or London. Think sumptuous soft leather chairs and sofas, wood panelling, floor to ceiling black book cases filled with perfectly curated curiosities and ornaments, big trees in the middle of the rooms, neon lights over the bar and a log burner in the incredibly cozy snug.

As soon as it re-opened after the refurb, I was in that snug like a shot to work remotely (especially now they have dedicated high tables with plug sockets with remote working specifically in mind). For me, it’s the perfect remote working spot as it’s dog friendly, has great wifi and coffee and there’s beautiful walks on it’s doorstep so I can break up my work time with lovely walks with my dog!

After working in there a few times, and smelling all of the food coming out of the kitchen at lunchtimes, I knew I had to go back with my husband one evening and try the new menu.

It’s one of the most extensive menus I’ve seen in a restaurant (in a good way); from wraps and sandwiches, to a huge selection of “from the grill”, a dedicated salad section, loads of small plate options and “family classics”, to a separate dedicated breakfast / brunch menu and a carvery on a Sunday. They also have three mid-week offers which run every week:

Tuesday Tapas Night

Any 5 small plates for £30.00

Wednesday Pie & Mash Night

Pie, mash, sautéed seasonal greens and a pint of draught beer or a glass of wine for £15.00

Thursday Ribs and Wings Happy Hour

All you can eat ribs and wings between 5pm-7pm, for £25.00

As tapas lovers (and also greedy people who like to try a bit of everything 😂) we opted for Tuesday Tapas Night and we were not disappointed!

Matt (my husband) and I love food and have big appetites so we were dubious as to whether 5 small plates would be filling enough for us. At most restaurants we’ve been to, you’d need at least 6-8 small dishes to fill that hungry hole in our tummies. But 5 small plates at Marlings (plus a dessert each) absolutely filled us up and what a delicious way to fill our stomaches too.

From the full menu of 12 different small plates, we picked:

BBQ Pork Belly

Chilli Squid

Goats Cheese Focaccia

Whole Grilled Prawns

Beetroot Falafel

The pork belly was melt in the mouth; falling apart on the plate as we sunk a fork into it. The Goats Cheese Focaccia was spectacular. I’m flexitarian, eating mostly plant based at home and then treating myself to meat and diary when I’m eating out, so I know how hard it is to make vegetarian dishes the star of the show…but my goodness, this was! Talking of vegetarian dishes, the Beetroot Falafel was another show stopper and I’m now dying to try the Pickled Beetroot and Falafel Salad that’s on the main menu. The Chilli Squid was delicately favoured, with just the right level of chewiness, and I could have literally drank the dipping sauce that came with it. And to top it all off, the Whole Grilled Prawns were a succulent and spicy delight.

For dessert, I ordered the Strawberry Pavlova and Matt got the cheeseboard. I think I shrieked a little bit when the Pavlova came out and I saw how stunning it looked on the plate. Once I dived in and tried a mouthful, I was doing happy little food wiggles. The most perfect dessert to round off what was an excellent meal. Of course I stole some of Matt’s cheese (I mean I had to in order to write this review, right?). It’s a wonderful selection of local cheeses and the frozen grapes and celery it came with were a perfect palette cleanser.

We didn’t go wild with the drinks as it was a ‘school night’ but at the bar there’s a brilliant selection for every taste. From cocktails to real ales and everything in between. We took our glass of wine over to the snug after our dessert to sit by the fire and relax, to perfectly round off the whole experience.

The restaurant has dog friendly areas and the snug is entirely dog friendly. Marlings are wonderful with dogs; our dog Luna now pulls to get into the restaurant every time we go past on a dog walk (we live locally) as she loves the team there so much.

The walks around Marlings are spectacular. I might be biased as I’m a local but if you are booking a table, I’d highly suggest getting to Trimingham early and parking near Trimingham Village Hall (there’s a big lay-by opposite) and taking the path across the field to the cliff edge and looking at the spectacular views of the coastline and sea. It’s one of my favourite views in the whole of North Norfolk and never fails to take my breath away.

Whether you’re a local who’s yet to try Marlings, or you’re visiting North Norfolk on holiday, we’d really suggest booking a table and discovering this joy of this “speakeasy” for yourself.

Marlings Bar & Grill

Woodland Holiday Park


NR11 8QJ

Opening times:

Tuesday – Saturday 9am – 10pm, Sunday 9am – 4pm

Norfolk School Holidays – Monday – Sunday 9am-11pm



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