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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

What's opening & re-opening in Norfolk as the new season approaches

Updated: May 19, 2023

I love Winter in Norfolk. Don’t get me wrong, there are weeks like this week where the constant rain and cold do get to me. But I’m sure wherever you live in the UK, that’s going to be the case; we’re sadly not blessed with the warmest of winters!

Regardless of the cold though, there’s something about off season in Norfolk which is magic to me. You can walk for miles without seeing a single soul and the coastal villages feel like they’re sleeping, hibernating away, preparing themselves for the excitement of the new season.

If you take a deep breath, out on the marshes, it’s like you can drink in the tranquility. It’s a life affirming joy like nothing else. But there’s things I miss. Like REALLY miss. Finishing our walks with a trip to the food vans at Blakeney or eating fresh seafood, caught minutes from the restaurant in which you devour it. As I’m writing this, a smile is sneaking across my face because all of these things are now so tantalisingly close. In fact, some of them have already happened. The new season in Norfolk is fact approaching and as much as I’ve loved the tranquility of winter, I am so here for it!!

Hold onto your hats, Norfolk’s about to get much more interesting (and tasty).

Sail North Norfolk - I've been fan girling on Zoe who runs Sail North Norfolk's Instagram for a while so when I saw she was back out running charters, she had to be added to this list. Zoe runs made to measure boat trips from Blakeney under sail and silent electric engine on board her beautiful boat "Selkie". Explore the creeks, wildlife and coastal waters of beautiful North Norfolk.

Guac & Mole - We first tried Guac & Mole at their pop up at Ffolkes in Hillington the night before our wedding. We loved the food then and have been so excited for their Sheringham beach location to re-open for the season in Sheringham and it does not disappoint! A Tex Mex Buritto sat in the sunshine, overlooking the beach, with summer tunes playing, genuinely makes you feel like you could be in the Caribbean!

Rocky Bottom - one of our all time favourite seasonal restaurants reopened on 18th March. We got in on their first day back open and I can excitedly confirm that it’s as amazing as ever. Dog friendly in the bar area (and outside), I cannot wait for the sun to properly start shining again so we can spend long afternoons soaking in that beautiful coastal air while enjoying freshly caught lobster and crab, while sipping on rose. Make sure to book in advance as these guys get packed in peak season!

Indian on The Cliff - recently reopened for the season on weekend hours for now, we tried here for the first time a couple of weekends ago and WOW. Best Indian we’ve had in years (not just in Norfolk but anywhere). Great menu, brilliant service and utterly delicious curries that are even cooked to your exact spice requirements (so if you’re not a fan of a hot curry or love it hotter than usual, this is the place for you as you literally get to choose)!

By the Quayside - oh how I’ve missed this little food van of joy in Blakeney. Fresh cockles, mussels, lobster, crab - everything delicious and from the sea, you name it, they’ve got it. My favourite thing in the world is a walk in Blakeney in season, finishing with a pitstop at this van. Grabbing ourselves crab sandwiches, little mixed seafood pots and eaten them overlooking the quay as the joy of children playing in the water fills your senses. Reopening 1st April.

Birdy's Bakehouse - Another lovely addition to the Blakeney Food Van scene reopens for their second season on 1st April. We love their veggie breakfast selection and their loaded fries are to die for (as well as their cakes).

Bishops Boats - whilst we’re talking of Blakeney, the seal boats will be back in full operation from 1st April. Running from Morston and heading out to Blakeney Point, these seal trips will forever be one of my favourite things about the North Norfolk Coast. When I first came to Norfolk in 2018, it was one of the first thing my husband showed me and the magic of it has stayed with me ever since. Whether you’re a local, or visiting for your first (or hundredth time) you need to do this at least once this season.

The North Norfolk Wheelyboat 'Poppy' - This incredible charity runs a specifically designed ferry boat enabling access out to Blakeney Harbour for the disabled. Trips are usually 1 hour 20 minutes long, however they can alter the length of the trip or make it shorter depending on your needs. Reopening as of 11th April and running from the west end of Blakeney Quay, it's an incredible way to spend some time out seal spotting and taking in all of the beauty of the North Norfolk Coast.

The Morston Anchor - After taking a break for the winter months and doing a bit of a refurb, The Morston Anchor re-opens on 12th April. The perfect pitstop after a trip out on the seal boats (see Bishops Boats above), serving locally caught fish (and chips), along with other tasty snacks. Can't wait to see what this exciting new chapter holds for this much loved local.

Hillside Shire Horse Sanctuary - talking of animals, this incredible place re-opens on Easter Weekend. We’ve been meaning to check this place out since we moved here and I’ve now found out they’re dog friendly so we’ll now be visiting one Sunday soon for sure! A gorgeous not for profit animal sanctuary that is clearly very loved (I was inundated with recommendations for here when I posted on Instagram asking people to share their favourite businesses that would be reopening soon for the season).

Sandringham House & Gardens, Kelling Hall Gardens & Holkham Hall - Holkham Hall, Holkham Stories Experience and Walled Garden has already re-opened it’s doors, with Sandringham House & St Mary Magdalene Church set to re-open on 1st April, with Kelling Hall Gardens opening on 7th May. There’s absolutely nothing we love more than a day exploring the gardens of beautiful historical buildings. It’s a perfect weekend adventure and I’m so pleased to know we can get back to sunny days, pottering around and taking in everything these gorgeous places have to offer.

Holt Sunday Market - Talking of pottering around on weekends, Holt Sunday Market makes it’s return on 2nd April. Think artisan food & drink, makers stalls and live music. 10am - 3pm every weekend from 2nd April and its set to be the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

Cromer Putting Green - After the article in The Telegraph this week about Cromer’s renaissance, I’m absolutely sure that Cromer is set to be “the place to be” this season. So if you’re looking to get away from the crowds while still entertaining the kids, you’ll be delighted to know that Cromer Putting Green (18 holes with stunning sea views and all equipment provided) re-opens on 1st April.

Sundown @ The Grove - another Cromer staple re-opened it’s doors again on 30th March with their Pizza & Prosecco Party and is now open weekends and schools holidays across Spring. Serving tapas, pizza, seafood and ice-cream in a beautiful giant fairy light adorned tipi. Get yourself booked in FAST!

Glandford Shell Museum - Norfolk’s oldest purpose-built museum re-opens it’s doors on 8th April. As well as the finest seashell collection in the UK (they’ve got thousands), there’s fossils, birds’ eggs, pottery and local archaeological finds. A great day out for adults and kids alike, this is well worth the trip if you’re looking for something a bit different.

Old Buckenham Country Park - Street Food Saturdays are back, starting 1st April with Fully Loaded Fries and their converted horse box pop-up. The Grill is also back from 1st April, serving hot food on Friday nights, breakfast Saturday and Sundays and Sunday roast delights on Sunday afternoons. With a gorgeous children’s play area and stunning waterside views, this is the perfect place for a sunny weekend adventure.

Pub & Paddle - Recently featuring on Channel 4s “Living Wild: How to Change Your Life”, I have no doubt Pub and Paddle are going to have an amazing season. Re-opening on 1st April and offering Twilight Paddles, Picnic Rowing Boats and general day time canoe rental in Norwich City Centre, I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend a glorious sunny day (especially when there’s so much else on your doorstep for before / after too!!)

Barsham Barns / Brewery - Street Food Fridays are back at Barsham Brewery, every last Friday from April - August. Lots of amazing food vans from pizzas, to burgers to Mac n Cheese. 5 dates in your diary not to be missed!

..and that’s not all! As well as all these amazing places re-opening and giving me all the feels for a glorious Spring and Summer, we’re being treated to lots brand new arrivals!

The Village Inn, West Runton - Opened on 10th March under new management, this pub is now our firm favourite on the North Norfolk Coast. Beautifully renovated inside, an amazing atmosphere and team, and food that will literally knock your socks off. Make sure to book ahead though, they’re already getting fully booked and it’s only been open a few weeks. News of great places in Norfolk really does travel fast!

Folks Coffee Co - The coffee & cocktail bar that have gained an amazing reputation from their original home at Yalm Foodhall in Norwich are set to open their second offering…and this time, in BLAKENEY! Opening on 7th April, we’re super excited for this new addition to one of our absolute favourite places on the North Norfolk Coast.

Whitewater - the jungle drums have been beating on this one for a while and I could not be more excited for its opening on 7th April. The brains behind The Grove (see Sundown @ The Grove above) are bringing back to life the old Lifeboat Cafe on Cromer’s East Promenade and will be serving wood-fired pizzas, street food and delicious breakfast…all with a sea view! I have a sneaky suspicion we might be spending a lot of our summer here!!

Fishmongers Tavern - Sheringham's local fishmongers have come together to create something spectacular in Sheringham and it opens with a full lunch and evening menu from 14th April. If you can't wait until then this brand new local seafood restaurant's bar is already open and they're serving a taster menu and Sunday lunch menu already too.

Salt Cafe, Sheringham - another amazing new addition to Sheringham which opened on 29th March. Salt Cafe is right on the promenade, with stunning sea views, ice creams, cakes and coffees. The perfect destination are a play on the beach in the sunshine!

Stamp Pizza, Aylsham - Recently named amongst the best places to live in UK by The Sunday Times, Aylsham is fast becoming a foodie heaven, especially with the opening of Stamp Pizza on 29th March. Classic wood fired pizzas and some with a 'twist', this place is set to be an incredible addition to an already "perfect advert for small town living".

The Blind Pig, Alysham - yet another amazing foodie paradise set to open in Aylsham in summer, The Blind Pig will be a Bistro and Wine Bar and even though there's only a sneak peek on their Instagram, I'm dying to visit as soon as this one opens.

Castle Wild Camp - I've been searching for wild camping in Norfolk even since we moved here so when I found Castle Wild Camp on Instagram, I actually did a little squeal. The most incredible 45 acre conservation project with private camping glades, this place is one of the most incredible projects I've seen happen in Norfolk (or the UK). Book in fast as this place will be booked up in no time. Camping available from 27th April.

Startle Gallery, Holt - Opened on 1st April, there a whole three floors of incredible art to explore here. From pop art to abstract landscapes, this independent gallery has it all and I'm desperate to literally buy everything for our house refurb!

Chip Buckets, Hunstanton - Already a firm favourite in Cromer (and even recently featured in The Telegraph), Chip Buckets have opened another amazing venue in Hunstanton. This place sells loaded fries that dreams are made of. Be sure to check them out if you're in Hunstanton....your stomach will thank you!

Bay Store & Coffee - Bringing The Outside Inside have struck again with their 5th concept store, this time at Holkham. Local interest books, home and body fragrances, echo beach products, stationary, souvenirs, dog accessories, as well as takeaway coffee and cake!

If you know of any more, get in touch as we’d love to add to this list. Norfolk comes alive in season and there’s so much to be explored…one weekend adventure and week off at a time! Roll on sunny days, happy hearts and full bellies. It’s Norfolk’s time to shine!!


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