A Resident's Guide to: North Norfolk

Landscape designer Emily Erlam grew up in north Norfolk and returned five years ago to live in a daydream-worthy barn conversion by Rural Office for Architecture. She’s shared her insider knowledge of the area with us, and revealed why she thinks north Norfolk is such a special place to live.

Cley Beach
“As a family we really use this beach, and it’s beautiful all year round. I love how uncomplicated the horizon is;  I think that simplicity is why I find it so uplifting. In the summer we swim here (actually, we swim here for a lot of the year … even if it’s cold!), and there are often seals in the water.”

Heydon Village Green
“This is special because it’s such a uniquely communal space – as you would imagine traditional village life to be. There’s a bakery on the green, Husk, which opened a few years ago. It’s in an old blacksmiths shop, and it’s kept the idea of fire being at the heart of the space. The owner makes the best wood-fired bread, and on a Friday night he makes pizzas. Every Friday families will get a pizza, grab a pint from the pub, and sit on the green together.”

Wiveton Hall Cafe & Farm Shop, Holt
“Wiveton Cafe has unrivalled views of the marshes and is a fantastic place for lunch. The fresh local ingredients are elegant and simple. In summer they also do great dinners with music and a jolly atmosphere! You can pick fruit on the farm and walk around the walled garden, or if you’re short on time the little shop sells everything freshly picked for you.”

Picnic Fayre Deli & Cley Smokehouse, Cley-next-the-Sea
“Two more must-visit food stops, these are both award-winning and do what their names suggest beautifully!”

The Creake Plant Centre, Fakenham
“As a landscape designer, I can’t recommend this place highly enough, no matter what you’re looking for. Trevor, the owner, is really exceptional … I don’t think there’s anything garden-related he doesn’t know. Even if I go there to buy for other people, I can never leave without buying something for myself, too.”

The Gunton Arms & Deer Park, Thorpe Market
“One of the things I love about north Norfolk is that it’s still so characterful; it’s resisted the temptation to become London-ified! The Gunton Arms is a perfect example of that – it’s just done its own thing so well. The food is by far the best in the area, and it has one of the best private art collections I’ve seen. There are pieces of British art literally everywhere, even in the toilets. The deer park surrounding it just adds to the atmosphere of the place.”

Cromer Pier
“Cromer is a fantastic place for a walk, or a family day. The pier has the best fish and chips, and there’s a beautiful ice cream shop. There’s a great surf school in Cromer too, so our boys often go there for that.”

Explore our Rural Retreats collection to see beautifully modern country houses for sale in north Norfolk and beyond.

Read More: My Modern House: landscape designer Emily Erlam’s idyllic Norfolk barn conversion.