This part of Norfolk is a real gem and a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. Characterised by expansive blue skies, it is perfect for walking, cycling, riding, playing golf, sailing, playing on the beaches and bird watching. There are also pretty villages and Georgian towns a-plenty to explore which are speckled with art galleries, antique shops, country houses and parkland - not to mention a multitude of great pubs and restaurants.
The cottage is in an ideal location to access a range of activities and explore this beautiful unspoilt area of North Norfolk.
The pretty flint village of Stiffkey is only a ten minute walk inland from Hawthorns, giving easy access to the favourite local pub, The Red Lion and the hugely popular Stiffkey Stores which sells freshly baked cakes, bread, unique items and books as well as delicious coffee. The latter can either be taken away or drunk in one of the beach huts in the small courtyard adjacent to the shop.
Despite the rural nature of Stiffkey and the surrounding area, a surprising number of establishments are forward thinking in their offering, serving vegan and gluten free options on their menus as well as championing fresh and seasonal food all year round.
A defining feature of Stiffkey and a key appeal to Hawthorns’ visitors are the Stiffkey Saltings. A stone’s throw from the house, you will find yourself enveloped in a stunning and truly special landscape buzzing with wildlife and unusual vegetation. Navigate your way along the path through muddy creeks (wellies are recommended!) and purple sea lavender until you reach a breath-taking stretch of textured sand which will lead you directly out to sea.
Locally known as ‘the marshes’, the Stiffkey Saltings are a fantastic place for children and adults alike to let loose and enjoy nature whilst giving crabbing a go for the first time (we recommend high tide for your best crab numbers!). You can also swim and paddle in the creeks or bring an inflatable to float along with the tide. It's also a dogs' paradise where they can run for miles.
Recognisable from its feature in the film 'Shakespeare in Love', Holkham Beach is one on the UK’s most highly rated and beautiful beaches. With sand and sea as far as the eye can see, coupled with its unusual pine woodland walk edging, this beach is well worth a visit in all seasons. A 15 minute drive from the cottage, Holkham is a must-see whilst on your trip to Norfolk. Alternatively, you can walk along the North Norfolk coastal path from Stiffkey, through Wells-next-the-Sea and onto Holkham if you want a good long walk, and then jump on the Coast Hopper to drop you back in Stiffkey.
Next to the beach is the famous Holkham Hall and estate which are open to the public, allowing you to explore the beautiful house and the surrounding grounds. During the summer, events such as barbecues, open-air concerts and children’s days are regularly hosted by the estate and the festive season sees the hall embellished with stunning Christmas decorations.
Also known as just ‘Wells’, the town which is less than ten minutes drive away, is a popular tourist spot - and for good reason! With a selection of independent shops selling everything from ice cream and rock to nautical garments and Norfolk merchandise, Wells is also home to one of the UK’s Top10 Fish & Chip shops.
Just a kilometre away from the town centre, is the iconic Wells Beach which showcases rows of brightly coloured beach huts which overlook the sea. Like Holkham Beach, Wells Beach also has a woodland walk which leads you in one direction to Holkham Beach (should you be up for the walk).
If you can drag yourself away from the coast, there is plenty to see and do inland. Stately homes, market towns such as Holt and Burnham Market, golf courses, horse-riding, and art galleries are all within easy reach of Stiffkey.
There are lots of ideas of what to do both locally and further afield in the cottage itself.