TRAVEL: Let's staycation in...The Burnhams
- Credit: Barry Pullen/newzulu.com
The Burnhams is a group of villages in north Norfolk – and with beautiful coast and countryside to explore (on foot, bike or by boat), history, some of the region’s best dining, shopping and more on offer they make the perfect short break destination.
Situated around the River Burn, they comprise Burnham Overy Town and Burnham Norton, which overlook Scolt Head Island and Norton Marshes, Burnham Deepdale, which is popular for camping and glamping, Burnham Overy Staithe, Burnham Thorpe, birthplace of seafaring hero Nelson, and, of course, Burnham Market.
Picture postcard pretty, the traditional Georgian village is full of charm, with boutiques, galleries and award-winning restaurants.
There’s no wonder it’s a favourite destination for celebrities.
Where to stay
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Perched on The Green at Burnham Market, the historic Hoste has long been a favourite countryside bolthole for the A list.
Offering comfort and luxury, there are 45 individually curated bedrooms, which have been designed to help guests switch into relaxation mode.
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The building itself is packed with character – choose your reading nook and kick back for a few hours.
As well as a pub (the bar dates back 400 years) and restaurant, where the menu is bursting with local flavours, there’s a cinema with a daily changing schedule of movies, a beauty spa where you can book in for a treatment or two and a fitness suite.
You might never want to check out. thehostearms.com
Where to eat in the Burnhams
Socius, Burnham Market
In Foundry Place, just off North Street, at Socius locally sourced produce is transformed into a modern British take on tapas where sharing is encouraged.
The restaurant is featured in the Michelin Guide, has two AA Rosettes and was named restaurant of the year in the 2019 Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards.
Intriguingly the menu tells you what ingredients are on their small plates, but not how they’re prepared, so there’s a fun element of surprise.
And the open plan restaurant and kitchen, where you can watch the team at work, creates a relaxed vibe.
The Hero, Burnham Overy Staithe
North Norfolk is walking territory - and if you want to bring your canine companion along on your trip, then they're more than welcome at The Hero at Burnham Overy Staithe.
The menu is bursting with hearty fare to replenish your energy reserves after a bracing beach walk - there are biscuits for dogs too - and there's a wood burner to warm up by.
You could even make a stay of it - all their rooms are dog friendly too.
No Twenty9, Burnham Market
Everything from Wells crab sandwiches to confit duck is on the menu at one of north Norfolk's most stylish dining destinations, No Twenty9 in Burnham Market.
The decor is a cool and eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional.
They also have six rooms which are the ultimate in luxury, with wrought iron beds, Noble Isle toiletries, fluffy towels and even underfloor heating - it's no wonder that the Sunday Times named it as one of its 80 best places to stay in Great Britain.
But back to the food. Sister business No Thirty3 next door is your destination for fresh bread, cakes, savouries and breakfast pastries to get the day off to a good start.
Shopping in the Burnhams
You can easily while away a morning or afternoon - and give your credit card a workout - exploring Burnham Market's boutiques and galleries.
If you love your labels, then check out the latest drops from brands such as Bella Freud, Rixo and Anya Hindmarch at Anna and Barbour, Gant and Ralph Lauren at Gun Hill.
If your abode is a stylish sanctuary, then head to Norfolk Living for the finishing touches that turn a house into a home. Or add a bold splash of colour with a new throw or rug from Bombay Sprout.
Bookworms will be in their element as they scour the shelves and add to their to-be-read piles at Brazen Head Books and White House Books.
Discover your new favourite artist at Fairfax Gallery and Pocock the Artmonger.
And don't forget a present for your four-legged friend. Doggy boutique Eric and Dolly's stocks everything the stylish pooch could require.
Things to do near Burnham Market
On the coast, there's a brilliant mile-long walk from Burnham Overy Staithe to the beach. From the harbour the river meanders through the salt marshes and sand dunes right down to the sea - and it's well worth making the trip to enjoy the reward of this secluded stretch of coast.
During the summer months you can catch the ferry from Burnham Overt Staithe to Scolt Head Island. This untamed wilderness is a really special place to visit and is home to rare wildlife.
Norfolk has the most surviving round tower churches in the country - including at Burnham Deepdale, where there's also a market with a cafe and pop-up shops. The campsite often holds special events such as the Deepdale Festival, which this year is being held from September 23-26.
From here you can also join the Norfolk Coastal Path - we love the walk to Holkham. And if you're a stargazer, the area's dark skies make it the perfect destination for amateur astronomers.
10 minutes away...
Head to Holkham Hall for some stately splendour. Explore the elegant 18th-century Palladian-style house, which is the seat of the Earls of Leicester.
A must-visit for art lovers, the hall's enviable collection includes paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Claude, Gaspar Poussin and Gainsborough.
Take a deep breath and immerse yourself in the area's natural beauty. Holkham National Nature Reserve is home to many rare species of flora and fauna.
No day out is complete without a huge, toothsome slab of cake, and you're absolutely spoiled for choice at the Courtyard Cafe.
And, of course, there's one of not only Norfolk's but the country's best beaches to explore - and, if you're there at low tide, you can have your own Gwyneth Paltrow moment. The actress famously walked across the stunning sands during the closing scenes of Shakespeare in Love.
15 minutes away...
Make sure that you pack your binoculars, because in this part of the world you’ve got some of the best birdwatching in the country on the doorstep.
RSPB Titchwell Marsh, with its diverse range of habitats including reedbeds, saltmarsh and freshwater lagoons is home to avocets, bearded tits and marsh harriers.
A longer trip, but well worth the drive, is RSPB Snettisham famed for the whirling wader spectacular.
On the biggest high tides from late summer onwards, marvel as thousands of wading birds take flight as the incoming tide pushes them off the mudflats.
20 minutes away...
Oh we do like to be beside the seaside. And while it might be a bit more than 20 minutes away - perhaps nearer half an hour - nothing beats a trip to the traditional bucket and spade resort of Hunstanton for chips on the Green and a go on the amusements.