The Ship Hotel Pub with rooms in Brancaster, Norfolk

Prices from:
£110 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Classic country inn with a stylish twist
  • Stroll to famous Brancaster beach
  • Boutique bedrooms ooze quirky style
  • Good food, menus favour fish
  • Smack on the coast path

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingClose to WaterVisit a Stately PilePrivate Dining

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The Ship Hotel Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8AP

The personal touch

The Chaplin Group, who own hotels in Norwich and Cambridge, took over this seaside treasure in May 2018 and we’re pleased to report that little has changed and it continues to thrive as a dining destination on Norfolk’s glorious north coast. It’s not just the terrific nosh that makes the Ship stand out, however: this is a classic country inn with a twist, its style informed by a magpie’s eye for curiosities, whether that’s sackcloth blinds in the bar or map-of-the-world wallpaper in the bedrooms. The heritage of the place hasn’t been compromised a bit: evocative photographs of Norfolk seaside life adorn the walls, firelight crackles in the stained-glass windows, and a pile of board games teeters in the corner. There’s a gravelled beer garden with parasols for sunny days, and food that is fresh, tasty and generously portioned, from fat steak sandwiches to large seafood platters. It’s a 10-minute saunter from here to Brancaster beach.

Sticky fingers

The children’s menu offers standards such as sausage-and-mash and cheese toasties, plus a mini homemade burger and roast dinner on Sundays. There is colouring-in and word searches for while they wait. Two sets of rooms can combine to create smart family suites for four, while two further rooms have sofa beds and zed-beds (£20 extra) can be added to some other rooms.

Muddy paws

Dogs are welcome in the main bar or garden, and very well looked after upstairs, with their own bed, towels and bedside snacks in six of the rooms, for a £10 per night per dog surcharge.


There’s a pretty patio garden squirrelled behind the inn, super for summer dining.


What’s the Damage?
9 doubles: £110-£220; look out for weeknight deals and Sunday-night specials, which dip as low as £75 off-season. Two night minimum stay at weekends.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining (Map Room 20; Library 12)
  • Disabled access to bar & dining room
  • Parking



The Ship Hotel Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8AP

Do not disturb

Just like downstairs, the bedrooms demonstrate a talent for filling antique spaces with modern design. No boring beige and cream colour schemes here: instead an eye for warm greens and hot pinks, scattered with cosy tartan and fur fabrics and all gathered under the original vaulted beams of the inn. Lots of boutiquey touches too: maybe a carved headboard, a driftwood lamp or porthole mirror, something to catch the eye at every turn. The Ship offers nine ‘cabins’ in all, five classic, four deluxe, the latter with king-size beds or super-kings, roll-top baths and separate showers. You’ll find White Company toiletries and a full suite of goodies in the bathrooms; newspapers to order and ironing boards on demand; and a blessed flask of fresh milk with your tea tray, not to mention fresh coffee and some completely irresistible fruit flapjack. Wake up to a hearty full English breakfast, or order smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, smoked local kippers, or home-made porridge. 

What’s the Damage?
9 doubles: £110-£220; look out for weeknight deals and Sunday-night specials, which dip as low as £75 off-season. Two night minimum stay at weekends.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining (Map Room 20; Library 12)
  • Disabled access to bar & dining room
  • Parking


Eat & Drink

The Ship Hotel Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8AP

Mastering the menu

As is only proper in these parts, local seafood is a menu staple, and the signature ‘seafood assiette’ starter gives every meal at the Ship a proper sense of occasion, brimming with shell-on prawns, crayfish, mackerel pate, cockles and smoked salmon. The mains are mostly meatier, though: look out especially for Norfolk pork belly from Tim Allen’s paddock-reared pigs at nearby South Creake, served with truffled mash. The a la carte offering concentrates on half-a-dozen dishes done really well, but there are always blackboard specials to add spice. And do leave some room for the lovely list of artisan ices: the cider, gooseberry and cinder toffee strains stand out. On Sunday’s expect all the thrills of the weekday à la carte, plus topside of beef or loin of pork with all the trimmings. A nice touch, especially for Sundays, is a handful of lighter bites perfect for brunching: Welsh rarebit with smoked salmon perhaps, or a sausage and fried egg sandwich. Behind the bar, you’ll likely to find Adnams Ghost Ship and Dry Hopper lager on tap, Aspall’s Harry Sparrow cider, plus a dense blackboard of spirits, liqueurs and cocktails, including Adnams’ Suffolk gins and more than half a dozen single malts. The dining spaces have a nautical swagger, with portraits of fighting galleons jostling alongside knots, flags and the occasional oar; and hidden behind the main restaurant you’ll find the snug ‘library room’, great for an intimate family occasion.

Time to eat

Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm (8pm Sundays)

Dinner: 6pm – 9pm

Time at the bar

12 noon – 11pm (10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?
9 doubles: £110-£220; look out for weeknight deals and Sunday-night specials, which dip as low as £75 off-season. Two night minimum stay at weekends.

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining (Map Room 20; Library 12)
  • Disabled access to bar & dining room
  • Parking


Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know –

1 Inn Location - The Ship Hotel


Deepdale Christmas Market, Burnham Deepdale PE31 8FB

Early December sees over 90 stalls in the market and the local church in Burnham Deepdale, where you can buy the best festive gifts and food & drink, replete with entertainment and other Christmassy activities.


Samphire and Seafood Stalls NR25 7PG

As you drive the coast road in these parts, keep your eyes peeled for little stalls outside houses selling freshly-caught fish, shellfish (especially Brancaster mussels and Stewkey Blues cockles from Stiffkey) and crisp salty marsh samphire in the summer months.


The Dun Cow, Salthouse NR25 7XA

This lovely hostelry on the coast road is being revitalised with passion and interest. Don't miss the Gray family's beef reared outside the windows on Salthouse marshes and the famous local Morston mussels.


Back To The Garden, Letheringsett, Holt NR25 7JJ

Award-winning farm shop and cafe in a stunning renovated barn, with high quality produce, including Soil Association-quality meat counter, organic veggies and a delicatessen and of course excellent home-made meals.


North Norfolk Food Festival, Holkham Park NR23 1AB

A celebration in early September of all that is best about food grown, reared, caught, made or sold in north Norfolk. The best local producers attend, offering plenty of tastings and samples to tempt.


Byfords, 1-3 Shirehall Plain, Holt NR25 6BG

This part of North Norfolk is spoilt for superlative businesses, deli-cafe Byfords is no exception. For many, an essential glamorous pitstop on any retail therapy in delightful Holt, perhaps the finest Georgian market town. Its strapline is 'a higgledy-piggledly world of pleasure', say no more.


The Duck Inn, Burnham Road, Stanhoe PE31 8QD

Ben Handley cooks inspiring local produce and his wife Sarah runs the front of house. An Elgoods pub, stopping for a half is also encouraged. There's a delightfully short menu (+ specials) and a ducklings menu for little ones too.


Richard Loose Oysters

Chris’s recommendation “this guy grows the best oysters in the world. One of my food heroes, quite unassuming, and brilliant. He doesn’t have a retail outlet but you can buy them in many of the fine eating establishments along the coast road between Brancaster and Wells.”


Quayside and Rockpool Crabbing NR25 7NE

More for entertainment value to amuse big and little kids than fishy harvest, throw your bacon baited lines (no hooks allowed) off the quays at Blakeney or Wells; alternatively gingerly splash around the rockpools on the Hunstanton part of the coast for your crustacean quarry (not exactly edibly-sized).


The Three Horseshoes, The Street, Warham NR23 1NL

Step back in time with local cider and ales straight from the barrel and speciality home-made pies such as wild game, rabbit, beef & Stilton. Close to the salt marshes and the Peddar's Way so a good stop off for cyclists and nature lovers.


Cookies Crab Shop, The Green, Salthouse NR25 7AJ

The popularity of this seafood shack is legendary (after three generations). It's a simple place all round, quite set in their ways about how to do things but that's how they cater for so many. Family day boats bring in flapping-fresh seafood. Get there early!


Wiveton Hall Café and Fruit Farm, Wiveton NR25 7TE

Outside Wiveton to the north off the A149 coast road is this a hidden Norfolk gem, full of Jacobean architecture, charming walled gardens and productive fruit farming in the grounds. PYO or buy berries and other crops in the shop. But main attraction is the farm café with beautiful views and fabulous rustic ingredient-led cooking.


The Anchor, Morston NR25 7AA

At the heart of yachting and twitcher country, The Anchor sits down the road from the famous Michelin-starred Morston Hall and shares much of the passion for local seafood and game. The two youthful landlords were old school chums and they are doing good things in their first pub-restaurant.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Ship Hotel



Seal Trips, Morston NR25 7AA

Watching seals at home in their natural environment on Blakeney Point (also a well-known breeding ground for waders and terns), is a popular boating excursion. Boats leave from Morston Quay and the trip lasts for one hour, but if weather conditions are favourable, boats will land on Blakeney Point for an additional 30-60 minutes.


Hilltop Outdoor Activities, Sheringham NR26 8TS

Overlooking Sherringham, near Cromer, this is just the place to take the kids (6 years and over). Comprising 26 acres of private woodland, you can try archery, high ropes, the big zipper and a treetop trial, among many other activities.



Ship-To-Shore, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1AR

Expect to find British nautical clothing brand Quba & Co at Ship-to-Shore, the company's first outlet in Norfolk. Clothing, jackets, bags and accessories are all expertly crafted using traditional sail-making skills. There are even marine-themed homewares from deckchairs and bean bags to sofas and cushions.


Artemis Homes & Antiques, Blakeney NR25 7NQ

Everything from sideboards and sofas to tables and tea sets can be found at this antique and home-furnishings shop in the picturesque North Norfolk village of Blakeney. Themes range from Arts & Crafts to Art Nouveau and Art Deco.


Fakenham Antiques and Collectables, NR21 8AZ

Seek out the Old Congregational Church in Fakenham and you'll find a treasure trove of fine period furniture, vintage toys, painted and shabby chic, porcelain and china and oddities from all parts of the world.


Burnham Market PE31 8HD

Dubbed Chelsea-on-Sea, Burnham Market has over 30 independent shops and distinctive retailers specialising in contemporary art, stylish accessories for home and garden and fashionable clothes shops for all tastes and requirements.


Beachcomber, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1AN

Beachcomber in Staithe Street is just the place for country and outdoor clothing, fashion and accessories. Designer labels include Barbour, Seasalt, Musto and Lazy Jacks.

Places to visit


Holkham Hall, Holkham NR23 1AB

One of the UK's fine Palladian stately homes and estates, if not the finest, with an amazing array of things to do; foodie highlights alone include a boutique inn, wine merchants and cookware shop, beach cafe, tearooms, home-reared venison etc.


Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough PE33 9PS

This moated manor house near Swaffham dates from the 15th century and includes needlework by Mary, Queen of Scots and a display of historic wallpaper samples. Climb the spiral staircase to the gatehouse roof and explore Oxburgh's gardens and woodlands.


Sheringham Park NR26 8TL

Created 200 years ago by the visionary landscape gardener Humphrey Repton, Sheringham Park has more than 80 species of rhododendron and azalea. Explore the numerous trails on the 1,000-acre estate, listen for birdsong or keep an eye out for passing steam trains on the nearby Poppy Line.


Norfolk Lavender, Heacham PE31 7JE

Down the road from Brancaster, at Heacham, near Hunstanton, you'll find the home of Norfolk Lavender, where you can see the world-famous lavender gardens, the lavender oil distillery and the national lavender collection and herb garden. The gift shop has a wide range of Norfolk Lavender products and plants.


Castle Acre Priory PE32 2XD

Castle Acre Priory was founded in 1090 and is the oldest Cluniac priory in England and probably the finest monastic remains in East Anglia. Look for the decorated 12th century west front, 16th-century gatehouse and prior's lodgings.


Sandringham, King's Lynn PE35 6EN

Sandringham is where members of the Royal Family traditionally spend Christmas. Surrounded by a vast estate of 20,000 acres, the Grade II-listed house and gardens are open to visitors.


Kings Lynn PE30 1HP

Originally called Bishop's Lynn, King's Lynn has a rich and varied history stretching back more than 1,000 years. The town's quaint streets are packed with period buildings and ancient landmarks. Look out for the handsome Custom House.

Designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the North Norfolk Coast has been described as a long way from anywhere and that is certainly the impression it gives – especially when you stroll its many miles of beaches. There are countless walks of varying distances here; for something with a real sense of adventure, try the Peddars Way and North Norfolk Coast Path, which in places runs alongside a vast landscape of salt marshes, creeks and mudflats.

One option is to cycle by the Bure Valley Railway, a 9-mile trail running from Aylsham to Wroxham (returning to the start by train), while for something really adventurous you could bike along the North Norfolk Coast between King’s Lynn and Cromer. At nearby Dalegate Market you can hire bikes, trailers and child seats.

One of the best-known annual fixtures is the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May, a flagship event for the east of England and one of the largest arts festivals in the country. The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival in August is a celebration of all that is good about local produce. In addition there’s the Holkham Country Fair, a two-day celebration of rural England, and the King’s Lynn Festival, a varied two-week programme of music, including jazz, folk and classical.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: The Ship is in Brancaster village, six miles east of Hunstanton along the A149 North Norfolk coast road.

By Rail: Nearest railway station is King’s Lynn (22 miles east along the coast) or a 40-minute taxi ride away.


Main Road,, Brancaster, Norfolk, PE31 8AP

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