Part of the nearby Walsingham Farm Shop, this lovely restaurant and next-door fish'n'chip shop is well worth a day trip, combined with a wander around the village, famous for its religious shrines and history.
The Chequers Inn Thornham, Norfolk, PE36 6LY
The personal touch
Serious investment in 2016 by Agellus Hotel Group, who also own three stunning properties in Suffolk, transformed the fortunes of this former coaching inn. The spruced up façade looks pretty as a picture in summer, very eye-catching from the coast road, with its flower-festooned tubs and hanging baskets, stylish brollies and painted benches. The two low-beamed bars remain little changed, stripped back in rustic-chic style with dove-grey painted beamed and floorboards, an eclectic mix of old dining tables, cushioned window seats, winter log fires, and local paintings and photos. The light and airy conservatory restaurant leads to the smart rear terrace, replete with teak tables and two swish alfresco dining pavilions. You can expect a big welcome from the young and friendly team. The inn is set just a stroll from Thornham quay, bird-rich saltmarshes and the Norfolk Coast Path, and beautiful Brancaster beach is a short drive away.
Families can expect a big welcome; there’s a good children’s menu but older kids will love creating their own pizza or perhaps tucking into The Italian (Parma ham and fresh rocket); and a few of the rooms are suitable for families (£25 per extra person)
Dogs are very welcome; they can eat with you in the bar (not restaurant) or outside in the garden (bowl of water always at hand for thirsty hounds); and a number of rooms are dog friendly (£10 extra)
The front roadside terrace is real picture in summer – painted benches; smart brollies; trees in tubs; colourful flower borders and hanging baskets. The sheltered and more peaceful rear terrace has teak tables and chairs and two stylish dining pavilions with cushioned benches, heating lamps and cosy blankets; one seats 14
The Chequers Inn Thornham, Norfolk, PE36 6LY
Do not disturb
What’s for breakfast?
The Chequers Inn Thornham, Norfolk, PE36 6LY
Mastering the menu
On the menu
Time to eat
Local, local, local
Behind the bar
Time at the bar
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Inn Location - The Chequers Inn
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.
On the first Saturday monthly, two old Norfolk barns host over 50 stalls with music and cookery demos by the pond.
A great place to visit to find the best Norfolk food and drink from around the coast and further afield in the county. Beautifully laid out and a place you could spend a couple of hours buying lovely delicious things, particularly ready meals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is a very good market (every Thursday), for lots of different foods, flowers and all sorts. Chris says â€œThe quality and variety here is very good, we get a lot of our Asian vegetables from here for The Shipâ€.
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).
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.
While in Thornham, this is a great deli with a cafe on the side, run by Jeanne Whittome (of Hoste Arms fame). Picnic hampers, themed foodie evenings, amazing home wares and boutique fashion too.
Amazing fruit farm, home to over 150 varieties of apple, including 100 from East Anglia, and other tasty fruit and vegetables such as nuts, artichokes and salads. The two eating options are a rustic cafe-restaurant and a new proper fish'n'chip restaurant & take-away, Eric's, which is run by local chef Eric Snaith of Titchwell Manor.
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!
Simon Letzer, local fisherman, sells the freshest of shellfish, freshly-filled baguettes and other local seafood from his own boat, including crabs, lobster & whelks. Open April - October daytimes.
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.
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.
Arable farmer Teddy Maufe’s real ale shop on his Holkham estate farmstead sells an amazing array of bottle-conditioned Norfolk real ales, many using his finest malting barley
Long-standing and very well-stocked fishmonger’s in Burnham Market selling wet fish, all manner of local seafood, fishy dishes and smoked produce too.
1 Inn Location - The Chequers Inn
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.
The Royal West Norfolk Golf Club at Brancaster is a superb links course on the North Norfolk Coast. Visitors are welcome, although numbers are limited. There’s an excellent pro shop and traditional club house, too. Elsewhere, there are courses at Cromer, Fakenham, Hunstanton and Sheringham.
Suitable for both novices and seasoned sailors, Brancaster Staithe’s harbour lies to the south of Scolt Head Island and is the perfect setting for an assortment of water-sports activities.
This is a popular National Hunt racecourse situated to the south of Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea. The course was established in 1905 and its racing season is between October and May.
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.
Located in Holkham village, here you'll find a varied and eclectic choice of day-to-day fashion and accessories blended with a good range of homeware.
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.
Situated close to the quay in Blakeney, this charming gallery is home to an impressive range of contemporary art, including wildlife sculpture, original paintings, designer jewellery and ceramics.
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.
Arable farmer Teddy Maufe's real ale shop on his Holkham estate farmstead sells an amazing array of bottle-conditioned Norfolk real ales, many using his finest malting barley
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 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
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.
If you love nature, wildlife and the great outdoors, then this is just the place to head for. Situated near Fakenham, Pensthorpe is a magical mix of superb nature trails, beautiful gardens and fascinating wildlife. Bisected by the River Wensum, the park covers 700 acres.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
This magnificent grand Palladian mansion lies in picturesque parkland near King's Lynn. It's the home of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister, and has imposing state rooms, an impressive collection of model soldiers and a restored walled garden.
Titchwell Marsh is one of the RSPB's most visited reserves. Follow several nature trails to spot ducks, waders, geese and seabirds. There are also avocets and terns, bitterns and marsh harriers and a visitor centre, where you can learn more about your surroundings.
Originally called Bishop’s Lynn, King’s Lynn is a classic seaport and market town with a rich and varied history of some 1,000 years. The town’s quaint streets are packed with period buildings and ancient landmarks. Look out for the handsome Custom House.
This is the home of the world’s longest narrow-gauge steam railway, which can take you through picturesque East Anglian countryside from Wells to Walsingham. Look out for the restored signal box - a real treat for train enthusiasts
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.
For something really adventurous you could bike along the North Norfolk Coast between King’s Lynn and Cromer. At nearby Dalegate Market in Burnham Deepdale 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.
Location, Location, Location
By Road: In Thornham village beside A149 Hunstanton to Well-next-the-Sea road, 4 miles east of Hunstanton
By Rail: Nearest railway station is King’s Lynn, 21 miles south of Thornham
High Street, Thornham, Norfolk, PE36 6LY