On the water…

Three of my businesses are right on the Norfolk coast: the hotel sits on the coast road with sea views across the marsh, and our original chippy and pizza restaurant at Drove Orchards are just a short walk from the Holme Dunes and Thornham beach .

I love living by the sea and I’m very grateful that my parents made the move from Lincolnshire all those years ago. There’s something lovely about even just seeing the sea. I never tire of the changing landscape as you drive over Mill Road towards Brancaster – it’s stunning on sunny summer days, but there is also something beautiful and wild about the view in winter.

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I do feel guilty that over the years I haven’t fully taken advantage of where we live, though. I guess most of my time was spent in the kitchen, and a fair bit in the pub. That’s my excuse anyway!

So recently Lydia and I have tried to do a bit more. A couple of years ago we bought paddleboards, and we’ve had some wonderful times exploring the creeks in Brancaster. Lydia in particular loves the relaxation and tranquillity of paddleboarding silently on the water, and I can see why it’s become such a popular activity. Why not hire a board, or book a taster session or guided tour with North Norfolk Paddleboards when you’re next with us? You’ll find all the details on the hotel website (click here).

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Our other great collaboration on the water is with the Coastal Exploration Company. Henry Chamberlain offers unique sailing experiences on board his reconditioned traditional whelk or crab boats and mussel flats. He and his team will take you out for anything from a few gentle hours in the creeks to an exciting overnight smugglers trip. His knowledge about the local area, traditional navigation techniques, how to forage safely on the shore, and identify wildlife is incredible. We’ve worked together on certain trips where I’ve cooked a lunch of local seafood on board for guests, and served drinks. It really is a special trip, quite unique, and we’re planning an outing for later this year. Keep an eye open for more information!

My other connection with the sea is through my brother-in-law Tim Loose, a fifth generation fisherman mainly of brown shrimps, mussels and cockles. Based in Brancaster Staithe, Tim’s knowledge of the harbour and surrounding seas is second to none. My knowledge was more like second last, so it’s been fantastic to spend more time on the water with him, and learn more about the creeks and the stunning Scolt Head Island nature reserve. I bought an old fishing boat last year (with Tim’s help!) and already we’ve spent many magical days as a family out on the water and exploring the island. Scolt Head is over five miles of absolutely beautiful, almost untouched space close to Brancaster Staithe harbour. Recently, we anchored up and walked for 15 minutes across the island to the East side beach. We were the only people there, right in the middle of the busy summer – that’s quite a feeling!

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