Former royal love nest in tucked away north Norfolk corner reopens as pub
A historic former hotel – which was once used as a royal love nest – has re-opened as a traditional pub where drinkers can get up close to nature.
Elderton Lodge in Thorpe Market, near Cromer, was closed for 18 months while extensive refurbishment work was carried out and it has now been transformed into the Gunton Arms.
The eight-bedroom watering-hole and former shooting lodge is nestled within the deer-studded park surrounding Gunton Hall.
As a lodge it was regularly used by King Edward VII – at a time when he was the Prince of Wales – as a meeting place for liaisons with his mistress Lillie Langtry, a well-known beauty of the 1800s.
During its refurbishment some of its surrounding fencing was removed so diners and guests can now get up close to the four-legged residents who share its grounds.
Simone Baker, who runs the pub with her partner and head chef Stuart Tattersall, said: 'We have taken some of the fences down so now all the deer can walk right up to the windows. It's become part of the park again rather than being a separate entity.
'The work that we have done is hopefully going to keep it in good shape for the next 30 years.'
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As well as some outside works the pub has been completely renovated inside with new wiring and plumbing.
The number of rooms has also been scaled back from the hotel's 12 so more of the building could be dedicated to living areas for guests, diners and drinkers. One of the new additions to the building is a French inspired grill, which was installed after Miss Baker and Mr Tattersall travelled across the Channel with the pub's owners, Ivor and Sarah Braka.
'We all went to Paris to a restaurant called Robert Et Louise and they have a French open grill and we were all inspired so we built one here,' Miss Baker added.
And the lodge's historical links to King Edward and his mistress have also been kept alive through the Langtry suite.
Miss Baker and Mr Tattersall, who are from Leeds and Manchester respectively, are now making the most of the fresh produce on offer in north Norfolk to use in the pub's menu.
'We absolutely love being near the coast, it's incredible. And from a chef's point of view it's just so rich in produce. We're in the middle of the deer park to start off with, but also the beaches and marsh lands up here are just rich in seashore vegetables.
'We've been using beef from Blickling through White's in Aylsham and crab from Mrs Davies in Cromer. We just hope to add something to this part of Norfolk.'
The pub opened at the end of October and since then a steady stream of customers have been enjoying its new-look surroundings.