The best pubs in Norfolk - according to the AA Pub Guide 2020
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AA Publishing has just released The Pub Guide 2020: 2,000 Pubs for Great Beer and Good Food. This year 16 businesses in the county have made it into their prestigious 'Pick of the Pubs' section.
Kings Head, Bawburgh
This family-run 17th century inn near Norwich has been delighting guests for around 30 years and was one of the very first in the area to transform into a gastro-pub, having 2 AA rosettes for culinary excellence. Food is served from breakfast through to Sunday evenings, using a multitude of regular local suppliers- from Cleveleys Butchers, to Little Red Roaster and Fielding Cottage. It's very dog-friendly, sells a good drop of local ale, and offers accommodation in six comfy bedrooms and two apartments.
The White Horse, Blakeney
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An Adnams pub just a short walk from the wild beauty of Blakeney's shores. The extensive public rooms stretch from a bar and lounge to the breakfast room, conservatory and terrace. Expect, of course, well-kept Adnams beers at the bar, alongside the brand's spirits and carefully selected wines, and a menu that sings with Adnams ingredients - think Copperhouse gin and beer cured salmon with ginger and rhubarb puree and vegetable crisps. There are cosy bedrooms if you'd like to stay, including dog-friendly accommodation.
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The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe
Renowned on the north Norfolk coast for its simply breathtaking views over marshlands, oyster beds and lobster pots. The place to be is in the outside dining terrace or conservatory where you can lap up the scenery. This is matched by an excellent menu, including smoked ingredients from the next door smokehouse, and lovely accommodation in 15 bedrooms.
The Rose & Crown, Snettisham
A twisty, turny, classic Norfolk pub with oodles of features, from pamment floors to a plethora of beams. Named UK Pub of the Year in 2015, this place prides itself on still being the village watering hole, offering local ales from Woodforde's to Adnams alongside regularly changing guest ales, and wines from an independent merchant. There are 16 bedrooms, and a family-friendly garden complete with pirate ship, and ingredients for the menu are plucked from local allotments, local shoots and trusted suppliers.
The Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross
Head chef Charlie Wilson was our Chef of the Year in 2018, with the pub a finalist for Best Restaurant and Outstanding Front of House. Everything is focussed on flavour and provenance - the best ingredients they can get their hands on. Chefs pluck produce daily from the farm, where a lot of their produce is grown, and other local farms and makers are supported, including Swannington Farm, whose pork cheeks have recently been paired with charred baby gem, chorizo jam, pork puff, fresh apple and bacon crumb. There's a diverse wine list and local breweries are represented at the bar.
The Hare Arms, Stow Bardolph
You might spot a peacock in the spacious gardens of this pub as you quench your thirst with one of their local ales, spirits or selected wines. Inside, there's a traditional long bar, and restaurant with lots of fine little touches that make it a grand place to stop for a bite. It's been a strong part of the village for many many years.
The Orange Tree, Thornham
A multi-award-winning pub which has been Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide several times. Aside from the 17 rooms, the most outstanding thing about this place is its incredible menu, which brims with creativity and even boasts dishes featuring produce from their own smoker - think 48 hour home-smoked brisket burger! There's a grand selection of cocktails, mocktails and fine wines. And families are well looked after too, with a play area and even a doggie menu packed with treats such as doggie sausage rolls and pigs ears in gravy!
Titchwell Manor Hotel, Titchwell
The Snaith family have made this a real destination near the coast. Today there are 26 fabulous rooms and two menus to enjoy in either the Eating Rooms or Conservatory. Eric has made sure both the bar and kitchen make use of all the tremendous suppliers on the doorstep, and dishes have included this year beef consomme with short rib, caper jam and gruyere toast, and turbot with crab bisque, cod roe, pomme dauphine, sea vegetables and nasturtiums.
Wiveton Bell, Wiveton
Drink one of the four guest beers, premium lager or local gin in the exceptional gardens of this pub, overlooking the village green and church. Inside, there's a bright, contemporary interior, six luxury rooms, and a restaurant which has 2 AA Rosettes for its beautifully presented dishes - be that salt cod pate with pickled vegetables, soda bread and lemon, or Norfolk hogget with lamb fat carrot, English pea, crispy polenta and mint.
The George, Cley Next the Sea
A luxurious, family-friendly, dog-friendly pub perched overlooking the salt marshes. There are wonderful rooms to stay in, the beer is so well-kept a Cask Marque inspector once said they probably sell the best pint in Norfolk, and the menu is sublime - being thoughtfully put together yet brimming with classics, changing daily - from Scotch egg of the day, to locally-made sausages with chorizo mash and chef's pan gravy. It's a favourite with birders and there's a book for guests to record their sightings.
The Hunworth Bell, Hunworth
Near fabulous Holt this is the second property for Ben and Sarah of The Duck at Stanhoe and has already won them much praise. Expect modern British food out of the kitchen, made with ingredients sourced from some of the best suppliers in the region. Beer and spirits have a local flavour too, including ales from Norfolk Brewhouse, and spirits from Archangel Gin.
Angel Inn, Larling
A cracking former coaching inn in the Brecks, with around five guest ales on the hand pump, 100 whiskies, and a proper public bar to enjoy them in, with a juke box and darts. Bar snacks are very decent too, including homemade Scotch eggs, sausage rolls and pies. There's a separate dining area selling pub classics, and you can stay over in the B&B, self-catering or even camping.
The Kings Head, Letheringsett
Surrounded by parkland and cloaked by a private enclosed garden, this is an elegant bar and restaurant with four guest rooms. Food is as locally sourced as possible, with the kitchen even sourcing flour from Norfolk's only working flour-producing watermill next door. Real ales on tap include their own Brancaster Brewery beers.
The Anchor, Morston
This is a cool, modern, award-winning pub which has a quirky country seaside feel. There's a range of guest beers to sip on (perhaps in the beer garden), and they've taken care to work with lots of local suppliers on the menu, with dishes changing pretty much daily. Thursdays offer a curry and a drink for a tenner.
The Crown Hotel, Wells-Next-The-Sea
Chris Coubrough's boutique hotel, restaurant and bar (with 20 luxury en suite bedrooms) is well known for its sensational, but unfussy food, with a seasonal menu changing from week to week depending on time and tide. A popular offer is Friday's Fizz n Chips, where two people can share a platter of haddock goujons, battered tiger prawns, fishcakes and trimmings with a glass of prosecco for less than £40.