There’s something really evocative about Blakeney and Cley. Forget about them if you're after endless sandy beaches or arcades but for those who like to watch the sun glistening over the salt marshes, with boats carefully navigating the creeks and masses of birds, they are for you.

Blakeney, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and most famous for its spit, Blakeney Point, has a large quay where many boats are moored and from where trips to the Point set out. It’s here that you’ll see a colony of grey seals who are simply delightful to watch as they bob up and down in the waves or sunbathe on the Point!

The village, packed with flint cottages, conjures up ideas of smugglers, with its narrow streets and alleyways, and it is all very picture postcard pretty. The noble Blakeney Hotel stands proud right on the quay, and the views from the first floor lounge are among the best in the region, and the church, which its two towers, is a magnificent specimen.The village has good facilities, including a school, post office, garage, mini market, deli, bakery, spa and high jinks are always to be had at the Harbour Rooms where live music is often on offer. The Moorings is a much loved restaurant while The White Horse is a popular gastro pub.

It’s an easy walk to Morston along the Norfolk Coast Path, where the Michelin-starred Morston Hall has set the gourmet pace for decades. The Anchor, a freehouse, is a more casual addition to the village which is small but beautifully formed with many pretty flint cottages so typical of the area and a bustling quay.

Little Wiveton is tucked away off the main coast road, between Blakeney and Cley. The Wiveton Bell is a great gastro pub with lovely outdoor space while Wiveton Hall’s cafe has yet more wonderful views over the marshes - and a great line in Normal For Norfolk merchandise which you really have to see!

Cley, with its landmark 18th century windmill, is a delight. Sure the main road through it can get busy but it is so very charming you’d forgive it almost anything. Again, as with many of these pretty coastal villages, there are many attractive flint cottages, tucked down little lanes, and there’s quite an array of shops from a craft co-op to an art gallery, smokehouse and a long standing deli, Picnic Fayre, which mixes up local goodies with first class British and Continental treats.  

You can stay at that dramatic windmill, while the statuesque George and Dragon Hotel is another lovely spot for both food and accommodation.

The area, with its lagoons, grazing marshes, shingle beach and reed beds, is a mecca for bird watchers, with The Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Cley Marshes centre a must, with four hides, an observation area and much to excite and educate little ones. Look out for bitterns, terns, oystercatchers, marsh harriers and more.

You can walk onto Salthouse, another quaint little village where the Dun Cow pub is always a welcome sight and has terrific uninterrupted coastal views. And seafood lovers shouldn’t miss Cookie’s crab shop and their signature royal salads - we say no more!

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