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Al fresco dining in Norfolk: 12 pretty restaurants

PUBLISHED: 10:26 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 11:44 24 July 2018

The Victoria Inn at the Holkham Estate (photo: © Holkham Estate)

The Victoria Inn at the Holkham Estate (photo: © Holkham Estate)

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Norfolk has beautiful vistas no matter where you turn, so why not make the most of them with a meal enjoyed al fresco? We pick 12 places to do just that

The New Inn

54 Lower Street, Horning

Perched along the River Bure, with views over the broads is The New Inn in the picturesque village of Horning. Simple yet filling lunches come in the form of paninis, packed with fillings such as brie, smoked bacon and cranberry, jacket potatoes or a refreshing dressed Cromer crab salad. Ingredients are sourced from local farms or butchers and are chosen for seasonal freshness and quality. You can visit from land or sea as there is a car park and boat mooring too. Well behaved dogs on leads are allowed in the garden but not indoors.

The garden: umbrella-shaded benches are dotted around the patio garden right next to the river.

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Socius

11 Foundry Plce, Burnham Market

Its name comes from the Latin meaning ‘sharing’ or ‘joining in’ which is particularly apt for friendly new Burnham Market venture Socius. It has already gained accolades from awarding bodies and customers alike for inventive plates of food to be liberally ordered and shared with your party. Socius Sunday lunches have been called “sumptuous”, “delicious” and “amazing” with your choice of chicken, beef, leg of lamb or roasted cauliflower.

The garden: a luxurious terrace opens out in the summer to allow diners to bask in the sun as they tuck into good food and a few glasses from the curated wine list.

The Belgian Monk

7 Pottergate, Norwich

The Belgian Monk in Pottergate is housed in a striking Tudor style building with design features that make the most of its historical charm: half timbered façade, dark wood and mismatched vintage chairs. As you might expect from the name, this pub pays homage to Belgium with 45 beers including the must-try Ter Dolen Kriek, a cherry beer that’s only UK home is The Belgian Monk. Food carries this trend along with Belgian style tapas that includes plates such as spiced fried halloumi, Limburg potatoes sliced and sautéed with garlic and herbs and Bitterballen, deep fried lamb in breadcrumbs served with Belgian mustard. There’s also a dedicated menu of mussels, the pub’s speciality.

The garden: although it’s small, this garden is an oasis in the city with greenery and flowers dotted around – it’s perfect to sip the famous cherry beer in the sun!

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The Globe Inn

The Buttlands, Wells-next-the-Sea

Charming north Norfolk town Wells-next-the-Sea is home to The Globe Inn, the restaurant and hotel that makes for a welcome escape from metropolitan life. Fish and seafood comes from the north Norfolk coastline and meat comes from cows grazed in the marshes and fields that are plentiful in the area. These form simple dishes that let the local, quality produce speak for itself. The restaurant is dog friendly too!

The garden: with an outdoor pizza oven creating the distinctive charred aroma only achieved with a wood burner, the courtyard at The Globe Inn is an intimate sun trap, or head to the front and enjoy views across the Georgian square, The Buttlands.

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Staithe ‘n’ Willow

16 Lower Street, Horning

If you can find a prettier outdoor spot than the Staithe ‘n’ Willow in Horning to enjoy a bite to eat, pints are on us. The ultra bucolic thatched building surrounds a courtyard filled with delicate-looking white furniture and is bordered by flowers and shrubbery creating a fairytale place to enjoy anything from cream teas to a full Sunday roast.

Local focus: Winbirri Wines, Farm Fresh Meats and local farm shops are just some of the suppliers that provide fresh ingredients for dishes such as creamy five fish pie, steak and ale pie and chicken pasta with bacon in a white wine sauce. If you can fit one in, order a traditional British dessert with a big dollop of ice cream.

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The Crown Inn

The Green, East Rudham

A sharp eye for detail was clearly employed in the forming of The Crown Inn in East Rudham; the interior design has been curated to create an unassuming yet stylish space. Menus change with the seasons to make the most of local producers’ seasonal foods so check the board for daily changing specials. The Crown Inn is also proud of its real ales with four regular ales and two guest ales on tap.

The garden: there is limited seating at the front of the building but it is a pretty location with large white umbrellas shielding diners from the sun and a border of potted shrubs to allow for a private meal or tipple in the sun.

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Wiveton Hall Café

1 Marsh Lane, Wiveton, Holt

It’s not just television appearances that have earned Wiveton Hall its accolades. The 17th century stately home has expertly manicured gardens, pick-your-own fruit fields, a farm shop, gift shop and art exhibitions. If that wasn’t enough to tempt you for a visit, maybe the restaurant and café will. Surrounded by fruit fields and foliage, Wiveton Hall Café makes use of fresh, seasonal produce in its food that’s served at breakfast, lunch and special event dinners for summer at the weekends too.

The garden: candy coloured chairs are placed outside, surrounded by foliage and views over the strawberry and raspberry fields. Enjoy a pizza evening Sunday to Thursday, Tapas on Saturdays or ‘Beef and Reef’ on Fridays (all for limited times).

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The Victoria Inn

Holkham Hall, Wells-next-the-Sea

Sustaining its kitchen with local fare including fresh seafood from the north Norfolk coast, beef from cows grazed on the estate and game shot by the family who own Holkham Hall, The Victoria Inn is a hotel and restaurant specialising in local, seasonal and fresh food that’s part of the Holkham Estate. The simple, elegant menu reflects these Norfolk ingredients with pride. Expect smoked haddock with poached egg and hollandaise for breakfast, and dressed lobster with garden salad and new potatoes for lunch, and maybe pork loin with sautéed potatoes, mushroom and horseradish cream for dinner.

The garden: neighbouring Holkham beach by just a stone’s throw, the restaurant gardens are surrounding by trees and attractive vistas of north Norfolk.

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Beechwood Hotel & Restaurant

20 Cromer Road, North Walsham

Housed in a stunning red brick building that’s clad in ivy is the Beechwood Hotel & Restaurant in the heart of North Walsham. The double AA awarded eatery serves British cuisine and the exciting menu consists of dishes such as confit lamb shoulder, pan seared loin and sweetbreads with a pea and mint bubble and squeak and honey glazed baby carrots.

The garden: with seating on the lawn, the pretty gardens afford a pleasant environment for afternoon tea or a three course meal.

The Assembly House

Theatre Street, Norwich

One of our favourite spots in the fine city of Norwich is The Assembly House. Opulent, decadent, sophisticated yet friendly and inviting, this Georgian house with restaurant and rooms plays host to art exhibitions, music events and private parties.

The garden: the lawned courtyard at the front of the house, complete with beautiful fountain, is the spot where food is served all day from breakfast or afternoon tea to Sunday lunch or a three course dinner.

Rocky Bottoms

Cromer Road, West Runton

Coming from a want to share Norfolk’s fresh seafood with hungry diners, Rocky Bottoms in West Runton was formed. Try a Weybourne half grilled lobster with garlic butter, chunky chips and salad or a crab, garlic and chilli linguine with parmesan and garlic bread.

The garden: grab a seat on the terrace with arresting sea views of West Runton beach; big skies and golden sands make the food taste that bit better.

The Dining Rooms

Cinema City, St Andrews Street, Norwich

Cinephiles will be familiar with The Dining Rooms at Cinema City in Norwich, the perfect place for pre film drinks, snacks or something heftier. With visitors describing their experience here as “relaxing”, “pleasant” and “amazing food”, you can enjoy fine dining in the artsy area of Norwich.

The garden: enter the picturesque courtyard, strung with fairy lights and dotted with tall plants, this oasis of peace surrounded by historical buildings is a lovely spot to find yourself for the evening.

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