An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
The Ancient Mariner Inn
Golf Course Road,
Tel: 01485 534411
Traditional village pub with great atmosphere, real ale, good food, and stunning views of the sea and beaches – a perfect spot for sunset watching whilst relaxing with friends.
Where to find it
The Ancient Mariner can be found by taking a turning off the main A149 coastal road by the golf course near Hunstanton. It’s next door to the Best Western Le Strange hotel and opposite the Old Craft Barns (Also in walking distance and definitely worth a wander is The Strandline driftwood shop, click here to read a full review). A small traditional inn from the front, created from the old barns and stables of its original Victorian hotel, don’t be fooled into thinking that’s all it offers. The back entrance consists of unrivalled beer gardens, raised decking areas and a sunset conservatory restaurant. It’s a great mix of old and new that maximises its potential in all weathers.
What to expect
If you’re looking for a warm haven to escape the elements and snuggle up after a refreshing walk along the beach, then this is the place to retire to for an afternoon. A beautiful sandy beach backed by dunes and beach huts is just moments away. Dogs are welcome on the beach and in the pub which adds further to its appeal. There’s a warm glow on entering that feels friendly and inviting. With its low wooden beams, open fire and cosy corners it will win you heart and draw you back again and again.
Come summer it’s all about the outside. An extensive beer garden slopes down to a summerhouse, dunes and views over the beach and out to sea. It’s expansive and breathtaking; the Norfolk coastline at its best. It’s also a popular place for kite surfing so plenty to watch as you relax with a drink in the sunshine. A large raised decking area and endless tables and chairs form the perfect place to chill out for the evening as you sit back and watch a mesmerising sunset right before your eyes. The only village on the east coast to face west, this really is a treat you’ll never forget.
Real ale, real food
Ok so we’ve established that this ticks the boxes for location and atmosphere but can it deliver on food and drink? I’m still smiling because it exceeds all expectations here too. Featuring in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, it sells Adnams and Broadside all year round and serves various local ales each month – check out the calendar on their website for what’s available when. The food is traditional pub cuisine freshly cooked and with good variety. Whether you fancy a light bite, say soup and a sandwich £6.50, something from the grill, whole chicken breast burger £8.95 for instance, or a full hearty main, this place has it covered. Steak and ale pie, mariner’s fish platter or a good old fashioned steak; prices are reasonable and portions are large. If you visit their website or check the local paper you can often pick up a 50% off voucher too. There’s a good vegetarian selection too including Tuscan vegetable tart and vegetable wellington.
Occasionally you discover a pub that puts all others in the shadows; a place that feels like your local even when you’ve never visited it before. Somewhere that meets your changing requirements and delivers on all your needs with ease. The Ancient Mariner is one of Norfolk’s little gems; visit it as soon as you can.
Open seven days a week; food is served from 12 noon to last orders at 9pm.