Packed with personality, The Gunton Arms is a country pub offering some unexpected surprises for rural Norfolk – a dash of high society, heavenly food, and controversial art by Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.
A lovely place to visit at any time of year, Norfolk winters are great for frosty walks and drinks by the fire, and when the warmer weather makes an appearance the pretty coast is just a short drive away – think ice creams on Cromer pier and seal watching at Blakeney.
Rooms: The 8 rooms (6 Superior Doubles, 1 Double and 1 Small Double) are named after local characters, including gamekeeper James Ellis who you might find propping up the bar downstairs! They’re all individually but beautifully decorated with pretty wallpaper and mahogany tables, and have lovely marble bathrooms. Our favourites are the quiet Superior Doubles: Ellis with its kingsize four-poster bed and Parkin, which has great views. Extra beds and baby cots can be added to the larger rooms and well-behaved canine friends are welcome in all. There are also 2 private sitting rooms downstairs for guests’ use and a private dining room which features an original Lucian Freud.
Food: The main reason for visiting is the excellent restaurant, run by ex-Mark Hix chef Stuart Tattersall. The focus is on locally-sourced seasonal food – if you like to keep your food miles low, be sure to tuck into their home-smoked venison (which has travelled less than a mile) and salmon (from the coast, just 4 miles away). Other tempting dishes might include nettle and leek soup, linguini with Brancaster mussels and clams, and steamed treacle sponge with a shot of sloe gin jelly. At breakfast time you can either make your own toast and cereal in the pantry or order something from the menu, like drop scones with Swafield cured bacon and Alby honey, or a Gunton fried breakfast. The pub is furnished with an eclectic mix of items, from a 13th-century coffin table to outlandish modern art, and offers a selection of local ales on tap and an all-day snack menu.
Top Tip: Take your own dressing gown or robe. The pub doesn’t provide them but you’ll need one if you want to go downstairs to make an early morning cup of coffee without getting dressed first. The staff are relaxed, so no need to be shy!
i-escape guest review: “Delicious food and really friendly and helpful staff – in the restaurant, bar and lighting the fires! Very stylishly decorated with fantastic artwork everywhere.”
Charles, United Kingdom (03.02.13)
i-escape gift: a free room upgrade, subject to availability on arrival