As someone who lives in rural countryside, where the air is fresh, clean, and slightly scented with the catch of the day, it’s easy to assume that escaping to another part of the countryside might not be so fulfilling. Those people clearly haven’t been to the beautiful surroundings of Titchwell. With its picturesque salt marshes, sand dunes and home to a RSPB reserve, it is also the setting for Titchwell Manor. Just a stone’s throw away from the North Norfolk coast and two hours from sleepy Suffolk, the 27-bedroom boutique hotel is everything you’d crave from a weekend retreat. A former Victorian farmhouse run by Ian and Margaret Snaith, Titchwell Manor is a contemporary mix of rustic cool and coastal charm thanks to interior designer Shaun Clarkson. We stayed in the honeymoon suite, aptly titled The Potting Shed; a recently converted outhouse complete with a walk-in shower, freestanding roll-top bath, gas fire, private porch, and a peaceful view over the landscaped gardens. With private parking and a front door lined with English roses, it’s easy to forget that this is a hotel and not your very own country abode.
Just a short walk away is the Conservatory Restaurant in the main house that boasts a relaxed and dimly lit atmosphere where you can enjoy an eight-course tasting menu courtesy of Ian and Margaret’s son and head chef, Eric. Named North Norfolk Chef of the Year, his classically British menu takes on an eclectic twist combining traditional dishes with surprising elements. Making the most of the local seafood such as Cromer crab, Brancaster mussels and fresh herbs from the garden, the superb eight-course tasting menu is everything you’d expect from a fine dining experience. Highlights included the perfectly poached Pollock with beef dripping, Norfolk lamb with the surprisingly delicious sweetbreads and strawberries with camomile buttermilk shortbread. As a self-confessed fussy foodie who barely eats red meat and never drinks white wine, Eric’s menu had me singing the praises of sweetbreads and noting down the glass of white we lovingly sunk.
The organic produce continues into breakfast as you can expect an offering of scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, wild mushrooms, and smoked Norfolk dapple cheese and porridge with whiskey and honey. If that has left you feeling a little indulgent, there’s plenty of activities to leave you a little lighter. From stomping around the grounds of Holkham Hall or the gardens of North Norfolk, to bracing the elements on a coastal walk. But don’t stray too far, as Titchwell Manor has one hell of a lunch menu!