Tranquil country pub championing local fish and game
At a glance
AA Pick of the Pubs
Immaculately spruced-up though it is, and while rightly renowned for its cuisine, the Bell remains faithful to its roots as a traditional village pub. This means that, even in full walking gear (dog in tow) you are welcome to drift in for just a pint of Woodforde’s Wherry, or Norfolk Moon Gazer, and nobody will suggest you should be better dressed, or have left Rex in his basket. In a village pub so close to the unspoilt salt marshes of the North Norfolk coast – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and just 10 minutes’ walk from Blakeney nature reserve, that’s a wise approach. Built in the 18th century, it features earthy, heritage-coloured walls, stripped beams, chunky tables and oak-planked floors, with further character imbued by local artworks lining the walls of the bar and conservatory dining room. On a winter’s evening head for the tables close to the inglenook fireplace, where, by the light of the masses of candles, your meal might begin with smoked haddock and sweetcorn chowder; or caramelised beetroot and local goats’ cheese curd with honey and mustard dressed leaves, pickled walnuts and beetroot crisp. For a main course try the ‘Cley Smoke House’ smoked trout linguine, dill cream sauce and parmesan; or six-hour braised salt marsh beef blade, smoked mash potato, purple sprouting broccoli, mushroom duxelle and red wine jus. Local shiitake mushroom risotto, truffle oil and Smoked Dapple crisp is a vegetarian option. To finish, try the treacle-dipped ginger parkin with vanilla ice cream. On a Sunday there’s an excellent choice of roasts, but booking is essential.