27 April 2009


Cley-next-the-Sea isn't actually next to the sea. It lies next to a broad swathe of salt marshes.

But these are special marshes. Protected by the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Cley Marshes is apparently one the best sites in Britain for spotting rare birds. We didn't see any rare birds on our walks...at least we don't think we did. But our powers of observation sharpened by a visit to Pensthorpe, we saw and heard quite a few common species.

Cley itself is a collection of flint cottages, separated by cobbled passageways with knobbly flint walls, some very old and some more modern,

all overlooked by an 18th-century windmill:

After wandering through the marshes, and stopping at Made in Cley (selling handmade pottery, including porcelain) and Crabpot Books (stocking a good selection of natural history and secondhand books),

we fortified ourselves with provisions from Picnic Fayre, the gourmet delicatessen,

and Cley Smokehouse, which makes and sells a divine trout and orange pate.

Cley may not have the sea, but with the wonderful walks, super shops, and fabulous food, we didn't really notice!


  1. Crabpot Books? What a fabulous name!

  2. How lucky you were with the weather. It's some time since I visited Cley and it's perilously zig zag road. Hope you managed to find some samphire to eat.

  3. That should be my bookshop! Actually, I think I shall start calling my children crabpots when they're surly.

  4. What a delicious place - I am tempted to jump in the car and drive to Norfolk immediately.

  5. Cley is charming....many many years have flown since I last visited!

  6. What a lovely spot! One of these days when I've seen everything I want to see in London, villages will be my next stop.

  7. It all sounds so enticing!

  8. Cley has changed since I last visited there! I spent a lot of time in North Norfolk during my late teens/early twenties - even honeymooned there!
    I keep meaning to revisit, it looks wonderful now, with all those lovely shops and deli's.

  9. We had a wonderful time in that part of the world last year and enjoyed several rather fabulous lunches consisting of chutney, cheese and pies from the Picnic Fayre.

    I love how big the sky is over those marshes.