The Dabbling Duck Pub with rooms in Great Massingham, Norfolk

Prices from:
£100 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Rescued by local farmers
  • Relaxed, country-rustic interior
  • Passion for local produce
  • Tasteful, comfortable bedrooms
  • Peaceful haven away from coast

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingOutdoor PursuitsVisit a Stately Pile

Call this inn 01484 887155

Overview

The Dabbling Duck Great Massingham, Norfolk, PE32 2HN

The personal touch

Aptly renamed, this distinctive cream and duck-egg blue pub by the village green and duck pond was rescued with style and panache by local farmers in 2006, who tirelessly campaigned to buy their local following five years of closure and legal wrangling. There’s a laid-back feel to the country-rustic interior, locals sup pints of Wherry or Ghost Ship at the bar, early arrivals bag the high-backed settles by the blazing raised log fire, and contented diners tuck into Massingham Dexter burger with cheddar, crispy onions and dripping fries, Cromer crab Caesar salad, or a thick Dexter rib-eye steak from the owner’s farm in the tastefully decorated eating areas. The wood-fired pizza oven in the garden delivers delicious pizzas on Fridays and Saturdays. Rug-strewn wooden floors, old pine tables and big settles, bold heritage hues, shelves lined with books and board games, and soothing village green views enhance the appeal. Bedrooms – six above the pub and three Garden Rooms – are tastefully kitted out with comfortable brass beds with quality linen and throws, Roberts radios, Paddy & Scotts coffee and homemade cookies, and lovely tiled bathrooms. A cracking inn offering peace and quiet away from the coastal throng.

Sticky fingers

Families are warmly welcomed; there’s a play area in the garden, children’s menu and excellent pizzas are freshly baked in the wood-fired oven on the terrace on Friday & Saturday evenings. The Adjudant’s and North Sea rooms can be booked together as a family room – under 16s £15 per night; additional z-bed in North Sea £15.

Muddy paws

Dogs are treated royally – they can stay overnight in some rooms (£10 per night); they are welcome in the bar and front dining area, and they have their own menu, so why not buy you canine chum a pig’s snout, for example.

Alfresco

Arrive early to bag a table on the raised front terrace to enjoy the village view across the green. Sheltered rear terrace with outside bar and pizza oven and a neat garden with picnic benches.

What’s the Damage?
8 doubles; 1 single: £100 – £130. Dinner B&B: £140 – £170

What Else?

  • Credit cards accepted
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar, dining rooms & Garden Rooms
  • Parking

 

Sleep

The Dabbling Duck Great Massingham, Norfolk, PE32 2HN

Do not disturb

The six rooms above the pub are snug and cosy; all tastefully kitted out with comfortable brass beds with quality linen and throws, Roberts radios, Paddy & Scott’s coffee and homemade cookies, and lovely tiled bathrooms. There’s a relaxing deep sofa and a library of books in the communal hallway. The three garden rooms are equally well appointed but are more contemporary and slightly larger, thus Adjudant & North Sea rooms are perfect for families. Pigeon has a big wooden bed and a spacious tiled bathroom.

Creature comforts

Molton Brown bathroom products; fresh Paddy & Scott’s coffee; homemade biscuits; local magazines

Gadgets

Freeview TV; Roberts radio

Pampering

Facials, massage, reflexology, manicure & pedicure can be arranged with Carys Groom, who lives in Little Massingham

What’s for breakfast?

Buffet table with pastries, fruits and cereals; plus chocolate, orange & hazelnut porridge; buckwheat pancakes; duck egg waffles; kedgeree cakes; eggs Benedict; Mexican breakfast (smashed avocado, smoky beans, tomato salsa, fried egg, tortilla); full English breakfast

What’s the Damage?
8 doubles; 1 single: £100 – £130. Dinner B&B: £140 – £170

What Else?

  • Credit cards accepted
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar, dining rooms & Garden Rooms
  • Parking

 

Eat & Drink

The Dabbling Duck Great Massingham, Norfolk, PE32 2HN

Mastering the menu

Dale Smith heads up the kitchen and his eclectic menu offers adventurous Asian-inspired dishes alongside good pub classics, delicious Dexter steaks (the rib-eye is amazing) and daily specials like lamb duo with smoked aubergine, carrots and sweet peas. The cattle are reared at a farm in Great Massingham and Dale is passionate about sourcing meat and game from local farms and shoots, fresh seafood from the coast a few miles away, and he often forages the saltmarshes for samphire and sea herbs. Having worked alongside Phillip Milner when he was at the Orange Tree in Thornham on the Norfolk coast, his exciting dishes combine some interesting ingredients and flavours from around the world, for example coconut pork fillet with pineapple glazed pork belly, jerk pork johnny cake and rum jus. If you’re staying on a Friday or Saturday night, try one of Dale’s imaginative pizzas, the toppings are very inventive – perhaps harissa spiced lamb, BBQ aubergine and mint yoghurt.

On the menu

(Starters: £5-£9.25; Main Courses: £12-£23.50; Desserts £6.50-£8)

Duck liver pate, pickled gooseberry, malt loaf; seared scallops, white pudding, cauliflower & beetroot puree, black pudding crumb

Massingham Dexter burger; beer battered cod, green split peas, dripping chips; yuzi seared stone bass, miso broth, egg noodles, edame beans, spring onions, poached egg; Dexter rib-eye, street salad, dripping chips

Sticky banoffee pudding, banana ice cream, salted caramel sauce; honey brûlée, pear gel, chamomile sorbet

Pizzas

(from £8.50)

Local Brancaster crab; seared tuna carpaccio; BBQ spiced beef; sweet chilli chicken

Sandwiches

(£6.50-£7.95)

Fish goujon, tartare sauce, baby gem; charred halloumi, peperonata, olives & rocket

Sunday roasts

(£13)

Roast local pork or Norfolk beef with duck fat potatoes, seasonal vegetables and Yorkshire pudding

Foodie Extras

The wood-fired pizza over is fired up on Friday’s and Saturday’s. Summer Street Food and outside bar on weekends in high summer

Time to eat

Breakfast: 8am – 10am
Food all day: 12 noon – 9.30pm (8pm Sunday)
Afternoon tea: 3pm – 5.30pm

Local, local, local

Cromer crab

Brancaster mussels & cockles (Tim Loose)

Fish – Coles, King’s Lynn

Owner’s farms for pigeon, partridge & venison

Dexter Beef – farm close to Great Massingham (own butchery)

Meat – Cook’s Butchers, Wisbech

Apple juice – Sandringham Estate

Beer – Grain Brewery, Harleston; Woodforde’s Brewery, Woodbastwick; Adnams, Southwold

Black Shuck Gin, Fakenham

Behind the bar

Step up to the bar and expect to find a great choice of drinks, with various boards listing 14 boutique gins, from Conker to Bathtub, craft beers including Adnams Dry-Hopped Lager and Ease Up IPA, Grain Pilsner, and Brewdog Punk IPA. Real ales are generally from Adnams, Woodforde’s and Grain Breweries and cider drinkers will find Aspall’s Cyder on tap. The short, select list of wines offers 11 by the glass. Fridges are bursting with an imaginative range of bottled beers and premium soft drinks.

Bar snacks

(£3.50-£4)

Thai fishcake, Asian slaw, chilli; scampi tartare & lemon; spicy fried chicken; borlotti beans

Time at the bar

12 noon – 11pm (10.30pm Sunday)

What’s the Damage?
8 doubles; 1 single: £100 – £130. Dinner B&B: £140 – £170

What Else?

  • Credit cards accepted
  • Alfresco dining
  • Disabled access to bar, dining rooms & Garden Rooms
  • Parking

 

Food Trail

Take it back home
Tour the brewery that brewed your favourite pint, visit the shop on the farm that reared your delicious Sunday roast beef, and seek out the roadside stalls selling the local crab and samphire on the inn’s menu, the Food Trail features the local artisan producers and suppliers where you can buy to enjoy at home.

Change of scenery
Looking for a pub for lunch following a country walk, a different venue for dinner, or a good café for coffee, light lunch or afternoon tea, then the best in the area are listed below. If you find a new and exciting eatery in the area that’s worthy of a mention on the Food Trail, then please to do let us know – gabrielle@innplaces.co.uk.

1 Inn Location - The Dabbling Duck

3

Deepdale Christmas Market, Burnham Deepdale PE31 8FB

Early December sees over 90 stalls in the market and the local church in Burnham Deepdale, where you can buy the best festive gifts and food & drink, replete with entertainment and other Christmassy activities.

6

Samphire and Seafood Stalls NR25 7PG

As you drive the coast road in these parts, keep your eyes peeled for little stalls outside houses selling freshly-caught fish, shellfish (especially Brancaster mussels and Stewkey Blues cockles from Stiffkey) and crisp salty marsh samphire in the summer months.

8

Back To The Garden, Letheringsett, Holt NR25 7JJ

Award-winning farm shop and cafe in a stunning renovated barn, with high quality produce, including Soil Association-quality meat counter, organic veggies and a delicatessen and of course excellent home-made meals.

9

North Norfolk Food Festival, Holkham Park NR23 1AB

A celebration in early September of all that is best about food grown, reared, caught, made or sold in north Norfolk. The best local producers attend, offering plenty of tastings and samples to tempt.

10

The Duck Inn, Burnham Road, Stanhoe PE31 8QD

Ben Handley cooks inspiring local produce and his wife Sarah runs the front of house. An Elgoods pub, stopping for a half is also encouraged. There's a delightfully short menu (+ specials) and a ducklings menu for little ones too.

11

The Three Horseshoes, The Street, Warham NR23 1NL

Step back in time with local cider and ales straight from the barrel and speciality home-made pies such as wild game, rabbit, beef & Stilton. Close to the salt marshes and the Peddar's Way so a good stop off for cyclists and nature lovers.

12

The Albatros, The Quay, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1AT

After your fish and chips, go over to The Albatross, an old dutch cargo sailing ship, moored up at the quay, and now a bar and pancake restaurant, for a pint of Woodforde's Wherry or a delicious dessert.

13

Drove Orchards, Thornham PE36 6LS

Amazing fruit farm, home to over 150 varieties of apple, including 100 from East Anglia, and other tasty fruit and vegetables such as nuts, artichokes and salads. The two eating options are a rustic cafe-restaurant and a new proper fish'n'chip restaurant & take-away, Eric's, which is run by local chef Eric Snaith of Titchwell Manor.

15

Wiveton Hall Café and Fruit Farm, Wiveton NR25 7TE

Outside Wiveton to the north off the A149 coast road is this a hidden Norfolk gem, full of Jacobean architecture, charming walled gardens and productive fruit farming in the grounds. PYO or buy berries and other crops in the shop. But main attraction is the farm café with beautiful views and fabulous rustic ingredient-led cooking.

18

The Jolly Sailors, Main Road, Brancaster, Staithe, PE31 8BP

Sister place to The White Horse, a near-perfect family place we agree. Muddy boots, dogs and children are all welcome at The Jolly Sailors. Great pub grub including fantastic home-made pizzas, real ale and 40 different rums on offer behind the bar.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Dabbling Duck

Activities

2

Seal Trips, Morston NR25 7AA

Watching seals at home in their natural environment on Blakeney Point (also a well-known breeding ground for waders and terns), is a popular boating excursion. Boats leave from Morston Quay and the trip lasts for one hour, but if weather conditions are favourable, boats will land on Blakeney Point for an additional 30-60 minutes.

3

Royal West Norfolk Golf Club, Brancaster PE31 8AX

The Royal West Norfolk Golf Club at Brancaster is a superb links course on the North Norfolk Coast. Visitors are welcome, although numbers are limited. There’s an excellent pro shop and traditional club house, too. Elsewhere, there are courses at Cromer, Fakenham, Hunstanton and Sheringham.

6

Racing at Fakenham, Fakenham NR21 7NY

This is a popular National Hunt racecourse situated to the south of Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea. The course was established in 1905 and its racing season is between October and May.

Shopping

19

Artemis Homes & Antiques, Blakeney NR25 7NQ

Everything from sideboards and sofas to tables and tea sets can be found at this antique and home-furnishings shop in the picturesque North Norfolk village of Blakeney. Themes range from Arts & Crafts to Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

20

Flint Gallery, Blakeney NR25 7NQ

Situated close to the quay in Blakeney, this charming gallery is home to an impressive range of contemporary art, including wildlife sculpture, original paintings, designer jewellery and ceramics.

21

Fakenham Antiques and Collectables, NR21 8AZ

Seek out the Old Congregational Church in Fakenham and you'll find a treasure trove of fine period furniture, vintage toys, painted and shabby chic, porcelain and china and oddities from all parts of the world.

22

Holt NR25 6BW

This timeless little market town is a shopper's paradise. Explore its back alleys and you'll find an assortment of galleries, delis, boutiques and individual shops. The Mews Antiques Emporium is crammed with goodies.

23

Burnham Market PE31 8HD

Dubbed Chelsea-on-Sea, Burnham Market has over 30 independent shops and distinctive retailers specialising in contemporary art, stylish accessories for home and garden and fashionable clothes shops for all tastes and requirements.

24

Beachcomber, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1AN

Beachcomber in Staithe Street is just the place for country and outdoor clothing, fashion and accessories. Designer labels include Barbour, Seasalt, Musto and Lazy Jacks.

Places to visit

7

Blickling Hall, Blickling, Aylsham NR11 6NF

Catching sight of Blickling Hall for the first time takes your breath away. The turreted Jacobean mansion stands proud in the Norfolk landscape and surrounding it is a beautiful 500-acre park. Blickling, near Aylsham, is widely believed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn.

8

Pensthorpe Nature Reserve & Gardens, Fakenham NR21 0LN

If you love nature, wildlife and the great outdoors, then this is just the place to head for. Situated near Fakenham, Pensthorpe is a magical mix of superb nature trails, beautiful gardens and fascinating wildlife. Bisected by the River Wensum, the park covers 700 acres.

9

Oxburgh Hall, Oxborough PE33 9PS

This moated manor house near Swaffham dates from the 15th century and includes needlework by Mary, Queen of Scots and a display of historic wallpaper samples. Climb the spiral staircase to the gatehouse roof and explore Oxburgh's gardens and woodlands.

10

Walsingham NR22 6BP

Famous as a pilgrimage centre and for its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary, Walsingham lies just to the south of Wells. Apart from its historic abbey, known for its dazzling carpets of snowdrops, there is a wealth of historic buildings to see and a museum. And wander through the delightful wildflower meadows.

11

Sheringham Park NR26 8TL

Created 200 years ago by the visionary landscape gardener Humphrey Repton, Sheringham Park has more than 80 species of rhododendron and azalea. Explore the numerous trails on the 1,000-acre estate, listen for birdsong or keep an eye out for passing steam trains on the nearby Poppy Line.

12

Norfolk Lavender, Heacham PE31 7JE

Down the road from Brancaster, at Heacham, near Hunstanton, you'll find the home of Norfolk Lavender, where you can see the world-famous lavender gardens, the lavender oil distillery and the national lavender collection and herb garden. The gift shop has a wide range of Norfolk Lavender products and plants.

13

Castle Acre Priory PE32 2XD

Castle Acre Priory was founded in 1090 and is the oldest Cluniac priory in England and probably the finest monastic remains in East Anglia. Look for the decorated 12th century west front, 16th-century gatehouse and prior's lodgings.

14

Houghton Hall, Houghton PE31 6UE

This magnificent grand Palladian mansion lies in picturesque parkland near King's Lynn. It's the home of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister, and has imposing state rooms, an impressive collection of model soldiers and a restored walled garden.

15

Sandringham PE35 6EN

Situated north of King's Lynn, Sandringham is where members of the Royal Family traditionally spend Christmas. The Grade-II-listed house and gardens, surrounded by a vast estate of 20,000 acres, is open to visitors.

16

Titchwell Nature Reserve, Titchwell PE31 8BB

Titchwell Marsh is one of the RSPB's most visited reserves. Follow several nature trails to spot ducks, waders, geese and seabirds. There are also avocets and terns, bitterns and marsh harriers and a visitor centre, where you can learn more about your surroundings.

25

King's Lynn PE30 1HX

Originally called Bishop’s Lynn, King’s Lynn is a classic seaport and market town with a rich and varied history of some 1,000 years. The town’s quaint streets are packed with period buildings and ancient landmarks. Look out for the handsome Custom House.

26

Dad’s Army Museum, Thetford IP24 2DS

Since it opened in 2007, the Dad’s Army Museum in Thetford has proved to be one of the region’s most popular visitor attractions, celebrating a television institution much loved around the world. The classic series began almost 50 years ago.

Walking

www.walkinginnorfolk.co.uk
The North Norfolk Coast has been described as a long way from anywhere and that is certainly the impression it gives, especially when you stroll its many miles of desolate beaches. The region offers enormous scope for all kinds of walking – long, short and medium.

Cycling

www.dalegatemarket.co.uk
www.cycle-route.com
The North Norfolk Coast Cycleway between King’s Lynn and Cromer is an established favourite, appealing to locals and visitors alike. At Dalegate Market, Burnham Deepdale (PE31 8FB), you can hire bikes, trailers and child seats.

Events

www.visitnorthnorfolk.co.uk
North Norfolk has a full diary of festivals and events. One of the best-known annual fixtures is the Norfolk and Norwich
Festival in May, one of the largest arts festivals in the country. The North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival at Holkham Hall in August is a celebration of all that is good about local produce.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

By Road: Great Massingham is signed off A148 midway between King’s Lynn and Fakenham. Drive south for two miles and the pub is on the right beside the large village green

By Rail: Nearest station is King’s Lynn, 13 miles to the east

Address:

11 Abbey Road , Great Massingham, Norfolk, PE32 2HN

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