The Crown Hotel Pub with rooms in Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk

Prices from:
£130 per night

David Hancock says:

  • Peaceful position; stroll from Quay
  • Comfortable, rustic-chic interior
  • JoC’s tip-top ales
  • Menus brim with local goodies
  • Elegant, individual bedrooms
  • Rooftop suites have balcony baths
  • Norfolk Coast Path on the doorstep

PerkInn Places Perk

Complimentary Tea & Scones from 4 – 5pm each afternoon of your stay

Sticky FingersMuddy PawsGood for WalkingClose to WaterVisit a Stately PilePrivate Dining

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Overview

The Crown Hotel Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1EX

The personal touch

The Crown Hotel Wells next the sea, is set in a striking location at the foot of a peaceful tree-lined green, known as The Buttlands. The 400-year-old Crown, a former coaching inn, has been given a contemporary, uncluttered makeover by Jo and Chris Coubrough. Step inside and you’ll find that the historic charm and character of the building has been preserved – the bar progresses on three levels from front to back through to the light and airy Orangery dining area. Within, there’s a blazing log fire in the inglenook, old beams, rugs on boarded and flagged floors, cushioned benches and a simple, seaside feel to the décor in the bar. Elsewhere, rustic-chic touches include brightly painted walls, squashy sofas and leather chairs, shelves laden with books, fat lamps, daily papers to peruse with a pint by the fire, and big, bold artwork adorn the walls in the two dining rooms. Five spanking and very special new rooms were opened in March 2016. It’s the perfect coastal base, you’re just a short walk from Wells Quay and minutes by car from Holkham Hall and the vast expanse of Holkham Beach – the best beach in North Norfolk. The Crown is the sister pub to the Ship at Brancaster (see Inn Places entry).

Muddy paws

Dogs are very welcome in the bar and overnight in some of the rooms (£10 per stay) and your canine chum will be provided with a dog bed, towel and biscuits.

Sticky fingers

Children are well provided for at the Crown. There are two large family suites with separate children’s rooms. £20 per child per night up to 15 years old and they eat free if they choose from the Little Coubrough’s menu (haddock goujons, chips & ketchup; pork sausage mash & peas). Cots are free.

Alfresco

There are a few picnic tables at the front overlooking the green where the full menu is served on warm summer days.orstep

What’s the Damage?
23 doubles; 2 family suites £135-£205 (2 night minimum stay at weekends)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Parking (limited) at the front of the inn and around the edge of the green

Gongs
Outstanding Achievement Award at the Eastern Daily Press Food & Drink Awards 2014

Sleep

The Crown Hotel Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1EX

Do not disturb

The understated elegance of the twelve bedrooms is quite refreshing in such traditional surroundings, and the décor makes unwinding easy. Each of the upgraded rooms are individually decorated and exude a calm and stylish ambience, with rich hues and fabrics, quirky lamps and mirrors, colourful artwork, and feather pillows, tartan blankets or colourful throws on big wooden beds, while tiled bathrooms boast thick towels, posh smellies. Larger rooms have space for seating areas – great for relaxing and watching TV. Most have views across the charming old town, across the Lion Yard where the London mail coach once pulled in, or over the pantiled roofs to the Norman church. In March 2016 four elegant new rooms were created in an old cottage to the rear of the inn. Chris has really gone to town and these rooms are very special; three have rooftop terraces with sun loungers and deep copper baths; all are beautifully kitted out with top-drawer beds, fabrics and fittings, plus Nespresso machines and fully tiled bathrooms with walk-in showers.

Creature comforts

Fresh tea & coffee & homemade biscuits

Gadgets

TV/DVD; Digital radios/i-pod docks; Free Wi-fi

What’s for Breakfast?

Fresh fruit & pastries; smoked salmon & scrambled egg on toasted muffin; sweet brioche, grilled bacon, banana and maple syrup; smoked haddock, lemon and soft poached egg; porridge with honey; traditional English

What’s the Damage?
23 doubles; 2 family suites £135-£205 (2 night minimum stay at weekends)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Parking (limited) at the front of the inn and around the edge of the green

Gongs
Outstanding Achievement Award at the Eastern Daily Press Food & Drink Awards 2014

Eat & Drink

The Crown Hotel Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1EX

Mastering the menu

New Zealand born chef-owner Chris, who is also star of ITV’s Coastal Kitchen, certainly knows how to cook and his modern British menus evolve with the seasons and bristle with the best produce available – much of it is local, like the mussels and oysters from Brancaster and the venison from the Holkham Estate. The menu mixes in a few traditional favourites, with fresh haddock goujons and chargrilled sirloin steak, listed alongside sea bass on tomato and chickpea broth with battered tiger prawns, and slow-braised beef brisket with horseradish mash and sticky red cabbage. Chris’s black slate is a must try – a black slate tile laden with European and Asian appetisers, which is great for sharing. Sandwiches with hand-cut chips are available at lunchtimes only.

On the menu

All of the dishes are seasonal –
Frary’s Norfolk mussels, white wine, garlic & cream £6.95/£13.95
Norfolk quail on herb risotto with cranberry jus £7.95/£14.95
Cod, bacon, mussel and sage chowder £15.95
Holkham venison, butternut squash puree, fondant potato, slow-roasted shallots £16.95
Roast salmon, crab, lemon & chilli linguini £15.95
Salted caramel crème brulée, home-made shortbread £5.75

Sunday Roasts

Set Sunday menu offering two roasts with all the trimmings; 2-courses £19.95; 3-courses £25.95

Foodie Extras

Traditional afternoon teas are served daily (£9.95 or £13.50 with a glass of Prosecco) and there are regular wine evenings and the very popular French and Jazz dinners.

Time to Eat

Lunch: 12 noon – 2.30pm
Afternoon tea: 3pm – 5pm (Booking required)
Dinner: 6.30pm – 9pm (9.30pm Friday & Saturday)
Food all day Sunday 12 noon – 9pm

Local, local, local

Chris champions his local food heroes on his menus, including:
Jo C’s Norfolk Ale (www.jocsnorfolkale.co.uk)
Asparagus – Johnny Cave (Hall Farm, West Rudham)
Pork – Allen Brothers (Morley Farm, South Creake)
Bread – Alex Howell (www.arthurhowell.com/wells-next-the-sea-bakery)
Meat – Arthur Howell Butchers, Wells-next-the-Sea (www.arthurhowell.com)
Foraged Food – Little John
Seafood – Andy Frary (local fisherman)

Behind the bar

Pride of place on the bar goes to Jo Coubrough’s tip-tip ales, brewed on the Barsham Estate near Fakenham, with her Norfolk Kiwi and Knot Just Another IPA brews on hand pump beside Adnams Southwold Bitter. Bottles and mini-casks of Jo’s ales and her Bitter Old Bustard can be bought to takeaway. Also on offer are six ciders, home-made lemonade, a good range of brandies and whiskies, and 17 wines by glass.

Bar snacks

Brancaster oysters, lemon and Tabasco £2 each
Chorizo & mushroom £3

Time at the bar

11am – 11pm

What’s the Damage?
23 doubles; 2 family suites £135-£205 (2 night minimum stay at weekends)

What Else?

  • All credit cards taken (exc Amex)
  • Alfresco dining
  • Private dining
  • Parking (limited) at the front of the inn and around the edge of the green

Gongs
Outstanding Achievement Award at the Eastern Daily Press Food & Drink Awards 2014

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 Crown Hotel

3

Cellar by the Quay, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1FA

This traditional wine shop with knowledgeable staff works perfectly with the fish and chip shop. Chris suggests buying some cold New Zealand sauvignon blanc from here and then team it up with your takeaway lunch, before heading out to the flood bank.

4

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.

7

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.

9

JoC's Norfolk Ale, West Barsham, Fakenham NR21 9NP

Jo, wife of Chris Coubrough, owner of The Crown and Ship, produces three locally-themed ales, all using their own borehole water, local finest Maris Otter malted barley and lots of enthusiasm. To be found in local pubs and food shops.

10

The Dun Cow, Salthouse NR25 7XA

This lovely hostelry on the coast road is being revitalised with passion and interest. Don't miss the Gray family's beef reared outside the windows on Salthouse marshes and the famous local Morston mussels.

11

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.

13

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.

14

Cookies Crab Shop, The Green, Salthouse NR25 7AJ

The popularity of this seafood shack is legendary (after three generations). It's a simple place all round, quite set in their ways about how to do things but that's how they cater for so many. Family day boats bring in flapping-fresh seafood. Get there early!

15

A.M. Frary Seafoods, The Quay, Wells-Next-the-Sea NR23 1FA

This is a fishmonger’s caravan on the quay, (Easter to September) selling the best local mussels, crabs and lobsters.

16

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.

17

The Anchor, Morston NR25 7AA

At the heart of yachting and twitcher country, The Anchor sits down the road from the famous Michelin-starred Morston Hall and shares much of the passion for local seafood and game. The two youthful landlords were old school chums and they are doing good things in their first pub-restaurant.

Out & About

1 Inn Location - The Crown Hotel

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.

4

Surfing at Cromer NR27 9HE

Between April and October you get the chance to experience the thrill of North Norfolk's spectacular tides and waves, with lessons provided by Glide Surf School. By contrast, the region's rivers offer the chance for various exhilarating adventure sports, including kayaking

6

Sailing and Boating

North Norfolk's seemingly endless coastline is a stunning backdrop for all kinds of sailing and boating activity. There are chartered trips, self-skippered excursions and cruises on the Norfolk Broads. The region's rivers also play host to a variety of exhilarating adventure sports.

Shopping

14

Ship-To-Shore, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1AR

Expect to find British nautical clothing brand Quba & Co at Ship-to-Shore, the company's first outlet in Norfolk. Clothing, jackets, bags and accessories are all expertly crafted using traditional sail-making skills. There are even marine-themed homewares from deckchairs and bean bags to sofas and cushions.

16

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.

17

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.

18

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.

Places to visit

7

Felbrigg Hall, Thorpe Market NR11 8PR

Fellbrigg Hall's splendid park is one of the highlights of a visit to this popular National Trust visitor attraction a short distance from Cromer. Here, you can explore over 500 acres of woods and miles of waymarked paths where nature and wildlife are much in evidence.

8

Mannington Gardens NR11 7BB

Expect to see a wide variety of trees and shrubs surrounded by a splendid medieval moated manor house at Mannington Gardens, situated in glorious countryside to the south-west of Thorpe Market. There are classic roses, scented plants and herbaceous borders.

9

Cromer NR27 9EF

Often described as the ‘gem of the Norfolk coast,’ Cromer is one of East Anglia’s most popular resorts. The distinctive tower of the town’s church is the highest in the country and overlooks Cromer’s old fishing village. The resort is also renowned for its classic Victorian pier.

10

Holkham Hall, Holkham NR23 1AB

One of the UK's fine Palladian stately homes and estates, if not the finest, with an amazing array of things to do; foodie highlights alone include a boutique inn, wine merchants and cookware shop, beach cafe, tearooms, home-reared venison etc.

11

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.

12

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.

Walking

www.walkinginnorfolk.co.uk
www.nationaltrail.co.uk/peddars-way-and-norfolk-coast-path
This breathtaking stretch of coastline offers enormous scope for all kinds of walking – long, short and somewhere in-between. One of the most popular haunts of walkers is the region’s remote Holkham Beach, immortalised in the film Shakespeare in Love. It’s just the place to enjoy wild beauty and stunning wide skies. If you enjoy sampling long-distance paths, however, try the 93-mile Peddars Way and North Norfolk Coast Path. Following ancient tracks and Roman roads and consisting of two paths joined together to form one route, the Peddars Way and North Norfolk Coast Path offers a great blend of pastoral Norfolk hinterland and magnificent coastal scenery.

Cycling

www.cycle-route.com
The region’s relatively flat terrain makes this part of the country ideal for cycling. One of the area’s most popular cycle trails (and also suitable for walkers) runs from Aylsham to Wroxham for 9 miles, beside the Bure Valley Railway. You can return by train. Alternatively head for the more ambitious Norfolk Coast Cycleway, which runs between King’s Lynn and Cromer

Events

www.visitnorthnorfolk.com
Among a host of entertaining events in the area you’ll find the Holkham Country Fair, focusing on rural England and held every other year in the grounds of Holkham Hall, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival – a flagship event for the east of England and one of the largest arts Festivals in the country – and the North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival, a celebration of all that is good about local produce.

Getting there

Location, Location, Location

Wells-next-the-Sea is on the B1105 10 miles north of Fakenham; the Crown is located by the green just south of the town centre.

Address:

The Buttlands,, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1EX

Rooms rates & booking
Reviews

Reviews

The Telegraph, Lifestyle September 2015, Leah Hyslop
‘On a bright summer’s day, the British love nothing more than to go a walk. Whether it’s a ramble through the countryside or a wander around a city doesn’t matter. What is important that there is a cracking pub at the end of it, serving good food and real ale. Here are 10 beautiful walks that will revive your soul before your slake your thirst. Burnham Overy Staithe to Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk Distance: about seven miles The windswept beaches and pretty villages of North Norfolk are the perfect backdrop for a summer stroll. Starting in the hamlet of Burnham Overy Staithe, where Nelson is said to have learnt to sail, wind your way across the salt marshes to the ocean. Here you can take off your shoes and walk through the glorious white sands, which stretch for miles when the sea is out, or take the shady route through the fragrant pine woods. In the historic port of Wells-next-the-Sea, you’ll find The Crown. Order a pint of Jo’s Norfolk Ale – made by the landlord’s wife, less than 11 miles away – and tuck into hearty pub grub, such as beer-battered fish and chips or chicken and leek pie.’ The Crown, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, NR23 1EX

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