the gunton arms – norfolk

:: by Lizzie
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We really don’t do enough exploring of the English countryside. As city dwellers, and lovers, Danny and I tend to fly to our favourite European cities for special treats, long weekends or anniversary holidays, long before even thinking about the beauties closer to home. We decided it was time to remedy this and experience the best of British one weekend in August 2015. With the company and help of our friends Ben and Knomes (who essentially planned the whole trip – thanks guys!) we made our way to Norfolk one Friday morning for a long weekend at The Gunton Arms.

 

The Gunton Arms describes itself on its website as a traditional pub with 8 rooms near Cromer in North Norfolk. Then come the exciting bits… It’s set in the grounds of an enormous historic park, full of deer, beautiful cottages and grand houses. It’s worth noting here that we made the faux pas of arriving from the station having walked through the extensive private grounds of the park. It didn’t go down well at all with the women who kindly received us and showed us to our rooms, but it was a very lovely walk (and probably worth getting in a bit of trouble for).

 

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One of the things we were most looking forward to and which, it’s fair to say, we enjoyed to the extreme, was the food. Their chef, Stuart Tattersall, cooks using seasonal local ingredients and the meat, often cooked on the open fire in the Elk room, is out of this world. I am a meat lover. I always have been. I enjoy fruit and vegetables very much. Grains, cereals and pulses are all great. But beautifully cooked beef, there’s nothing like it. I would go so far as to say that, when sampling the rib of beef for two to share with Ben on our first night, I was utterly elated and quite frankly, visibly giddy. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Side note – we greedily asked for peppercorn sauce as well as the bearnaise it traditionally comes with. I suggest you do the same.

 

From the breakfasts of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, drop scones, bacon and honey (all included in the room price) and the dinners of Ivor’s crab pasta, sausage and mash with onion gravy and the special moment when we had two whole roast chickens and all the trimmings arrive at our table, everything that passed our lips was delicious.

 

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Ivor Braka, art dealer, owner of The Gunton Arms and I assume, inspiration for the above mentioned crab pasta, has filled the place with contemporary art by the likes of Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Julian Opie and Gilbert and George. It was interesting to see how this has been received by the locals and many visitors who wrote in the guest book about their dismay about the landscape being ruined by ‘sculpture!’ Their choice of inverted comas, not mine. We enjoyed the sculpture – maybe a little too much (as you can see from Ben’s king of the castle moment below) and the art on the walls too. Not all of it was to my taste (certainly not as beautiful or inspiring as the art collection of one Stuart Evans – apologies, I boast) but it was interesting and different and certainly added to the place’s appeal.

 

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We were lucky enough to be in Gunton for the weekend of Cromer Carnival. A short car journey into Cromer (Gunton Arms manager Lee was kind enough to give us a lift as taxis can be hard to come by) led to many delights. Too many to mention here so do keep your English seaside loving eyes open for next week’s blog post – Today in Cromer.