Room With A View: Cley Windmill, Norfolk
Situated on the North Norfolk Coast, the small village of Cley Next The Sea used to be one of the principal ports in East Anglia. Nowadays, the village offers a popular weekend retreat for those looking to get back to nature and has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
In the centre of the village sits Cley Windmill. First sold in 1819, the windmill has had several owners since, including Charles and Jane Blount (parents of singer and songwriter James Blunt). In 1983 the windmill was converted into a guesthouse and is now a successful B&B and available to hire as a wedding and private house party venue.
At the very top of the windmill sits the Wheel Room, which can only be accessed by a very steep ladder from the room below. If you can make it, it’s certainly worth the climb, as the Wheel Room offers panoramic views of the surrounding coast and marshes from four separate windows.
If you can draw yourself away from the window, the village and surrounding towns have a lot to offer for a weekend break. The quaint village of Cley has one high street, host to a popular pottery studio, Made in Cley and specialist delicatessen Picnic Fayre selling everything from fruit-filled homemade jams to handmade soaps and fresh artisan bread.
Just five minutes down the road is the small Georgian town of Holt, well-known locally as home to Byfords café, serving traditional afternoon teas, thick, fresh sandwiches and large doorstep slices of Victoria Sponge, filled with dollops of fresh cream and local jam.
If you’re looking to burn off a day of indulgence, then it’s worth taking the walk from Cley beach to Blakeney point, offering uninterrupted views of the sea, saltmarshes and more often than not, large groups of seals. Walk further into Blakeney village and you’ll spot locals and tourists lined up along the harbour for a spot of crabbing.
For more information, visit: www.cleywindmill.co.uk