Blakeney

Real Norfolk. Real Blakeney. Real Hospitality.

Blakeney is an idyllic and largely unspoiled seaside village on the famously beautiful North Norfolk coast. It is also a thriving community with outstanding services and facilities.

 

The derivation of the name is shrouded in the mists of antiquity, though ‘Black Eye’ is one possibility, as the harbour (“eye”) is said to look dark to mariners approaching from seaward. In the Middle Ages, the combined Glaven Ports of Blakeney, Wiveton and Cley-Next-The-Sea were one of the busiest trading places in England, exporting wool and other agricultural products, and trading in goods as diverse as wine from France and marine stores from the Baltic.

 

As late as 1588, Blakeney remained a major centre of shipping, and provided three ships to fight the Spanish Armada. In recognition of this contribution, Queen Elizabeth accorded Blakeney Free Harbour status. Today, Blakeney is one of very few Free Harbours in the UK.

 

Though Blakeney is no longer a centre of maritime trade or commercial fishing, the sea continues to inform all aspects of life here. The beautiful tidal harbour is popular with yachtsmen, who can enjoy sailing in the sheltered outer roadstead (“the pit”) if they prefer not to venture onto the open ocean. On any summer day youngsters are to be seen enjoying themselves fishing for ghilly crabs at the Quay.

 

Blakeney harbour and the surrounding marsh are exquisite, and walkers can savour the famed ‘big skies’ of North Norfolk. There are many pleasant walks in the area, not just along the coastal paths but through our lovely inland countryside as well. In contrast to the flat landscapes for which most of Norfolk is renowned, the Glaven area is characterised by undulating and surprisingly hilly countryside, which combines with the seascapes and the built environment to provide scenic delights.

 

Particularly worthy of attention is Blakeney Point, a bird and wildlife habitat of international importance, which is home not just to the famous seal colony but also, seasonally, to large numbers of terns. Bird-watching opportunities in the area are marvellous, not just on the marsh and at Blakeney Point but also at reserves in nearby locations such as Cley and Salthouse Heath. The grounds of Bayfield House, between Glandford and Letheringsett, are particularly attractive, and are home to the Natural Surroundings bird and nature life centre.

 

Regular boat trips to Blakeney Point are available throughout the year, from boat operators including Beans Boats and Bishops Boats. Seal and landing trips depart from nearby Morston Harbour, timetables varying because of the tidal nature of these waters.

 

Blakeney offers excellent facilities for residents and visitors alike, including a large village shop and post office, a doctors’ surgery, a wet fish shop and the Maritime shop (adjacent to the Kings Arms), which sells nautically-themed clothing and gifts in addition to chandlery supplies. At the Carnser, beside the harbour, one can enjoy snacks or seafoods, or purchase works of art.

 

Within a few miles of Blakeney one can visit the historic Georgian former market town of Holt, and the outstanding North Norfolk railway, whose steam trains regularly convey passengers through exquisite coastal scenery from Holt to Weybourne and Sheringham. At the centre of Blakeney is The Pastures, a large green area which has been purchased by the village so that it will remain unspoiled in perpetuity.

 

Real Norfolk. Real Blakeney. Real Hospitality.