Kiln Cottage is built on the site where our potter-artist cousin Thom Borthwick used to buy his kilns and clay.
Thom is still potting at The Old Railway Station in Wells-Next-the-Sea. His home and workshop is of interest to railway enthusiasts and was part of Dr Richard Beeching's sweeping rail closures in the 1960s. This was bad news for Wells railway travellers, but good news for Thom and his wife Jan who have lived and worked from there since the early 80s.
Thom runs the pottery along with an extensive second-hand book shop and both businesses have links to stardom. Thom made mugs for one of the Harry Potter films; in his book business, a television company bought from him a rare copy of a book on typewriters which they couriered to London as a gift to typewriter enthusiast - actor Tom Hanks.
We recommend you take a trip to the bustling harbour town of Wells - 20 minutes drive west along the A149 coast road - and visit The Old Railway Station. Just a mile from the town is one of the country's top sandy beaches - a magnificent sweep of endless golden sand.
There are a huge number of places where you can eat in and around Blakeney. From the basic to the quirky, to gastro pubs, venues offering sea-food specialities, restaurants using local produce, to sophisticated - and a little more expensive - fine dining.
In the village alone are two pubs with extensive menus and four restaurants.
In the next village is Morston Hall, a country house hotel famed for its Michelin-starred restaurant.
Wiveton Hall with its sweeping marsh views has starred in a BBC2 documentary 'Normal for Norfolk'. The cafe-restaurant in pine-shaded grounds is a delightful 15-minute walk from Blakeney over the National Trust reserve Friary Hills.
The hall was built in the 17th Century by John Gifford whose business traded along the east coast and with Holland, via the then-thriving ports of Blakeney and Cley.
Wiveton Hall cafe is worth a visit for its vibrant brightly-coloured decor. The food is good, homemade and wholesome - has been described as posh nosh - and the place is very popular.
Close by is the Wiveton Bell, described as a boutique inn. It is smart but maintains its pub atmosphere with a menu of seasonal locally-sourced ingredients.
Glandford Art Cafe (pictured) is a must for a coffee and/or lunch stop before or after a ramble over the Bayfield Estate and through the quiet trickle of Glandford ford. The Art Cafe is the only wholly-vegetarian restaurant in the area. Fun and interesting menu of homemade dishes and delicious cakes.
Then there's the Dun Cow pub at Salthouse - a 4 mile drive from Blakeney or a great walk which takes in a fantastic spectrum of wildlife over the salt and freshwater marshes and shingle shore. Fabulous views and great eating.
Kiln Cottage: a Birdwatchers Paradise
Kiln Cottage in Blakeney is a modern home built in the style of the traditionally flint-clad homes around north Norfolk. Kiln Cottage is available throughout the year as Birdwatchers Paradise on AirBnB. We have parking for two cars which is a bonus as parking is hard to come by along the tiny lanes of Blakeney.
We chose the rental name Birdwatchers Paradise as the surrounding area, coast, marshes, sea, and salt lagoons are a haven for both migratory and resident birds which makes Blakeney an obvious destination for all birdwatchers. For many birders, nearby Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Cley Marshes and visitor centre is a must and we offer guest passes to the reserve.
Kiln Cottage has two double bedrooms with family bathroom, an open-plan kitchen and lounge which runs through to a large conservatory. There is a Scandi-style log burner in the lounge which provides a cosy atmosphere as well as underfloor heating throughout the downstairs. There is a lawned garden at the front and a secluded patio at the back for enjoying the evening sun.
The house is just a few seconds walk from a National Trust owned meadow - Young's Land (see below) - and adjacent to that is the well-surfaced North Norfolk Coast Path which heads west to Hunstanton and east to Sea Palling.
A two-minute walk from Kiln Cottage will take you to the village shops: a Spar supermarket, a wet fish shop, gift shop, the Kings Arms pub, and art gallery. Further along is the imposing Blakeney Hotel which overlooks the quay, several more art galleries, the Blakeney Manor Hotel, the Blakeney Delicatessen, restaurants, the White Horse pub and the amazingly well-stocked Anchor gift and clothing shop.
The view from the North Norfolk Coast Path, over Young's Land to Kiln Cottage
Blakeney High Street looking over the marshes and boats on Blakeney creek
Flora in and around Blakeney
Sea lavender flowers as a carpet of mauve which drifts across the marshes in the summer.. It is particularly spectacular in Stiffkey’s marshes.
Samphire - sometimes called sea asparagus - grows wild on the salt marshes in Blakeney creek and all along the coast. It is hand-picked and added to many menus during the summer.
The reed from Cley reedbeds is used for thatching all over Britain. The reedbeds are home to the shy and rare bittern and bearded tit.
And the hollyhocks growing around the doors and windows of so many flint-faced Norfolk cottages are a mark of this area.
Blakeney’s Harbour Room in the High Street is open to everyone and is a wonderful venue for weekly gigs, concerts and parties in the heart of the village High Street. Regular folk, jazz and rock music events are held there, some with free admission.
The venue is run by the Royal British Legion. Look on the white board outside the Harbour Rooms for programme details.
Enjoy chamber music and opera at its finest in the beautiful setting of Holkham Hall's Marble Hall during the autumn and winter.
Each August, Holkham Hall hosts Summer Sounds of Music - live music on Sunday afternoons held in the outdoor courtyard of The Lady Elizabeth Wing.
These music events are good value and in a truly outstanding setting. Not to be missed if you are here at the right time.
Just five miles inland is the picturesque Georgian town of Holt which plays host to the Holt Festival - seven days of outstanding music - plus theatre, comedy, literature, talks, children's and visual art events each July.