This famous East Anglian establishment takes pride of place on the quayside promenade in pretty little Blakeney, on the achingly trendy north Norfolk coast. It’s a family run hotel and Emma Stannard is the current custodian, having inherited the chalice from her father Michael.
This family ownership and management is reflected in everything that happens at the hotel. A high percentage of the guests are repeat visitors who enjoy the reassuring comfort of the familiar surroundings.
Dinner is served in one sitting and, while the food is hard to fault, the old-fashioned nature of the dining room and the clearing of the whole area by 9.30pm seems out of kilter in the 21st century. If you are into retro experiences then it will bring a smile to your face.
The top floor suites offer luxurious comfort and stunning views out over the marshes.
In line with this theme, the bar dies down pretty quickly after dinner, as the largely elderly guests or families with young children retreat to the undoubted comfort of their rooms.
If you are after a venue for a rowdy after-shoot party then I suppose you will have the run of the place after 10pm but you might feel a little out of place.
Anyway, back to those comfortable rooms. If you are lucky enough to bag a top-floor room with views out over the marshes you are in for a treat. The stunning suites belie the drab corridors that lead to them – although it’s clear that modernisation is taking place stage by stage here.
With rooftop terraces, spacious sitting areas and tastefully modern décor, the rooms are so relaxing it’s easy to see why the dining room and bar clear so quickly. There is a room ranking system from A+ to C and they are priced accordingly.
The Blakeney Hotel is no rustic hideaway.
There is a swimming pool to the rear of the hotel and well-behaved dogs are allowed in a small number of rooms with easy access to the car park. The hotel does cater for a lot of shooting parties but this is no rustic hideaway – it’s one of north Norfolk’s premier holiday hotels and the location is second to none.
Cost of a double room at the Blakeney Hotel: From £164
Shoots close to Blakeney Hotel: Holkham, Quidenham & Hargham and South Pickenham
Blakeney Hotel contact: blakeney-hotel.co.uk or tel. 01263 740797
Shooting Gazette scores for the Blakeney Hotel
Catering: Hard to fault the quality of the food with Dover sole stealing the show. The old-fashioned one-sitting arrangement jars a bit. 7/10
Accommodation: Stunning top-floor suite with rooftop terrace and views over the marsh. Parts of the hotel are awaiting modernisation but if you stay in the room you would never know. 9/10
Atmosphere: More Fawlty Towers than shooting lodge but in some senses that is part of the charm. 7/10
Service: Lacking warmth and dated – but undoubtedly efficient. 7/10
Suitability for shooters: Dogs allowed in some rooms but no gun storage and perhaps not the perfect small pub that you and your team are after. 6/10