Cley Windmill is one of the most memorable and enchanting places to stay in Britain. In the late afternoon, when the wind whips across from the sea, there are few greater pleasures than stowing away hats, coats and binoculars (it’s bird-watching country) as you come home to this beautifully restored windmill, complete with sails. Echoes of children’s adventure stories flood back as you climb higher and higher, finally mounting the ladder to the Wheel Room. Downstairs, there’s a beamed, lived-in circular dining room with a blazing fire and antiques, while the cosy lounge, complete with bar, is part of the original 1713 warehouse. Candlelit dinners are just right: convivial affairs with proper country cooking. There are ten rooms, two of which, Dovecote and the new Old Cart Shed, are self-catering cottages in the old stables. The three circular bedrooms in the tower itself have bathrooms ingeniously fitted into challenging nooks and crannies. All are charming and full of character, with views over the waving reed beds to the sea.
Take a boat trip at high tide from nearby Morston to see the famous seal colony.
Nothing beats a good pub lunch at the Dun Cow, in Salthouse. The pub is either a brisk half hour walk along the Cley Marshes from the windmill, or a 3 minute car drive.
Visit the lovely pottery on the High Street, ‘Made in Cley’ for some hand thrown delights to take home and remind you of your stay.