Famous for its endless sandy beaches, cosy pubs and stunning coastal walks, we hired a dog-friendly cottage with Crabpot Cottages located next to the Norfolk Coast Path.

We checked into Skylarks, a quaint and well-appointed two-bedroom pink cottage in Cley Next the Sea, a pretty flint-stoned village.  A helpful and essential guidebook about Skylarks Cottage was emailed to us a week before our short break explaining everything we needed to know.  It made our check-in seamless by giving us directions, where to park, gaining access, specific details about the cottage which were useful to know and top tips of places to visit and where to eat in the area. 

Cley is famous for its five-story 18th Century windmill which stands prominently over the marshes.   It was used as a backdrop of the 1949 film Conspirator with Elizabeth Taylor and apparently the singer, James Blunt’s parents, owned it for many years running it as a bed and breakfast.

On the doorstep of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and nature reserves, the location attracts large numbers of birdwatchers and nature lovers. It is a wondrous tiny and historic village, once one of the busiest seaports in England importing and exporting grain, cloth, spices and fish.

You will find a very warm welcome and that includes humans and dogs at The George and Dragon Hotel.  Along the same street as the cottage is the famous Cley Smokehouse and the ‘Picnic Fayre’ which is one of the best delis’ around selling fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade pies in addition to freshly baked in Cley sourdough bread and cakes. 

You will find the ‘Made in Cley’ shop selling lamps and pottery made on site.  The Pinkfoot Gallery, an eclectic store that represents established and emerging talent from across the UK is also situated on the high street.

We enjoyed the coastal path walk which is nearly three miles along the salt marshes to the village of Blakeney famous for crabbing on the quayside and Mr Bean’s seal trips.  It’s an easy flat walking route with occasional bench stops where you can sit and watch Marsh Harriers gliding on thermals and sweeping terns and curlews.    The abundance of wildlife is truly amazing the winter months can be some of the best to visit migratory birds including the arrival or large skeins of Pink-footed geese.

Blakeney has a selection of pubs and tea shops to choose from and some excellent hotels.  We headed for The Manor Coastal Hotel and Inn.  We made ourselves as respectable as possible after a muddy walk and had a wonderful lunch of fish and chips in the bar with happy dogs who adore chips.

The coastal hopper bus is a lifesaver if you only want to do a one-way walk.  We all hopped on the bus back to the warm and cosy cottage and lit the wood burner in the lounge where we had leather sofas to relax on.  It was great to spend time in the cottage which like felt home-from-home.  There are interesting games and puzzles in the cupboard and DVD’s. Or if want to make use of the TV and relax tune into the latest Amazon Prime! I made full use of my electronic book – I love my Kindle!

Skylark is cleverly designed with artisan furniture and many features including pine doors, a beautiful herringbone oak floor and a stone floored kitchen.  Thoughtful touches were dotted around the cottage including books, wildlife pictures, paintings and nicely curated cacti plants.

The comfortable beds were very welcome as well as a large bath and an overhead shower.  The well-appointed kitchen with a Rangemaster cooker, dishwasher had French doors opening into the small, enclosed garden.

It was the perfect cottage for our sunny dog-friendly break in Norfolk!