Where to stay in Britain: July in Norfolk

Local food

Crab: For crabs landed on the Norfolk coast, the minimum carapace width is 4½in (15mm). Norfolkians claim that Cromer crabs are noticeably sweeter than those fished elsewhere. The crabs are caught in pots, brought ashore, measured, and put into fresh water to make them drowsy, before being scrubbed and boiled. They may be sold whole, or dressed by picking the body and claws, cleaning the shell, and packing the meat back in.

Where to stay

Norfolk is awash with great places to stay. Indeed, the gentrification of the county’s north coast during the past 10 years has led to it being dubbed the ‘Champagne shore’.

Many people were first drawn to the area by The Hoste Arms (01328 738777; www.hostearms.co.uk) in Burnham Market, a pretty little village also known as ‘Chelsea on Sea’. The 17th-century hotel and restaurant helped to make Norfolk fashionable, and is now frequented by the likes of the Duchess of Rutland, Stephen Fry and Amanda Holden.

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For bracing walks

Further down the coast is The Victoria Hotel at Holkham (01328 711008; www.holkham.co.uk/victoria), reopened in 2001 by Viscount and Viscountess Coke of nearby Holkham Hall. Guests can explore the deer park surrounding the Palladian mansion and enjoy walks along the estate’s beach

For contemporary style

If perfectly cooked seafood and rooms overlooking the salt marshes are what you seek, try The White Horse at Brancaster Staithe (01485 210262; www.whitehorsebrancaster.co.uk)

For a regal weekend away

Book a short break at the Appleton Water Tower (01628 825925; www.landmarktrust.org.uk) on The Queen’s Sandringham estate near King’s Lynn

For water babies

Spend a weekend on the broads. Martham Boats (01493 740249; www.marthamboats.com) hires out elegant wooden houseboats and cruisers

Nature notes

What to look for

The Norfolk coast holds an internationally significant seabird colony. Take a boat trip to Blakeney Point to see grey and common seals, visit Beeston Common to see an array of orchids or, as night falls, drive out to one of the NWT’s reserves at Roydon Common, Dersingham Bog, Winterton Dunes and Kelling Heath to hear-and see-nightjars at dusk.