Review: Gunton Arms, Norfolk
Set in a magical 1,000-acre deer park near Cromer in Norfolk, The Gunton Arms is a very special place. Owned by art dealer Ivor Braka, with interiors by Robert Kime, ex Mark Hix chef Stuart Tattersall heads up the kitchen at this sublime country pub. After years of decline, the park was bought in 1982 and reverted back to an historic landscape and place to gather. And thank goodness it was.
As soon as you step inside the homely atmosphere grabs you by the hand and pulls you in. There’s a welcoming wood panelled bar stocking local ales, wines and spirits, along with a pool table and dart board to occupy yourself while you wait for your table. Two atmospheric dining rooms are crammed full of original artwork by Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud and other contemporary British artists. There’s even an original Damien Hirst in the ladies toilet.
Local, seasonal produce
The Gunton Arms serves its own venison and beef is sourced from a farm locally. Seafood, mussels and Cromer crab are caught by local fishermen just down the road and served to delighted diners. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable about the produce and where it comes from, service is slick and the food is absolutely delicious. Menus change regularly to reflect the seasons and what’s available. We chatted to the chef while he skilfully cooked huge hunks of meat over an open fire in the atmospheric Elk Room, watched over by an ancient Elk that was dug up in a peat bog in Ireland.
If you don’t feel like driving you can stay in one of the 16 bedrooms. With interior design by Robert Kime, some in the main house boast stunning views over Gunton Park and were once frequented by high society including Lillie Langtry, the lover of The Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII. Others can be found in The Barn House or The Coach House if you’d prefer to escape. But why would you?
The Gunton Arms is everything I want a country pub to be. With its cosy nooks, big comfy leather sofas, roaring log fires, unique collection of art and thick velvet curtains draped over doorways it’s the type of place where I dream of having a lock in. It’s the perfect Autumnal escape.
If you prefer a more mediterranean vibe, head to its sister pub, The Suffield Arms. Just a mile away from The Gunton Arms, this place serves pizza, tapas and pasta and boasts a lively restaurant, main bar and cosy saloon bar upstairs. Located opposite Gunton train station, it couldn’t be in a more convenient location.
Small standard doubles at The Gunton Arms start from around £200, depending on the time of year and day of the week. To find out more visit the website.