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An unspoilt coastal village that used to be a busy medieval port

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Harbour & Quay
High Street
Boat Trips
North Norfolk Coast Path
The lovely unspoilt coastal village of Blakeney is one of the most enchanting on the North Norfolk Coast. Blakeney started life as a busy medieval commercial port called Snitterley, with the name Blakeney taking over in the 16th century. In a side street off the quay you will find the 14th century Guildhall which has an early example of a brick built vaulted ceiling. By the 16th century, Blakeney harbour would have been full of the aroma of spices and bright with the colours of oriental cloths. Blakeney was also an important fishing port; fishing was the main occupation and a regular fish auction was held on the quay.

The Sailing Ship Juno in Blakeney Harbour

Cottages in Blakeney High Street overlooking the Harbour

An early example of a brick vaulted ceiling at the 14th century Guildhall
Over the centuries the estuary here began to silt up, preventing all but pleasure crafts from gaining access. The harbour is now a pretty spot and is the starting point of boat trips to Blakeney Point, a bird and seal sanctuary. Alternatively, you could always buy a bucket and try crabbing from the quay!

Blakeney is the starting point for boat trips to Blakeney Point
The silting has left a fascinating landscape of marshes, sand hills and mud banks, with many creeks and channels twisting and turning their way through it. Blakeney village is set on a small hill leading down to the harbour and has pretty flint cottages, shops, restaurants, hotels, pubs and inns. In its beauty now, it’s hard to imagine that in medieval times, this street would have been home to pirates and smugglers. There was often rivalry between the men of Blakeney and other local Norfolk villagers to see who could be first to claim the cargo of a passing ship! It was not unknown for ships to be attacked and brought into Blakeney harbour to be plundered at leisure.

Blakeney Harbour

Pretty Cottages in Blakeney
Take a few moments to browse the shops of the High Street, including The Anchor Shop with a good choice of gifts for the home and garden and the Blakeney Delicatessen, with its fine food and wine.

The Anchor Shop

Blakeney Delicatessen

The Moorings

If you fancy a refreshment, try the Moorings Restaurant in the High Street.
The Blakeney Hotel sits right on the quay. It opened in 1923 and is built on the site of an old inn called the Crown and Anchor. It was a reputed haunt of smugglers and known locally as the Barking Dickey! Dickey is an old Norfolk word for a donkey. The inn was home to John Curl who every Thursday brewed his own beer to sell for a penny a pint – older residents recall the aroma of brewing beer all over the village. John chalked up his customer’s debt on a large chalkboard that he wiped clean every Friday, cancelling all unpaid debts!

Blakeney Hotel
The Blakeney village sign shows a ship and a fiddler with his dog. The ship refers to the nautical history of the village. The legend of the fiddler and his dog is that they went to explore a mysterious tunnel leading from the Guildhall. Gradually the fiddler’s music became fainter and fainter as he went deeper into the tunnel, and eventually nothing could be heard; he and his dog were never seen again. Rumours abound that Blakeney is honeycombed with old smugglers tunnels and in 1976 a tunnel was exposed in the White Horse Hotel yard.

Blakeney Village Sign
On the other side of the main coast road is the large village church of St Nicholas. A small turret at the corner of the chancel was added in the 15th century and a light would burn as a beacon to guide ships safely into Blakeney Harbour. It could be seen for 21 miles. The church tower, at 100ft, is one of the highest in Norfolk; a landmark for miles around. Inside, the church has a lovely early English chancel, built in 1220. You will also find some splendid wood carving and fine stained glass windows.

St Nicholas church in Blakeney

Inside Blakeney Church

Unusual stained glass in the church

Blakeney Cost Path Walk

Take the Norfolk Coast Path from Blakeney to Cley next the Sea (2 ¾ miles). If you don't fancy walking both ways, you could get the bus back!
Visitor Information
Car-parking can be found at the harbour (paid) or on the outskirts of the village (free).
Beans Boats operate boat trips daily, March to October, times vary with the tide (plus limited trips in winter). Tickets cost around £8 for adults, £4 children. Blakeney Quay, Blakeney. Tel: 01263 740505

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