So, can you visit the Norfolk coast and experience a Gluten Free Norfolk experience? Oh my! Where to start? It’s taken a while to find the time to sit down and write this what with kids going back to school and settling into the new routine. I wanted to do it justice and hopefully I have, stick the kettle on have a seat and enjoy the gluten free wonders of what Hunstanton, Thornham and Wells-next-the-Sea have to offer someone on a restricted diet.
We always start our short breaks here with a compulsory trip to Wells-next-the-Sea to do some time honoured Crabbing. Personally I’m an observer in this tradition, not that I’m skittish about the crabs, more that fact that I’m not great with heights and looking over the edge of things. I’m always happy to sit back and enjoy from afar…it also gives me the opportunity to sneak off and explore.
Since last visiting Wells I’ve heard positive things about the amount of gluten free that’s on offer. I decided to find out for myself and in turn share this information with you. So here’s a rundown of what I’ve found in Wells;
Wells Crab House
Of course fish and crustations are naturally gluten free but this the Wells Crab House offers a separate gluten free menu on request which offers gluten free bread alternatives for all the meals on offer. The decor has a nautical theme and the smell of delicious fresh caught fish permeates through the room. I will certainly be returning to eat here, the food looked amazing as it was brought out to the customers … my children will not join me though, they disapprove of mummy eating food out of it’s shells! I managed to get a snap of the menu for you to see for yourselves below;
The Wells Deli
Before I say anything, you must go check out their website. The team have shot a hilarious video of all their staff and some cameo’s from customers to the theme tune ‘Happy’ it’s a real giggle. That aside, the food on offer to buy in the deli for those on a restricted diet is awesome. There is always a selection of gluten free cakes and bakes and I was offered soya or almond milk in my coffee which is a refreshing change since I can’t tolerate soya at the moment.
The Golden Fleece
Is situated right on the front of the harbour, has excellent views and a beautiful interior decor. I feel the food would have been wasted on my Bethany as it was quite ‘grown-up’ but I would certainly not hesitate to eat here. I’ve attached a menu HERE which clearly marks everything that is gluten free. There’s more on the menu that could be made gluten free I’m sure so its a case of asking I guess.
Brett and I ate here a few years ago when we managed to escape the kiddies and leave them with my in-laws for the evening! I was not on a restricted diet then and I was no my night off so didn’t pay a huge amount of attention to the gluten free menu (plus as I’ve said before Beth can be quite fussy so it would have been in vain to check anyway) I’ve heard great things about this place though and their menu checks out fine with gluten free options. We ate alfresco at the back and I can thoroughly recommend it on a nice evening – very romantic.
Now we have eaten here before and had the Sunday Roast, it was delicious and Beth could have the gravy too as they made their own from the meat juices and added cornflour. The setting is picturesque a few minutes walk from the front set on a green. They don’t publicise their menu online as here the food changes with the seasons (as do all decent restaurants these days) but restricted diet menus are available on request and I know from experience that the staff are friendly and happy to help…in fact on that note, the staff in each of the places mentioned here were smiling and accommodating.
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This is by no means an all inclusive list of gluten free places available in and around Thornham, and I’d be thrilled to see your comments below if you have any gems you’d like to share. Our family frequent this destination once if not twice a year so we’d be happy to check out any of your suggestions. In this section I’m focusing on Drove Orchards Farm Shop and Thornham Deli. I’ve saved a whole blog to talk about our experience of Eric’s Fish & Chips – it deserves the attention to detail [see link at bottom of post]. Simply put this is a key spot to visit if you are in search of a Gluten Free Norfolk, it has lots to offer.
Drove Orchards Farm Shop
We loved this place, you can easily spend half a day here if the weathers fair and the orchard bears fruits in season for you to PYO. We left with two huge bags of fruit. One bag filled with Discovery apples and the other filled with Victoria Plums, the whole lot cost £13, I couldn’t believe it, since then we’ve had plum crumble, plum cake, apple crumble, apple and cinnamon cake and the rest has been frozen for future use. The farm shop has a substantial section dedicated to gluten free and Beth was able to try a few new goodies including Chinese Rice Crackers and Walkers Chocolate Chip Shortbread. Plus, their range of fruit and veg was brilliant and everything was so much larger in size than the supermarket version! I bought a purple potato…just because it was there (it was delicious mind you, I had it baked and flavoured with sweet potato one day to crush a chip craving)
Hunstanton Ice Cream
One last thing before we move onto out next destination, Hunstanton Ice Cream! I’m quite partial to the odd icecream and this long weekend break was difficult to see the family tucking into new and exciting flavours. We stopped at the Hunstanton Ice cream stand at Drove Orchards before leaving and we promised the kids an ice cream for the road. You automatically get a wafer in the top of your ice cream and the lady serving us thanked us for stating that Beth’s tub of ice cream had to be gluten free. She said that all too often people would ask for a tub with their choice of ice cream and then comment after she had added the wafer, she knew only too well that she’d have to start the order again and not just remove the wafer (all good signs). Brett asked me what one I fancied (he’s still getting his head round my restrictions) and I pointed out sadly that I couldn’t have anything…the lady serving us literally whooped for joy! ‘Are you dairy free’? she asked, ‘well in that case you can have this’…I ended up with a super scrummy serving of blackberry sorbet that was dairy and egg free. It has to have been the best tasting sorbet in the world – EVER! Thank you Hunstanton Ice Cream
I’m so glad we stopped off here in the morning before going to Drove Orchard (they’re practically across the road from each other). The family decided to have a hot drink and a nibble to eat. I had a black tea but struggled to find anything gluten/dairy/egg free so I’m slightly ashamed to say I chomped my way through a sesame bar I had in my handbag. Beth was thrilled though there was a choice of cakes, brownies and macaroons and she decided upon one of each flavour of macaroon! at 95p each this was not the cheapest of treats but we were in ‘last day’ mode and according to my brain this means no restrictions (just a jolly huge bolus of insulin to cover all the carbs!)
Thornham Deli also boasts a gluten free section of the shop with some rare gluten free finds and new local Gluten Free Norfolk products and a sausage of cake that I can only imagine is similar to a Clootie Dumpling (which is delicious beyond words). The items are a bit expensive but for a treat it’s well worth it. We grabbed some cannelloni pasta tubes along with some other little treats. I also spent a bit in the kitchen shop and could easily have spent a fortune (had I won the lottery the previous night!) I’ve got the cutest helter skelter egg basket for my new kitchen…when it’s finally finished.
There are four main places we have eaten in Hunstanton that are gluten free and a fifth just outside old Hunstanton. Four of these I’ll mention here and the remaining is here for top notch Gluten Free Norfolk Fish & Chips; Eric’s Gluten Free Fish & Chips (Thornham) Review
Caley Hall Hotel
This is a great place just outside Hunstanton to eat, the family have eaten here on a few occasions and Beth has been able to enjoy a gluten free roast dinner with a choice of puddings each time. The menu states clearly what is available gluten free and the staff are happy to discuss this and any other allergies etc with you.
The Copper Kettle
Was a lovely find as we wandered around Hunstanton one day. The family were peckish and we ended up eating like kings and queens in the delightful little cafe. Beth had a Ciabatta Roll and salad which was a lovely change to jacket potato. Their Facebook page is full of compliments from locals and visitors alike and they are well known for their gluten free menu.
The Boat House Cafe (or as we affectionately call it; The Blue Cafe)
We-love-this-place! There’s a sense of sentimentality about it for us. Beth’s been diagnosed Type 1 Diabetic since 3.5 and Coeliac since 5yrs. We’ve been visiting Hunstanton yearly since I was 6mths pregnant with Bethany! The first visit after Beth’s Coeliac diagnosis was potentially going to be stressful, may traumatic. The Boat House Cafe were amazing to us so a 5* Gluten Free Norfolk Experience. They took an interest in Beth injecting herself and understood Coeliac Disease, it was so reassuring and Beth named it the Blue Cafe and claim it was her bestest cafe ever.
Since then we make sure we visit at least once a year and this time didn’t disappoint. Beth opted for the Jacket on this occasion as according to her, they have the best jackets (and she should know!) and if she’d had room she could have had gluten free treacle sponge with custard! I was dubious about whether I could have more than a pot of black tea but I had a delicious salad followed by an apple tart which was gluten and dairy free. If I wasn’t avoiding soya too I was given the option of soya milk for my tea.
Honeystone Public House
I have to confess, we’ve not eaten here just had drinks and crisps to fill a gap in our tummies, however, during our recent visit I was toying with the idea of eating here and was amazed to see their website and the addition of a super simple app that enables you to eliminate the food items you cannot eat and list what’s left on the menu. I decided to go for broke and ticked gluten, dairy, soya, egg fully expecting to be able to eat ‘dust’. My eyes popped out of my head when I saw what I could eat PIZZA being one. Obviously I would have to steer clear of certain toppings but the bases could be made okay for me to eat and if I’d just ticked gluten free the list was huge! They also have Genius Bread so you can have hand made sandwiches for a lighter lunch. I’d be really keen to hear from anyone who’s been here, I’m not expecting a la carte just pub food that we can actually eat with the family and feel ‘normal’ please comment below if you’ve been as we plan to visit next time.
Well, that’s it for my quick round up of what’s on offer in and around Hunstanton. As mentioned there is a separate review on Eric’s Fish & Chips so make sure you follow the link to read up on this too…maybe stick the kettle on and have another cuppa hey?
Enjoyed this Gluten Free Norfolk Review?
If you enjoyed this review for Gluten Free Norfolk, you may be interested in finding out about other places myself and the family have been to recently, you can head over to my Places to Visit page or pop over to my Trip Adviser account which has the most up-to-date places we’ve been to; Rebecca – Glutarama, Trip Adviser Profile
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