B&B and Beyond: Montague House, Sheringham, Norfolk

Mary Novakovich discovers a smart hideaway that's the perfect base from which to enjoy the charms of Sheringham

There is a pleasantly old-fashioned air about Sheringham – a sense that this Norfolk seaside town refuses to embrace modernity. Any town that fought off an invasion from Tesco for 14 years has to be applauded, even if it finally relented two years ago. Its high street still has a healthy number of butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers, seafood shacks and the superb Blyth & Wright ironmonger that puts B&Q and its ilk in the shade. There's even an authentic steam railway – the Poppy Line – that trundles along the coast. The feeling of timelessness extends to Montague House, a 1904 villa that harks back to the leisurely days of the Edwardian era when breakfast lasted more than an hour.

The Bed

Two spacious double rooms and one deluxe suite are on the first floor of the house, all en suite and full of character. Antique mahogany beds are piled with thick duvets and embroidered cushions. Both the Pink Room and the Garden Room, with tones of cream, pale green and grey, face the tranquil garden, and unfussy bathrooms have showers rather than baths. The Gold Suite is sumptuous and romantic, with a large four-poster, fireplace, separate dressing room with an enormous gilt mirror, and large bathroom. Thoughtful touches include complimentary bottles of wine and water, a hairdryer and straighteners, chocolates from the Norfolk Truffle Company and toiletries from local company Aroma Natural. While there's a flat-screen television and Wi-Fi in each room, there's no kettle to make tea or coffee, but just say the word and a freshly brewed pot will be brought up.

The Breakfast

Don't be in a hurry to rush out of the door. The first course could be a tropical fruit salad or berry compote, followed by a homemade smoothie as well as organic juices and toast with homemade jams. Then a cooked breakfast ranging from the traditional full English or omelette Arnold Bennett (topped with smoked haddock) to eggs Benedict or Spanish eggs with chorizo. Or you could choose from bacon quiche, smoked kipper, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or a wild mushroom omelette. When it's not warm enough to have breakfast in the garden, the meal is served on the large refectory table in the handsome book-lined dining room.

The Hosts

You're well looked after by Fiona and Tom Carville. Tom was a lecturer and Fiona used to run a travel PR agency until earlier this year. They're a warm, convivial pair, immediately offering guests drinks in the garden or the dining room. A glass of wine can easily stretch to three.

The Weekend

The North Norfolk Railway (01263 820800; www.nnrailway.co.uk), nicknamed the Poppy Line, evokes the golden age of rail travel with its vintage steam locomotives and carriages. The line puffs along from Sheringham's 125-year-old station to the equally beautifully restored stop at Weybourne before ending in the Georgian market town of Holt. Events throughout most of the year include Sunday lunches or evening meals in the North Norfolkman dining car, themed murder-mystery specials and Christmas rides. Passengers can buy day tickets that offer unlimited travel on the line for £10.50 (children £7).

You can see the train go past from the treetop-height Gazebo tower at Sheringham Park (01263 820550; nationaltrust.org.uk), a National Trust estate of woods and heaths a couple of miles outside the town. From here you can take the "Ramblers' Route" that eventually joins the Norfolk Coast Path that passes through the golf course back to Sheringham and its Blue Flag beaches. On the seafront is the Mo Museum (01263 824482; sheringhammuseum.co.uk), built in 2010 to tell the town's seafaring history. Its tower has views of the North Sea coast.

The Pit Stop

On the cliff overlooking the eastern end of Sheringham beach is the Funky Mackerel (07887 676649; funkymackerel.com), a pleasantly ramshackle café that claims to serve the best bacon sandwich in town. (For the record, it does.) If you want a simple taste of the sea, try Joyful West's shellfish bar (01263 825444) on the high street. An unusual option for dinner is the Nepalese menu at the Bank Restaurant on Church Street (01263 824500; thebankrestaurantsheringham.com). Around the corner on Augusta Street, more expensive plates of scallops, sea bass and swordfish are on offer at the classy No 10 (01263 824400; no10sheringham.com).

The Essentials

Montague House, 3 Montague Road, Sheringham, Norfolk NR26 8LN (01263 822510; montague-house.co.uk). B&B doubles from £80.

News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Investigo: Group Financial Controller

    £50000 - £55000 per annum: Investigo: A growing group of top end restaurants l...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital