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.

Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
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

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £36,000

    £12500 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This established Knaresborough ...

    Beverley James: Accounts Payable

    £23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower