All fired up
Some super pubs with roaring fires for those chilly autumn days
LIFEBOAT INN, THORNHAM
Hot spot: This traditional inn has an open fire or woodburner in several rooms, creating a cosy ambience and welcome refuge from the November chills and a place for a refreshing winter warmer or two.
Earn it: A brisk walk around the marshes and up on the boardwalk at Holme Dunes should do it; the RSPB reserve at Titchwell is just a mile away. If you’d prefer to stay (slightly) inland then the royal estate at Sandringham is 25 minutes away by car; King’s Lynn around a 40-minute drive. www.lifeboatinnthornham.com
GREEN DRAGON, WYMONDHAM
Hot spot: This is a town tavern with history – going right back to the 14th century – and as you’d expect has a traditional fireplace and logburner to keep the drinkers and diners toasty. It survived a more serious fire which, in 1615, damaged a large part of the town and left the pub with scorch marks.
Earn it: The ancient market town of Wymondham has a good range of independent shops to browse, plus regular markets and farmers’ markets. History buffs will enjoy the impressive abbey, which dominates the skyline and dates back to 1107. www.greendragonnorfolk.co.uk
THE FRITTON ARMS, SOMERLEYTON
Hot spot: A very traditional open fire in the bar area warms drinkers in this smart and comfortable pub and hotel on the Somerleyton estate.
Earn it: Fritton Lake is a short step away and has attractive walks and an outdoor centre if you’re feeling especially energetic. (Bear in mind some of the activities are seasonally available.) The nearby magnificent Somerleyton Hall, gardens and maze also offer lovers of stately homes a real treat. www.frittonarms.co.uk
THE FOX, LYNG
Hot spot: The Fox warms its patrons with an impressively large open log fire while they muse on chalkboard wisdom such as: ‘The average human walks 900 miles a year and drinks 22 gallons of beer, which means the average human gets 41 miles per gallon.’
Earn it: Lyng is blessed with a plethora of walks nearby and also has a set of fishing lakes; chilly anglers will especially appreciate warming up at the Fox’s fire. www.thefoxatlyng.co.uk
THE WALPOLE ARMS, ITTERINGHAM
Hot spot: The very traditional red-brick and wooden-beamed bar area has a log burner to ward off winter chills while you sip a drink or enjoy a meal.
Earn it: With Blickling and Mannington Halls nearby you are spoilt for choice if you’re looking for a good walk or cycle ride and the pub even suggests leaving your car at their car park while you’re out and about, with the reasonable expectation that you’ll give them your custom in return. www.thewalpolearms.co.uk
THE BELL, BRISLEY
Hot spot: This pub, winner of the EDP Norfolk Food & Drink Awards Best Pub this year, promises roaring fires to relax by after your exertions (or perhaps just a good lunch).
Earn it: The pub’s mid-Norfolk location makes it ideally placed for a number of popular attractions, from Bishop Bonner’s Cottage in Dereham to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. Closer to the pub there are lots of walks and the website offers ten ideas for Christmas Day, though we’re sure they work on other days too. www.thebrisleybell.co.uk
THE CROWN, GREAT ELLINGHAM
Hot Spot: A large woodburner in the bar of this bright and fresh pub keeps things nice and toasty for patrons either in for a drink or a meal.
Earn it: The village has a range of different attractions within striking distance, from Banham Zoo to the English Whisky Company at Roudham. There are also lots of good walks nearby and the quiet roads make it a popular area with cyclists. www.greatellinghamcrown.co.uk
THE OLD RAM, TIVETSHALL
Hot spot: This old coaching inn, a landmark for travellers on the A140, warms visitors to the handsome brick and timber bar and restaurant with big open log fires.
Earn it: As well as the usual walks and cycling around Tivetshall (it is pretty flat in this part of the county!) there is the excellent 100th Bomb Group museum just a few miles away near Dickleburgh. www.theoldramnorfolk.co.uk
CELLAR HOUSE, EATON
Hot spot: This bustlign family pub on the western fringes of Norwich keeps everyone toasty with a roaring open fire in an inglenook fireplace.
Earn it: You might seek a bit of refuge here after a spell of festive shopping in the city or perhaps after doing something strenuous and sporty at the nearby UEA Sportpark. Less energetic types will enjoy some of the rural walks in the Yare Valley on offer nearby. www.thecellarhouse.co.uk