STABLE COURT AT THE BLUE BELL, LANGHAM, NORFOLK
WHAT’S THE SCOOP? For budget dog-friendly accommodation in North Norfolk, look no further than Stable Court. Since 2018, it has been run by the team at The Blue Bell pub nearby and while they are in the process of renovating the rooms, stays here are a real bargain. While the accommodation may not be of 5* standard yet, this quirky stable conversion is clean and comfortable – and the food in the pub is fabulous.
ARE MUDDY PAWS WELCOME? Yes. Dogs stay for free at Stable Court although no provisions are provided for them so make sure you remember to pack your own food, bowls and dog beds. Pets are very welcome at The Blue Bell, too – there’s a big jar of treats on the bar and they can join you either there or in the large beer garden. Just watch out for the chickens roaming around at the bottom!
There is plenty of green space surrounding Stable Court, which is ideal for early morning and late night ablutions. Ernie loved exploring the communal gardens and the lawn by the car park (keep reading to see just how big it is!) but be aware that neither area is secure so dogs must remain on lead at all times.
AND WHEN I’M DOG TIRED? Reserve one of the eight rooms available at Stable Court – there’s one single, two twins, three doubles, one king and a family room. Check-in takes place at The Blue Bell, just 100 yards up the road, where you will be given a special code to access your room. There’s plenty of parking just outside, too.
As the main block used to be a stable, many of the rooms are accessed off a light and airy corridor and ours – Room 4 – was one of them. As the king room was on the first-floor of the stable block, we had a large hallway and our own private staircase. And upstairs, we were taken aback to find the surprisingly large room flooded with light from a beautiful semi-circular feature window.
As Stable Court bills itself as budget accommodation, we weren’t expecting much but were pleasantly surprised to find tea and coffee-making facilities, local magazines and a welcome pack filled with information about things to see and do. There was also a TV, free WiFi, plenty of storage and a small dining area, making the room more like a studio than anything else. The only thing that could do with improvement was the creaky old bathroom – but a sign on the wall acknowledged this so I’m sure it will be updated soon.
HOW ARE THE SCOOBY SNACKS? Excellent. The Blue Bell is run by a young, creative team who are always coming up with inventive dishes. When we visited, we were blown away by the tasty local asparagus served with cheesy grits and truffled corn (pictured above) and the curried cauliflower steak was also delicious. To tide you over between dishes, there’s generally homemade bread on offer, too – we shared a portion of tasty beer bread for just £1.
Cromer crab is another popular item on the menu, as are the wood-fired pizzas on Sunday nights, but it’s not just the food that’s local here – many of the ales on tap behind the bar are from Norfolk breweries. Stable Court guests can also enjoy a freshly-cooked breakfast at the pub, but this must be booked in advance and costs an additional £10 per person.
ANY FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS TO PLAY WITH? There is no resident pub dog but we came across several other hounds in the bar area who were a mix of regulars and pooches holidaying in North Norfolk. We also met a little Schnauzer who was staying at Stable Court, too.
WHERE’S GOOD FOR WALKIES? Langham itself is a lovely place to take a stroll. Very little traffic passes through the village, which is just a few miles inland from the North Norfolk coast, so it’s great for dog-walking. In fact, the most noise you’ll hear will probably be when the nearby church bells ring.
Bird lovers should head to nearby Blakeney, where you can see the likes of ringed plovers, oystercatchers and avocets on a three-mile coastal walk through Blakeney Freshes. Unusually, many of the birds here nest on the ground, which is owned by the National Trust, so do be careful not to disturb them. Click here for more advice on walking your dog in the area.
North Norfolk is famed for its beaches, however, so pencil in time to visit one or two. Holkham, which backs on to a pine forest, is probably the most famous but whether you prefer a sand or shingle beach, many are dog-friendly all year round. Be sure to check out the Norfolk Coast Path website for more walk inspiration, too.
WHAT ERNIE LOVED: Being able to keep an eye on the other guests from the feature window, exploring the grounds, the fuss from staff and other customers
WHAT I LOVED: The peaceful location, the stylish room conversion, the creative, locally-sourced cuisine at the pub
GET ON THE DOG AND BONE: Stays at The Blue Bell start from £45 per night – on our visit, we paid £70 for the king room. For more information or to book, call 01328 830630 or visit the pub website where you will find further details of all the rooms available.