Just outside the market town of Holt, in the village of Letheringsett, the King’s Head offers good food, a friendly ambience and an exceptionally warm Norfolk welcome.
Now under new management, the pub and restaurant with rooms continues to build on its outstanding reputation while also aiming to make a few subtle changes to further enhance the whole experience for its guests.
Howard Nye, commercial director of new owners Anglian Country Inns, already known in Norfolk for the highly successful White Horse and Jolly Sailors in Brancaster Staithe, says the group was looking for a unique establishment with the same ethos as its other businesses.
“Anglian Country Inns is family-run and rooted in a love of good food and proper old-fashioned hospitality,” he says. “We have venues in Norfolk and Hertfordshire, and celebrate and value the individual nature of each one.”
When looking for a seventh venue, location was a major consideration, he stresses.
“We wanted somewhere special that was close to the coast in North Norfolk. It also had to have a good bar for locals, as well as being a desirable place to eat and stay – and we found just what we were looking for at the King’s Head, which is a beautiful, traditional building, with style, character and oodles of charm.”
Anglian Country Inns is now enjoying getting to know the area and the local scene, he continues: “We have inherited a lovely young team and, with additions on board, are concentrating on showcasing the best of local produce on our menu and welcoming guests to stay. There are plans afoot for the future too, which will be to the good of the area and our business.”
General manager Emma Darby heads up that young team and describes the King’s Head as “a country inn, situated in a stunning location, offering a homely mix of original features and modern-day comfort.”
“It is a real ‘home from home,’” somewhere that is perfect for a special getaway or weekend break but which is also great for family get-togethers, a meeting with friends or a romantic evening,” she says. “There’s a large, secluded garden, where children can play on the climbing frame or run free in safety, and in summer we have our garden Shack, which offers an outside bar and barbecue. We also have live music and support charity events throughout the year.”
The King’s Head has four en suite guest bedrooms, all designed in a classic style and sympathetically decorated in muted colours; two rooms to the front overlook parkland while two others welcome dogs.
Downstairs, the restaurant and bar comprise different seating areas, with an eclectic mix of lovely old tables and chairs, and on colder days and evenings open fires and a log-burning stove are lit.
“Our kitchen has a firm focus on using local ingredients where possible and therefore offers an extensive menu showcasing the best Norfolk produce,” says Emma. “We source meat from British farmers, and fish and shellfish from Brancaster Staithe fishermen.”
Guests can choose from the main seasonal menu or from King’s Classics treats. There is a specials board, usually featuring a local catch of the day, or there may be meat from the Letheringsett Estate, which has been delivered to the kitchen and processed by a local butcher in Holt.
“We have been recognised by the Sustainable Restaurant Association with a three-star Food Made Good 2016 rating,” she adds. This autumn, dishes prepared at the King’s Head are likely to include venison, hare, rabbit, quail, partridge, pheasant, heritage vegetables, sea beets and cavolo nero. Fresh Binham milk arrives daily and Letheringsett Mill spelt flour is used to bake bread.
Dishes such as Barbary duck breast, with spiced local damsons, pommes Anna, shimeji mushrooms and choi sum, and Norfolk ox cheek bourguignon, with heritage carrots, sweet potato and crispy kale, will be on the menu. Mulled wine and cider will be available at the bar. There are also children’s and snack menus, Emma explains, and guests are welcome to book for major celebrations and parties.
“At Christmas this year we will be fun and festive but keeping it traditional and we look forward to welcoming parties during this time,” she says. “Dishes from our Christmas party menu include the likes of sticky master-stock Perfick Pork ribs, with gin-pickled cabbage, and roast Norfolk black turkey, chestnut and apricot stuffing, with all the trimmings. Our head chef has also promised us his fabulous Christmas pudding truffles to go with his Christmas Day menu.”
The restaurant will be open on Christmas Day for lunch; Christmas and New Year’s Eve breaks are also available.
“This is a lovely place to come to stay and to dine,” she adds. “It is a peaceful haven yet is near to the coast and to the charming market town of Holt, with its individual shops, and there are lots of lovely places to visit nearby.
“But our guests are also getting wise to the fact that this area is a foodie’s haven – and they come to us to enjoy the best of local produce in abundance, as well as our very special Norfolk welcome.”
Uniquely Away has teamed up with the King’s Head at Letheringsett to offer one lucky reader a one-night stay for two adults, with dinner, a complimentary bottle of house wine and breakfast. To enter our draw to win this magnificent prize, simply tell us where you read our magazine and send your name, address, email address and daytime telephone number to thekingsheadcompetition @uniquelymags.co.uk or send a postcard to The King’s Head Competition Uniquely Away Top Floor, 47 St Giles Street Norwich, NR2 1JR
The competition closes on Friday 27 January 2016. The winner will be announced in the next issue of Uniquely Away. The usual Uniquely Magazines’ terms and conditions apply. For full details visit www.uniquelyaway.co.uk. A date for the stay will be arranged directly with the King’s Head and is subject to availability. The booking will be made in accordance with the King’s Head’s terms and conditions. The stay cannot be taken during public or bank holidays or in conjunction with any other offer. It must be taken by Friday 30 April 2017. All competition entrants must be 18 years or older. No cash alternative is offered.