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My favourite places: novelist Raffaella Barker

Author of nine novels, daughter of poet George Barker and lover of all things Norfolk, Raffaella Barker shares some of her favourite places with Muddy.

Raffaella Barker, one of the poet George Barker’s 15 children and the oldest of those with novelist Elspeth Barker, was brought up in the Norfolk countryside, where she spent most of her childhood refusing to get dressed. Raffaella’s richly evocotive descriptions of Norfolk interweave throughout her books – so who better to tell us where to go?

SIDING, Melton Constable

Something new in something old. A delicious bakery run by French patisserie trained Polly and her partner Harry Farrow, former owner of The Anchor and The Hero, housed in an old railway building. White beams, concrete floor, big tables, this is a great place to sip a coffee and hang out. Light, bright and spacious, it is unusually hip for Norfolk and everything about feels like you could be in Shoreditch. Or Paris with those pastries.

Open from Wed – Sat from 23rd Sep, tel 01263 862 444

Saracens Head, Wolterton

Lost in the middle of nowhere, the walks from the Saracens pub spider out into the most beautiful countryside. Friendly, owner run atmosphere. This is an old school pub, run with charm by the laid back Tim Elwes, it’s a nice place to relax on a Sunday afternoon.

Wotlerton, NR11 7LZ tel 01263 768909 *look out for our Muddy review of of the Saracen’s coming soon.

Sheringham Park

I feel like I could be in a novel seeing the landscape and the beautiful Sheringham Hall tucked in front of a curtain of trees with the North Sea roiling behind it. A winter sunset and a prospect of tea somewhere on the way home. Blissful.

Overstrand Beach

My favourite beach changes depending on whether I’m going swimming, walking, picnic-ing or lying horizontal reading a book. I’ve spent many years with different beaches mirroring the different stages of my family life. When the children were small, it was Overstrand (pictured) and digging with buckets and spades in the sand, then when they were bigger it was vast games of 40.40 in the dunes at Wells. As they became lankier teenagers, we went mud-larking in the creakes at Burnham Overy Staithe. Now they are grown up, we walk the coast path for miles, heading for pub lunch and then get the Coast Hopper home.

Verandah, Holt

Taste Queen Annabel Grey’s idiosyncratic shop, as she casts a haughty eye over contemporary décor and design, choosing the best from handmade jewellery to lustrous ceramics. You can find a present for everyone here, there is more than one something for your friends, your home and yourself. A true emporium.

Verandah, 39A Bull St, Holt NR25 6HP

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