The Lifeboat Inn Thornham Norfolk Review

Want a truly English holiday? If you want to stay on the English coast and travel back in time, book a stay at The Lifeboat Inn Thornham in Norfolk.

Throughout our 10 years of being married, my London born husband has fondly talked about his visits to Norfolk. With his parents and their dog, he stayed at this 500 year old inn numerous times. They are still some of his favourite family memories.

When we had a few days in April to get away from London, he had no hesitation about booking a holiday for us (and Jessie our rescue dog) at The Lifeboat Inn.


As an American living in London, I rely on him to pick the best English holidays for us. We’ve travelled to Cornwall and the Cotswolds several times, Brighton, West Sussex and Bath. This would be my first visit to Norfolk.

The Lifeboat Inn- Thornham Rooms

Upon arriving, it was exactly how I imagined. Their website indicates that ‘as you step through the door you can feel the history that has soaked through the very timbers of the building.’ This is 100% true.



We arrived on a Sunday, taking advantage of their ‘stay for less’ offer. In off peak times, I would highly suggest doing this. You can email them to initiate your booking. This insider tip that my husband knew from his years of experience there proved valuable.

We booked the ‘Best’ room (yes, it’s literally called that!) for 3 nights. The total was £450. This included breakfast each morning and a daily charge for our dog.

If you’ve looked in to London hotels, you can see why this is an absolute steal. I know they aren’t directly comparable. But in terms of value for money, The Lifeboat Inn gets top marks.


We actually stayed in the sister hotel Thornham Rooms. It was a short drive away from The Lifeboat Inn. You could walk between the two in approximately 7-10 minutes. But, given we had Jessie with us nearly every minute, we chose to drive. She’s an ‘old gal’ and we have to be mindful of how much she can experience in one day.


Our room was loft style on the first floor. It was quiet and impeccably clean. The bed was extremely comfortable. Specifically, I found the bathtub within the room to be my favourite feature. Twice while there I had a relaxing, glorious morning bath.


I would’ve liked some more hangers in the small closet. But, in terms of what we paid for the experience, The Lifeboat Inn can’t be faulted for anything.

A Dog-friendly Stay

This was the first time I ever travelled with a dog. So, I can’t really comment too confidently about how travelling with a dog is different between the US and UK.

However, I feel like England has a much more dog-friendly culture. If you can add anything about your experience with this in the comments, please do.

We brought extra towels, her bed, blankets, two bowls and plenty of treats for Jessie. I didn’t know what to expect and wanted to make sure she had everything she needed.


We were so thrilled when we arrived to the room. Because it had bowls, treats and a blanket waiting for her.

When we took her to breakfast with us each day, Jessie was offered her own bowl with sausage. It looked pretty damn good too!


The staff immediately recognised how timid she is due to her life before being rescued. They were incredibly thoughtful around her, as were the other guests.

I think most of the people at The Lifeboat Inn were travelling with their dogs. They were all very well behaved in the every area of the inn. Most sat patiently under or next to their owners’ tables.

The Lifeboat Inn- Food

We found the food at The Lifeboat Inn to be exceptional. If you’re a first time ‘Sunny in London’ reader, you might not know that most of my content is restaurant reviews in London.

Mr Sunny booked our Sunday lunch and dinner each evening at The Lifeboat Inn prior to our arrival. Only one night we opted to eat at another local pub for dinner.

This was just out of interest in doing some local exploring.

Our first impression was awe when we had our Sunday lunch. As a traditional English man, my husband had to order a roast. It literally had the biggest Yorkshire pudding we had ever seen.


He had no complaints and devoured it! I chose the crab salad. To say the crab was fresh is an understatement. But, it is one of the many delicacies for which Norfolk is known.


Again, Mr Sunny opted for classic at breakfast each morning. His traditional full English did not disappoint.


I experimented with my favourite, variations of Eggs Benedict.

Sadly, we don’t have any photos of our dinners. This is solely due to our excitement when the food hit the table. Both evenings Mr Sunny ordered the BBQ ribs. I chose the risotto.

Portion sizes were far bigger than we anticipated and reflected the excellent value for money of the whole experience.

Naturally, we had several drinks in the pub. And- of course, no complaints there.

Visiting Norfolk in England

For some reason, I thought Norfolk was comparable to Brighton in terms of its size. It wasn’t until we arrived that I learned it’s a huge county.

To me, it’s synonymous with the ‘royals.’ I have visions of their Christmas morning walks from church in Sandringham as the main attraction in the area.

There is so MUCh more to this region of England. Norfolk is extremely large! Yet, as I have commented in numerous TikTok and YouTube videos, the roads are narrow.

If you’re travelling to The Lifeboat Inn Thornham, you will absolutely need to rent a car. Additionally, the driving is not for the faint of heart!

In this video I show you why it could be the biggest mistake you make when visiting London as an American.

We spent our days visiting different areas of Norfolk. This included Wells Next to Sea, Sheringham, Holt, Hunstanton, Burnham Market and Cromer. We had a fantastic lunch at The White Horse in Brancaster too.


Sadly, it rained on Monday and Tuesday of our visit. So, I don’t have many photos to share of our adventures.

This made travelling around with a dog really difficult. Additionally, it was her first visit to the sea. Mr Sunny had visions of her running on the beach and being energised by the coastal vibe like his previous family dogs.

Jessie had a really negative reaction to the beach. We think the sand terrified her. I know my husband was disappointed. But, we still had a lovely visit.

The Lifeboat Inn- Final Thoughts

If you want a classic coastal inn on North Norfolk Coast, get in touch with The Lifeboat Inn to book a room. It seems from our visit that the standard of guest experience has maintained through the decades, perhaps even centuries.

The atmosphere is welcoming and the food traditional, local and high quality. Every staff member went above and beyond with their service. And, they were always pleasant and conversational. They have a great selection of ales, wines and spirits.

It’s on the very edge of Thornham village and overlooks the fields and beautifully unspoilt expanses of salt marshes.

For an ‘oasis of calm in an increasingly busy world’ – visit The Lifeboat Inn Thornham to feel the peace and tranquility around you.


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