One of the most painted and photographed sites in the country, Cley Windmill is a striking and imposing Georgian Windmill of a red brick tower under a white painted beehive timber cap rising 80’ (five storeys). There is a second floor balcony surrounding the Windmill and a cap gallery taking advantage of unique views over the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The cap, wooden sails, fantail and gallery have been recently restored to their former glory and the whole is Listed Grade II* as being of architectural and historical importance. Of particular interest is the main shaft and wheel steel in place at the top of the tower.
The current owners have undertaken extensive renovation including: Replacement of entire balcony in hard wood (2008), replacement of entire sails and fanstage (2015), conversion of Old Cartshed (2012), conversion of The Long House (2008).
Cley Windmill offers exceedingly attractive and well-proportioned accommodation of great character, varying from room to room, particularly the unique accommodation that has been created within the tower itself. The accommodation offers flexibility in its use for the individual needs of the occupant. Huge timbers and beams remain throughout originating from The Windmill’s industrial purpose and along with the exposed brick and flint construction, brick fireplaces and occasional gargoyle display unique character.
The extensive and spacious ground floor accommodation offers an inviting sitting room and a substantial dining room which, together with the secondary reception rooms, work well as either bedrooms or further family accommodation. At the rear of Cley Windmill is an expansive kitchen/breakfast room, the heart of any home.
The bedroom suites have been named after their original use and the character of each room varies widely from cosy round chambers to elegant well-proportioned Georgian rooms.
Cley Windmill currently operates as a highly successful Guest House and restaurant with very high occupancy. As such, there is a predictable income for a purchaser who wishes to continue the existing business, or to run a variant of B&B, Air BnB, Guest House or Restaurant. It might suit a purchaser wishing to live in the main building, whilst running the outbuildings as holiday accommodation. The windmill has full performance, alcohol and wedding licences. Up to 50 weddings and house parties per year take place at the windmill. Catering for up to 32 covers takes place in the dining room. The windmill sleeps up to 24 guests.
Originally known as Claia and mentioned in the Domesday Book, Cley became a prosperous medieval port, one of East Anglia’s principal ports, mainly dealing with wool and grain. At that time the River Glaven was navigable as far as Glandford; however, it began to silt up in the early 17th Century due to land reclamation. The Windmill’s site on Cley Quay is now about 1 mile from the beach and the River Glaven is only navigable by small craft.
The beamed dining room, study and Miller’s Room (part of the original warehouse) dates from about 1713 but the Windmill tower was finally completed later.
The Windmill ceased milling just after the Great War in 1921 at which point it was converted to a home. The conversion and restoration was part sponsored by Mary, Duchess of Bedford, “the Flying Duchess”. Cley Windmill was converted to a guest house and holiday accommodation in 1983, as it now is. The Windmill remained in the same family for 85 years, and was the childhood home of the singer James Blunt. This is only the second sale in 100 years.
Cley Windmill has received the following accolades:
The Independent - Top 50 British Hotels
The Telegraph - Fiona Duncan – The Hotel Guru – ‘Cley Windmill just happens to be one of the most memorable and enchanting places to stay in Britain’
The Telegraph - Most Romantic Hotels in the UK
Cool Stays - 10 of the Best B&Bs in the UK & Ireland
Telegraph – Top fifty Best places to get married
East Anglia News - 2018 – North Norfolk’s best view
The Good Hotel Guide – Top Ten Unusual Places to Stay
The Field - ‘How beautiful this place is – watch as time stands still’
Country Living - ‘A great place to stay and unwind’
Cool Places Guide – Top Ten Cool Places – and Front Cover
The Telegraph - Three best hotels in Norfolk
Sawdays British Hotels - Top place to cosy up this winter
Sir David Attenborough – Cley Marshes – The best place in the UK to see wildlife. (2nd National Park of Wales, 3rd Richmond Park.)
Aerial footage of the windmill can be viewed at:
Film and media
Grandpa in My Pocket was filmed at Cley Windmill, and appears most days on the CBeebies TV channel.
The following were all filmed at Cley Windmill:
1949 - Conspirator starring Elizabeth Taylor
1975-82 - The ident between programmes for bbc 1
1989 – An Affair in Mind Amanda Donohoe –a Ruth Rendell Murder Mystery
1986 – A Natural History – with David Bellamy
2016 – Homes By The Sea – with Charlie Luxton
2018 – Coastal Villages – with Penelope Keith
Mains water and electricity. Mains drainage with private pumping station. Calor gas heating and cooking.
The Old Cartshed: Gas fired underfloor heating.
The Dovecote, Boathouse Long House: Gas-fired central heating.
Electrical and other appliances mentioned in the sale particulars have not been tested by Strutt & Parker, therefore prospective purchasers must satisfy themselves as to their working order.
This fabulous well-known landmark occupies a prominent position on the northern edge of this very pretty small North Norfolk coastal village. The Windmill’s position and height provide sensational 360° views overlooking the village, the Glaven Valley, the salt and fresh water marshes, Blakeney Harbour and beyond to the sea. The immediate area is an internationally renowned bird sanctuary with over 300 species living there.
Cley is an attractive and prosperous small coastal village with a wide variety of charming houses, mainly of brick and flint. Amenities include 2 public houses, a smoke house, delicatessen, 2 galleries and a pottery. At the heart of the village is the Medieval Church of St Margaret of Antioch.
The area offers an exceptional variety of high quality recreational amenities with a number of sailing clubs and golf clubs along the coast; miles of walks within this outstandingly attractive area (now designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), alongside bird watching amongst this rich population of species.
The mainly Georgian market town of Holt (4 miles to the south) provides a broader range of amenities whilst the regional city of Norwich (24 miles) has a comprehensive range of commercial, entertainment, cultural and educational amenities alongside its renowned shopping facilities. Norwich railway station provides a regular service to London Liverpool Street (about 110 minutes) and Cambridge (about 70 minutes). The expanding Norwich Airport cates for domestic flights and international destinations via Schiphol Amsterdam.
Surrounding Cley Windmill and helping to form a walled courtyard is further separate accommodation, both self-contained cottages and external en-suite bedrooms.
Cley Windmill stands in grounds totalling about ½ acre, some of which are an enclosed tiered lawn by low flint walls backing directly onto the marshes and part of which forms a gently sloping lawn through the reed beds down to the River Glaven with a timber jetty to the water.