Monica Vinader’s perfect weekend in Norfolk

The Spanish-born founder of the jewellery brand that bears her name is known for her casually elegant, contemporary designs

Monica Vinader in the grounds of Houghton Hall
Monica Vinader in the grounds of Houghton Hall | Image: Anna Huix

“Weekends are precious and I try to decompress. On Saturday mornings I have a leisurely breakfast – an omelette with avocado, and black coffee. Sometimes I do yoga with my teacher, Amelia, but it’s really my lazy day. Our house, just inland from Thornham, is a mishmash of periods and styles, from 12th century to Victorian, with a bird reserve and pond at the back, and if the weather is good, it’s nice just to sit outside. 

Then I start my shopping. I’ll go first to Burnham Market, 10 minutes away, to a great fish shop, Gurneys; I love its crab cakes and pâtés. Then I head to Creake Abbey, to the farmers’ market if it’s the first Saturday of the month, otherwise its food hall. I stock up at EH Prior & Sons, a family butcher that’s recently opened there; it sells fantastic buffalo burgers by Jim Ellis of Mileham – great for a barbecue. I also buy organic fruit and vegetables, sourdough and bresaola and salami made in Norfolk from the deli counter. I might have lunch with my parents, who recently retired here from Spain, in the café near the Abbey ruins. It serves beautifully cooked produce from the food hall – I’ll choose roast butternut soup and a crab salad. There’s so much going on in Creake Abbey: in July, my friend, the photographer Harry Cory Wright, had an exhibition of photographs of the north Norfolk coastline called New Marsh… and Beyond. They were taken with his 10x8in wooden Gandolfi plate camera and have incredible clarity. I love his work and have a large photograph, Exposed Flats, in my New York SoHo store of the marshes near my house. 

Then I go to Beeston Hall to pick up my daughter Scarlett, who boards there. We chat all the way home and stop at Back to the Garden, a farm shop and café in Letheringsett, where I buy her favourite organic Conscious coconut chocolate. 

Although I tend to buy my clothes online, on Saturday afternoon I might pop into my favourite shops in Burnham Market: Anna for jeans, and Collen & Clare for white Converse trainers and my favourite scents, Eau d’Hadrien and Les Nuits d’Hadrien by Annick Goutal. 


Norfolk is very social at the weekend. On Saturday evenings we usually have dinner with friends – my husband Nick is an amazing fish cook; I stick to doing the vegetables. We eat a lot of samphire and whatever is local and fresh. Or we might go to a pub like The Ship in Brancaster or, for a celebration, Morston Hall near Holt, which has a Michelin star. I love its cured line-caught mackerel with horseradish vinegar and crème frâiche.

We wake up late on Sundays, have eggs and read the papers. Then I like to walk. We often go to Houghton Hall, where we recently saw Earth Sky, Richard Long’s land-art exhibition. He has created remarkable crosses and spirals in slate, stone and flint in the grounds, and a fabulous installation in Stone Hall. There was also a summer pop-up exhibition, Norfolk by Design, by local artists and craftsmen, where I bought a beautiful freeform slate dish by Daniel Meeks, and a mirror made of local mussels by shell artist Blott Kerr-Wilson. We’ve also started going to the new Thornham Deli café for brunch if we get up late; they sell delicious East Coast gelato, made locally in Hunstanton. Or we’ll take the dogs on the beach at Brancaster and picnic on sandy sausages. 

In the afternoon, Scarlett goes riding at Warham. I might sketch a bit. I find it calming to mess around with my Japanese watercolours, drawing pebbles, shells – and jewellery, of course. 

Back home, Scarlett reads while I check my diary for the week, and we’ll play Scrabble or Monopoly. Sunday nights are sacred; I bathe with Epsom salts and set my mind to sleeping early.”


See also