If you’re looking to escape to the British countryside, you can’t go far wrong with a trip to Norfolk. The East Anglian County boasts a beautiful coastline, glorious waterways and a network of trails to enjoy the landscape. To experience this part of the UK, we combined it with a stay at Congham Hall.
Congham Hall Hotel and Spa is a privately owned Georgian manor house situated in a small village of the same name just a few miles from the late Queen’s much-loved country retreat Sandringham. The hotel makes for a great base to explore the surrounding areas if you can pull yourself away from all it offers.
Immersed within 30 acres of beautiful grounds and herb gardens, this whitewashed building dating from the 18th century is entered through grand columns. Inside the atmosphere is one of a cosy country house retreat with elegant and stylish rooms leading from the lobby, which boasts its own seating area by the open fire.
When you’re an outdoorsy person like me, the thought of being couped up in four walls can feel suffocating. So, when I was told upon my arrival at Congham Hall that I would be staying in one of the cabins, I literally had a spring in my step.
Cabins and rooms
The five detached cabins facing the apple orchard are naturally all named after the fruit varieties. Walking through the front door of Cox, I was delighted to see so much light flooding into the cabin thanks to its floor-to-peak gable-end windows.
The decking was kitted out with a bathtub with a heater overhead and a metal bistro set. The grid formation of the orchard tree backdrop couldn’t have been more idyllic.
The living space was equally as delightful with a dedicated lounge area, an oversized swivel chair with its hessian footstool from where to get lost in a book or a newspaper and a workstation should you feel inclined to do some work.
The whole suite is made cosy with a thick rug, cushions, underfloor heating, a Nespresso coffee machine, and a larder with homemade cookies and fresh milk. A second bathtub, complete with a walk-in shower, can be found in the washroom.
Aside from the five cabins, a further 26 individually-designed bedrooms in a range of categories can be found at Congham Hall. The main building houses 15 of them, while a further 11 garden rooms are located around the Spa Garden.
The staff, most of whom are local, is what really makes this manor house an outstanding place to visit. Everyone from the reception desk to housekeeping was super helpful, and it was because of their expert knowledge I was able to explore and learn so much about the area. Laminated cards with guided walks of varying lengths and efforts are also available at reception for some hiking.
The Secret Garden Spa
But if you’re after some pampering (regardless of whether you go for a walk or not), then The Secret Garden Spa ticks all the boxes. This sanctuary is in the very heart of the herb garden, and the treatments have been carefully designed to enable you to get off the modern life treadmill.
As well as using specialist brand Elemental Herbology, seasonal herbs and blossoming flowers from the aforementioned garden are incorporated into the spa’s signature treatments.
I thoroughly relaxed as my therapist Eleanor worked her magic during the hour-long massage. She really did get into all the nooks and crannies as she used her hands, arms and body weight to apply the right amount of pressure to release built-up tension. I do love a massage, but the worst thing has to be when the therapist tells you it’s all over.
Getting up from the massage table and dragging myself into the relaxation room proved rather difficult. Using the outdoor hot tub or the indoor swimming pool would have to wait until I could muster up some energy, I told myself.
The Samphire Kitchen
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Samphire Kitchen is light and airy during daylight hours with spectacular parkland views. By night the ambience is warm, cosy and inviting. And the food is just as good. The restaurant holds 2 AA rosettes, and in my humble opinion well deserved.
The hotel’s kitchen garden is where the chefs head to get supplies of fruit, vegetable, salads and herbs to flavour and garnish, to whizz up some seriously divine dishes. The fresh, locally sourced, seasonal ingredients made all the difference to the variety of dishes I sampled during my stay.
There’s no breakfast buffet station at Congham Hall which may disappoint some, but with plenty of choices from the menu, you’ll be promised good food cooked to order. It’s fresh, and the only way the staff know how to do things from The Samphire Kitchen.
Congham Hall – Where and How?
Congham Hall is in the village of Congham, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE32 1AH. If you would like more information or want to make a booking, visit www.conghamhallhotel.co.uk.
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