By Rachel Ducker
Norfolk is all about picturesque countryside, on which you can always spot a Saxon or Norman church tower.
Whether it’s taking a trip to the coast; walking through the Broads National Park; or enjoying a romantic city break in Norwich, there is something to offer everyone.
Known as the gateway to the Broads, the village of Coltishall is busy riverside village, with its own common, good walks, eighteenth-century buildings, interesting shops and several Broads Quality Charter eating-places.
On the banks of the River Bure, in the luscious surrounds of deep Norfolk, sits the Norfolk Mead. This elegant Georgian hotel was bought and refurbished by husband and wife team James Holliday and Anna Duttson in 2014.
With over 8 acres of lovingly kept private grounds and 16 contemporary rooms and suites, the hotel now provides a sophisticated and gentle base for its guests.
The impressive red brick building stands akimbo, whilst wide sash windows and deep balconies promise a glorious view looking out over the sweeping grounds and river.
The Mead comes with its own hire boat for exploring the Broads and can fit up to six people, it even comes complete with a fresh picnic provided by the hotel.
We arrive in the winter sunshine – it casts a light on green meadows and babbling brooks that surround the hotel. Spoilt with ‘Samphire’ suite, we were not disappointed. Its large four-poster king-size bed did not dominate the spacious airy room. The décor, both contemporary and stylish included the stand out freestanding bath, in perfect viewing point of the TV.
It is often the small things that make you smile. Homemade brownies and thick creamy milk from a local dairy are left in each room daily, along with tea and coffee making facilities, so you can make yourself right at home.
Award winning dining…
The Mead’s reputation for exquisite food precedes itself. Anna’s background at the helm of a successful catering company, which numbers the McLaren racing team among its clients, means that the two AA rosette food is as refined as the rest.
After an aperitif at the bar we were given the opportunity to browse the seasonal menu and make our selection.
We were lead to our table and it wasn’t long before the food arrived. Opening with Pigeon Breast with caramelised Feta and Baby Beets, my husband wished he had ordered this again for the main course. I opted for the Mushroom Arancini with smoked aubergine puree, which was full of flavour, the smokiness of the aubergine was delightful.
As a vegetarian I was delighted to see one of my favourite mains on the menu. The Wild Mushroom Gnocchi, Feta Cheese, Chestnut Mushroom, Nut roast, Courgette & Rosemary Emulsion, Baby Gem, Pine Nuts, Basil Oil was irresistible and exceeded expectations. My husband was similarly impressed with his choice of Cod Loin, Sea Purslane, Roasted Cauliflower Puree, Smoked Cod Bon Bon, Heritage Tomato’s, Peas, Spring Onion, Parsley and Watercress Sauce. Unable to resist, we both indulged in the Chocolate Duo; Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Torte and Pistachio Ice Cream to conclude a wonderful evening.
Ready to face the day…
After a wonderful nights sleep in Samphire, it was time to face the day ahead, but not before breakfast. With a varied selection of freshly baked breads, cereals, jams and juices from the buffet as well as hot options from the grill, you couldn’t ask for more.
Head Chef Damien Woollard and his team pride themselves on using only the freshest produce, sourced locally where possible. Everything you will eat this evening has been made completely in house.
A true taste of luxury in picturesque surroundings, add a tailor-made massage or a facial in the hotel’s treatment rooms or afternoon tea and you have the ingredients for a perfect yet affordable break. Pets are welcome in designated rooms, plus the ‘Garden Room’ venue in the grounds of the Norfolk Mead Hotel is ideal for events of any size.
With a lovely walled garden, and a wildflower mead that borders a pretty tributary of the River Bure, this fine Georgian house is a real haven and the perfect destination for a country getaway.
To make a reservation please call 01603 737531
Look out for The Meads Valentine’s offers at: www.norfolkmead.co.uk