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Congham Hall Hotel is a large, elegant white Georgian manor house set in a bucolic landscape with the new addition of five stunning Orchard Cabins that overlook (you’ve guessed it!) a 200-year-old orchard in the grounds. Helena Lang checked in for long leisurely walks, a spell in the Secret Garden Spa and some delicious food in the hotel’s restaurant, The Samphire Kitchen
The hotel is set back from the main road that runs through the lovely village of Congham, and lies between King’s Lynn to the west and Fakenham to the east. It’s a short drive from here to Sandringham or the north Norfolk coastline.
The new Orchard Cabins are the last word in luxury. They have beautiful, outdoor metal bathtubs on their verandas for star-gazing, as well as all-mod-cons wet-rooms inside. The beds are vast and littered with fluffy cushions and cosy-up throws. The bedrooms in the main house are decorated in relaxing, watery natural shades with floral blooms on the soft furnishings and upholstery. It’s all effortlessly calm, cool and comfortable.
A measure of locally produced WhataHoot gin with tonic water is a must for a pre-dinner cocktail, served with nibbles in the bar or the flagstone hall while you peruse the menu from the hotel’s restaurant, The Samphire Kitchen. Much of the fruit, veg and herbs served here are grown in the hotel’s garden and most meat, fish and game comes from local suppliers. We enjoyed everything, but highlights were a thick, peppery bowl of celeriac soup, tender slices of venison haunch with buttery fondant potato and roasted Mediterranean veg, and a delicate raspberry mille-feuille.
Take a dip in the bijou pool at the hotel’s Secret Garden Spa or book in for a treatment with the excellent therapists. A 60-minute ‘Five Elements Aroma’ massage costs £90. Or pull on your walking boots, pick up a handy map from reception and stride out to stunning Roydon Common to spot some wildlife.
Smart casual is the order of the day, so don’t overload on the glitz. A swimsuit is essential for the spa, and walking gear if hiking is your thing. Binoculars are handy if you want to spot the birds on the common.
Long, leisurely post-dinner chats with other guests in the convivial hall were a bonus. The hotel certainly attracts friendly, interesting people.
Do visit nearby Houghton Hall, built by the first British prime minister, Sir Robert Walpole, in the 1720s. The hall and its spectacular grounds are open to the public during the summer months, but there are also year-round artist residencies, which are too good to miss.
Prices start at £159pn, room only, and £249pn for dinner, bed and breakfast. The new, adults-only orchard Cabins cost £395pn, room only, and £475pn including dinner, bed and breakfast. All prices are for two people sharing. Visit conghamhallhotel.co.uk for more information.