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Muddy review: Park Farm Hotel, Hethersett

With fab food and a sleek spa, Park Farm Hotel is a great country base for exploring Norwich or Wymondham - or just a wonderful place to get away from it all.

WHAT, WHERE?

Based in a gorgeous Georgian building on a former dairy farm, Park Farm Hotel & Leisure has been run by the same family for generations.

After a massive renovation project, the whole place looks fresh and contemporary-but-classic.

Sunset over the farm

The original grey house is flagged by various modern extensions, with 52 bedrooms spread between the main Georgian building, a landscaped garden courtyard and newly refurbished barns.

The spa is a huge draw, and one of the best in the county. I adored bobbing around in the large swimming pool, which has a very soothing atmosphere thanks to the wood-panelled walls and high ceilings.

The lighting and decor is also very sleek (c’est chic), and there’s a jacuzzi and steam room. It’s far from a megaspa (don’t expect 15 different types of themed shower or anything like that), but the facilities are appealing and bang-up-to-date.

I had an hour-long “Drift Away: Relaxing Massage” (£60) which left me feeling deliciously soft and wibbly (and smelling of Frankincense, Lavender and Patchouli). The spa reception area was somewhat hectic, but that all melted away once I was in the treatment room.

You can get your brows, nails or a wax done – and there’s even a hotel hairdresser. One day I rather fancy booking in for a “Champagne & Truffles – The Crème De La Crème of Anti-Ageing Facials” (£75) – possibly because it just sounds so delicious.

THE VIBE

The Garden Room

This is a big, bustling hotel, set back from a busy main road – but, thanks to its setting inside 200 acres of flat countryside, it feels pleasantly quiet and secluded. The flawless floral gardens are super easy-on-the-eye, and the hotel also grows loads of veggies and produce to use in their kitchen.

The decor is funky and well-considered, and I have to give a shout out to the friendly staff who even gave me advice on where to go for my run (although there’s a gym on site if that’s more your bag).

SCOFF AND QUAFF

Park Farm cocktails

If you’re feeling fancy on a Friday or Saturday night then head straight to Seasons Restaurant, a much-lauded AA Rosette restaurant featuring seasonal dishes made using fresher-than-fresh local ingredients.

I headed instead for Helene’s Lounge Bar, a more low-key dining and drinking spot with a huge conservatory that opens out into the garden – perfect for sunny days. (The lunch menu here starts from just £5.50 per person – an absolute bargain!)

Everything on the menu looked very tempting, but I was still feeling ultra balanced post-massage so I went for a hearty but healthy Chicken Caesar Salad. (Then I realised it was all a bit too zen, so I ordered a cheeky goblet of gin and some sweet potato fries on the side.) Seriously yummy!

Park Farm are also famed for their afternoon teas, from £20 per person, which are packed with elegant traditional treats such as smoked salmon sandwiches and scones – with plenty of fizz options to serve on the side, naturally.

During select summer months the hotel also hosts a seriously cool-sounding street food pop up on Monday and Thursday evenings, featuring a rotating array of fantastic local vendors.

STAY

Park Farm manages to avoid the faceless, identikit feel that some other larger hotels have. Each of the rooms are decorated in a unique, boutique bolthole type style, but they all come with the kind of creature comforts you crave on a night away – including freeview, a kettle with tea and coffee-making bit and pieces, and a flatscreen TV.

The Beech Suite

I stay in the Beech Suite, an absolutely ginormous suite decorated with warm earth colours and gold patterns. The super king size bed is a delight, and there’s a tucked away sitting area with a huge tv that feels just like a tiny cinema! The spa bath also looks amazing, although I don’t actually get time to try it.

Next time I come I’d love to bring friends and family and check out one of the Aspen or Birch Lodges, which are ultra-spacious for larger groups and have lovely countryside views.

The Birch Lodge

OUT AND ABOUT

Park Farm is 20 minutes by car from the very centre of Norwich – making it a must visit! You can also get the bus, or cycle there in 30-40 minutes.

Norwich

We thoroughly recommend hitting Norwich Cathedral and Norwich Market for starters, but check out our new Norwich Insider Guide for even more inspo.

The hotel is also under ten minutes from Wymondham, a beautiful medieval town.

Wymondham

THE MUDDY VERDICT

Good for: A convenient, pretty countryside base for city sightseeing, spa seekers and foodies.

Not for: If you want a truly boutique hotel, Park Farm might be too big for you. There’s also nothing specifically aimed at kids, though families are certainly welcome.

The damage:

Rooms start from £129 per night B&B.

Park Farm Hotel & Leisure, Hethersett, Norwich, Norfolk, NR9 3DL. Tel: 01603 810 264 email enq@parkfarm-hotel.co.uk

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