Hunker down for some good old fashioned country living at this charming dog friendly two bed barn conversion in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. The perfect antidote to city life!
The beaches in North Norfolk tend to be the main draw for people not familiar with the county. So when Norfolk Cottages offered me a choice of properties to review, I was keen to show our readers (near and far) a new perspective of the county.
Situated in the village of Runham, this charming barn conversion is close to the East coast beaches and slap bang in the middle of the Norfolk Broads. Best seen from the air to truly appreciate it’s ecological wonder, the Broads offer lots of good outdoorsie fun and are the perfect antidote to city life.
Set down a small farm track, Chestnut Barn is one of three adjoining properties. Perfect for families or socialible couples but not for people looking for absolute seclusion or a party property.
It’s only 30 minutes from the main metropolises of Norwich, Great Yarmouth and Beccles, just in case you need townie civilization or be brave, switch off (mobile reception variable) and hunker down to some good old fashioned country living.
Keep reading to enter our Readers Treat to win two night for four people at this gorgeous holiday rental.
Dating back to the 1880’s, the barn successfully blends the old with the new to create a warm and friendly holiday let. I loved the upside down living arrangements – bedrooms and bathroom on the ground floor and large living area on the first floor, so guests can take in the countryside views.
Traditional beams, flagstone floors and wrought iron poles and light fittings all get a big muddy tick and the open staircase with glass wall into the living room was lovely design touch. The decor will appeal to most – standard heritage colours with feature wallpaper walls. I did appreciate some of the more personal touches such as the stag coat hooks, the feather wreath, church pew and the fabulous button backed Chesterfield for dogs!
A mix of country classic pine furniture with a few nicely chosen period pieces – the dark wood dresser in the first bedroom was gorgeous and juxtaposed nicely with the Eames style chair.
The open plan living space is lovely with high ceilings and original beams. Very much designed for cosy comfort, there are two large sofas, a dining table, music system (docking system) and a wood burner. The owners have truly thought about their target audience and have a wide selection of DVD’s (with a printed guide for ease), TV instructions, loads of local information leaflets, games and my favourite – an honesty shop selling everything from souvenirs to chocolate and dog treats.
If like me you read the information booklet front to back, you’ll find a lovely little game and a clever Instagram promotional opportunity for the property!
The kitchen and bathroom were fit for function and perfectly adequate for a holiday property. At this juncture it would be remiss of me not to tell you about the gift hamper. I’m a sucker for freebies (obviously) and this basket was bursting with local goodies – bread, jams, crips, cookies, chocs and a souvenier espresso mug! Plus milk and apple juice in the fridge. The devil is in the detail and when all is lovely, it’s the little touches that make a place stand out.
There is a pretty front garden with a swing seat and furniture. It is overlooked by the neighbours but a good opportunity to be social or if you’d rather not, you can hide out in the small courtyard garden to the rear.
From the art to the soft furnishings, the bedrooms are tastefully decorated in a pastel theme with simple white linen. Very much a home away from home vibe. Both bedrooms are of similar size (no argueing) have plenty of built in storage and super king (super comfy) beds. The bed in bedroom two can be separated into two for kids or singletons.
OUT & ABOUT
On a rainy day, the planned beach walk wasn’t an option, so we stepped back in time at the Time & Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth. This quirky little museum offers plenty to amuse the kids and I particularly liked the unusual tattoo exhibition. A trip to Great Yarmouth isn’t complete without hot donuts and the arcades on the sea front.
In the summer Great Yarmouth is heaving with kiss me quick tourists but the Muddy household love the rides at the Pleasure Beach and a cheeky show at The Hippodrome Circus. I still remember being in complete awe as a child as I watched the stage turn into a swimming pool for the synchronised swimming display.
If the weather is kind, get outdoors and explore the beautiful beaches on the East Coast. The stretch of coastline between Waxham and Horsey is best for seal spotting. If you’re visiting in the winter, November is the start of pupping season and definitely worth a trek over the windy dunes – it’s a heart warming sight for all ages but please admire the pups from a distance. Winterton beach is great for dog walkers and Dune cafe serves up a great breakfast sandwich and mug of hot Bovril.
A quarter of Cola Cubes anyone? Vintage lovers, pop to Poppylands Cafe – a 1940’s themed cafe in the middle of nowhere, with staff in period dress and a traditional sweet/toy shop.
The Broads National Park boasts 125 miles of inlets and waterways. If you’re feeling adventurous look up The Canoe Man who will take you in a kayak to explore some of the quieter reaches of the river systems or for the less active there are larger boat trips from Horsey Mere. For land lubbers, the Weaver’s Way has plenty of easily accessible circular walking routes.
Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens has a surprising collection of Asian animals. Last time we went the tiger sprayed everyone, which caused much amusement, mmmm perhaps not for those caught in the cross fire!
Good for: Families with young children and carefree couples wanting a comfortable get away in the countryside.
Not for: People looking for complete seclusion, a designer high spec property or a party pad.
The Damage: Depending on time of year a week break starts from £454 per week. A minimum stay of two nights starts from £372. But you can win a two night stay for FREE – check out our Readers Treat section to see how.