Featured in issue 43 – February 2020
As February is our month of romance we suggest some of our favourite soppy places to get loved-up.
1. Feel like royalty and book the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, and its own private Royal Carriage, complete with two private compartments. It’ll be as if the two of you are journeying on your own exclusive train, tucked up together under blankets which are provided to keep you cosy. The railway runs for four miles and takes around 30 minutes each way – plenty long enough to pop the question! At Walsingham, you could visit the priory and enjoy the carpet of snowdrops on display this month.
2. The Suffolk coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so wrap up warm and head to a quiet stretch of beach either end of the smart seaside town of Aldeburgh. Head towards Thorpeness, and admire Maggi Hambling’s The Scallop sculpture, or towards the Martello Tower, where you’ll enjoy views of both the sea and the River Alde. Arm yourself with a warming portion of fish and chips beforehand and a bottle of bubbly from the Adnams shop – or at least take a flask of something hot!
3. A romantic rooftop terrace may seem superfluous in February but not if it has its very own copper bath to heat things up! The Copper Bath Rooms at The Crown Hotel in Wells offer luxury on tap, with Rooftop Suite Room 23, situated in the old living quarters behind the main hotel building, particularly standing out, with its enclosed south-facing terrace and super king bed. Dip your toes in the water, before feasting on a six-course Taste of Norfolk meal in the restaurant.
4. Couple up and book the new gin making experience at The Gin Academy in the heart of Norwich. There’ll be a welcome G&T on arrival, plus three cocktails to try along the way, to get you fully immersed in the spirit of romance! There are 30 botanicals to choose from and you will each come away with a 70cl bottle of gin. Afterwards, retire next door to the new Door Eighteen cocktail bar and cosy up on the plush velvet seating.
5. For sheer historical romance head to the Maids Head Hotel in Tombland, Norwich, known to be the oldest in the UK. Step back in time and sample a local beer in the Jacobean bar, before sampling the menu in the 2 AA Rosette restaurant, the WinePress. Set in the historic courtyard of the hotel, it boasts an impressive list of more than 45 wines. Or else there’s The Snug, a private dining area which could be booked by just two people.
6. Tuck into a glorious meaL at the beautiful Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket, where chef patron Lee Bye continues to impress, with much produce straight from the mill’s own gardens. The atmospheric restaurant is full of oak beams and old cogs, and has lovely views over the water. Retire to one of the pretty nooks in the surrounding meadows, complete with a king-sized bed and a power shower, and there’s even a couple that have their own wood-fired hot tubs. Simply add wine!
7. Speaking of hot tubs, there’s a fabulous one at Congham Hall, a lovely country house hotel in West Norfolk. It’s a perfect spot to unwind – and there’s room for two. Set in the grounds of this pretty Georgian hotel, close to the Sandringham estate, you can slip a glass of fizz as you look out over the parkland. Make a soak part of a stay at this four-star Georgian hotel with its own kitchen garden, herb garden and orchard which supply its two AA Rosette restaurant. Add in a trip to The Secret Garden Spa which uses the garden’s herbs and flowers in its treatments.
8. Head to Cromer Pier for some glorious fresh air and spectacular sea views. It’s blustery at this time of year, and you’ll need to wrap up warm, but there’s something rather magical about standing at the end of the pier, by the lifeboat station, and staring out to sea. You do, of course, need to include some refreshments, so how about a trip to The Grove Hotel for a glorious afternoon tea or what about some sharing platters upstairs at No1 Cromer? Yummy!
9. Curling up in front of a roaring fire with a decent pint or glass of red wine is simply a must at this time of the year. Our region is chock-a-block with great pubs and we love the 17th century Brisley Bell, near Dereham and Fakenham, which has several real fires. Add in great food, under the direction of head chef Herve Stouvenal, and the chance to stay overnight, too. There are lots of circular walks on the pub’s doorstep (it is set on a fab Common), and your four-legged friends are more than welcome. Marcus and Amelia, the owners, are great fun.
10. The terrace at The Cliff Hotel in Gorleston opens all year round – thanks to some very effective heaters at this time of year! It’s the perfect spot to look out over the town’s wonderful sandy beach – and enjoy a cocktail or two. The Pornstar Martinis are a good place to start! The hotel also boasts The Muse restaurant, a buzzy bar and we love the Bath Suite which features a stand alone bath in the centre of the room! There’s always a fun vibe at The Cliff so just enjoy.