Published in Feast, issue 43 – February 2020.
A relaxing break doesn’t have to involve a long journey. Sometimes the best R&R is just around the corner.
So, despite living only a 40 minute drive away, we found ourselves a romantic retreat in Appletree Cottage, set in the pretty village of Thornage, and just a stone’s throw from the Georgian market town of Holt.
Bought in 2018, the owners, with the support of a local builder and his team, have lovingly restored and renovated this little hideaway in the beautiful Glaven Valley and we couldn’t wait to visit. We first visited it soon after the work commenced and we could not have imagined the beauty of the place now.
We arrived at the cottage, built in the 1850s in the traditional Norfolk brick and flint style which defines this part of the county, and instantly felt enveloped in its warmth.
Whilst retaining many original features, it has been transformed and brought bang up to date for 21st century living – with two sumptuous double bedrooms, a shower room with rainfall shower and underfloor heating, a cosy living room with the new addition of a wood-burning stove, plus a kitchen-cum-dining-cum-all round chill-out room.
This had the added bonus of full width doors stepping straight out into a courtyard, which, in the spring and summer, should be a sun-trap.
It is as well equipped as any home – from the well designed kitchen, where you could easily rustle up a full dinner party for four (not that we did!), to the remote heating system to keep the place cosy, to the super-fast Wi-fi, and multiple televisions, books, DVDs and board games – everything we needed for a short-break, or longer, is thought of.
As we settled in, we toyed between which of the two bedrooms to choose – one with a huge king size bed and plenty of room for all our belongings, or the smaller double, with its original beams, and pitched roof with skylight. There was also a second little window so, when lying in bed, you can gaze out over open fields – we watched a hare racing along, and a starling murmuration displaying stunning swooping designs across the wide open Norfolk sky, both of which had us hooked.
There is so much to see and do in North Norfolk and we always love to visit, so it was a great treat to be living, for a few days at least, so close to so many wonderful places. Our first foray was to Holt, always a favourite haunt for a wander, and it was lovely to see it looking at its best with lots of new shops and eateries to visit – in particular we enjoyed supper at Eric’s Fish & Chips, where the food was excellent – there was the additional option of gluten free, and the service was super-friendly and efficient.
The following day we headed off in the rain and took a trip along the coast road, arriving at Burnham Market in time for lunch – great planning! After wandering around the independent boutiques and galleries, we followed the lure of a blazing fire and headed into NoTWENTY9 – what a great find – such friendly staff, comfortable surroundings and welcome selection of food and drink to ponder over.
After a bracing amount of Norfolk air from a good long walk, we returned to the welcoming embrace of the cottage to relax on the super-comfy sofas with a good book in front of the wood-burner.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what the weather throws at you – whether it is walks along the coast or around the local countryside, or chilling out in front of the fire, all we needed was a luxurious little home from home.
We can’t wait to return to this wonderful part of our county – whether it’s with our wellies or our sun hats, North Norfolk has everything to offer and we have found a great base to enjoy it from.
- Appletree Cottage is a dog-free property.