One of the best things to come out of twitter recently was a voucher for a meal at the Broad House Hotel, near Wroxham in Norfolk. Simply by retweeting a message and being selected I was able to win a £100.00 voucher for the restaurant and then when I went to book was given a discount on a choice of rooms. It was only when I looked in detail at the website I realised what a potential treat awaited. The reality managed to surpass my expectations.
Broad House Hotel is located right at the edge of the broad at Wroxham. If you have never bean to Wroxham, this is the town where Roy and not Roi means King. Roy’s is described as the largest village store and is something of a one town conglomerate, completely without equal and deserving of the fame it carries. Wroxham the village bubbles with coachloads of visitors finding their way to the nearest boat or tour and people sitting sipping coffee, watching for who will fail to pass under the bridge with their head intact.
However, head a few metres down the road and turn off down the Avenue and the world changes; an area of genteel housing dissolves into the driveway of the Broad House Hotel. The hotel is set in mature gardens and surrounded by trees, with the broad itself not really visible from the drive. Once inside the staff are welcoming and you are swiftly taken to your room. Aunt Diana’s Suite is three rooms; a bedroom with a thickly mattressed bed and chandelier, real princess and the pea territory; a lounge with sofa and mini bar and a bathroom with whirlpool jacuzzi and shower. All the rooms are sumptuously decorated, tea and coffees are excellent and the bathroom extras such as the honey bath products and Norfolk lavender soap were gorgeous. The bath even had a resident blue duck, I decided to name him Chester.
The evening meal started with drinks and olives in the bar. I chose asparagus with quail’s egg as a starter. The egg had a light crispy coating and was perfectly cooked, the asparagus and lettuce in the dish came from the walled vegetable garden. The main course of grey mullet was beautifully presented and tasted excellent. For desert I had a marshmallow, which was a fun desert, nothing like the shop confectionery. I realise I have let my foodie credentials down horribly by not photographing every plate as it arrived. I’ll own up to having left the proper camera at home, hence all the pictures here were taken with the phone. Do take a look at the hotel website, you will get an idea of the quality from their pictures. The taste and the provenance was excellent. The meal was finished with coffee and Scrabble in the lounge; proper country house living.
The next day ahead of breakfast, was an opportunity for an open water swim, greeted by geese and swans, I was slightly wary about jumping in. However, the natives were friendly and after a couple of laps around some buoys, the appetite deserved feeding again. Breakfast was superb, some of the best smoked haddock you will ever taste and porridge that will both make you smile and provide a rosy flush. I will not spoil the surprise by saying why. However, if you do go there – have the porridge it is an absolute treat.
The grounds of the estate are well worth a stroll, you can even book one of the many benches for your afternoon tea. For avid gardeners the walled garden is a must see location and the white wisteria by the summer-house was a perfumed haven.
The staff could not be better, very welcoming and attentive; Philip and Caroline can be justly proud of what they have created at Broad House. Thank you; this was a fantastic place to stay, planning the next trip already, say hello to Chester for me.
A second post from the Devon Trip: The marvellous Bickley Mill, Stoneycombe was home for two nights. The staff there were excellent, not batting an eyelid when told there would be 10 of us for dinner, they even coped brilliantly when the number grew to 13 (well the dog doesn’t sit up to the table to dine). We had drinks outside on the decked terrace, great for new arrivals watching. I would love to know if the barn in the gardens belongs to the hotel, it would make a great spot for an outdoor pool and changing area. We were fortunate that another couple had cancelled at the last minute and because some of the seating is bench style sofas an extra could be squeezed in. I had smoked duck as a starter and a butter-nut squash rogan josh for mains, both were excellent. The food was perfect after a day out river swimming at Spitchwick and riding on steam trains on the South Devon Railway.
The bedrooms are decorated to a high specification, with a lovely bathroom, fairtrade coffee in the hospitality tray and a really good quality information pack, plus free wifi. There are other clever touches; such as the honesty shop, a cupboard of goodies that you can take and charge to your room and a door into the accommodation that means once checked in you don’t need to go through reception.
At breakfast the tables are labelled with the room names, so wandering around saying “have you seen Edward’ is not as bizarre as it sounds. Breakfast of succulent sausages, perfect poached eggs and a copy of the Herald Express with thickly sliced toast and all is right with the world. The rooms are reasonably priced, the staff are very flexible, the whole set up is very thoughtfully put together.
Last weekend a whole gang of 50+ year olds met up so that the ‘lads’ amongst the party could relive their misspent youth. The tour down to Devon was altered to go via Canterbury from Suffolk due to a student repatriation. The problem was that when it came to booking into the Travelodge the plans were not altered to take the date change into account. After midnight discovering there was no room at the Inn (Travelodge) and that the staff there are unable to do any looking at other site’s availability; the iphone was brought into use trying to find an alternative. Looking up numbers late at night it is impossible to tell if there are night staff on duty, or if some poor owner of a small hotel is being woken from their much needed sleep. Eventually a hotel in Salisbury recommended that the City Lodge was investigated. A helpful chap said there was space and at 1.30am we checked in. This is a smart motel style set up, a good clean room, bathroom with a proper sized bath, fresh coffee, croissants, cereal, yoghurt, toast and all the trimmings served on a tray in your room, for breakfast. Full marks to the guy behind the desk on the night, he was excellent, helpful and welcoming; I’m only sorry I did not catch his name to say thanks properly.
The change in plans resulted in using a different route which took in the Fovant Badges, hence the picture at the top of the post.