Great British Boltholes: Cranmer Country Cottages, Fakenham, Norfolk

The new way to minibreak? Grab the squad and slip away to a country cottage in Norfolk

Why go? Just ten miles from the picturesque north Norfolk coast, lies a collection of bespoke, 4 and 5-star country cottages set in 175 acres of breathtaking farmland. Sleek design meets warm attention to detail (home-baked cake, board games, library – honestly, they think of everything!) in this home-from-home. Self-catering just got a seriously stylish upgrade.

Best for: A non-cringe hen weekend, family break or weekend with a mixed group of friends. The laid-back cottage vibe means literally everyone is welcome, including babies and dogs if you so desire. With tennis courts, an indoor pool and games room there’s plenty to keep you happy on site. We whiled away a summer’s evening sipping prosecco on the barbecue terrace.

The look: A series of beautifully converted barn buildings, the site of Home Farm dates back to 1855 and is thought to have links to Philip Speakman Webb, William Morris’ architect. Today, the indoor pool inside an authentically restored barn with double height windows is a joy for an early morning, sun-dappled swim. The nine adjoining cottages open out to a sprawling green lawn, framed by a wall of trees. We stayed in the spacious Garden House, with its sleek, sky-lit open plan kitchen, three double bedrooms and two bathrooms – perfect for two small families, a group of three couples or a bunch of girlfriends looking for a chic weekend away.

Cranmer Cottages indoor pool

I’m hungry: Holkham Hall, just a stone’s throw from the golden sands of Holkham Beach, is the ancestral home of the Earl of Leicester and his family. It is well worth swinging by for a wander around the estate’s nature reserve (open Monday, Thursday and Sunday 12-14pm) before lunch at the nearby Victoria Inn. All locally-sourced, the seasonal menus include shellfish from the north Norfolk coast, beef from the farm on the estate, venison from the family’s game reserve and fresh fruit from a nearby orchard. It is literally the taste of Norfolk and you won’t regret ordering the venison sausages and champ mash after a long walk along the craggy coast.

While you’re there: For treasure hunters, there’s the centuries-old, family-run James Beck Auctions that take place alongside a gigantic flea market in an old cattle market every Thursday. It’s a trove of art, homewares and fine jewellery from household clearances and a must for magpies. Elsewhere, if you and your squad are feeling like a bunch of big kids (or indeed if you have actual kids in tow), the Dinosaur Adventure Park is as close as you’ll get to a real life Jurassic Park, complete with a 30ft T-Rex. Pack a picnic and get lost in the woods, then take each other on in a game of crazy golf or welly-wanging before launching yourself down the 120m long zip wire.

Norfolk’s craggy coast

Dress code: Literally anything goes. But a country break is the perfect excuse for a pair of Hunters and a shirt dress. Because: why not?

Book now: A week’s stay in Cranmer’s Garden House for up to six guests starts from £695 and a three night break starts from £487. To book, go to www.premiercottages.co.uk or call 01328 823135.
Premier Cottages features almost 1,000 four and five-star self-catering cottages across the UK, from small, romantic boltholes to large family-friendly country estates.

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