Stripped back luxury on the Norfolk Coast...
A mile from Norfolk’s coastal spots of Morston and Blakeney you stumble upon the small but perfectly formed village of Langham, home to the stone and flint built former glassblowing warehouse that is now The Harper.
A year into its infancy, The Harper has well and truly cemented itself on the luxury boutique hotel list and with every other publication giving it rave reviews we thought it was prime time for us to pay them a visit too.
The 32 room hotel effortlessly manages to combine rustic country living with 5* luxury modernity, nothing is too much trouble for the warm and welcoming staff and quite frankly we struggled to find anything bad to say!
Rooms are easily categorised into Big, Bigger and Biggest. We stayed in one of the bigger rooms but all come with comfy four poster beds and casper mattresses that had us never wanting to get up. All encompassing arm chairs and blankets invite you to cuddle up in front of the TV and it would be rude not to sample one of the cocktails from the complimentary mini bar. The bathrooms are kitted out with all the latest mod cons and luxury products and the monsoon showers are big enough for at least 2 averagely sized humans. Other than some slightly average artwork there was nothing to disappoint.
The Harper’s main restaurant Stanley’s describes itself as “cosmopolitan cooking with a Norfolk accent”, tantalising your tastebuds with fresh local produce such as hand dived scallops with Norfolk samphire or the Holkham haunch of venison. Drinks are generally served in The Bar but in addition there’s The Den complete with pool table, TV and games or for a relaxed fireside tipple head up to the lofty Ivy’s. Festooned with fairly lights and personal fire pits The Yard sits at the centre of the hotel and is a welcome spot for alfresco dining. We’ll be revisiting in the summer when we think the space will truly come into its own.
With all that said, the Harper doesn’t really follow tradition like other hotels and to be honest you can dine almost wherever takes your fancy and the staff will go to every effort to ensure your comfort.
A spa of grand proportions it isn’t. Quality not quantity is the ethos at The Harper with a handful of treatment rooms, pool and jacuzzi, sauna and steam. At the time of our visit guests were invited to book private half an hour slots (as an additional Covid precaution) and so effective it has been I believe it’s a practice they may continue. Follow our lead and book the deep tissue massage or Swedish massage for 55 minutes of pure indulgence.
Pop on your walking boots and take the 30m minute stroll along the main road down to Morston and along to the National Trust Blakeney Nature Reserve. Spot some of the local bird life or hop on a local boat tour in the hope of spotting seals. The Anchor Inn at Morston can provide pleasant sustenance to fuel the return leg.
Further afield jump in the car and head along to Holkham beach for blustery beach walks and stop by Holkham Hall for estate walks, deer spotting or an afternoon cream tea. Or if your stay at The Harper has given you the taste of the good life, pay a visit to Sandringham to see how the other half really live.
Generally speaking The Harper provides a laid back retreat to escape and unwind, however it’s worth noting that they also know how to throw a party so check their website for upcoming events or consider The Den if you’re looking to host your own.
We visited for the Harper Hogmanay: a 3 day gastronomic feast. Starting with champagne and canapes, 7 course tasting menu and paired wine flight, midnight toasts and survivors charcuterie on New Years Eve. Day 2 was comfort time with food available to eat wherever you fancy and a selection of hearty, homecooked, carb based delights to get you back on your feet from the night before. Day 3 was detox (although we’d use that term fairly loosely) with superfood shots and healthy breakfasts, fresh salads and seafood across the day.
Rooms start from £190 on a bed and breakfast basis, visit https://www.theharper.co.uk/ to book your stay.
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Sarah Hayman is a contributing food and travel writer at Marie Claire UK, covering everything from UK breaks to far flung destinations, the best greasy spoon to Michelin star dining.
Growing up on the Kent coast Sarah spent virtually every day of her summer holidays frolicking on the beach so it’s no wonder that a life living and working in London leaves her yearning for sand between her toes and cool wines on summer eves.
To ensure she’s ordering the right thing in a restaurant and knowing her lefts from her rights, Sarah has since dabbled in languages being conversational in Spanish and currently studying Arabic at SOAS.
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