An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Tel: 01263 20862133
Two outstanding holiday cottages renovated to the highest standards in idyllic gardens over the road from an award winning seafood restaurant.
Where to find it
Dix cottages are situated in the idyllic village of Thornham, five miles from Hunstanton and 12 miles from Wells-next-the-Sea on the main A149 coastal road. Whilst a gate gives immediate access to the main street, the back of the property is secluded with extensive sunny lawns and ample private parking. The village itself is awash with classy establishments including The Old Coach House and Marco Pierre White’s The Lifeboat Inn, as well as The Deli serving excellent breakfasts and Drove Orchards where you can pick your own apples. Thornham beach is a bit of a trek but is an expansive and tranquil place to walk; this area of North Norfolk has many beaches to explore all within a few miles. Directly over the road is The Orange Tree, a fine pub and restaurant in not only walking but stumbling distance. Make sure you leave the outside light on though as I tripped on the pathing slabs outside the cottage in the dark.
What to expect
The cottages, now one large and one small, were built in 1842 by a mariner, Joseph Dix. In 1960 Mrs Dunkerley and her husband moved into the large cottage and began renovating the small one as a holiday home. When the Wing Commander died suddenly in the 1970s, the door was locked and his wife never set foot inside again despite living next door for the remainder of her life. In 2010 Isobel Copley and her family bought both properties and have restored them to what are now two luxurious and well appointed holiday homes. Thoughtfully, memories of Mrs Dunkerley live on though with items still dotted around that belonged to her such as a remarkable old cookery book complete with handwritten recipes that still has pride of place in the kitchen.
Modern comfort, stylish surroundings
If you’re a discerning visitor who recognises class then you’ll fit right in here. These cottages haven’t been thrown together but personally designed and thought out by a family that intend to use them as their own holiday base too. Proud of their achievements, no corners have been cut with fixtures and fittings that make the place extra special. The master bedroom oozes opulent elegant splendour with its feature head board and chandelier; the main bathroom has a double sink, sensor touch lit mirror and free standing bath. Most people take little care it defining a utility room but here you’ll find a stylish marble sink that almost constitutes an art form.
It’s this commitment to quality combined with personal touches that bring this place to life. It’s loved and I like that; it makes your holiday a home from home. Take the cheeky ‘please remove your jimmy choos’ sign on the landing, the notice board with family celebrations pinned to it – you almost feel like Goldilocks intruding on someone’s dream abode but the good thing is everyone is welcome. With fluffy John Lewis towels, plenty of entertainment in the form of DVDs and games, a box of chocolates to indulge in and details of private dining in your home, there is really no need to even leave if relaxation is your aim. A double oven, washing machine and dishwasher add to the easy life. Children are well catered for with stair gate, high chair and fire guard, plus buckets and spades and a beach truck to carry your paraphernalia to the sands. There is also the option of hiring a beach hut at Old Hunstanton, 3 miles away, at a reduced rate which any child or child at heart will adore. There are maps, walking guides and information on things to do, and an extensive garden to sunbathe in and let the kids run wild.
It’s hard to think of cons because these cottages, with their cosy and cheerful class, bring happy days for all. The eco air source heat pump means you must remember to click the extra hour button in winter evenings though or you’ll get chilly and face a cold bath. Apart from this the place is warm and inviting even in minus conditions so good all year round accommodation. Each cottage also has a wood burning stove in the lounge too. The main con as far as I can see is actually forcing oneself to leave. I predict a high repeat customer rate here so if I were you, I’d bagsy your annual week now and stake your claim on another of Norfolk’s hidden gems.
Dix Cottage 1 sleeps four (one double, one twin), Dix Cottage 2 sleeps six with the option of a extra couple of a sprung sofa bed in the second lounge (there is a downstairs shower room too). If both properties are booked together there is a 10% discount on rates. Prices start from £440 a week for the small cottage and £680 for the large cottage. Sandy Pause beach hut – details to follow shortly.