An insider's guide to the county's best kept secrets
Tel: 01328 823413
A two bedroom private annex B&B with attractive garden, farmhouse decor and facilities that make it ideal for families with small children
Where to find it
Valentine studio is attached to the owner’s house in the picturesque village of South Creake (best known for its renowned Creake Abbey farmer’s market) which lies eight miles from the old fisherman’s resort of Wells-next-the-Sea, five miles from the stylish Burnham Market and nine miles from the award winning beach at Holkham. You’ll find the property by driving past the large village green. With a stream out the front, expect to wake to the sound of happy ducks and the early morning sighting of a busy Great Tit nesting in the garden – this place is very much a relaxed country getaway.
What to expect
A B&B yet with the feel of a self catering cottage, this place really offers the best of both worlds. You have your own front door and are only adjoined to the main property via opposite ends of the kitchen so privacy is a strong selling point. Sleeping four plus a cot if needed; there are two comfortable and spacious bedrooms. The main area has a double bed and large walled unit providing tea and coffee making facilities, TV/DVD, and fridge and microwave. This makes it highly suitable for families with small children who may need to heat up baby food and feed young ones – a high chair is provided. The second bedroom has again been refurbished to meet the need of families with its thoughtful black out blind and fold away travel cot. Once the children are asleep, you can pull the door to, pop on the dressing gowns provided and enjoy the space of the main living area knowing they won’t be disturbed but are safe next door. There is a shelf of books and DVDs to help occupy the evenings. With an en suite shower room and breakfast on hand just one door away this quiet rural retreat is most appealing.
Warm decor and a sunny view
A brick exposed cottage environment, this annex is rustic and relaxed with a palette of earthly natural hues. I particularly loved the patchwork throws and dried flowers that give it a homely vibe. With fresh flowers too and fruit and biscuits on arrival, there is everything present for a pleasant stay.
The front door opens out into the garden. There is a gravel driveway for parking making it ideal for the infirm, and a table and chairs for enjoying a leisurely drink in the early evening. Children will need to be supervised as there is no gate but I can visualise many a happy family spending time out here, with children delighting in watching the ducks. There are even games and toys to amuse short attention spans.
An evening meal is an effortless pursuit too as the Ostrich Inn is in short walking distance and although looks a little run down from the outside actually served really good quality food inside. What is refreshing is that they don’t just offer a children’s menu of chicken nuggets and the like, but the option of ordering anything off the full list as a half sized plate.
An award winning breakfast
The kitchen where breakfast is served again follows on from the farmhouse feel with flowers drying from the beams, homemade jams lined up on the shelves and fresh eggs on the worktop, still warm. I sense this is their central room of the house where the owner’s family still sit down to eat together and talk. This is carried over to their guests too as Ros Haywood is more than happy to chat as she prepares food, offering knowledge of the local area to compliment the already detailed visitor information pack.
A delicious freshly prepared fruit compote should definitely be sampled, as too should the eggs from their very own hens; the yokes are bright yellow and full of flavour. There are the usual cereal, toast and jam choices as well as croissants, hot porridge and traditional full English with sausages and bacon from the award winning Papworth’s butchers. Smoked salmon was also on offer. You’re not hurried; almost actively encouraged to stay longer and unwind, and when you do leave you feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead. A day filled with endless choices of places to visit. This is an excellent base from which to explore North Norfolk.
The studio is £120 a night for a family of four with a minimum of two nights preferred. The studio can also be booked for just two people at £80 a night; £90 during July and August. They are open all year round excluding Christmas; they don’t allow pets and can only accept payment by cash or cheque.