A Tudor Marvel In The Depths of the Norfolk Countryside
Published: Monday 12th Feb 2018
Written by: Katie Bessant
This stunningly beautiful Grade I listed Tudor Hall, awarded first prize by the Campaign for the Protection of Royal England in 2014 is one of our favourite properties in Norfolk. A truly unique holiday home within the county and one of our top luxury 5* properties, it was built in 1478 by Sir James Hobart, Attorney General to Henry Vll. Oak beams are a feature throughout and as you step inside the architectural grandeur that greets your arrival, it is easy to see how the house invites you to relax in splendour and style.
Despite its size, Hales Hall has a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel immediately at home and it is a fantastic house for celebrations, parties, special occasion holidays and short break, lavish weekends. Linger in one of two intimate sitting rooms with fireplaces and wood burners, curl up in the cushions with a good book, enjoy the cinemascope TV and check out the Sky package. The magnificent kitchen/dining room is a beautiful entertaining space at 38’ long and there is also a formal dining room for cosier foodie feasts. On the first floor the Music Room features a Steck mini grand piano so if you know how to play the piano, you are the entertainment– Chopsticks anyone?! The luxurious bedrooms, all named after historical figures that have an association with Hales, ooze charm and character, are sumptuously presented and oh so cosy. The bedrooms are interspersed by magnificent bathrooms with roll top baths, marble washbasins and showers with rainfall heads so that you can soak, sleep and indulge.
The grounds and gardens are an outstanding feature of The Hall with manicured lawns, extensive topiary, cottage garden planting and are bordered on one side by a small moat. For those with a big event to plan, there is also a stunning brick-built Tudor Great Barn, which is available for weddings.
Set in unspoilt and gently undulating countryside, dotted with farms and woodland, this part of south Norfolk has much to offer and with the property accepting 2 dogs, you don’t have to leave your best friends at home either. With walks from the Hall itself it is easy to escape everyday life for a while and immerse yourself in nature’s back yard, The Broads National Park and fantastic sandy east coast beaches are also just a short drive away. For a novel route to The Broads, take the Reedham Chain Ferry across the River Yare; explore waterways on foot or take to a kayak or canoe, bird watch on the way and don’t forget the picnic! This is great cycling country too, being such a gentle landscape under Norfolk’s wide blue skies, there is a special calmness to this area that is unbeatable. The beaches on the east coast are sandy and long making great family playgrounds that are often underpopulated, even in the summer. You can also enjoy the arts and culture with a bit of retail therapy thrown in; Norwich is a beautiful city to discover just 12 miles away and history buffs will enjoy a visit to Norwich Castle whilst here.
Seek out farmer’s markets throughout the region which showcase organic and free-range produce. Try Acle Farmer’s Market, North Walsham Farmer’s Market the market at Hoveton Village Hall and the market at Stalham Town Hall. Whilst in Stalham, drop into Truly Local, an award winning food store, where everything is sourced from within a 35-mile radius. Not to be left behind there are 60 micro-breweries in Norfolk, two of which are centred in the east coast region. Look out for beers from the Bees Brewery near Walcott and the Blackfriars Brewery in Great Yarmouth.
If you are celebrating a special family occasion why not have a vintage afternoon tea delivered to your door by Lazy Afternoon Teas? Their mobile service comes fit to bursting with fabulous home-made cakes, bakes, pastries and tea is served on an eclectic collection of vintage china. They can also provide a ready-made picnic hamper and rug, homemade meals, cream teas and buffets, just the ticket for self-catering holidays.
The restaurants and pubs in this region are a-plenty and too numerous to name all but you will find something for all tastes and budgets to suit family outings, romantic dinners for two or a great night out with friends. For riverside settings try The Bridge Inn at Acle or the Wayford Bridge Inn at Stalham. The Boathouse at Ormesby Broad has a great view over the Broad itself and if a fish is more your thing, don’t miss out on 85 North Quay in Great Yarmouth for locally sourced fresh sea food and lobsters of your choice from the tank, if you are not squeamish!