This is the fifth time we’ve stayed here (I think), increasing the length of our stay each time. This time, we were there for a week.
Old Hall Lodge is on a quiet, narrow lane close to Daffy Green, just outside of East Dereham. While Dereham itself is not the most exciting place on the planet, it’s a good base for exploring the northern part of Norfolk, and the North Norfolk Coast: pine-scented sands and cute villages of flint cottages; and free from the madding crowds that get to every other sandy beach in summer. This isn’t the flat, bleak agricultural prairie part of Norfolk – it’s more undulating here, but gently so, and the countryside is more varied. This being a sparsely populated part of the country, there’s no shortage of country walks, bird watching, nature reserves, and outdoor activities, as well as a fair clutch of museums and country houses. And if you miss the hustle and bustle, Norwich isn’t far away, which is more interesting than you might think …
The Lodge itself is a converted farm barn, with two extra ‘wings’ built on – so it forms three sides of a quadrangle, surrounding a paved courtyard with tinkling fountains, which holds its warmth for al fresco picnics on a summer evening. Beyond that, there’s a large garden with lawns, shrubs and chickens. There are only two guest rooms, but they’re big – plenty of space for large, comfy chairs, en suite bathroom and a separate ‘dressing room’, with a fridge. There are of course the usual tea and coffee making accessories, they provide fresh milk and bottled water, and there’s a LCD TV and wi-fi. But that's not all – as well as being furnished and decorated to a very high standard, luxurious even, the level of care taken in keeping the rooms clean and comfortable is astonishing. How many places do you know where they iron the sheet every day, on the bed?! Breakfasts are provided whenever you like (within reason, I assume) and cover the usual range of full English through to toast – the full English is one of the best I’ve had anywhere, and the eggs are fresh from the hen.
The hosts (both called Michael) are attentive without being intrusive, helpful without being obsequious, and entertaining without being overbearing. In all, pretty much exactly what you’d want. And they’re kept in order by a captivating West Highland Terrier called Albert, who is guaranteed to steal your heart (and I don’t usually like dogs).
For an evening meal, there is nowhere in walking distance, but Dereham has a decent Indian, and a hotel (The George) with a restaurant or a decent selection of bar food. And there are plenty of other places within a half hour drive – especially the Three Horseshoes at Warham, or fish & chips from French’s at Wells-next-the-Sea.
But good as all that sounds, none of it really does the place justice. There’s something about Old Hall Lodge, a serene calm, it’s such a peaceful, restful and happy place. A week spent here each every spring keeps me cheerful for the year – all I have to do is think back and remember it.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.