I lived in Gorleston for 26 years, from being born until i moved to London. All my family still live up there so i always have an excuse to visit but this weekend was special...it was my Dad's 60th birthday and as a surprise, my Mum booked a couple of lodges for our whole family. We stayed from Friday until Sunday. My Mum said the staff were exceptionally helpful throughout the booking process, my Mum made a couple of visits to view the lodges to make sure they were suitable and nothing was too difficult for the staff at Fritton Lake to accommodate.
On our day of arrival we were amazed, the location is superb, you're nestled in amongst the trees and the lodges have everything you need. There were 12 of us staying at the lodges (8 in the larger lodge and 4 in the smaller one) and we had some other family visit for a special birthday meal one evening which meant there were 16 of us. We rearranged some furniture and everyone could sit comfortably. The well-equipped kitchen, although cozy, did the job and having a dishwasher was invaluable. The larger lodge also had a washer/dryer, 2 bathrooms and anything else you could need. The smaller lodge had an equipped kitchen (although no dishwasher), the washing machine came in handy after a muddy walk around the woods. The best feature, by far, in the smaller lodge was the wood-burner. We stayed in December and although we were lucky that the weather was (mostly) sunny, it certainly wasn't warm and getting back to the lodge and lighting up a roaring fire was bliss.
There isn't a huge amount to do around the park itself, i worked here during the summer in 2002 and i was chuffed to see the shack where i sold ice-creams was still standing, it was a nice little trip down memory lane, if you're staying in the lodges you get free entrance to the country park, you can hire bikes, boats and do some horse-riding although it's best to book these in advance with reception. We just wanted to take it easy so had a wander around. If you want anything a little more engaging then you need to jump in the car and head out, this wasn't something that interested me particularly and i quite liked the fact i felt like i was cut-off from the world in the middle of the woods. You can get some amazing scenic photos around there too, it's very scenic.
The only negatives i had is that the smaller lodge didn't have enough bath towels or toilet roll, we asked for some more which was no problem for the staff but a little frustrating that it wasn't sorted beforehand. The smaller lodge also had a folder hidden away which explains everything about the lodge, the area and how things work, we didn't find this until well in to our stay. When we arrived we thought the bulb had gone in the bathroom and there was no hot water but it turns out that there were mains switches in the airing cupboard for the boiler and the bathroom light/fan which were switched off, it would be great if the folder was out on the kitchen table or in a prominent position so new guests can arrive and get settled as soon as possible. We also didn't have any tea-bags or anything in the smaller lodge, this wasn't a big deal as we spent most of our time in the big lodge with the rest of the family but a nice cuppa would have been great whilst sitting in front of the fire. The folder also had the instructions for all the appliances, gadgets and gizmos that our lodge had but we didn't find one of these in the larger lodge, this proved difficult when trying to programme the washer/dryer as the appliance itself was far from self-explanatory but we got there in the end. The oven and touch-control ceramic hob were also feature-laden but took some fathoming out with no instructions to refer to (i know this sounds like a completely pointless rant but we only had a couple of days there and didn't want to spend it working out how to get a quick wash on the dishwasher).
All in all we had a great time, myself and the other-half are talking of getting a few friends together some time next year (possibly new year) and heading up again, our only stipulation would be that we want a lodge with a wood-burner, there's just something really enjoyable about building a nice fire and relaxing around it!
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