Short stay: Congham Hall Hotel and Spa, Near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, UK

Short stay: Congham Hall Hotel and Spa, Near Kings Lynn, Norfolk, UK

Carved kingfishers and waders, an oil painting of deer flying through the forest, a Norfolk estuary at sunset. The Congham Hall Hotel and Spa, where you hear the chirping of birds, is a haven of peace, a rural celebration of one of Britain’s most relaxing counties.

The Congham Hall Hotel, built in the 1780s, is a whitewashed Georgian mansion with portico. Affectionately curated by Ruth and Nicholas Dickinson, once from Chewton Glen and Manoir aux Quat ‘Saisons, the room possesses the poise, elegance and symmetry of its Georgian origins, but with contemporary comfort and style.


With only 26 rooms, the friendly and experienced local staff have time to greet guests and take them to their rooms.

Security dominates. The registration form and the plastic-wrapped key are already in the form.


Overlooking a French-style walled garden, Anise, with a double bed and a sofa, is listed among the “Best House Rooms”.

Carefully designed, there are pegs for the coats waiting just inside the door. The bespoke TV stand is also a tea tray that folds out to give easy access to a Krups coffee maker and kettle. Below, a mini-fridge for fresh milk and a compartment for the cookie jar: irresistible white chocolate and raspberry cookies.

More design genius is exhibited by two mini-wardrobes – to the left and to the right – behind the wall housing the huge bed and its headboard.

With an elastic gray carpet, silky curtains, trendy taupe paint, and garden scene watercolors by a local artist, Anise – and many garden-themed rooms – had clearly been recently renovated.

The bathroom

There is a deep soaking tub on rollers for wallowing and a separate large rainfall shower.

Elemental Herbology provides creative toiletries. Geranium & Tangerine Body Moisturizer, Hair Souffle Conditioner, Shiny Locks Shampoo plus an invigorating Grapefruit & Tangerine Shower Gel.


In these troubled times, the AA two-rosette restaurant, overlooking the croquet lawn and the forest beyond, still has an impressive menu.

The game choices – guinea fowl, pigeon and venison – evoke a menu originating from the surrounding countryside. As the leaves turn, the blackcurrant and pumpkin accompany the deer. Most of the ingredients have traveled less than 20 miles.

Three rock oysters, lemon and tabasco, as a starter, recall the proximity of Congham Hall hotels to the coast. In addition to the grilled plaice fillet and roasted cod fillet, there is also a specialty of grilled and firm pollock fillets.

Three gardeners take care of the gardens and the orchard, so more and more items on the menu are homegrown.


Although it takes less than two hours by train from London to Kings Lynn, the Congham Hall Hotel puts a reassuring distance between guests and the city bustle. After all, this is a land where the villages of Little Snoring and Great Snoring lie dormant.

For part of the year the Queen is a close neighbor to the Sandringham Estate. In addition, the quiet beaches of the north Norfolk coast are just a short drive away.

Further south on the coast, Blakeney Point is home to Britain’s largest colony of gray seals, with 3,000 pups born each year. It is a beautiful coast for long walks, including The Peddars Way, following an ancient Roman road.

Other nice touches

Stroll through the 30 acres of grounds to watch gardeners working on the herb gardens. In summer, you can buy small pots of herbs to take home.

Ask Nicholas Dickinson for wise advice on wine. There are a few gems on the wine list. A rosé from Lebanon, an Oumsiyat, is a delicately refined wine. Likewise, the recommendation of a Romanian pinot noir of superb value is another success: light juicy and velvety.

The cost

From November 2 to December 17, 2020, a Winter Warmer package is available directly from the hotel. Includes two nights’ accommodation, a full English breakfast, a 3-course dinner from the usual menu and a treat from a 45-minute spa treatment, afternoon tea for two or a bottle of champagne. Packages range from £ 480 to £ 700 for Best House rooms.

The best song

The flagship facility at Congham Hall is the Secret Garden Spa. Rarely in Norfolk do you smell eucalyptus and peppermint under flashes of light and warm tropical rainfalls. Experience showers offer Caribbean storms and refreshing tropical rains.

In the 12-meter pool there are hydrotherapy showers, as well as a sauna, steam room, and foot spa. Then, on the outdoor terrace, there is a steaming hot tub.

Inspired by the herb garden, the spa incorporates seasonal herbs and blooming fresh flowers into treatments. An elemental herbal facial treatment is designed to help the skin find its balance. While rosemary muscle wasting massage, the stimulating combination of holly leaf, lemongrass, nutmeg and rosemary with deep tissue massage therapy relieves stress and tension.

For total and indulgent relaxation, select the two-hour Secret Garden experience which works on all aspects of stress in body and mind.

The final verdict

The Congham Hall Hotel and Spa is a relaxed country retreat to experience the best of North Norfolk. As experienced hosts and frequent recipients of hospitality industry awards, Nicholas and Ruth Dickinson run an extremely welcoming hotel.

Take a look at the testimonials in the guestbook. For many customers, this is their second home. A couple have already visited three times this year.

Disclosure: Our tour was sponsored by Congham Hall Hotel.

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