Recently I returned from a wonderful wellness break at the Kings Arms in Fleggburgh, Norfolk where I enjoyed fantastic food, warm and friendly people and some fantastic snowy walks in the countryside.
Why a break?
Since working for myself, I have started to spend more time at home, working tirelessly to promote my business and I was in need of a change of scenery. My husband too was in need of a break from his job after a few intense months.
My main aim for our mini break was to leave feeling more relaxed. My blogging aim was to show that you don’t have to travel far and wide to find the perfect wellbeing break, especially as often the journey to and from a destination is the most stressful part.
To choose our break we had the following criteria:
- Great food and wine
- Relaxing activities
- Private quality time together
Where and why?
As an advocate of wellbeing, I already knew that Norfolk has some great wellness offerings from yoga retreats to health spas but I wanted to highlight somewhere different that people may not have tried for my getaway.
The Kings Arms in Fleggburgh is a beautiful pub dripping in five star restaurant reviews thanks to the talents of award winning chef Mark Dixon. The pub is well known throughout the region for its food so I was excited to see that they had started to offer pretty little cabin style rooms.
It’s probably my romantic spirit that has always wanted to live in a cabin in the woods where I could write all day long, so a few days in a cabin beside a lovely pub with access to a hot tub was even better! Little did I know I was going to live inside a Dickensian snow globe for a few days as part of the package.
The pub is at the heart of the village of Fleggburgh, between Acle and Caister. Driving there from Norwich during heavy snow wasn’t the most pleasant journey but we were still there within half an hour.
As soon as we walked in to the pub to check in the smell of a log burner and warmth hit our faces. The pub itself is beautiful. A lovely mix of modern gastro and tradition. Beautiful photographs of the broads adorn the walls and fresh flowers are on every table.
We were able to choose from three cabins – one had a shower, one a bath and the other allowed pets (this is an ideal location for dog owners and the pub is 100% dog friendly). We chose ‘Bee’ and were shown there by one of the staff.
The cabins are a modern take on a log cabin. They are furnished to the highest standard and every single detail has been thought through from the tiny golden bees adorning the wallpaper to the sockets beside the bed – such a simple thing but so rare.
The décor in the cabin was truly beautiful in shades of yellow and gold. A lovely style mix of modern and country. The room kept toasty warm with both underfloor heating and a heating unit (important as eight inches of snow fell during our stay). The bathroom boasted a huge walk in shower that a whole family could fit into and all important natural light for getting ready in the evening. I was really impressed.
Things to do – nature walks
Mark and his team showed us the number of local walks nearby so we set off (despite the driving snow) to see the area. There is something magical about walking through the country as snow falls. Firstly, it’s so peaceful, even the birds are quiet. Secondly, everything is so bright and beautiful with a dusting of snow.
On the first day walked for around an hour – across to neighbouring Filby and towards Acle. The Norfolk Broads are something I embarrassingly take for granted at times, so seeing them looking so different, iced over and snow-capped bulrushes bending over the waters was a different perspective.
On the second day we walked in the opposite direction to the Kings Arms, crossing pens of moody looking livestock and marvelling at the snow blowing across the open fields. The photo opportunities were endless and I took them all.
If walking isn’t your thing then there are a few things to do in the area – Norwich for shopping, Great Yarmouth for an old-fashioned seaside experience or the nearby wildlife park – you won’t be bored.
Things to do if you want to stay put
As I mentioned the weather was pretty bad in Fleggburgh and let’s face it, some of us just want to kick back and relax. If that’s your bag then simply chilling in the Kings Arms is lovely. I sat in front of a roaring fire with my laptop or a good book for hours, sipping on a glass of red or a coffee and watching village life.
The pub is a big part of the social scene for the village and a meeting place for the community. Everyone knows each other but as outsiders we were welcomed warmly. Everyone was interested in chatting to us and wanted to know how we were enjoying our stay, clearly proud of both the pub and village in general. I spoke to so many great people from professional footballers to tree surgeons – more than I’ve ever spoken to those that frequent my own local!
If you want to indulge yourself while there, for £5.95 you can use the outside hot tub which is only available to those renting the cabins. I think I caused quite the stir running through the snow in Ugg boots and a one piece through the snow though it was worth it to plunge into hot bubbles for an hour – bliss.
I can’t talk about my stay at The Kings Arms without mentioning the food. The cuisine is incredible, well priced, beautifully presented and served by a great bunch of people. We ate from both the bar menu and the A la Carte while there and both were of an exceptional standard.
The bar menu offers reasonably priced gastro pub food such as fish and chips and Caesar Salad whereas the a la carte menu offers some unusual yet delicious flavour combinations. All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced.
All diets are catered for. My husband had their famous Norfolk 36 day aged beef that was tender and cooked to perfection; served with rosti potato, baby carrots, beetroot, celeriac, wild mushrooms, buttered spinach, hollandaise & lardon jus. I had roast polenta with roasted artichokes, wilted baby spinach, chestnut mushrooms, roasted celeriac & madeira cream on day one. Day two I enjoyed belly & fillet of Dingley Dell pork with Fondant potato, award winning black pudding, kohlrabi, lovage, apple puree & rich cider jus. Both were faultless.
My husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth but raved about the desserts there. His favourite was the marmalade sponge with a whisky ice cream followed by the peanut butter parfait; though I don’t think you could go wrong with whatever you chose.
Breakfast was included in the room rate. Now, I’m married to a man that doesn’t like eggs or mushrooms so always finds breakfast a chore. For me, I’m not a lover of a fried food so always end up with a sad bowl of cornflakes and toast when staying at hotels, so neither of us had high expectations when we sat down at the Kings Arms. Well, how wrong we were. I enjoyed freshly baked pain au chocolat and home-made granola with Greek yoghurt and berries. He chowed down on sausage, bacon, potatoes, black pudding and beans. So many options for every palate!
We were sad to leave the Kings Arms and the main reason was owing to the people. Marks team and the villagers in general made us feel so welcome. Personally, I would love to return in the summer with my husband or simply on my own as I could easily sit in the pub and write all day long while village life went on around me.
I’m hoping my experience illustrates a few things:
- Think before you travel miles looking for a wellbeing break as there are so many places close by that you can turn into a mini ‘retreat’ simply by what you choose to do and who you do it with. Taking away the stress of a journey when going on holiday makes such a difference
- Norfolk once again gets a big tick for being one of the best counties around for food, wellness, landscape and fabulous people
- When looking for a wellness break, write down a few keywords/criteria about what you want from it so you keep to brief
- Again, THINK LOCAL! Shout out to all Norfolk folks to support local businesses as sometimes it’s easy to overlook the beauty that’s right in front of your face.
The Kings Arms are offering a promotional rate of £89 per night including breakfast per cabin up until May 2018. To book please call 01493 368333