Norfolk, Congham Hall Hotel (01485 600250; www.conghamhallhotel.co.uk) has updated its winter nature trail, which is designed to help guests make the most of the wildlife and landscapes of Norfolk during the colder months.
The Fantastic Five… Norfolk Nature Trail recommends the area’s best seasonal assets, which include one of the UK’s biggest wildlife spectacles, the migration of more than 40,000 pink-footed geese to the Wash. The grey seal pups, born at this time of year on the shingle at Blakeney Point, are another highlight.
The free trail, available from Congham Hall’s reception and downloadable from the Out & About in Norfolk section of the hotel’s website, now includes a self-guided ramble across nearby Roydon Common, the largest surviving open heath in the area and a Site of Special Scientific interest. Downloadable, along with the rest of the trail, the easy, three-mile walking route starts from the hotel and takes in Grimston Warren as well as Roydon. Walkers can expect to glimpse Dartmoor ponies, hares and British white cattle grazing on the frost-covered heather, while Hen Harriers, Merlin and the Great Grey Shrike might also be spotted in the skies.
A family-friendly deer safari at Snettisham Park and the high-wire antics of red squirrels at Pensthorpe Nature Reserve complete the trail.
The hotel has a Winter Nature Offer to complement the trail. Guests who book a two-night midweek stay, will pay from £394 per room, including dinner, bed and breakfast – a 10 per cent saving on the usual price. The offer is available to book Sunday to Thursday, from 1 November 2017 to 28 February 2018, subject to availability (excludes 22 December 2017 to 3 January 2018), when quoting “Winter Nature Offer”.
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Room rates start from £135 per night, room only, and £219 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast.
Relaunched in May 2013, the 26-room Congham Hall Hotel sits in 30 acres of parkland, including orchards and its renowned Herb Garden, which has 400-plus varieties and attracts visitors from far and wide. The modernised, 2 AA Rosette, bistro-style restaurant features much homegrown produce on its menu and benefits from a sophisticated bar.
Congham Hall offers five-star service at three-star prices, in stylish but relaxed surroundings. It won Best Hotel in the East at the Best Loved Hotels Awards 2015, and has been recognised several times by the Eastern Daily Press/VisitNorfolk.co.uk Tourism Awards, winning Best Adult Leisure Break in 2015 and Best Independent Hotel in 2013. Congham Hall was also named Best Small Hotel in the UK at the International Hotel Awards in November 2012.
Nicholas Dickinson and his team took over Congham Hall in March 2012. The hotel relaunched in May 2013 after completing the last phase of a major refurbishment. Nicholas has spent his entire working life in the luxury hotel business. Early on, he worked at the five-star country-house hotel Chewton Glen and Raymond Blanc’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. In 1994, Nicholas formed a partnership with Nigel Chapman, who had developed Woolley Grange in Wiltshire. Together, they created Luxury Family Hotels, which soon became the market leader in the UK for luxury family short breaks, and Alias Hotels, for the stylish mid-market corporate and leisure sectors. Both groups were successfully sold, and Nicholas and Nigel went on to develop Martinhal Resort on Portugal’s Algarve. This is Nicholas’s first independent hotel project.