The closer you get to Barsham Barns, the less signal your phone will have. With each swerve down a winding road, another bar disappears, until you’re left with nothing but the greenery surrounding you to stare at. This is a proper country retreat. But when you pull up, you realise two things: one, they have WiFi, and two, it’s so lovely here that you don’t need the internet to amuse you anyway.
Each of the six converted barns at Barsham is decked out in a blend of contemporary decor and a more cosy shabby chic; modern enough to look luxurious, but with all of the comforts of home. After admiring the exposed brick and high ceilings, we note the fresh flowers and fruit cake left out to greet us, the carefully crafted folder of places to visit – it’s these little touches that extend the warmest welcome.
It’s possible for groups to rent multiple barns for bigger celebrations, but at Little Barsham, which sleeps four but where we stayed as a duo, most mornings the only we encountered neighbours were the wandering animals in the adjacent fields. If you’re looking for peace, you’ve come to the right quiet place.
If the absence of traffic and chatter aren’t enough to relax you, a soak in the enormous jacuzzi pool in Barsham’s spa room might do the trick – simply reserve your slot on the chalkboard outside and enjoy a private session. Younger visitors will also enjoy the games room, equipped with table tennis and table football (although it’s worth noting that, unlike the spa, this is shared amongst all guests without a booking system, so they may have to wait their turn).
Barsham offers everything you need for self-catering right down to the dishwasher, but if you’re dining out, there are plenty of pubs to suit all tastes, serving everything from fresh seafood to a proper Sunday roast. If you’re not, stock up on fresh, delicious produce from Walsingham Farm Shop.
Once the food is sorted, it’s time to explore – 10 minutes drive is all it takes us to discover Holkham Beach, a dramatic location featured in Shakespeare in Love, and an excellent location for dog walking (and spotting). Next up is Wells-next-the-Sea, which offers a more classic seaside experience – think pretty painted houses, penny arcades, fish and chips – we highly recommend French’s – and all of the rock you can shake a stick at.
One of the highlights of our trip take place at Blakeney Point, where we board a boat with Temple Seal Trips – despite being off season and blessed with gloomy skies and rain, the crew manage to point out a few bobbing heads amidst the choppy waves, to the delight of the slightly soggy passengers on board. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area around Christmas time, you’ll have a chance to enjoy even better views of the visiting grey seals and their pups (just be sure to wrap up warm).
We leave Barsham Barns feeling recharged, refreshed and regretful that we can’t stay longer. Whether you’re travelling as a pair or a party, we’re confident that you’ll do the same.
To find out more about Barsham Barns and book your stay, visit barshambarns.co.uk