Small, sleepy Reepham is a market town situated between the Bure and Winsum valleys in north Norfolk. It’s one of those places that has, ‘everything it needs’ – a 16th century pub, a butchers, a bakers, you know the drill. The square holds a weekly market as well as the odd antique fair, and the lady who works in the village’s only charity shop invites her shoppers to grab a book from the neighbouring library and join her for a cup of tea in between browsing the rails.
Countryside lovers, walkers and foodies will LOVE The Dial House – it’s a beautiful, red brick building dating from 1721 and walking through the front door is not too dissimilar to falling down Alice’s rabbit hole. As well as 8 individually decorated bedrooms, The Dial House offers eclectic furnishings and interesting corners full of antiques, collectibles and fascinating objects. If you can pick it up, chances are it’s for sale. Don’t even get me started on the private dining room hidden behind a bookcase.
Tom and I checked into The Dial House as a New Years treat, just for one night, to recharge our batteries and get over the post Christmas lull. We arrived to the sound of friendly chatter, roaring fires and complimentary tea and scones. Made fresh in the AGA and served on vibrant antique crockery, this little treat was a welcome surprise.
We sat and read in front of the fire for a good hour, just being.
Right at the top of the house in a lofty attic room, or a garret if you will, you’ll find Paris. Or a little slice of Paris at least. You won’t, contrary to popular belief, find yourself an attractive Parisian roommate named Garrett. It’s okay though, you’ll just have to accept the minor spelling mistake and move swiftly on without creating a half an hour long Instagram story about a married couple and a guy from Paris. It’s harder than it sounds, trust me.
Our little slice of Paris was decked out with charming French accents, embroidered throw pillows, thick floral drapes that framed an eye-catching headboard, a marble bathroom, gorgeous exposed beams and a large freeview TV.
At the end of the bed, a freestanding tub was just waiting to be filled with bubbles. Tea, coffee and cookies sat untouched on a cast iron table, whilst views of the village below glowed happily through the Georgian sash windows.
A stunning marble bathroom was just out of sight, complete with quality stereo system so you could hear the TV perfectly in the shower! Other rooms in the house are named and decorated to represent a round-the-world experience, such as Days of the Raj, Africa and The Orient.
Italian Palace is next on my bucket list.
The curiosities don’t end when you arrive in your room. You just have to open a few cupboards to discover that the charm has been extended throughout the entire house. We found a vintage record player tucked inside the wardrobe and were encouraged to borrow a few records from the Cabinet Room downstairs.
Never one to turn down an offer of discovery, I grabbed The Beatles and Paul Simon and we danced along with a glass of bubbly each before heading across the road for dinner. The hotel, of course, has its own very highly-regarded restaurant that I am desperate to try, but after so much indulgence over Christmas we fancied a quick bite to eat at the pub across the road instead. All walkable, so we could enjoy a drink or two.
Memory foam pillows and a squishy mattress had us snoozing in no time, and it was soon time to wake up for breakfast.
Mornings can be spent lounging in a hot bubble bath or enjoying the quiet hum of the village outside your window. Breakfast is served from 8am to 10:30am, so there’s plenty of time for relaxing. A waffle robe and delicious cafetiere coffee had me in a morning daze that I could live inside forever.
But breakfast was calling…
Breakfast is served in the AGA room, where you can choose from a menu of hot options including drop scones with lemon and sugar, a full english breakfast with sausages and black pudding or simple poached eggs on granary bread.
A continental breakfast of croissants, yoghurts, cereals and fresh fruit is also available to help yourself to. Needless to say we started on continental before moving on to the hot menu. I wonder if you can guess which breakfast was mine…
Before we checked out, we took a stroll around the house, taking in all the interesting decor. Antique treasures are clustered in every corner so there’s a story to discover everywhere. If The Little Mermaid’s, Ariel were to open a posh B&B, I’d imagine it would look something like The Dial House – dusted in fancy gadgets and characterful gizmos.
Check the price tag if you fall in love with something, because you can probably take it home with you!
If you do visit, be sure to take a walk around the surrounding countryside. It is peaceful and beautiful – perfect for exploring. For longer visits, Norwich is 12 miles away and the Norfolk coast is only 16 miles away. The Dial House is a gorgeous place to base yourself in whilst you discover Norfolk.