The Hollies Bed & Breakfast in Snettisham, Norfolk

I visited The Hollies B&B in Snettisham, West Norfolk, as Silver Travel Advisor’s guest blogger, and had the most splendiferous time. Travelling by train to King’s Lynn gave me time to watch the passing fields, flat and green and decorated with creamy white and pale yellow flowers; and wonder what lay ahead. The Hollies B&B, Snettisham, NorfolkThe website promised cotton sheets and 21st century mod cons. But I was looking forward to the building itself: Mid 18th century, Grade II listed special architectural and historic interest, with Grade I decor throughout. Could it really be so impressive?  

The bus (frequent service, close to King’s Lynn Rail Station) wends through pine forest, rhododendrons, and pretty villages, and stops thirty seconds from the buttercup-scattered lawn and matching-yellow front door of The Hollies. A gentle rat-tat-tat brings Andrew, to welcome me into a new and more-perfect world. I am won over instantly: by the pitch-perfection of his welcome and the joy of the decor. It seems that online photos and pretty words cannot fully convey the ambience and character that Shaun Clarkson’s artistic vision has created. Please excuse me while I wax lyrical about the heady mixture of designs, colours and textures, of papers and paints, of Grade II listed untouchability with modern designer sweeps and flourishes, the grandiose mirrors and cleverly clustered vases; the way he has met the challenge of listing restrictions and used them to elevate The Hollies into something I can’t properly describe without fluent ‘designer-speak’, a master of which I am not. Anyway it’s inspirational. And not at all the overworked over-arty overdone concoction I’d feared. This is, perhaps, a demonstration of what an interior designer can do when given a free hand.  

Andrew showed me around. I am to make myself at home, ask for anything I need. I could watch a film, loose myself in TV back episodes. The second reception room, he told me, is generally used for quieter activities. I dubbed it the Norfolk Blue Room, although the wallpaper parrots are also pink and green.  

The Chinoiserie RoomThe Chinoiserie Room, with its fabulous features and decadent decorations, feels as though it was designed with me in mind: deep reds enriched by greens and turquoise; metallic leaves, carved wood leaves; sash windows; richly decorated ceiling; en suite with white roll top bath with claw feet. And on a practical level, a welcome tray with fresh milk in a real jug and choccy biccies; the most gloriously comfortable beds; heated towel rail, ample hot water, exclusive toiletries, hairdryer.   

I made tea and sat on the antique French chair, admiring the glorious garden with its stupendous copper beech. I watched the light drizzle grow steadily into a scene from a black & white film before rain machines were properly invented:  someone just off shot chucking buckets of water in front of the window. I gave up on the gentle evening stroll exploring the village, and went downstairs to explore The Hollies instead. 

In the lush and plush Green Leafy living room I put a match under the logs, and sank into the sumptuous well-cushioned sofa, watching tiny flying sparks and letting the crackling lull me towards sleepiness.  

The Hollies B&B, Snettisham, NorfolkI slept like a lamb, and woke refreshed. In the opulent dining room with its sensational mirrors there were cereals, juice, yogurt on the sideboard, and a 20-place table. Andrew served fresh strawberries and blueberries, a pot of tea, hot toast. Chef expertly managed my slightly-awkward soft egg and well-cooked mushrooms, with the near-impossibility of perfect vegetarian sausages. When I reached the marmalade stage, a fresh pot of tea and more toast appeared. I might not need to eat again this week!  

There were newspapers, but instead I buried my nose in a booklet outlining the Snettisham and The Wash Coast  walk, full of instructions I knew would have me lost within minutes. Again Andrew’s instincts cut in, and he suggested an easier option. His route took me through pretty lanes, past houses built of the dark reddish-peach local carrstone, which lends character to the preposterous prettiness of it all. Inside the 14th century church I found an explanation of locally-excavated torcs: neck or arm ornaments. A pheasant on the wall set the scene.  

I returned just as daughter and grandson were parking. They got the royal welcome and full tour. Grandson loved his Bijou room, especially the ‘den’ for his cuddlies: red bedside cabinet matching the huge red bed he deems ‘fit for a king’. He found a secret reading nook behind the curtain. 

The Hollies B&B, Snettisham,, NorfolkBack from local exploration we relaxed in the Green Leaves living room and dipped into the shelf of board games. Grandson gave in easily to bedtime, and daughter and I found glasses for our bottle of red. We passed a happy evening glorying in the delights of the room, delving the mysteries of our favourite points of The Hollies, its decor, its unique charm, the comfortable beds. 

During my visit I learned more about the Hollies. It began life as a two-room house, the remainder added with its owner’s improving fortunes. Later a doctor used the two front rooms as his surgery and waiting room, and the rest of the house as the family home.  Andrew remembers attending the surgery as a child. Part of the charm of The Hollies is that it’s retained the essence of the family home it was built as. The house is now owned as a joint venture with a split personality, explaining The Hollies’ non-availability at weekends. It becomes Carrington House, taking self-catering parties: the lid comes off the jacuzzi and the basement ‘clubroom’ is opened. Suddenly the cocktail cabinet in the ‘quiet’ Parrot room makes sense.  

My other great discovery is that Andrew’s CV boasts ‘Royal Butler’ as an early entry.  Perhaps this explains his apparently-effortless ability to treat us in a manner fit for the Queen. He clearly has many stories hidden away, but discretion demands that they remain so.  

Next morning chef repeated his brilliance, even pandering to grandson’s fond wish for scrambled and fried egg. Andrew was his usual attentive self. 

Eventually we could escape the truth no longer: it was time to leave.  

The Hollies Bed & Breakfast
Carrington House
12 Lynn Road
PE31 7LS
Visit website

Read Pink’s review about West Norfolk

471 people found this helpful

Share Article:


Guest blogger

Leave a comment


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Solo travel holidays isn’t confined to the young and restless; it’s a liberating experience that transcends generations….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.