Silver Travel Advisor invited a “Silver Reviewer” to visit Norwich in Norfolk with a partner and to stay for 2 nights with dinner, bed and breakfast courtesy of the historical, central Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Silver Traveller Anne Hudson from Newcastle-upon-Tyne was selected, and here she writes about her experience.
For Christmas shopping, visitor attractions and exploring Norfolk, The Maids Head Hotel, dating back to the 13th century, is the ideal base.
Following signs for Norwich cathedral, we easily found the hotel and car park. The friendly staff swiftly checked us in and arranged our dinner bookings. We needed to climb a number of stairs to get to our room, but the staff were very willing to carry our luggage. Entering our room we found we had a palatial suite comprising large lounge and dining room, bedroom and bathroom. The comfortable soft furnishings and the bed were welcome after a very long drive. There was a huge inglenook fireplace and many old beams, adding much character to the room. Restful lighting enabled us to read and watch television while consuming the complementary beverages and biscuits.
Dinner was in the main restaurant called The WinePress @ Wensum, which had historically been the stables for the old coach house prior to becoming a hotel. Each day the menus were varied with a good choice for vegetarians too. An impressive range of wines are available and the Maids Head Bar has a range of real ales, lagers and spirits. The Yard Bar specialises in lighter meals and The Snug is perfect for a special occasion. Buffet style breakfast was also available in the main restaurant, where you could also order your own hot preference such as porridge or scrambled eggs.
Each mealtime the hotel staff were discretely attentive, ensuring we were happy with our choices and providing prompt service.
During our stay there was a wedding party filling most of the 84 rooms. However due to the many cosy niches containing sofas and tables, the hotel did not feel crowded. Each niche had a focal point, often with a real fire which added to the homely atmosphere.
Stepping out of the hotel, many local attractions are within easy walking distance. The castle, Anglican cathedral and unique market are only a few minutes away. To explore more distant places an open top bus tour is available. This will take you to Norwich City Football Ground, the Riverside Quarter, the Roman Catholic cathedral, the puppet theatre and many shopping malls.
There are many unusual street names in Norwich giving clues to the historic city. ‘Tombland’ where the Maids Head is sited, has nothing to do with tombs. It appears to be of Saxon origin, and denotes an open space. Maddermarket is where the scarlet dye called madder was sold during medieval woollen trading. Norwich also has many ‘yards’ named often after the owner or company trading there. For example ‘Baker’s Yard’ is from a family name not the trade of baking.
For people desiring farther travel, Norfolk has lots of variety. The Norfolk coast has many seaside resorts and important nature reserves for migrating birds. At Wells-next-the-Sea is a steam narrow gauge railway and nearby is the impressive Holkham Hall. To the east and south of Norwich there are the famous Norfolk Broads. To the west is the fascinating town of Kings Lynn.
The Maids Head Hotel staff can provide lots of useful information and literature to help you get the most out of your stay. The central position and four star quality ensure its popularity. Business people are also welcome at the hotel for meetings and conferences. Private rooms and tailored menus are available. For those on a budget the hotel regularly offers special deals, making this the hotel of choice for any stay in Norwich.
The Maids Head Hotel is part of Classic British Hotels. For more information or to book, please visit www.classicbritishhotels.com or call the friendly reservations team on 0845 0 70 70 90.
Read Anne’s article about the Christmas at Holkham Hall experience.
Anne Hudson was born in East Anglia but has been away from this area for over 30 years. She was delighted to return there again for her Holkham experience. Her interests include mountains which have been a magnet for her holidays for many years, either in the UK or overseas. She also enjoys hiking in summer and skiing in the winter, exploring the outdoors and photographing wildlife and landscapes. Her additional interest in heritage has encouraged her to take a variety of city breaks to find noteworthy architecture, explore historic sites and experience cultural gems.