Despite travelling far and wide over the years, Norfolk is one area of the country that has eluded us. We decided that rather than duplicate a visit to places we were familiar with we'd try something different and make it even more unique by seeking out quirky accommodation. Appleton Water Tower certainly fitted the bill in that respect.
One thing you wont have to worry about if you book this Landmark Trust property is finding it. Needless to say Norfolk is famed for it's flat, easy-to-farm landscape and the tower is an imposing 60 feet high. So it's visible literally for miles.The ornate, cast iron vessel that sits atop the tower and was used to supply water to the Sandringham estate and other nearby properties held 32,000 gallons so you get some idea of the scale.
The accommodation is dated, very. It's meant to be because it's a back-to-basics approach to holiday making which means plenty of long walks and games evenings as opposed to hours in front of the TV – there wasn't one. And wheelchair friendly it isn't. The living quarters take up 75% of the terrific height so you get a bathroom with a view ……. about ten miles. Because the tower is relatively narrow you have a single "unit" on each floor. So the kitchen is on the ground floor, then you have a small bedroom, above that a lounge and second bedroom and at the highest living level, the bathroom.
Needless to say the vista from the very top is amazing. The tower is so high this is where transmittors are attached for the local TV and mobile phone networks. We were actually told Special Branch run a security check on people who stay here because there is a clear sight line into the Royal grounds of Sandringham.
The gardens are superb, very private and very large with fruit trees, large lawns and parking for any number of cars. The tower is surrounded on all sides by farmland and it was relaxing in the extreme to watch tractors rhythymically working the fields while sipping a glass of wine ……….. me, not the tractor driver ! I have to say it's very isolated location used to spook my young son on the extremely quiet nights. He used to joke it would be a great setting for Scooby Doo.
We found the location ideal for the Broads, obviously Sandringham itself and a little further afield, Great Yarmouth.And the wildlife that regularly came into the grounds, including pheasant and deer, were a wonderful sight first thing in the morning. Nightlife isn't great if that's what you're looking for but there were takeaways and pubs within driving distance if you got fed up with losing at Monopoly and Cluedo.
All in all, not a luxurious property and the setting is tranquil rather than exciting. But we missed the place when we returned home. For folk who want to get away from it all, this property is highly recommended.