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Discover the delights of Norfolk

By Lisa Daniels

I’ve recently discovered the joy of a reinvigorating short break, with a trip to Norfolk with my daughter. The county is just over two hours from Kent, so perfect for a weekend getaway.

Norwich Castle

Norwich Castle

Our first day was spent in the county city of Norwich, which has an impressive castle and a Norman cathedral with a towering spire plus, it seemed, a medieval church around every corner (I checked later – there are 30 within the city walls alone). To complete your magical history tour, there’s the 15th century Guildhall, a 17th century flinthouse by the city’s River Wensum and the Art Nouveau Royal Arcade.

Norwich is also a shopper’s paradise, with two shopping centres and all the usual high street ‘names’ as well as smaller, independent stores in the cobbled lanes to be found off the main routes. Then there’s the largest undercover market in Europe, held six days a week under brightly-coloured wooden roofs.

Feeling the need to be pampered after a day’s sightseeing, we spent the night at the four-star Sprowston Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club, just a short drive from Norwich.

The 16th-century building and its grounds provided a beautiful setting for our stay with a golf course and well-maintained gardens offering quiet views.

Two double beds in the twin ensuite room

Two double beds in the twin ensuite room

It was a joy to discover that a twin room at Sprowston Manor meant two double beds with piles of pillows – soooo much nicer than trying to keep from falling out of a single bed all night. The rooms also offer WiFi, premium cable TV on the flatscreen television, a fridge and tea and coffee-making facilities.

The four poster bed suite

The four poster bed suite

The hotel has 75 rooms and 19 suites. If you’re planning a romantic break, there’s a four-poster suite with separate living and dining areas and an oversized bath. You could make the most of the round-the-clock room service for food and never have to leave your love den!

The swimming pool at Sprowston Manor

The swimming pool at Sprowston Manor

As well as elegant and very comfortable rooms, Sprowston Manor has a restaurant, an indoor pool with loungers both inside and outside, a fitness centre and a spa.

Having booked a spa treatment for the following day, my daughter and I headed to the hotel’s 1559 Restaurant for dinner. The mouthwatering selection on the seasonal menu uses both fish and meat sourced locally, including my starter – Cromer crab and baby prawn cake and my main course, salmon.

Catch of the day - salmon with noodles, vegetables and chilli sauce

Catch of the day - salmon with noodles, vegetables and chilli sauce

The following morning, after the generous buffet breakfast offering everything from a full English to an egg-white omelette, we headed to the spa for our first – but definitely not last – facial. After a wonderful session of gentle cleansing, moisturising and massaging, it was all I could do to not stay for the day and try some of the many other treatments, but we had a royal appointment to keep.

Enjoy a facial in the spa

Enjoy a facial in the spa

The Grade II-listed Sandringham, home to British monarchs since 1862, is an hour’s drive from the hotel. The royal estate attracts thousands of visitors each year, all keen to see the stately home and its stunning gardens as well as the fascinating museum, with its eclectic mix of memorabilia, gifts given to the Queen on royal visits, and vehicles once used on the estate, such as the 1939 fire engine.

After a day wandering round the house and garden and delicious afternoon tea, we headed home, feeling refreshed and happy with our perfect mix of sightseeing and Sprowston Manor pampering.

Sprowston Manor Marriott Hotel and Country Club, Wroxham Road, Norwich offers a wide choice of rooms and meal options as well as package deals. For further details see www.marriott.co.uk

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