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Historic Norfolk windmill will offer more for guests in 2018 festive season

Carolyn Godlee, co-owner of Cley Windmill, stands on a balcony outside one of its bedrooms. Picture: Bethany Whymark

Carolyn Godlee, co-owner of Cley Windmill, stands on a balcony outside one of its bedrooms. Picture: Bethany Whymark

Archant

The owners of a well-known north Norfolk landmark which once belonged to singer James Blunt’s family are hoping to share its beauty and charm with more visitors this Christmas.

While it hosts the last of its summer weddings, plans for the festive season are already under way at Cley Windmill.

This year, for the first time, the bed and breakfast and restaurant will be open for businesses and other groups to book for Christmas lunches and dinners.

Owners Julian and Carolyn Godlee are also opening the windmill and its renovated outbuildings – comprising nine bedrooms in total, with a 10th currently being renovated – for Christmas and New Year breaks, when groups of up to 22 people can take over the entire 19th century complex for a self-catering holiday.

The six-day Christmas break has been snapped up but bookings are still open for the New Year slot.

Dr and Mrs Godlee bought the windmill in 2006 after the Blount family – from which James Blunt hails – decided to sell up. They have since lovingly restored the listed building and continue to pump their profits back into it.

Mrs Godlee said the new Christmas meals, available for groups of up to 24, were as much to showcase the talents of the windmill’s two chefs as the building itself. “This is a great place for people to come for a special occasion like that and obviously we are fully licenced as well.”

She added that the new initiatives would help towards the windmill’s “huge” maintenance bill.

“We see ourselves as custodians of this building. It has been here since the beginning of the 1800s and will be here for a long time to come so we feel that we have a duty of care to the building.

“Everything we do aims to preserve the integrity of the building, because it is so special and historic it is important to do things sensitively,” she said.

Weddings are a huge market for Cley Windmill – Mrs Godlee estimates it will have hosted some 70 wedding parties in 2018.

It has been nominated in two categories at the Eviivo travel awards this year – window with a view and quirkiest place to stay.

It is staffed by a close-knit team – from new general manager Rebecca Duncan, sister of deputy manager Sarah Pegden, who took her post less than two months ago, to head of housekeeping Linda Bird, who has worked at the windmill for 40 years.

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