Let's staycation in...Reepham
- Credit: Brittany Woodman
Hannah Springham, who owns The Dial House restaurant with rooms in Reepham with her husband, chef patron Andrew Jones, describes it as a “historic chocolate box” market town.
"It’s tranquil, friendly and still blissfully ‘undiscovered’,” she says.
If you love the coast but want to escape the crowds, Reepham is ideally situated. It’s in the heart of rural Norfolk, amid rolling countryside, but the seaside is only half an hour away – as are Norwich and the Norfolk Broads.
“Come here if you want a zen, but upmarket break,” says Hannah.
Where to stay in Reepham
In the heart of town, the Georgian Dial House sits at the back of the historic market square.
The rooms are eclectically and individually styled, and, reflecting the building’s history, their themes are inspired by the idea of the Georgian grand tour - think The Italian Palace, Africa and The Orient.
Rooms have sumptuous king-size beds, drench showers, flat screen TVs and even record players.
You can also book spa treatments, such as massages, facials and luxury manicures and pedicures to help you chill out even more during your stay.
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Where to eat in Reepham
The Dial House
The Dial House has a three AA-rosette restaurant, which says Hannah, proudly celebrates “fine produce, not fine dining – which means you won’t leave hungry or too poor, but the techniques and produce are of a very high level.”
The house signature hazelnut profiteroles are a must-try and diners love the sharing steaks, which are cooked over charcoal and the Sunday lunch – booking well in advance is recommended.
The Station Café
Hannah and her family love The Station Café for their fully loaded dirty fries. The most popular dish on the menu, skin-on fries are topped with homemade pulled pork, Stilton and cheddar cheese and crispy onions.
And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, then their homemade cakes are the stuff of dreams – think Biscoff millionaire’s shortbread, sticky toffee pudding cake and peanut butter and M&Ms blondies.
The Kings’s Arms
The burger at the King’s Arms is another of Hannah’s recommendations – it comes stacked with cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato and is served with onion rings, fries and the house slaw and burger relish.
Another star of the menu is the pork tomahawk, which is marinated in lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and thyme.
There are always vegetarian and vegan options on the menu too. And try and leave room for dessert – there’s treacle tart, pavlova and much more on offer.
The Sidings Café and Bar, Whitwell and Reepham Station
If you’re planning a walk along the Marriott’s Way, then The Sidings Café at Whitwell and Reepham Station is the ideal place to re-fuel.
When Hannah and her family are out with their dog, they love to stop off for a bacon butty. Look out for pop-ups too – the heritage railway recently had Bubble and Melt Waffles in residence there.
Where to shop in Reepham
Kerri’s Farmhouse Pine
Based at the Old Railway Station, Hannah describes Kerri’s Farmhouse Pine as a “treasure trove full of stuff you just didn’t know you needed until you see it.”
“I challenge you not to spent money in there!” she says.
The family-run business was established in the 80s and makes and hand finishes solid pine furniture - plus there’s a huge range of gifts, home accessories and soft furnishings in store.
If you love to go all out and really deck the halls during the festive season, then Kerri’s, with its extensive range of quirky decorations, is the home of Christmas.
Many of us are trying to reduce our plastic use – and Koti Store (Koti is Finnish for home) wants to help.
They sell refillable household and bathroom products as well as carefully curated vintage and locally-made pieces.
Norfolk Farm Shop and Deli
If you’re a foodie, then Hannah recommends popping by here to stock up on provisions.
“The Norfolk Farm Shop and Deli is the ultimate in all things local stop – from cheese to wine and all that’s in between,” she says.
Not only can you eat and stay at the Dial House, but you can shop too. At Vegas Vintage, the ground floor is home to an eclectic array of antiques. And in the first floor fashion boutique, you’ll find a a beautifully selected range of designer pre-loved pieces – including Prada, Marc Jacobs, Dolce and Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood and more.
What to do in Reepham
Reepham Food Festival
One of Hannah’s favourite events on the town’s calendar is Reepham Food Festival, which returns on Sunday, May 29.
More than 50 food and drink producers will have stalls in the Market Square and Secret Garden, where there will be lots of delicious treats to try. Money raised goes to support the town’s Sunshine Café for people with memory loss and other Rotary charities.
Music returns to Rookery Meadow on August 6 and 7 after a two-year hiatus, with legendary frontman of The Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat Neville Staple headlining.
Walk the Marriott’s Way
If, like Hannah and her family, you love the outdoors, Reepham is the perfect base for “dog walks, bike rides, frog spawn hunting, nature trails...”
Marriott’s Way follows two disused railway lines between Norwich and Aylsham, via Drayton, Lenwade, Cawston and Reepham. Depending on how energetic you’re feeling there are lots of interesting circular walks and cycle trails of various lengths. See marriottsway.info to start planning.
Places to visit near Reepham
Foxley Wood Nature Reserve
Coming into one of nature’s most colourful times of year, bluebell season, a visit to Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Foxley Wood Nature Reserve is a must.
The wood is also home to green and great spotted woodpeckers, chiffchaff, turtle dove, birds of prey and many species of butterfly, including white admiral, purple hairstreak and silver-washed fritillary.
One of Norfolk’s most impressive buildings, this Jacobean house was once home to the Boleyn family and it’s believed that Anne Boleyn’s ghost still roams the corridors. Gardeners will find plenty of inspiration in the grounds and there is a brilliant secondhand bookshop. And the cheese scones at the Stables Cafe come recommended.
The ruins of Baconsthorpe Castle tell the story of the rise and fall of the Heydon family. Once a moated and fortified manor house, over the course of 200 years it was built up and then abandoned.