Couple buy famous landmark £3m windmill

Varian and Natalie Bush, Cley Windmill Norfolk

New owners of Cley Windmill; Varian and Natalie Bush with their three children; Theo, six, Bella, three and Otis, nine. - Credit: Supplied

A Long Stratton couple have bought one of Norfolk's most photographed attractions - Cley Windmill.

The landmark attraction went up for sale in 2019 - believed to be in the region of £3m - but was delayed because of Covid.

Varian and Natalie Bush, Cley Windmill, Norfolk

We bought a windmill: New owners Natalie and Varian Bush with their three children; Theo, Otis and Bella. - Credit: Supplied

The new owners are Natalie and Varian Bush, who live in Long Stratton, and have holiday lets in Burnham Market, but have never owned a hotel before.

And they vowed it was 'business as usual' with the windmill fully booked over the summer.

The stunning Cley Windmill and owners Julian and Carolyn Godlee. Pic: Archant/submitted

The stunning Cley Windmill and former owners Julian and Carolyn Godlee. - Credit: Supplied/Archant

The couple took over from Carolyn and Julian Godlee who announced in July 2019 they'd put the windmill up for sale with Strutt & Parker so they could retire and go travelling. The Godlees had bought the property from the uncle of famous singer James Blunt.

In between lockdowns, Cley Windmill was so popular that it received 95 bookings in just three days.


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New owner Mrs Bush, said: "It's gorgeous, it's taken a while because of Covid and we've never owned a guesthouse before.

"But my husband grew up in Norfolk, with a picture of Cley Windmill on the mantlepiece. He knows the area really well and we've done residential and holiday lettings and just thought we wanted to run something without the need for third parties.

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"Cley Windmill came up for sale and we thought; why not? We are so excited, it's going to be a project for life."

Mrs Bush said they didn't plan to change anything for a while but would look to expand on the new decking area the Godlees put in, as this was really popular with guests.

"We would also like to eventually reinstate a chef rather than use outside catering so that non-guests can also enjoy the windmill.

"We were finding our residential lets in Hertfordshire were difficult to manage so we thought; what about Norfolk? Tourism is so good here and there are so many lovely places to visit."

Cley Windmill, Norfolk

Cley Windmill - Credit: Archant

The Godlees posted on social media their farewell, saying: "After 16 wonderful years at the helm of Cley Windmill, we handed over the keys to the new proprietors...thank you for all your support and encouragement, we know the windmill is very special to you and it remains in safe hands."

The Godlees bought Cley Windmill in 2006 from James Blunt’s uncle John Woodhouse and they replaced the balcony, the sails, the fan stage and wheel as well as converting five outbuildings into extra accommodation. 

Cley Windmill, Norfolk

Cley Windmill - Credit: Archant

Mr Godlee himself is a professional singer and retired GP.

Mrs Bush said: "We definitely aren't as musical as the previous owners although I did play the trumpet at school."

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