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Norfolk room with a view is world’s best

PUBLISHED: 07:30 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 22 October 2010

Fairlight Lodge owner Steve Nash holding the photo given to him by Hilary Bills, which was the favourite view she saw on her travels.

Fairlight Lodge owner Steve Nash holding the photo given to him by Hilary Bills, which was the favourite view she saw on her travels.

She stayed in plush hotels all over the world and wanted to capture the perfect room with a view.

For a whole year, globe-trotter Hilary Bills took a photograph from every single bedroom window during her many travels - in Australia, Canada, Africa and the Middle East.

She stayed in plush hotels all over the world and wanted to capture the perfect room with a view.

For a whole year, globe-trotter Hilary Bills took a photograph from every single bedroom window during her many travels - in Australia, Canada, Africa and the Middle East.

And after visiting some of the most sun-drenched locations on the planet, she proved exotic does not always mean beautiful by finding the best vista in a pretty little back garden in Norfolk.

Mrs Bills, the then president of the National Union of Teachers, took the unexpected winning picture at a small, family-run bed and breakfast during a trip to King's Lynn.

She returned to the town this week to meet with union members and told the EDP how her quirky photo quest unfolded.

“Just before I became president last year, a member of staff set me this challenge,” said Mrs Bills, who previously taught at schools around Birmingham.

“He said I was going to have a year of travel and everyone will think I was living in the lap of luxury, so I should remind myself of everywhere I've been by taking a picture out of the bedroom window wherever I've stayed.

“So I stuck to it and took 54 pictures around the world and every single one of them tells a story.

“Milford Havern in Pembrokeshire was terrible, the hotel was being refurbished and was totally covered in scaffolding and there were bottles of white spirit and paint brushes outside my window.”

“In Saskatoon in Canada I looked out on to a multi-storey car park, in Brisbane I wasn't looking out across the bay but was in a kind of dug-out next the international centre and didn't have a sight line”

And after boring building sites outside luxury hotels in Kuwait and Washington, and an interesting but not particularly scenic take on Nigeria, she could easily pick her favourite.

“The best was looking out of a B&B in King's Lynn,” she smiled.

“It's a beautiful and peaceful English country garden, and in June it was absolutely lovely with all the flowers out.

“The whole project was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot.”

Steve Nash, who has run Fairlight Lodge in Goodwins Road with his wife, Joella, for five years was delighted their little green oasis came up trumps.

Mrs Bills presented them with a framed copy of her photograph, which now takes pride of place in their breakfast room.

“Hilary stayed here when she came to a conference in Lynn last June,” said Mr Nash, who tends the garden himself.

“It's quite an honour, really.

“She did say that she had views of bins, building sites and all sorts all over the world.

“A lot of people who come and stay like our garden and quite a lot of them use it while they're here.”

Ian Rix, a West Norfolk-based schools advisor with the county council, was at the NUT conference with other Lynn union members when Mrs Bills revealed the winner.

“I was chuffed to bits,” he said.

“I'm a Norfolk man, but a lot of people look at our part of the country as a byway.

“We've got lots of lovely coast and countryside and it's a nice place to be.

“But that King's Lynn could be the best that she had seen in the whole world is quite amazing.”


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