“ Norwich Road / Swaffham / PE37 7QS / England / Tel: 01760 723355 „
Lydney House hotel is a former Georgian Merchant's House, based a few minutes walk from the centre of the market town of Swaffham in Norfolk. It is a place that my parents always choose to stay at in the area, and for my step-dad's birthday last month, I got to visit it too. Swaffham is a pleasant enough town, with a nice church, the shops aren't great and there are a lot of fast food and takeaway type places, but generally it is a good location base for seeing much of Norfolk.
The hotel is a family run place and we were greeted by one of the owners, given our keys and shown our rooms. To be honest the décor throughout the hotel is a bit twee and chintzy for my personal taste, but it does suit the Country House style. On the bed (which uses sheets, blankets and a bedspread as opposed to a duvet), as well as lots of cushions, were a few local magazines and a welcome letter from the family. The dresser and wardrobe were in a traditional, heavy wood that also suited the room and there were two hardback books on the side if you wished to read them during your stay - my selection were W F Deedes autobiography and Pole to Pole by Michael Palin. There are also some similar books in reception should you want to borrow them. In the past my parents have had mini bottles of champagne and chocolates as welcome gifts but this time we just got a bottle of mineral water, but this is still a nice touch. There is also a TV with remote control fixed on the wall, which apparently also includes some Sky channels, but as I don't tend to watch TV when I am on holiday I didn't check them, only that it worked. It did look a bit out of place in the old fashioned room. There is also an alarm clock radio on the bedside table. There is a kettle with tea, coffee and (for a change) hot chocolate and biscuits in the room.
The bathroom is more simply furnished; I had a bath but no shower or attachment should I want to wash my hair. It was spacious but more functional with no real design or style to it. There were a few little toiletries with body lotion, shower gel and shampoo.
Downstairs is the bar and restaurant area. There is also a nice patio area if you wish to have a drink or your meal outside, but unfortunately the weather wasn't so accommodating whilst we were there as the hotel has a small, but pleasant garden with visits from a number of local wildlife. The restaurant was actually being decorated during our stay as the hotel was not full, so tables were set up in the bar area. It made the bar area a bit cramped however. They have a number of bar games for guests' uses; I spotted cribbage, bar skittles and a number of others but they were shoved to one side due to the temporary lack of space.
Normally I prefer to eat out and try various local restaurants whilst away but my parents raved about the food here so we ate in, and it didn't seem there was a lot of choice in Swaffham itself anyway. I have to say the food was always delicious at dinner and there is a good selection on the menu, including three vegetarian mains, a number of fish dishes and all the main meats covered. Part of our package included a three course meal, so we got to try several dishes over the course of two days and they were all well-presented and nicely done. They also have a good wine list of approximately ten white and ten red wines starting from about £11.95 a bottle and going up to the champagnes. Rose fans didn't serve so well with just one choice. There is also a well stocked bar serving a range of spirits and also some local beers on tap. The owners were also happy to accommodate some family friends who joined us for dinner on the Friday night, and were happy to serve tea in the bar in the afternoon if requested.
Also included in our package was breakfast. You could help yourself to cereal, voghurts, fruit and juices. Tea and coffee, toast and your choice of a cooked breakfast were brought to your table, they also offer smoked kippers and haddock (which kept my parents happy, even if the smell was revolting), a range of egg dishes and traditional English cooked breakfast.
The hotel prides itself on being a traditional country hotel, so there are no leisure suites or pools, just clean rooms and good food in a cosy atmosphere.
As part of their special summer break deal we paid £210 for two nights in a double room, with breakfast, and three course dinner, and £110 for the single (although I actually got a double). I believe they also offer conference facilities. It has an RAC Two Star and ETB Three Star Commended.
LYDNEY HOUSE HOTEL
FREEPHONE 0800 980 2460
FAX 01760 721410