“One of the coolest boltholes in the land - a magnificent cowboy-kitsch barn conversion in deepest Norfolk (sleeps 18-20)”
One room is beyond the sitting room, all the rest are on the other side of the house. The style is simple, but Dallas-fantastic and never short on beauty: stone walls, wooden ceilings, funky colours, the best linen. Slate floors run throughout with underfloor heating. Frontier has a four-poster that appears to have been made from branches; doors here open onto the back garden, while a free-standing bath waits in an airy bathroom. Cabana at the back looks onto the courtyard and has a free-standing bath in the room. Prairie comes in deep red and has saddles draped over beams. A couple have sofas. Four are ensuite (Hacienda and Prairie have shower bathrooms) while Bunk House shares a bathroom )which has a large slate-clad bath) with the Bunk Room (perfect for families, sleeping 6 between them), and Cabin and Corral share a bathroom (walk-in shower, claw-foot bath). For friends or family, this isn’t a problem. All come with bathrobes and Ren lotions and potions. There's also a tepee in the garden in which (in good summer weather) additional guests can camp out overnight at no extra charge.
You eat at an enormous table in the vast airy hall (the dining room is on one side of the front door, sofas and armchairs wait in front of an open fire on the other). There are options galore. You can look after yourself entirely - there are supermarkets in Swaffham (6km east) and King’s Lynn (13km west). The kitchen is well-equipped so all cutlery, utensils and tableware is provided - including a large larder, catering fridge, food processor and good quality knives and saucepans - and washing up liquid, bin bags, tea, coffee, spices and cooking oil. If you're arriving late at night or want to ease into your holiday, a grocery shop to order can be done for you. Alternatively, a number of catered possibilities exist. You can arrive to find dinner waiting for you to stick in the oven, you can have your own chef (but you do the washing up), or you can be fully catered with waiting staff to look after you. Detailed menus are available: ask about the Rancho Deluxe (where you can choose an epic 3-course meal from an array of choices) or Groaning Table (select 3-5 items such as pies, quiches, breads, cakes). BBQs can also be hosted. Food is mostly organic and sourced locally if possible. The fact is, you can mix and match - have something waiting for you to cook one night, look after yourself the next, be pampered completely at the end. If you want to venture forth to sample local eateries, there's an excellent Chinese restaurant in the Old Swan Pub in Narborough. And slightly further afield is the lovely gastropub Ostrich in Castle Acre, or The Berney Arms in Barton Bendish, which is a very good country pub with very good food. The Windmill in Great Cressingham is a charming country inn with traditional pub food, while the Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham is a very stylish country pub noted for its Sunday lunch.
Cliff Barns welcomes families with children of all ages. We particularly like the fact that it's all on 1 level, so there are no pesky stairs for toddlers to fall down; the central courtyard is also secure so kids can play there unattended. It's also dog and pushchair friendly and the owners can put a teepee in the garden in the summer.
Children (4-12 years)
Kids would love the Bunk Room - 2 bunkbeds sleeping 4. This room shares a large bathroom (big slate bath with shower, perfect for muddy kids) with the neighbouring double, Bunk House, presumably for parents. Frontier, Hacienda and Prairie can fit an extra bed and there is a twin room if you need it too.
There's a registered childminder available if needed - ask on booking.
Bring your own
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
It's self-catering with everything you need for tricky eaters, including a blender and microwave. Parents wanting a break from cooking can hire a local chef, get a takeaway or take the family out to eat in the nearby village.
There's nothing particular to worry about, apart from the open fireplace and the fountain in the courtyard. You're only a short distance from the nearby village for all your provisions.