This has been the year for discovering the UK in all its glory. And while the crystalline waters of the likes of Dorset and Cornwall inevitably draw the hordes, with its more than 90 miles of coastline, quaint seaside towns, and the freshest crab in England, Norfolk also deserves your attention this summer.
Now there’s all the more reason to visit this patch of countryside and coastline, thanks to a new opening. The Harper is a brand spanking new 32-bed boutique hotel located in the charming brick-and-flint village of Langham in North Norfolk. It opened in May and offers a slice of contemporary luxury and friendly welcome courtesy of general manager Jules and owner Sam Cutmore-Scott.
Where is it?
With the picturesque fishing village of Blakeney, vast golden sandy beach at Wells-next-the-Sea and crabbing spots at Cromer all a short drive away, The Harper makes a fantastic base to explore all that North Norfolk has got to offer. We took the train to Norwich, from where it was just under an hour’s taxi journey, but driving to this part of Norfolk makes the most sense. For carless guests, though, the hotel does have a selection of pretty mint green bikes for exploring.
Set in a converted glassblower’s factory, the Cutmore-Scott family have paid homage to the barn’s industrial past with traditional touches of copper, iron, oak and slate, offset with stylish modern interior elements. Think wrought iron chandeliers, eclectic mismatched furniture, stained glass windows and a string-lit decked courtyard with firepits.
Downstairs in The Bar there’s a bar made of repurposed copper pipes and flashes of plush velvet in pops of red, blue and yellow. The Den features a pool table, large TV and self-service wine dispenser which guests can use their room key to access.
Upstairs there is Ivy’s, named after the family’s grandmother, a light and airy loft-like space with original beams, leather sofas, a roaring wood burner and impressive games trolley, including a Norfolk-themed Monopoly. It’s a perfect spot for curling up with a book, taking afternoon tea or enjoying a welcome tipple. Stanley’s, The Harper’s dining room, named after grandfather Stanley Harper Cutmore, sits on the same floor and is where leisurely breakfasts and hearty dinners are served.
Keeping it simple, guests can choose between big, bigger and biggest rooms, all of which feature modern four poster beds with Casper mattresses. We stayed in the latter, which really was a large space, at over 400 square feet, complete with a pair of armchairs and juliet balcony overlooking the courtyard - a prime spot for in-room sundowners. Talking of which, thoughtful little touches like pre-mixed negronis, fresh milk, soft drinks and plenty of chilled water in the free mini-bar, make you feel instantly looked after.
The spacious bathroom featured a rainshower, his ‘n her sinks, generous bathtub and organic products from vegan, sustainable skincare brand Irene Forte, all of which are handmade and produced using ingredients grown on the family’s organic farm.
Food & drink
We kicked off our staycation with a lunch of crab tacos - the local crab really is all it’s cracked up to be - and a crowd-pleasingly comforting lobster and samphire mac and cheese at Ivy’s, followed by an afternoon of games as the rain tapped down on the stained glass and fire roared on. Super cosy.
If you’re after a hearty meal, Stanley’s is where it’s at but be sure to grab a spicy margarita in The Bar first. On to dinner, we started with melt-in-your mouth scallops and Cley smoked mackerel, followed by a haunch of Holkham venison with butter braised potato and creamy parsnip mash and it certainly didn’t disappoint - the menu changes seasonally and is full of tasty locally-sourced produce.
After a day of a long walks and salty air, some downtime in The Harper’s spa, which has a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna, is an absolute must. Spa slots are bookable, meaning you have the entire space to yourselves, which feels extra special. It would have been rude not to have sampled a treatment, so I indulged in the 55-minute Forte facial which breathed life back into my complexion. Massages and manis and are also on the menu if you’re after a full pamper sesh.
Pubs don’t get much more traditional than The Langham Blue Bell, with its thatched roof and wooden panels, be sure to make a pitstop for pints while exploring the quaint village. On our meandering, we took the coastal path to Blakeney via Morston, stopping at the Anchor Inn pub (on Sam’s recommendation) for more great seafood dishes. Meanwhile, Wells is well worth the trip for a long walk to blow away any cobwebs - and if it’s fish & chips you’re after (Jules assured us), French’s is the place to go.
A biggest room starts from £320 per night with breakfast theharper.co.uk