Photo credit Stella Gooch
It has been 17 years since my husband and I last did a Turkey and Tinsel break so this Christmas we were keen to have a more relaxed Christmas with visiting family at Heacham Manor Hotel in beautiful West Norfolk. No need to worry about all that extra food shopping, cooking and clearing up and their 3 night Christmas break was just the ticket.
In total there were 5 of us in our party with ages ranging from 16 to 61. We all arrived at Heacham Manor in our own time on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. We found the reception and public areas tastefully decorated and very festive. The outside temperatures were unseasonally warm and thus the fires were not lit, although staff offered to light them regardless. However, many of us guests felt it would be too hot if they did and even I (who is always cold) had to agree.
At our leisure, and once we had each settled in our rooms, we sauntered downstairs to partake of the welcome reception of warm mince pies and mulled wine. I almost declined the mince pie option but was very glad to relax the diet as they really were melt in your mouth good - so good I had to go back for another. There was time for a short relaxation in our room before the evening champagne reception where we were treated to Christmassy tunes by talented duo Mandy & Charlie before dinner. Our three course Christmas Eve dinner was well chosen with the real hit of this dining experience being the Dawb of Beef. It was among the best I had experienced, succulent and cooked to perfection. Following dinner we relaxed and talked amongst ourselves until it was time for the short stroll down Hunstanton Road to St Mary's for Midnight Communion Mass. After the service we returned to Heacham Manor and enjoyed a nightcap before retiring to await a visit from Santa.
On Christmas Day we each explored what was in our Santa stockings and then enjoyed a sumptuous choice of breakfast options with my choice being a yummy Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Egg. The Heacham Manor website suggested that we could visit the Hunstanton Christmas Day Swim after breakfast or go and see HM The Queen and the Royals attend church at Sandringham. We decided to opt for a visit to Sandringham as Meghan Markle, Prince Harry and the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge were expected to be among them. Sadly, our son, who was unwell, decided he was not up for standing out in the cold and thus we succeeded only in taking in the crowds and soaking up the atmosphere and had to leave before seeing even one Royal.
On return to Heacham Manor we readied ourselves for Christmas Lunch and wow what a feast. Our starter choices included a Beef option and Smoked Salmon & Prawns. However, both our teenage sons opted for a change in the menu and settled on a simple Garlic Bread which the kitchen kindly accommodated. We all had the traditional Christmas Turkey Dinner With All the Trimmings and it was sumptuous, well cooked with the biggest pieces of Turkey I have ever seen on a plate! Dessert options included the obvious Christmas pudding, a coffee & Tia Maria creme brulee (my choice - one I was delighted with) and another menu change for our sons, the chocolate brownie, went down very well indeed.
We chilled in our rooms and spent time talking with each other through the afternoon and then it was time for the Evening Buffet. The range and choice of food available was generous and included cheeses, cold cuts, pickles, sausage rolls, chicken on skewers, pulled pork in a bun, quiches with wonderful pastry and hand-made chocolate profiteroles among other desserts selections. It was all beautifully laid out and there was plenty of it.
After dinner we all relaxed over our favourite tipple and a very engaging boardgame of Risk which took us past 2am on Boxing Day!! We finally retired for the evening around 2.30am and before long it was time to do breakfast all over again on Boxing Day.
Boxing Day breakfast options were as abundant as on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but I opted to breakfast on good old fashioned English Tea alone as I was still full from Christmas Day! After breakfast we relaxed in our rooms and then went out to a light lunch around a local friend's house where we spent the afternoon returning to Heacham Manor for our early evening dinner with entertainment. Once again the food was of a high standard and a great time was had by all. This time Pan Fried Cod with Wilted Greens was my preference and it was just right.
Requests for carrots, peas and broccoli with each evening meal were obligingly fulfilled - and much appreciated - to accommodate personal preferences. The menu adjustments overall were also much appreciated.
The staff of Heacham Manor and the Manager, Victoria Witheridge, were friendly and helpful throughout. By the end of our three night Christmas break we felt well and truly relaxed and looked after. Thank you Heacham Manor Hotel you really helped make our Christmas truly relaxing!
If you would like to learn more about Norfolk Christmas breaks why not check back to see what your options are later in the year?
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