Lady of the lake

Just a few min­utes’ walk from Frit­ton Lake you will dis­cover a lit­tle world of peace, quiet and tran­quil­ity, an old English rose show­ing new de­lights. Wel­come to the Frit­ton Arms, says ME­LANIE WOOD­COCK

EDP Norfolk - - Inside - Me­lanie was a guest of The Frit­ton Arms, Church Lane, Frit­ton, NR31 9HA, 01493 484008, www. frit­ton­arms.co.uk, email info@frit­ton­arms.co.uk

A tran­quil stay at the lux­u­ri­ous Frit­ton Arms

THE SUN was set­ting as we slowly wound up the drive to the im­pres­sive façade of the Frit­ton Arms. All was quiet, beau­ti­fully so.

It’s a small venue and from the re­cep­tion area you can see the bar and ta­bles and gen­er­ally get the feel of the place. It’s in­for­mal and re­laxed but with the em­pha­sis on style and great food, en­sur­ing you drop that bag full of stress at the door, take a deep breath and say ‘ah­h­hhh’.

Ex­ten­sively re­vamped, the Frit­ton Arms, a short step from Frit­ton Lake, has re­cently re-opened as a place to re­lax with friends over well-se­lected drinks and a cre­ative menu of lo­cally-sourced food. There are nine el­e­gant and com­fort­able rooms, an at­mo­spheric bar, two din­ing rooms and a lounge, but the best seat in the house must be by the roar­ing open fire with a drink in hand, breath­ing in the mag­nif­i­cent aro­mas from the kitchen.

Our room was at the front of the house and of­fered great views from bed­room and bath­room. It can be dif­fi­cult to get the mix­ture right when try­ing to marry the old and the new but the room was clean, un­fussy and stylish, with none of those racks full of things for sale or things you just don’t want.

They do pro­vide the things you do want; good tea and cof­fee, Cow­shed bath­room prod­ucts, a very com­fort­able bed and a

‘nearly knock you over’ power shower. If I have one tiny moan it was the lack of a shower cap. I’m sure most of the time they never get used, (they are pretty hideous) but I still use them and never think to pack one.

The down­stairs bar is stocked with ev­ery­thing you could want and more and the house spe­cial­ity is gins and gin mixes. They sounded very tempt­ing but the wines were too good to re­sist. The din­ing room backs onto a gar­den which I imag­ine is full ev­ery day and night in the sum­mer but for me the Frit­ton Arms is at its best be­fore the crowds de­scend and you can ap­pre­ci­ate how once it may have looked as a pri­vate home.

The menu was ex­ten­sive enough with some­thing for ev­ery­one. Most pro­duce is sourced lo­cally with a good se­lec­tion of gamey dishes. My hus­band’s crab cake was cool and fresh, (yes, we are one of those an­noy­ing cou­ples that con­stantly taste each other’s food) and my paté was sub­lime, smooth as but­ter and beau­ti­fully pre­sented.

My pheas­ant came with a lit­tle mush­room pie, a jus, and was cooked to per­fec­tion. There was enough for us to share this dish eas­ily and my hus­band as­sured me the lo­cal veni­son sausages, on a bed of the creami­est mash, were as rich as they should be.

A sweet and de­li­cious sticky tof­fee pud­ding was shared to pre­vent calo­rie over­load and cheese, bis­cuits and a good port rounded off what was an ex­cep­tional din­ner. We felt spoilt and sated.

I had prob­a­bly one of the best night’s sleep I have ever had, thanks to the quiet and still­ness; no peo­ple run­ning up cor­ri­dors or shout­ing and no out­side noise due to the lo­ca­tion. With­out the alarm I’m not sure how long my slum­bers would have con­tin­ued. Bliss.

But the thought of break­fast got me up and head­ing for the door and the very oblig­ing staff were happy for me to go off menu a lit­tle. My healthy choice of por­ridge turned out not to be as it was clearly made with the rich­est cream and was divine – heaven in a bowl. There fol­lowed a good cooked break­fast while my hus­band thor­oughly en­joyed his eggs Bene­dict. A cou­ple more cups of tea and fresh cof­fee then we were on our way back to the real world.

It’s not of­ten you leave a won­der­ful lo­ca­tion with re­grets and my only one on this oc­ca­sion was ‘why didn’t I ar­range to get there ear­lier and leave later?’

So, while I can see this grand old lady com­ing into her own in the sum­mer months, for me her charm will al­ways be a stay in the colder months. Pri­vacy, lux­ury com­fort and a per­fect still­ness; the ul­ti­mate cure for what life chucks at us.

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