Looking for a getaway with a bit more character than the run-of-the-mill hotels and B&B’s? Not only does The Old Windmill have a quirky past of its own, it also resides in a hub of British history.
The Old Windmill was a working mill for almost 100 years, it’s history as the kingpin in Aylsham’s corn production stretches all the way back to 1826. Much later, after being struck by lightning in 1912 and left unable to produce wind power, it was used by the Royal Army Veterinary Corps during the First World War. In 1920 the mill proved its strength when the cap and sails were blown off, but she still stood her ground. It was left derelict for 80 years and was almost demolished, until it was converted into the luxurious, self-catering, niche accommodation it is today.
The private walled garden, barbeque and king size, double and twin rooms make the mill a roomy family home away from home, or alternatively a sociable setting for a couples getaway. The English Tourism council awarded it the 5 star, gold award and when you look inside it’s easy to see why. The open plan kitchen and lounge, along with the painted brick and wooden beam décor gives the place a cosy cottage feel. The kind where the typical English rain pattering on the window only makes you happier to be there.
The civil parish, Aylsham, is historically a market town and to this day remains that way, holding two markets a week and an auction. The small agricultural town makes for a peaceful, relaxing and comfortable atmosphere to retreat back to after busy, eventful days uncovering all the historic insight that Norwich and the surrounding areas have to offer.
History hunters, scenery searchers and nature nuts are spoilt for choice in this patch of England. You can step back in time, a number of times, into different eras with the variety of free or great value activities, most within half an hour’s drive.
The impressive architecture of Norwich’s notorious cathedral dates all the way back to 1096 and the pieces of art inside span the decades up until present day. The National Trust property, and birthplace of Anne Boleyn, Blickling Estate flaunts rural charm but echoes whispers of a history of political intrigue. The RAF Defence Radar Museum takes you back to 1942 and explains the part that Remote Radar Head Neatishead played in World War 2, the Cold War and much more. The scenic journey on the steam or diesel trains that still run on the North Norfolk Railway can be nostalgic for some while a new and educational experience for others.
Just under an hour away, charming Gorleston beach is the perfect spot for a spontaneous picnic if the sun feels inclined to shine, but it can alsobe the place to find that unique refreshing nip in the air that can only be found on a British beach. A little further along the coast is the RSPB Titchwell Marsh, the reserve is teeming with wildlife of the feather winged variety. You can observe from a distance while admiring the coastal scenery. Closer to Aylsham the highly rated ‘Sandra and Phil’s Owl Barn’ allows you to get closer to nature by interacting with and even holding their resident owls. It is a great value day out that’s suitable for everyone, from families to owl enthusiasts. On the way back you can lose yourself for a few hours in the 43 acres that make up the East Rushton Old Vicarage Garden. The number of completely different, yet equally beautiful, tended gardens display another, more nurtured side to nature with the wide variety of cultivated flowers and plants.
By the time you return to the mill you may well be exhausted, but the timeless ambience is continued effortlessly through the personality of the place. The Old Windmill is the ideal getaway for people looking to get in touch with the niche intricacies and qualities of British history, in a place that reflects the rural, natural beauty that used to cover the isle. Not only are all the activities great value, but the mill is as well, because the experience of the stay is priceless.
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