Our reviewer spends a weekend in a Norfolk hideaway
Product: www.thedreamlodgegroup.co.uk Price: £318.00 Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
What they say…
Norfolk Park has lots to offer with the added luxury of an outdoor heated swimming pool with sunbathing area and an Award Winning on-site restaurant, The Olive Tree. This modern chic restaurant serves a wide range of delicious mouth-watering European dishes or you can just pop in for a drink in the trendy bar.
The park is located between the North Norfolk coast and The Broads so it’s an ideal base to explore the surrounding area and enjoy days out for the whole family. There is plenty to do in the area including boating on The Broads, golf, fishing and bowling and or course there are many beautiful safe sandy beaches well within easy reach of the park.
What our tester thought…
The Dream Lodge Group is a collection of luxury lodges that are gathered together across what is essentially a caravan park in North Walsham. They don’t look terribly impressive from the outside, especially as they are quite close together, but once inside ours we were amazed at the amount of space on offer. Our lodge had a spacious double room with en suite, with glass doors that opened out on to a terrace with a hot tub. It also had a twin room, second bathroom and a huge kitchen/dining room/living room with a large TV. The décor was pleasantly neutral, lots of white and cream, and it’s easy to keep warm and cosy.
Each lodge is paid off by individual owners with a view to renting it out as a holiday letting through the Dream Lodge Group, and it felt more corporate than staying in individually-run apartment. There were small touches which had been forgotten that would easily have made it more homely – usually when you stay in someone’s apartment they leave some cooking oil, a little pat of butter, spare loo roll, etc, but there were only cleaning supplies and spices, tea/coffee and some cereal at the Dream Lodge.
The hot tub was a wonderful luxury, and brilliant for the price, but again little touches let it down slightly – you’re essentially surrounded by a slatted fence, overlooking car parking spaces and a neighbouring lodge, so it’s easy to feel self conscious, especially when neighbours walk past with their dogs! A non-slatted fence would be an easy solution.
On site there’s a gym and spa, plus outdoor pool, which we didn’t visit but looked nice from the outside. There’s also a restaurant – the Olive Tree – which is done up beautifully. The food was wonderful – it’s award-winning and it shows. I had the only vegetarian option on offer, a polenta and mushroom dish, which was delicious and ever-so filling. My partner had pork loin that he thought was lovely and tender. The dessert portions are generous, and there’s a nice attention to detail – I ordered sorbet and it came with sprinkles of crumble and lashings of coulis. The only let-down was the service, we were left standing in the doorway for ages, despite having booked beforehand, and then were told there would be a long wait for food (despite the restaurant being far from full) without any apology or explanation – alarming when it was already approaching 8pm and we were very hungry! It’s quite pricey (although you get 10 per cent off when you stay on site) so personally I expected more attentive service.
One thing worth noting is that the site is incredibly dark at night, there aren’t enough lamps to see by, so it’s worth bringing a torch to help you reach the restaurant safely and to help cars spot you as you walk.
The town of North Walsham is not particularly lovely – there are a handful of attractions, basic shops and pubs – but there’s a good train service to many of Norfolk’s most beautiful spots, including Cromer and Norwich. We headed to Sheringham – a favourite of mine from family holidays – and spent a heavenly day exploring the cliff top walks, eating fish and chips and pottering around in the shops.
Overall it depends what you want from a holiday. If you’re more bothered about the accommodation than the setting, I’d recommend the Dream Lodge park. The lodges are gorgeous, and extras like the hot tub are really lovely. Winter breaks start from £318 over winter for four nights, going up to £537 for a nicer lodge, so it’s a reasonable price, especially if there’s four of you going. It’s easy enough to travel to pretty seaside towns, but you might prefer to stay nearer the coast, even if it means staying in a more standard BandB.
For more information on Norfolk Park, click here