Review: The Harper, Norfolk

Tucked away in an unspoiled corner of rural north Norfolk, The Harper is in the tiny village of Langham

Location: Tucked away in an unspoiled corner of rural north Norfolk, The Harper is in the tiny village of Langham. It's a 10-minute drive to the pretty Georgian market town of Holt and 30 minutes to stunning Holkham beach.

First impressions: The Harper was one of the most talked-about UK hotel openings of 2021, and I had high expectations. On arrival, I felt like I'd pitched up at a trendy London private members' club, not a former glassblowing factory-turned-luxury rural hotel. The decor is cool and contemporary, yet it somehow manages to achieve the homely feel you'd wish for in a countryside retreat. Being an East Anglian girl - I'm from the neighbouring county of Suffolk - I was also extremely excited to head to the east coast and enjoy the big open skies and countryside vistas I'd grown up loving.

The facts: The Harper has 32 rooms across three categories: Big, Bigger and Biggest. And the rooms certainly fit the bill - they are comfortable and all have four-poster beds. In the free minibar you'll find pre-mixed negronis, milk and soft drinks to help you settle in. The property has a resident-only rule, but guests can bring up to four of their own visitors into the hotel. 

There is lots of choice on the dining front. I enjoyed a feast in the bar on arrival, with lobster mac and cheese the highlight. For our hearty evening meal we opted for Stanley's (where breakfast is also served) and the cuisine was equally impressive. Head to Ivy's after your meal and sink into the comfy, deep, velvety sofas. This lounge is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine, a book or a board game - there's a healthy selection of all three. If the weather holds out, recommend clients dine in The Yard under an old olive tree and beside the fire pit. The spa is home to a heated pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. 

I loved this space, although my three-month-old son wasn't as convinced when we tried to take him swimming for the first time. The hotel is currently offering 30-minute slots for exclusive use of the pool, so luckily the other guests didn't have to endure his tears. The spa uses Irene Forte products, and you'll find matching amenities in the rooms. I felt refreshed after a 55-minute Forte Facial, which resuscitated my sleep-deprived face.

Explore: There's plenty to see in north Norfolk. Head to Holkham beach, one of the best in the country, or the shores of the equally lovely Bran caster. The town of Wells-next-the-Sea is quaint, as is Cley next the Sea, which is home to a prominent windmill. Wherever you head, seek out the places selling locally caught fish, especially crab. You won't regret it.

Wow: My husband told me the second he finished his chateaubriand in Stanley's that it had to be the wow in my review! He devoured a two-person portion and was in his element. My standout was the decor - I loved the industrial nod to the building's factory past.

Book it: Rooms start at £175 a night inclusive of breakfast. Theharper.co.uk

Hollie-Rae Brader

Hollie is editor of Aspire’s print and online products. She is responsible for the running of the club and ensuring the content produced and the events organised are relevant to the Aspire audience. She was previously deputy news editor and cruise writer for sister title Travel Weekly. She loves exploring new destinations and is gradually ticking new countries off her list. She most enjoys writing about cruise, South America and Japan. Before working in the travel industry she held news reporting roles at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star.

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