Just over a year ago Sarah bought me a 2 night break from buyagift for my birthday. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to booking our experience for quite some time and when we did have time to book we realised that the voucher was only valid certain months of the year so couldn’t book anyway. A typical example of my total lack of organisation(!) We knew from looking on the buyagift website that we wanted to head to Dairy Barns bed & breakfast just outside of Hickling in Norfolk so I extended the voucher for 12 months to ensure we could go.
So finally, after a very long wait, the time had come to take the 130 mile trip from Milton Keynes to Norfolk and 3 hours of driving later, we arrived.
Upon arrival we received a very warm welcome and were shown around the complex of barns and taken to our room. At Dairy Barns they offer 3 different types of accommodation, a standard room, an extra special room or a cottage. My voucher entitled me to a standard room however having travelled so far for 2 nights I decided to upgrade our room to one of their extra-special rooms and therefore booked the Swallows Nest.
The room was exceptionally clean and tidy, with all furniture in great condition. The room also offered a fully stocked tea and coffee area including a Krups Nespresso coffee machine.
The clear highlights of this room were however the master bedroom offering a super king size bed and the bathroom offering an enormous bathtub. The owners informed us that Swallows Nest was often used as the honeymoon suite – I can’t for the life of me think why that might be…
The room also offers a small, private decked area outside the back door however be warned, the decking is like ice when wet as we discovered!
Dairy Barns make breakfast to order and only fry the eggs – everything else is cooked in an oven which was a nice touch. The night before breakfast you are requested to leave your order on a slip of paper provided in the postbox outside your room along with the time that you would like it. This ensures that upon arrival into the breakfast barn in the morning the food is ready and waiting for you – lovely!
If you aren’t fancying the hot breakfasts on offer – a full English, scrambled eggs, waffles (be warned, there’s a lot of them!) or a more bespoke hot breakfast if you ask – there is a wide selection of toasts, cereals, fruit salads and yoghurts available so there’s something for everyone.
If you are travelling to Dairy Barns with children then the Swallows Nest is certainly large enough for a family as they can put up small beds in the bedroom to either side of the bed. In addition, despite the room being built within the old milking barn, it was exceptionally well insulated and very warm! We stayed when the weather was around 10-14 degrees in November and there wasn’t the slightest hint of cold – we actually slept with the windows open!
The outside space at Dairy Barns is also very well kept considering it is a working farm. The grounds are well swept and clean of mud and loose hay and the landscaping has been given the care and attention that it deserves.
What is really nice about the venue is that right next to the outside area, there is not only the resident (very friendly!) cat but also the 5 horses that are kept at the farm in the stables.
During our stay at Dairy barns we had planned to visit the Broads and hire a boat however due to the time of year it wasn’t possible. We did however make the trip to see the Grey Seals at Horsey along with some very cute seal pups.
We also made a trip into Hickling, Sea Palling, Ingham and Stalham which were all nice enough but certainly not enough going on to make a day of things. We did however make a day out of heading to Cromer and Holt on our last day which did offer much more from the area so would definitely pay these a visit!
Overall, Sarah and I had an excellent 3 days in Norfolk with our 2 nights at Dairy Barns offering the perfect location and perfect venue for our stay. With clean surroundings and a very friendly team running the place we couldn’t find a single fault – it was well worth the wait and I would recommend it to anyone looking to get away for a few days.