A 'Mary Poppins' of Bed & Breakfasts, Washingford House in the United Kingdom is Practically Perfect in Every Way!

When I was planning on wandering over to visit my friend The Doodologist - aka Claire - in the United Kingdom last year, I thought it would be nice to visit the area of Norwich in Norfolk being that I have worked (and formerly lived) in Norwich, Connecticut for many, many years and wanted to see if it bore any resemblance to the place for which it was named. To that end, I spent some time combing the internet looking for a place to stay nearby being that I really didn't want to stay in the city itself but wanted to enjoy some of the surrounding English countryside. 

Washingford House Exterior

To that end I found myself browsing Sawday's, the website for an award-winning Bristol-based travel company that offers "Special Places to Stay, Drink & Eat" that they've handpicked themselves.  On their website they state that they have "met every owner, seen every bedroom and bathroom, and - on our lucky days - eaten the food" so I figured that they probably had a pretty good idea what they were talking about whereas I had NO clue about anything over in England. 

Washingford House Exterior - Front View

I typed in my desired location - Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom - and had scrolled just a few entries down the list of returned possibilities when I came across Washingford House which was touted as "a delightful mix of old and new in a conservation village with a 4-acre garden that attracts all the local birds." After looking at the photos and reading a little more about the house on Sawday's, I then popped over to the Washingford House website to see what I could find there.  

Front Door at Washingford House

Hmmm ... originally built in the 1600s with later Georgian and Victorian additions, surrounded by ten acres of its own gardens and parkland, a delicious fresh-cooked breakfast that wouldn't be served way too early in the morning, located six miles from Norwich and only 18 miles from Lowestoft where I could see a lighthouse if I chose to wander that way? Why it sounded like the Mary Poppins of English Bed & Breakfasts - practically perfect in every way!  

Front Doorknocker at Washingford House

I immediately sent an email off to inquire if there was availability at the time of my visit and was delighted to hear promptly back from Paris - one of the owners - that indeed there was and she'd be happy to make a reservation for me at the cost of £85 a night for a room with two twin beds and en suite bath. That sounded quite reasonable to me (even with the awful USD exchange rate) for the chance to stay in a lovely historic home in the English countryside so I booked the room for two nights and looked forward to my stay with great anticipation.

Brickwork at Washingford House Bell & Window at Washingford House

We arrived rather late on a somewhat cool & cloudy afternoon (in other words - typical British weather!) to a very warm welcome and after exchanging greetings like we were old friends rather than house guests due to the emails that we had exchanged prior to my arrival, Claire and I were shown to our very large room on the second floor.

Interior of Washingford House Hall Window at Washingford House
Paintings in Washingford House

I should mention that the photos above are the of the stair landing and hallway while the photos below are not of our room but of the single room that I had popped my head into which is also available at Washingford House. 

Chair in the Single Bedroom at Washingford House Single Bedroom at Washingford House

Our room (yes, pictured below) had two very cozy twin-size beds along with lots of bright, cheery prints on the wall and windows with a lovely view of the grounds. There was a nice dressing table and also a comfy wicker chair for relaxing - though I neglected to take a photo of it - gasp!

Twin Bedded Room
Twin bedroom at Washingford House
Vanity in the twin bedroom at Washingford House

The bathroom was ginormous with an excellent tub for stretching out and relaxing in once I figured out the rather complicated looking faucet. Another great feature of the bathroom was a bookcase full of great reading material that really would have come in handy if we'd spent more time relaxing and less time tromping around the countryside! There were even a few familiar titles on the shelves.

Bathroom Sink Bookcase in the Bathroom at Washingford HouseBathtub in the Twin Bedroom at Washingford House Bathtub Faucet

The views from the bedroom windows were quite nice looking out towards a well-manicured side lawn (complete with requisite brooding British clouds) and a view of the terrace from the back windows.  There was even a nice dish of marbles just in case I had managed to lose a few of my own during my wanderings!

A View From the Bedroom Window to the Terrace View from the bedroom window Marbles on the Windowsill

Our room also had a lovely bouquet of flowers that was bright, cheery, and smelled quite nice as well as a pot for tea that we could enjoy upon our return in the evening after popping over to a nearby pub for dinner. Another thing I forgot to get a photo of was the tea setting ... I must be slipping!  

Flowers in the Bedroom at Washingford House

After a very restful night, the next morning we made our way downstairs to breakfast which was served near an inviting sitting area that no doubt is even nicer when there's a fire going in the hearth. As it was mid-June, no fire for us.  

Sitting Area at Washingford House

Paris had the table all set for breakfast and had put out all kinds of cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, jams & jellies, juice, and more that we could choose from while she prepared the rest of our breakfast in the nearby kitchen. 

The table set for breakfast at Washingford House
Rude Health Cereal

As an American the box of cereal pictured above of course made me laugh and as someone who enjoys the concept and taste of a Full English Breakfast - I learned that really quickly during my wanderings - the heaped plate below made me quite happy!  I don't know how she prepared them but I've got to say that the scrambled eggs on toast were the best that I have ever had - again my compliments to Paris! 

Breakfast at Washingford House

While eating we could look out through the windows at the gardens which were still under gray skies our first morning there but brightened up considerably on our second morning. While Claire dried her massive mane of magnificent hair on Day Two, I took a walk around outside and snapped some photos to share. 

Window Looking Out to the Garden Window Looking Out
Corner of the House A Peek in the Dining Room Window at Washingford House
Climbing Roses at Washingford House Climbing Roses at Washingford House

Guests at Washingford House are invited to make use of the tennis courts should one be of a mind to - just thought I'd lob that out there if you're the athletic type. We weren't! 

Tennis Courts at Washingford House

To the front of the house was a small flock of sheep which - silly American that I am - I found to be quite delightful.  The gals were nice enough to pose for a few photos for me though I'm sure they were perplexed about the whole thing! 

A Small Flock of Sheep

Meanwhile, leaving the sheep behind and continuing around the front of the house to the side ...
Washingford House from the Side
Exterior of Washingford House
Flowers at Washingford House Garden at Washingford House

This photo that I took below of Washingford House is identical to the one that was on the Sawday's page which first captured my attention and made me decide that I simply needed to stay there.  Now go ahead and tell me that does not simply scream "English Country Manor!!!" 

Exterior View of Washingford
Terrace at Washingford House
Outdoor Seating Area at Washingford House
Outside Sitting Area at Washingford House
Garden Pigs at Washingford House

These garden pigs were simply too cute not to take a photo of! 
Speaking of the gardens, they were just lovely even though some of the roses had yet to open.  The bees found it to be quite the perfect spot also!

Rosebuds in the Garden at Washingford House Rose at Washingford House
Bee on Honeysuckle at Washingford House Bee on the Honeysuckle at Washingford House
Bee in the Garden at Washingford House

All in all, Washingford House ended being the ideal spot for our wanderings in the Norwich area as not only were we quite close to Norwich and received some lovely tips on where to park, places to be sure to see, and more helpful hints from Paris before we set out in the morning to see Norwich Castle, the Cathedral, and other sites ...

Norwich Castle, Norwich, Norfolk, UK Norwich Cathedral Spire, Norwich, Norfolk, UK
The River Wensum, Norwich, Norfolk, UK

... but as the skies were clearing on our way back from a dreary day in Norwich and it looked like it might be a pretty sunset, we made the quick decision to make a run down to Southwold (about 24 miles or so) in order to check out the lighthouse there as well as enjoy some beautiful seaside views before returning to our room for the night.

Southwold Beach, Suffolk, UK
Poppies, Southwold Beach, Suffolk, UK
Southwold Lighthouse, Southwold Beach, Suffolk, UK

It was absolutely perfect and all that I had hoped for and more! 

If you find yourself planning on wandering over to the Norwich, Norfolk area of the United Kingdom and want to be in close proximity to pretty much everything you'd most likely want to see while enjoying a stay in the beautiful countryside at a very stately and comfortable home, I highly recommend that you contact Nigel and Paris at Washingford House and book a room there.  The prices are very reasonable, the rooms are very spacious, the breakfast is phenomenal, and the host and hostess are quite wonderful.  You really can't go wrong - unless maybe you get a bit turned around finding the house initially but if we could eventually do it, you can also! 

Exterior of Washingford House

For more information on the Washingford House Bed & Breakfast including available accommodations and pricing, visit their website here or email Paris here. Do be sure to tell them that I told you to wander by!


  1. Oh my! Those last few shots from the shore are just breathtaking. (As are all your photographs!) Looks like I have some reading and catching up to do now that you are posting about your travels over seas. I do live vicariously through you, if you haven't figured that out yet.


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