Coolly contemporary residence with flamboyant bedrooms

HIDDEN AWAY IN A TRANQUIL BACKWATER, Strattons has a dreamy setting. Wander into the drive and you’re suddenly in a green oasis where doves are cooing, trees are blossoming and chickens cluck. It’s all mesmerisingly bucolic.

An18th century former farmhouse where Lady Hamilton – Nelson’s scandalous mistress – once stayed, Strattons is surrounded by mellow rusticity. White tables and chairs are scattered on the pretty lawns in summer, inviting lazy interludes with a bottle of wine and a good book.

If there’s a touch of olde England (or rural France) about the setting, prepare for some surprises inside. Step into a world of cool and contemporary exotica herecowhide armchairs, giant flower arrangements, mosaics and murals, and amazing chandeliers. Fur rugs, Roman columns, eclectic artworks and bold shades of plum, purple and slate all add to the decorative drama.

Hit the spot

Tucked away in Swaffham, near the north Norfolk coast.


You want sleek and sexy, fun and flamboyant? You’ve got it.

Be savvy

Swaffham isn’t the Cotswolds, but there’s plenty to do nearby. 

Be smitten

With bedrooms like this, why get out of bed?

Fun and flamboyant

Owners Les and Vanessa Scott met at art school and their penchant for the fun and flamboyant is evident everywhere. Lush bedrooms are highly original mood-makers – just clock the big beds, Baroque style mirrors, funky bathrooms, carved bedheads and zebra skin rugs.

The Linen room has  a travertine stone bathroom and huge balcony, while Portico has a bath with a mermaid mosaic surround. Sleep amid black velvet cushions beneath a huge classical-style fresco in Boudoir (pictured above) or undress to match Edie’s plush red leather headboard. Opium is a private den with a huge free standing bath next to the bed while the boudoir-like Red room has scarlet walls, a clawfoot bath, oak four poster and a private garden.

Dinner is an occasion in Strattons’ chic restaurant, with its cream leather chairs and fat candles.  Daily changing menus major on using organic and locally sourced produce, as well as some little-known artisan British cheeses.

While the town of Swaffham is fairly unremarkable, you’re close to the lovely north Norfolk coast, the stately homes at Sandringham, Holkham and Houghton,  and just a hop from the wide open Norfolk and Suffolk countryside – great for walking, riding and wildlife-spotting. But with bedrooms like this, you might just want to stay under the duvet.

Strattons was reviewed for Room for Romance by Tasha Munro





Dining in
Flagstone floors, fat candles and huge canvasses depicting local landscapes set the tone in The Rustic, Strattons’ restaurant, where you’ll dine on deliciously wholesome organic and local fare. The modern English menu changes daily, and favourites include the chef’s pigeon stroganoff pie drenched in mushroom gravy. Great veggie choices include parsnip gnocchi with wild mushroom and sour cherry sauce.

Just about everything is made on the premises, from the breakfast chocolate bread to the after-dinner petits fours. The Sunday tapas menu features tasty dishes like beetroot pate, hummous and roasted vine tomatoes with chickpea batter.

Dining out
For great, traditional pub food visit the Albert Victor, five miles away in Castle Acre. The Orange Tree in Thornham serves fresh local seafood.


The Rustic restaurant at Strattons

What’s cooking?
Try the smoked clay mackerel terrine with griddled green vegetables. Go hispanic on Sundays with nibbles from the tapas menu.

Top table?
Where you can watch the birds and bees in the garden. 

See & Do

Head for Swaffham Heath and the countryside beyond for walking, cycling and riding trails. Have a flutter at the Newmarket or Fakenham races, or explore the historic piles of Blickling, Holkham and Oxborough halls. There’s also go-karting and fishing nearby. You’re not far from the north Norfolk coast, with its wild deserted beaches and pretty villages, not to mention royal Sandringham and King’s Lynn.


There’s a local Saturday market selling bric a bric, clothes and curios. The Ceres bookshop is also worth a browse.


Next door is Cape Amethyst, a trendy urban spa offering a full range of treatments from facials to holistic healing therapies.

After dark

Swaffham has some friendly local pubs as well as theatre at the West Acre River Studios. That’s assuming you don’t just settle for an early night…

Take in the sights and sounds of the Royal Norfolk Show – England’s largest agricultural show – with displays, animals, music and lots of local fare.


Get some highbrow culture at the King’s Lynn Festival, which plays host to a wealth of national and international classical music stars.


Ash Close, Swaffham, Norfolk PE37 7NH


There is plenty of free guest parking, and you'll find Strattons tucked in a small lane just behind an estate agent's off the main town square. Allow 2-3 hours if driving from London.


Downham Market station – ten miles. There are regular rail services from London King's Cross.

Around GBP 20 from the station.


London Stansted – 50 miles.

Rooms and suites

Ten rooms and five suites.

Special features
Rooms have CD and DVD players with an extensive library, and there's an honesty bar in the suites. For pure decadence check out the Red Room, with its open fire, four poster bed, roll top bath and garden.

Wander through the pretty gardens, have a game of croquet or stop to feed the wildlife.


Rates guide
GBP 150 - 225

Open all year, except Christmas.



Minimum night stay?
Two nights at weekends, three over bank holidays.

Full breakfast, including farm-fresh scrambled eggs from Strattons’ own hens, is served until 10am.

Room service

Available morning and evening.


Supervised dogs are welcome in some rooms.

Air conditioning

English, German, Russian, Estonian and Latvian.

Wedding license?

No, but receptions can be held for up to 22 guests, based on hiring the whole property.

Eco conscience
Strattons has won awards for its across-the-board green policies, so you can sleep with a clear conscience. From strict recycling to sourcing of local, organic foods, reduction of water wastage and use of low energy lightbulbs you'll find the hotel's eco-ethic much in evidence.

Coming soon
Two new eco-lodges, a deli bistro and two more bedrooms are due on stream in 2009.

Your contacts
Les and Vanessa Scott – Owners


We'll be adding guest ratings of Strattons Hotel based on your feedback in the next few months.

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