Last weekend saw a family reunion at an old country house in the little village of Hellington which is not far from Norwich. After a long drive from London, encountering a horrible amount of traffic, my uncles, Adam and I pitched up at Hellington Hall.
It was jolly cold. I was looking forward to a lovely, toasty weekend away from my mouldy student house but alas, our accommodation was so old and cavernous that it was just as chilly. Luckily as more and more people settled into the lounge and we got the fire roaring, it soon became snug.
The Hall was gorgeous, even more so for a history buff. I don’t know how old it was but the fireplace itself was from 1626! I had never stayed somewhere quite this old before and it took me a little while to get used to the undulating floorboards and not walking into the ceiling beams. What really added to the character of the Hall was it’s guestbook, with its pages full of scary anecdotes. One read about the scratches appearing on doors, the sounds in the night and even the blood dripping from the taps! I must admit it really was the perfect location for such stories. Up in the attic where my room was, the wind certainly howled and whistled through the rafters, creating the optimum setting for such a scary tale. The stories did not bother me, however when we went to pick up our Indian takeaway, even the customer in there had his own tale to tell. He recalled visiting the Hall as a child, before it’s current owners had bought and renovated it. He went on to tell us of when he visited the derelict building with friends they ventured up into the attic, only to find a man sized cage. We pried a little further to discover that said cage was in mine and Adam’s room! I hate to think what poor souls had been chained up in there!
It was a relaxing weekend; demolishing mountains of food, drinking copious volumes of alcohol, getting stuck in books and the odd walk thrown in for good measure. If you ever happen to stumble on this little settlement do take a wander up to the old church. It’s no longer in use but is protected and open every day. It is beautiful architecturally, the Anglo-Saxon tower especially. Although the stained glass window is a relatively recent renovation, it is still a wonderful addition which provides a stark contrast to the white-wash walls.
Hellington itself is tiny so its unlikely any of you will find yourself there – but if you’re looking for somewhere was a big staycation then give the Hall a google. There are converted outbuildings around it too if you really need to accommodate lots of people, and a table tennis court and swimming pool if you’re looking for things to do!