Exclusive manor opens its doors to public

It is has stood the test of time perched on the clifftops of Happisburgh – even surviving being bombed during the second world war.

Now Happisburgh Manor is being opened for use by the public for exclusive use holidays.

And despite being told that the house itself may not last more than 40 years because of the coastal erosion in the area, bosses of the company who have purchased it say they are just glad they have been able to save it for one more generation.

Happisburgh Manor, known locally as St Mary's, is an arts and crafts house built in 1900 by Detmar Blow, for the Cator family as a seaside villa. It was built using local materials such as flint, pebble, brick, thin tiles and Norfolk reed for the thatched roof, which is thought to be the largest domestic thatched roof in East Anglia.

Company, Clarenco who run Amazing Retreats – which owns numerous buildings around the UK including Morley Old Hall in Wymondham, bought the property last year from Norman and Stella Ashton, who had owned it since 1989.

Clarenco has been carrying out improvement work since, including work on the roof and bringing the rooms up to standard. The work means the manor house now features a gym, sauna room, massage room and chill-out room. By autumn there will be a look out and watch tower added to the property and there are also plans for a tennis court in the orchard.

They reopened it as an exclusive use venue, meaning people hire out the whole of the property for a holiday or break.

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As well as the manor house, they have also bought another property in the village to house hopefully a couple who will be employed as managers for the Happisburgh Manor house.

Despite knowing about the coastal erosion issues around Happisburgh, the hope is that the company will be able to help with efforts to restore and preserve the coastline around the area.

Steve Hamilton, operations manager with Amazing Retreats, said: 'We see ourselves as babysitting the houses we have for the next generation. They are historic properties and we want to safeguard them for future generations.

'We are keen to work with the government and local communities over the erosion issues and do what we can to help protect the coastline here.

'Rather than think 40 years is a short time, we need to think 40 years is the time we have to do something about it.'

More information can be found on the website, www.amazingretreats.com, or by calling 01494 682682.