Northrepps Cottage Hotel reopens soon

It is a celebrated Norfolk venue with a colourful past, an uncertain recent history and now, thanks to a new project, the potential for a vibrant future.

It is a celebrated Norfolk venue with a colourful past, an uncertain recent history and now, thanks to a new project, the potential for a vibrant future.

Northrepps Cottage near Cromer and the surrounding classical landscaping was made a reality in the 1790s by architect William Wilkins, most famous for creating the National Gallery in London, and landscape designer Humphry Repton.

It has been home to famous crippled philanthropist Anna Gurney and visited regularly by the likes of leading social reformer Elizabeth Fry and Thomas Fowell Buxton, best known as an MP and slavery abolitionist.

Still in the Gurney family today, the Gothic style house was turned into a restaurant and function room in the 1960s. But its glory days have been mired in part by two closures in recent years, once in 2004 and again in 2007.

But now estate owner Simon Gurney has teamed up with manager Matt Galasky and head chef Howard Bowen, both previously of the Divine Restaurant in North Walsham and before that The Dales Country House Hotel in Upper Sheringham.

The trio have said they will create a contemporary seven room hotel with a 50 cover fine dining restaurant, lounge bar and function room - all to open by Easter and called Northrepps Cottage Hotel.

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The restaurant will be called Repton's and the function room the Gurney Suite to help reflect the property's history, while walls will be decorated with pictures and paintings either of the Gurneys or created by them.

The severe economic downturn had been carefully considered, said Mr Galasky, but he added there was a level of confidence in the plans because of what would be created.

'We are looking at a relaxed but high quality elegant venue, modern English fine dining combined with contemporary d�cor and facilities,' he added.

'We are setting something up here which we very much hope to see winning awards and rosettes. People will see this as a place they want to be, the product will be immense.'

Mr Gurney said he was excited at the prospect of the property finally being given the 'treatment it deserved' and added: 'It will be stunning, we want to reinstate the Repton landscape and use this magical setting to its potential.

'We have always hankered after having something special at Northrepps Cottage and this time we firmly believe it is going to happen and that confidence comes from finding Matt and Howard.'

One part of the project has seen work starting on the hill behind the cottage, which was previously overgrown. Clearance has revealed a ruined brick walled greenhouse and a large walled vegetable garden. The former will be grassed and used as an amenity area with sea views, while the latter will be brought back to vegetable production.

t Log on to or call 01263 579202 for bookings and more information.

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