A Norfolk village, seemingly untouched by time
Turn off the country road at the sign for Heydon and slow to a crawl as you come to the green. You have to stop, you can’t go any further as it’s the end of the road.
At first glance, there is the green with the old covered well, with the handsome church on one side, facing a row of exquisitely picturesque Georgian and pre-Georgian houses. Then to the left a row of cottages which couldn’t be prettier, and a classical tearoom with Georgian bay window and an ancient pub.
In summer the hollyhocks lean in the breeze and flowers spill undisturbed into the road. With no cars driving through, you can hear insects buzzing by, the clatter of crockery from the tearoom and cyclists discussing their route over cups of tea, their bikes propped against the iron fence edging the green.
Past the Church are large gates and a cattle grid, hinting at an estate and a hall. They’re usually open and you can take a looping stroll under the ancient oak trees and admire Heydon Hall from a distance. You might even recognise it as it has been a film location too.
But it’s not at all stuck in the dreamy 1950s, as down the alley by the pub, is a collection of independent businesses where you can linger over gold bees, pewter oak leaves and jewellery made right there, inspired by the estate, and also lovely clothes and a florist with thoughtfully-chosen artisan gifts. In fact, behind those shops is where you park your car so as not to crowd the view of the green. Of course, make sure you have tea and cake or a proper pub lunch or even both before you leave.
Thanks to Heydon being one of the rare privately-owned villages in a conservation area, it has remained a blissfully quintessential English village surrounded by glorious Norfolk countryside. Check their website for all the info you need.
Visit Heydon, and wander around an idyllic village you’ll always remember.