New bedrooms, Nooks, at Tuddenham Mill, hotel and restaurant

Tuddenham Mill's new quirky Nooks

30th May 2017

Tuddenham Mill, near Newmarket, now offers rather quirky nooks to stay in. Sarah Hardy from Feast Norfolk Magazine is among the first to try them out, read what she thought to our individual and very original bedrooms.

Meadow Nook at Tuddenham Mill
Meadow Nook

So you’re wondering aren’t you? What exactly is a nook? Well, it is best described as a quiet and secluded place – somewhere to rest and relax. And that is pretty much what the new bedrooms at Tuddenham Mill are all about.

Set in the water meadows, next to the mill stream and just a couple of minutes from the main mill building, the five individual nooks offer a perfect hideaway. It would be fair to call them bijou, as they house just a bedroom and ensuite shower room, but don’t think that you’re roughing it! Oh no. Rather, they each boast a kingsize bed, a power shower, underfloor heating, ESPA beauty treats, Missoni robes, a smart TV with Netflix, wi-fi and more. Look out for little touches like fresh milk and orange juice in the fridge and a decanter of sloe gin next to the bed. And one has its own private hot tub.

Meadow Nook at Tuddenham Mill
En-suite bathroom with walk-in power shower

Your deck looks out over the open surrounding countryside and it is very peaceful - this is a really bucolic spot despite the fact that the increasingly busy A11 is just a couple of miles away. Pride of place is the brick and clapboard mill house which dates from 1775, with the original wheel, mill race and grinding machinery all still in place. A 53-foot brick-built chimney dates from 1855 and was installed for additional steam power. The mill closed in 1954, becoming a restaurant in the early 70s, and was taken over by the Agellus group of hotels 10 years ago.

We arrived mid afternoon and chilled out in our nook with newspapers and sloe gin before taking a pre supper stroll around the grounds, checking out the wildlife.Then it was a glass of fizz for me and a bottle of St Peter’s beer for him in the ground floor bar before we headed to the first floor restaurant. Our table had wonderful views over the water and we were instructed to keep an eye out for some missing cygnets by one of the waitresses.

Dinner saw head chef Lee Bye on top form. He loves local produce and to use it in different, ambitious ways. The menu is shortish, highly seasonal and follows the current trend of precise descriptions rather than over flowery ones. The wine list is a much more lengthy affair, with everything from a lovely rosé from Valley Farm Vineyards in Suffolk to a fine French Champagne - it’s great to see plenty of local wines featured.

To start, I went for Fenland cauliflower soup with artichoke, apple and chives at £7.50 which was creamy and warming, with the apple providing a different texture. He had mussels with Vermouth cream, parsley and crispy kale at £8.50, and was more than happy, slurping up the sauce as usual! Other options included chicken liver, Norfolk coppa ham, and roasted Jerusalem artichoke.

I then tried the Breckland lamb, with kofta ragout, yogurt, squash, lettuce, mint and St Edmund ale at £24.50. It brimmed over with flavour, with the ragout particularly delightful. Sir had the black bream, saag lentil dhal, sprouting broccoli, coriander, coconut, and toasted almonds at £22.50 and again felt it was bursting with attitude - a confident dish from a confident chef. Further choices saw hake and guinea fowl with beef skirt proving popular with many.

Dining at Tuddenham Mill
Mussels with Vermouth cream

Finally, I went for a passionfruit curd with blueberries, oats, meringue and ginger beer at £9.50 which was just the right mixture of sweetness with the ginger beer kick, and he had a bitter chocolate pot, lime sorbet, basil and hazelnut oil at £9 which again threw up contrasting yet complimentary flavours. I also noticed an impressive cheese option including Binham Blue and Baron Bigod.

Breakfast was a civilised affair as you are not faced with the infamous buffet table, but rather gracefully served. I enjoyed a thick raspberry fruit smoothie, Goosnargh yogurt with almond granola and finally brioche French toast with bananas and maple syrup which was quite a treat. Himself tried the honey-glazed pink grapefruit followed by creamy scrambled eggs with homemade bread. A winning combination.

Tuddenham is well positioned for Newmarket and the racing, Cambridge and all that history and shopping plus Bury St Edmunds which is charming. Thetford Forest is also nearby but Tuddenham itself has great walking and cycling possibilities.

Indeed, the mill offers complimentary bike hire and we spent a very pleasant two hours exploring the local area using pedal power. The Icknield Way and Cavenham Heath are close and offer easy access to the Brecks, still a somewhat unknown part of Norfolk’s rich and varied landscape.

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