Fancy following in the footsteps of Royalty and staying in this magical mini castle in Thetford Forest?
PUBLISHED: 17:20 10 September 2018
Once thought to have been demolished along with a magnificent mansion, this former falconer’s lodge was discovered in the forest and has now been transformed into a magical holiday hideaway.
It looks like a mini fairy tale castle and can be found in the heart of Thetford Forest.
This former falconer’s lodge, once thought to have been knocked down, was built in the grounds of Didlington Hall, demolished after the war and is now available as a luxury holiday venue - offering the chance to follow in the footsteps of Royalty.
Dating to the early 19th century, the lodge was once the centre of falconry for the UK and reportedly, Europe. It is believed to have been built by Colonel Robert Wilson of Didlington Hall, later the ninth Lord Berners, who became president of the Confederate Hawks of Great Britain. It would have been lived in by the hall’s falconer and falconry continued to be practised there until Lord Berners’ death in 1838.
When the hall was later acquired by the Amherst family, it was converted into a horse training ground. Two of the Amherst family’s horses went on to win the Epsom Derby and King George VI and other members of the Royal family were frequent guests at the lodge where the family held shooting parties.
At its height, the lodge and hall formed part of a 7000 acre estate with 300 workers employed and 160 cottages built to accommodate them. However, during the Second World War, the estate was requisitioned by the army as officer accommodation for the famous Desert Rats, after which the hall was demolished. Falconer’s Lodge was believed to have suffered the same fate, but fortune prevailed, and the house was later discovered hidden within the forest. It was sold in 2004 and has now been transformed into a holiday venue.
Built of knapped flint and Gault brick, it has a distinctive tower thought to be of Arabian-Gothic in design alluding to the origins of falconry which started in the Middle East.
Inside the ground floor of the tower, the original door from the 19th century survives, and the kitchen boasts a large brick fireplace and pamment floor. It now has a living room with a wood burner, kitchen/dining room, a bedroom on the ground floor and two more, one on the first floor and one on the second. Outside is a garden of one and a half acres.
Falconer’s Lodge is co-owned by brother and sister Jude Horrocks and Alexandra Beer. Mr Horrocks said: “The property is just magical, and I absolutely love spending time there. The tranquil setting, rich history and the nature you get to experience allows you to escape from it all, especially at night with incredible views of the stars, it’s a sight to behold.”
His sister added: “Given that the building had gone unnoticed for many years, we’re delighted to be able to share our hard work and love of the property with everyone that steps through the doors.”
Lynda Gotts White, business development manager for cottages.com, marketing the holiday property, said: “Falconer’s Lodge is a stunning property with a fascinating history that has already proved incredibly popular with guests. The location is reminiscent of a fairytale, delivering a dream like escape from the day-to-day.”
You can currently stay at Falconer’s Lodge for three nights for £383 but prices vary. For more information visit www.cottages.com