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The Cornwallis Country Hotel and Restaurant
Brome, Suffolk

by Sarah Shuckburgh

This is a pleasant, well-run country hotel, named after the Cornwallis family, who lived at Brome from medieval times until the 19th century. In 1561, Sir Thomas Cornwallis built Brome Hall - then one of the most magnificent houses
in England - and the hotel was originally the dower house, lived in by the knight's widowed mother. (Two hundred years later, the most famous of the Cornwallis family - the 2nd Earl - commanded the British forces in the American War
of Independence, and surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia in 1781, and later became Governor
of India.)

Today the Tudor parts of the house include an atmospheric bar, which is open from 11am to 11pm. The beams are blackened and scorched by centuries of smoke, and the tiled floor and scrubbed wooden furniture make a cheerful informal dining room (where we ate a sophisticated and tasty supper cooked by the new chef, Ricardo). A glass panel in the floor covers a well, lit to reveal plants clinging to the curved brick sides, and the water gleaming 40 feet below. There are also several low-ceilinged 16th century bedrooms, with some charmingly shaped attic doors and exposed beams.

In 1861, the Reverend George Patterson extended the house to make a large rectory, decorating his new staircase with biblical and other improving texts in English and French. The elegant restaurant and conservatory also date from this time, and provide airy spaces for formal dining and for private parties or weddings.

The hotel is agreeably conventional, although every room has mod cons such as internet connection, sky TV, hairdryer and trouser press. Bedroom decoration is calm, with comfortable sofas and sturdy period furniture, including four-poster beds and heavy wooden desks.

The Cornwallis stands in 20 acres of gardens and fields, and guests are greeted by a splendid avenue of limes, and then some wonderfully quirky topiary - round-headed giants holding hands. The 15-foot yews are known as the seven sisters, and indeed some of them stand in groups of seven, but there are dozens dotted about the gravel. Alas, the red brick walls of the Victorian vegetable garden today surround nothing but grass. Beyond, in a field, guests can try archery every Sunday, and hot air balloons take off from here every fine weekend, or by arrangement.

The Cornwallis is in the heart of East Anglia, two miles from the historic market towns of Diss in Norfolk, and Eye in Suffolk. The hotel would make a good base for exploring the Waveney valley, the Norfolk broads, and beautiful towns such as Lavenham, Long Melford, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds. The coastal towns of Great Yarmouth, Aldeburgh, Southwold and Walberswick are also within easy reach.

The Cornwallis Country Hotel and Restaurant
Rectory Road
Brome, Eye
Suffolk IP23 8AJ

First published by Travel Intelligence Ltd

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