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Beyond London’s Ring Road, in the yellow canola fields of the East of England, lies Barnham Broom, an unpretentious 36-hole luxury golf resort.

I found Barnham Broom while working on a piece  about World War II history in the East of England. There are plenty of old World War II bomber bases nearby. I made the 20-minute drive from Norwich.

Barnham Broom Golf Club started as a farm. It became an auto destination for Londoners in late 1970s. There are two golf courses. Barnham Broom also has a pub, tennis and squash courts, a hotel and spa. Barnham Broom recently opened a brasserie that features continental cuisine. Much of the menu is locally sourced.

Barnham Broom’s Parkland Golf

The two golf courses at Barnham Broom are the Valley Course and Hill Course. Both are built in the parkland style and both are walkable. Fairways are lined with trees that punish misplaced tee shots.

Barnham BroomThe terrain is hilly. On the par 3 7th hole of the Valley Course, there is a 70-foot drop from tee to green.

Barnham Broom’s long-time professional, Alan Hemsley, runs a vibrant golf academy. The clientele is a mix of vacationing Londoners and local members.

Barnham Broom’s hotel is modern. The sports bar pub is roomy and welcoming. At sunset, views from the bar and the brasserie are stunning.

If you want a relaxing family destination in the English countryside, Barnham Broom should be your pick. It’s a short drive from London and it’s a well-placed base for day trips to the rest of the East of England.

For a faster pace, make  the City of  Norwich your base. Norwich is a college town. Its population of 194,000 people clearly enjoys going out to eat and drink.

Norwich’s 1,000-year-old city center hosts arts, music and culture events through the year. The annual City of Ales Festival focuses on locally brewed ales. The energy of the city’s college-age population is palpable contagious during spring and early summer when warm weather returns.

Two of Norwich’s notable pubs are the Fat Cat Pub and Kett’s Tavern. There is a Jamie Oliver’s Italian Restaurant, a cathedral, and plenty of antique shops. Near the central market, the Second Air Division Memorial Library honors the memory of 6,900 U.S. air crews who lost their lives in the air war against Germany.

If you stay in Norwich, stay at the Maids Head Hotel.  Queen Elizabeth I is reputed to have stayed there.  It is a full-service hotel with free parking, an attentive staff and a cozy bar. Its restaurant serves a full English breakfast.

The hotel is a handy to everything. The antique shops on Tombland, Elm Hill and Magdalen streets are close. Plenty of pubs and restaurants are within a short walk.

All too often, discussion of golf in England is confined to the famous British Open courses. Tourism talk typically focuses on London.

But Barnham Broom’s two golf courses await. Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia are waiting for you to discover the beauty of the English countryside.

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