The Old Post Office is a hidden retreat in the heart of Harleston, a vibrant market town that sits above the picturesque, nature-filled Waveney valley on the Norfolk/Suffolk border.
Recently featured on George Clarke’s Remarkable Renovations on Channel 4, The Old Post Office – also known as TOPO – in the heart of Harleston, in South Norfolk, was was built in 1790. Originally Gurney’s Bank, it has maintained many of its original features and it has been loving restored, from an almost derelict building, to a beautiful and vibrant space. TOPO now boasts everything from afternoon tea and supper clubs to bed and breakfast, plus a four-therapy Hammam Spa in the former bank vault. In short, TOPO has been restored to an exceptionally high standard, making it very much the place to be.
The Day Spa offers 10 different massages, including Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Balinese and Ayurvedic by Sam Hendricks. There is also Himalayan Salt Stone massage and a menu of full beauty treatments, including the new trend of sugaring and prescriptive facials, developed in-house and offered by therapist Elaine Howe. Couples massage with husband-and-wife therapist team Richard and Julie Cooke is another popular option among our guests.
Voted ‘Top 5 Poshest’ by the EDP, afternoon teas are super-classy and are frequently accompanied with live jazz from Will Fergusson, an accomplished pianist and composer from Bungay. TOPO Supper clubs feature noted chefs Julian Cardoza and Alex Cooper, both trained at Michelin awarded restaurants in London. The Arabian Nights experience includes a delicious Lebanese meze created by Julia Martin of Purple Plum and an evening of fabulous belly dancing from Kay Wheatley of Dance Egyptian in Norwich. The Middle Eastern theme celebrates the mixed heritage of owner, Claire Myers-Lamptey.
Sleeping up to 12 in the uniquely themed guest rooms, visitors are offered bespoke packages, including chauffeured tasting tours at Chet Valley Vineyard. This summer sees the introduction of a new offering ‘Season’s Eating’ in collaboration with former agricultural journalist Mike Davison, which explores food and farming in and around the Waveney valley, revealing how meat, vegetables and fruit are produced. Guests visit farms, talk to the farmers and learn how they adapt to the changing seasons. Returning to the kitchen, they learn from a TOPO chef how to make the most of seasonal ingredients, dining in style to close
Day visitors typically come from across East Anglia, while many weekend visitors include travellers from much further afield, both within the UK and internationally. To date, TOPO guests have come from numerous countries around the world, including Australia, USA, Canada, China and Malaysia as well as much
• The Old Post Office, 3 Old Market Place, Harleston, Norfolk IP20 9BE
Tel 01379 853308
• photography: William Pitt