A Restored Historic North Norfolk Farm House

Our Story

Take a peek inside

Home Farm House is a restored North Norfolk Farm house set in an acre of land with preceding old stables and barns carefully renovated to create Hunters Academy of Food and Hunters Bed and Breakfast accommodation. It is a family story where a passion for the locality, food and hospitality merges with a love of indigenous heritage, beauty and conservation.

We took time to recreate Home Farm House and it is still a work in progress. Working with the historic buildings and the smallholding that surrounds them, we have created a sympathetic place with love and attention furnished on every detail.

We hope you will experience a real connection to the countryside, our food, the seasons and to learning in a relaxed environment. We invite you to rest, unwind and enjoy this Norfolk country nirvana that our family call home.

Gary and Nichola Hunter, Co-Founders & Directors.

The History

The farm house dates from the Tudor period where it first started its life as a farm cottage. Our lounge and open kitchen area still has the low ceiling and exposed beams centred around a large inglenook fireplace. Two original butchers’ meat hooks remain fixed to the main beam. 

The Farm House remains a private home and sits centrally on the estate and on the eastern side is the kitchen garden. If you look at the house as you arrive, this is actually the rear of the house and there used to be a network of barns and workshops where you now see our back garden. Beyond the walls of this garden area was the original formal sweeping entrance drive to the front of the farm house, and had its own larger walled garden area. This is now home to our neighbours at Home Farm Gardens.

The ownership of the farm cottage eventually came under the Raynham Estate and it developed into the large Farm House it is now and grew in its importance as one of the main farms for the estate. Over time, as the farm house became more significant to the Raynham Estate, elegant Georgian additions were included to expand the house to the south aspect, befitting important members of the Townshend family who moved in.

Raynham Estate has been known for centuries as an innovator in agriculture. The second Viscount was renowned agricultural innovator Charles “Turnip” Townshend who created the Norfolk four-course crop rotation system which he put into practice at Raynham in the early 18th century. The system was a driving force behind the Agricultural Revolution and earned the second Viscount his affectionate nickname. He was considered responsible for the resulting large-scale cultivation of turnips across England that followed.

On its west side the former farmyard is enclosed by a range of barns which used to contain the riding stables, carriage house and cowsheds. Now converted into our luxury accommodation, garage/workshop and our new Academy of Food which is an exclusive cookery school for home cooks, food-preneurs, budding chocolatiers and professional chefs.

Much of the village of Helhoughton was owned by the Raynham Estate and used to have its own Public House (The Buck Inn), a small brewery, bakery and a forerunner to the well-known Roys shopping empire in Wroxham. Raynham Hall is still owned by the Townshend family and is one of the most splendid of the great houses of Norfolk and well worth an amble across the meadow to view the house, lake and church.

Home Farm House was eventually sold by the Raynham Estate in 1956 and it has been privately owned ever since.  We purchased the Farm House in October 2017 and have spent time refurbishing the entire building and outbuildings taking care to keep to the original architecture and feel of the house. 

The Restoration

The restoration has been slow and considered. We have evolved Home Farm House progressively with an understanding that conservation is about sustainability – not only preserving the past but more importantly, securing the future. The refurbishment began with a collaborative effort between Gary and Nichola, Hunters Academy of Food’s founders, and their friends – local builder and historic buildings specialist Clive Brown and Mick Murphy from Kitchens Etc, combining their passions for architecture, conservation, and design.

The ambition was to breathe new life into the old agricultural buildings, keeping their internal spaces and reconnecting them with the food concept. Gary’s motivation was to ensure that education was fully embraced in order to make Hunters Academy of Food as progressive and relevant as possible.

The story of
Hunters Academy of Food

The steady restoration began with the restoration of the Cow shed which has today become our founding ingredient: the cookery school. Within the space of a few months we have evolved the old riding stable into a luxury bed and breakfast accommodation.

Hunters Academy of Food has become dedicated to inspiring and engaging everyone to learn about innovative, sustainable and delicious food. Taught by world-class specialists, we offer a broad range of gastronomic, professional and bespoke cookery courses.

Many courses focus on formulas central to Gary’s belief as a professional chef and world class chocolatier, showcasing ingredients, food and techniques that he taught to inspire many of his Westminster Kingsway Alumni to become the top Michelin-starred chefs they are today.