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An idiosyncratic hotel that has maintained its character and ancient layout while bringing its rooms right up-to-date. 

This ancient hotel claims to be the oldest in the country, dating back to the 1100s, and without question it enjoys one of the city centre's best positions – right by the cathedral on the edge of the city's most atmospheric quarter, very handy for its best shops, restaurants and pubs. Norwich is not blessed with loads of hotels, with the result that those that are here often don't have to try too hard. The Maids Head is a real exception, under new ownership and determined to raise its game, featuring an excellent restaurant and refurbishments to a lot of its 80-odd rooms, which has resulted in a bit of glam in both bedrooms and public spaces. 

The Maids Head is a funny old building, and there's no getting around the fact that it's tricky to navigate. There's a warren of corridors on different levels, made up of the original 12th-century, slightly sprawling, coaching inn and a 1960s' extension that sticks out behind into the car park. Consequently, the rooms are all shapes and sizes, varying from nicely furnished, contemporary and spacious doubles to more characterful beamed affairs, some with four posters, in the old part of the hotel. Bathrooms are decently sized, and whichever room you stay in comes with Freeview TV, tea-and-coffee making facilities, air-con and free wifi – plus they've introduced iPads to guest rooms for in-house services and internet access. There's parking, too, and an excellent restaurant and cosy oak-panelled bar, making it one of the most convenient and best-value places to stay in central Norwich.

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