For lovers of Charles Dickens here is a different idea for Christmas.

Bleak House, the former holiday home of novelist Charles Dickens, which opened recently as a restaurant with rooms, has announced its Christmas menus.

For people wishing to celebrate Christmas Day in an historic setting made famous by the author of A Christmas Carol, a book that  popularised many of the 'traditions' we now regard as essential to festive celebrations.   This year also marks the centenary of the Victorian author's birth and what better way to celebrate this occasion than a Dickensian Christmas.

From 1837 to 1859 Charles Dickens leased the six-bedroomed property for his family's summer holidays, spending a least a month here for over 20 years.   Built in 1801, the cliff top Fort House as it was known then, was the home of the local fort captain during the Napoleonic wars. It was renamed Bleak House in 1870 on Dickens's death, it was turned into a museum by way of tribute to the author before going into private ownership.

Today owned by the Hilton family, who have lovingly restored the property to its former glory, Bleak House has many original features and antique furnishings, offers a truly unique setting.     The former museum and private residence, which now operates as a boutique Bed+Breakfast, restaurant and tea rooms boasts spectacular sea views across Viking Bay and is also available for private hire and weddings.

Dickens suite
"The brass bed in the luxurious Dickens Suite was once slept in by Queen Victoria, although we have changed the sheets and replaced the mattress," said Nicola Hilton.

On Christmas Day, Bleak House will serve a four-course menu, with "all the trimmings for £79.95 (under 12s £39.95).

For starters there is a choice of Broccoli and Stilton soup; Scottish Smoked and Poached Salmon or Game Terrine Campagne in Bacon with Victorian spiced chutney.    Mains offer organic Norfolk turkey; Slow Roasted Organic Rib of Beef; and Loin of Cod Mornay.     For desserts there is traditional Christmas pudding; Winter Berry Pavlova or Crème bruleé.      To finish there is a selection of cheeses, mince pies, coffee and chocolate truffles.

Bleak house is also serving a Christmas Party Menu from 1st December for £37.50 a head.    For guests looking for over night stays, a double room with breakfast costs from £135 a night. Bleak House is also offering a free night's accommodation on two-night bookings.
'Nancy's' tea rooms offers cream tea's, daily specials, snacks and selection of Nellie's delicious home made cakes, pastries, sandwiches and baguettes.

Home cooked Sunday lunches are served between 12.00 noon and 3.00pm. One courses £9.95, two courses £12.95.
As you can see from the photographs, Bleak House is anything but bleak.