Last month James and I headed to North Norfolk for 48 hours by the coast. Well it was probably about 50 but who’s counting? Collectively on the blog and instagram there were heaps and heaps of recommendations for places to visit so I thought I’d share some of my favourites. At 25 weeks pregnant the trip probably wasn’t as active as we would normally plan but we covered a lot of ground and can’t wait to head back when bébé Jim arrives.
Thornham, Wells and Brancaster
We left Northamptonshire later than planned and arrived in Norfolk around 3pm on the Wednesday. We’d experienced the joys of an M&S car ‘picnic’ on the way so our first stop was Thornham Deli for a slice of cake. This place is gorgeous inside with shelves decked out with all sorts of delicacies. The homeware shop was a little too shabby chic for my tastes but lovely to have a meander round. A short drive up the road took us to Drove Orchards, home of Eric’s fish and chips. We actually didn’t go in here as we’d already eaten and instead had a quick stop off at Joyful Living, a really sweet interiors emporium which is worth a look.
We then went to Wells-Next-The-Sea and with weather on a par with Spain spent an hour or so on the beach lazing on the dunes. The beach huts here are dreamy and the sand is divine. I’d have to say it’s one of my favourite beaches in England. We didn’t do it but you can walk an hour to Holkham from here through the pine trees. One for next time methinks.
That evening we headed back for an early dinner at The Orange Tree in Thornham which had come highly recommended. I can’t lie, I was a tiny bit disappointed by dinner here. I think they were short staffed and there were some disgruntled diners around us. James had the chicken pie and thought it was amazing so I would definitely give it a try another day.
We finished up just as the sun was setting so drove to Brancaster beach just in time to watch the sun disappear over the sea. This was my favourite moment of the day and even at the end of July the beach was pretty much deserted other than a few dog walkers and a very prepared couple who had chairs, champers and blankets to toast the end of the day. Goals for next time!
I booked accommodation really late for this trip and so we ended up staying in a pub, The Black Lion in Little Walsingham. The staff were so accommodating and friendly and our room was spacious, light and comfortable, even if the bathroom was a tad retro.
Little Walsingham was ideally located in the middle of all the places we wanted to visit. It’s an interesting village with a big history and lots of coach tours come in as it’s a renowned pilgrimage site. I have a real soft spot for this place now and was a big fan of the farm shop too. The staff are super friendly, the produce was really good (curried lentil pie was especially good as is the flapjack) and the place is air conditioned which was an absolute dream in the recent heatwave.
So the morning of day two we headed to Holkham complete with picnic from Little Walsingham Farms Shop. Considering we’d recently paid £12 per head to visit National Trust’s Cliveden for the day (really need to get our National Trust membership sorted), it was a pleasant surprise to just have to pay £3 for parking to access the gorgeous grounds It was another £2 to get the buggy ride up and access to The Walled Garden but worth the trip. There’s a good cafe and gift shop too but we just brought a blanket and picnicked under a tree watching the deer sip from the lake.
Morston, Blakeney and Stifkey
In the morning, we’d pre-booked a late afternoon boat trip to see the seals at Blakeney Point. We booked through Beans and this trip was ace. It was absolutely boiling so it was so refreshing to get out on the water. We saw heaps of seals bobbing alongside the boat and on the land, though I’m told the numbers are phenomenal in November time.
Before the boat trip we stopped off at Stifkey Stores. I love this place! It’s smaller than I expected but has a really sweet coffee shop and a fab store with lots of gorgeous cards, nursery bits and pieces and other interiors finds. I wanted one of everything and so naturally left with absolutely nothing,
On the way back we, along with what seemed like the whole of Norfolk stopped off to share a portion of fish and chips on Well’s Harbour. We queued well over half an hour but had fear of missing out if we left the queue. I think they were almost worth the wait.
Holt, Cley and Sheringham
On the last day we headed to the market town of Holt and had a really good lunch sat outside Byfords in the sunshine. Our plan was then to go to Cley to the beach but when we arrived we realised we’d made the school boy error of having no cash for parking. Several car parks do allow for card payments but worth bearing in mind, if like us, you plan to do quite a few stop offs in a day, then stop off at the cash machines in the larger towns as they’re quite hard to come by.
Instead we drove to Sheringham and parked at the station. There’s a really lovely card shop just across from the station on the walk down to the seafront which is worth stopping off at but I can’t for the life of me remember the name. I bought the swallow wooden card you can see in this pic as we spent much of the trip watching the birds swoop over us. After going to Lisbon and Sardinia last year where swallows seemed to follow us wherever we went, they feel like a good omen!
Sheringham probably was the most ‘kiss me quick’ location we visited in Norfolk but it was nice to explore the area further down the coast. We sat on the beach for most of the afternoon and then as the most almighty rumble of thunder hit it signified the end of our trip. We had planned to head to Burnham Market on the way home (a market town we loved last time) but the heavy rain meant we decided to start the drive home instead.
All in all, we had the most gorgeous time in East Anglia. If anyone is planning a trip over the August bank holiday then you are in for a treat. We really can’t wait to head back next year.