Family Adventure to the Norfolk Seaside
With the sun finally out for a couple of days and hubby having a weekend off we decided on a last minute trip to the Norfolk seaside.
Living pretty much in the middle of England we’re lucky Norfolk is only about an hour an a half away. So, we ran round the house for 40 minutes throwing nappies, wipes and swimmers in a bag and hopped in the car for a little adventure to the seaside.
The Norfolk coastline is one of the most beautiful in England. Great dunes overlooking the beach with traditional wooden beach huts dotted along the edge. It’s picture postcard perfect. Though it is nowadays somewhat swamped by the rich and rather fabulous it’s still possible for us mere mortals to have an amazing time. I love the winding roads dotted with country houses and the sea never far in the distance making me feel calmer instantly.
We started off with croissants and coffee at Stiffkey stores. A little hidden treasure not far from Blakeney. With cakes and curiosities in abundance it’s simply beautiful and sets you off on the right foot for a relaxing weekend away. Well, it was relaxing until 5 minutes in and my eldest had spilt his entire marshmallow hot chocolate over the table, but you know, after that.
Next we headed down the road to Wells-next-the-sea. More ‘kiss me quick’ than some of the other norfolk coastline, but fun for the kids. You can waste endless pennies in the slot machine, have pancakes on the pirate ship and of course no visit to Wells would be complete without doing some crabbing! £5 bucket and bait and they’re occupied for hours sitting on the harbour edge.
A great little shop in Wells we did stumble upon was The Picnic Hut who make THE best milkshakes. Check out this beauty, white chocolate and raspberry homemade milkshake. Diet killer but all that beach walking will burn it off:) They’ll also make up a picnic for you with fresh crab and salad that looked yummy.
My favourite beach in Norfolk is at Brancaster. It’s busy with every man and his dog (literally), but with 3 children under 10y it’s hard to turn down those vast open spaces and tumbling dunes. Hours of fun doing roly poly’s down the dunes (the kids joined in eventually;) paddling in the sea, & trying to fly a kite with partial success. For quieter beach days try the smaller villages along the coastline.
Spot of lunch? Head to The Thornham Deli for the finest breakfast, brunch and lunches with the added bonus of an outside play area for the little people. Recently refurbished to now include a beautiful lifestyle store ‘Samphire’ you may need to give yourself a few hours lunch break to discover it all. I especially loved the clothing collections by Anna.
Before we headed back to the beach for the afternoon we stopped by Drove Orchards Farm shop just a mile from Thronham Deli. You can’t miss it, there’s a giant pink sign. It reminds me of the traditional farmers markets you might get in Malibu, all wooden cladding and fresh fruit. There’s a beautiful women’s clothes store called Nelle DK, luxury ice-creams, a quaint cafe in a fairly lighted yurt and a pretty children’s store called Belles and Whistles. Actually, I’m going to be really honest here, Belles and Whistles would get my TTCW #fail award. The lady who owned the shop was so miserable, seemingly not liking children at all. Which is quite strange for a kid’s clothes store owner? Anyhow, don’t let that put you off. The other stores are beautiful, and welcoming, so definitely worth a visit.
Being the disorganised family that we are we hadn’t quite considered where we would sleep? Love a bit of spontaneity! However, being one of the busiest weekends they’d had all year, finding a bed for the night was proving difficult. I literally rang 19 hotels which were fully booked:/ Then we got lucky and stumbled across a family suite at The Heacham Manor Hotel. Listed as a 3* hotel but looking more like a 5* on it’s approach, we arrived with happy, yet worn out children, covered in sand. The family suite was perfect for what we needed, basic decor but so pretty outside with a lake and ducks swimming by the window. We dusted ourselves down and spruced ourselves up for a spot of dinner.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but quite possibly the best fish n chips in Norfolk can be had at Eric’s. Based at Drove Orchards again. Imagine if Soho NY had a fish n chips, this is what it would look like. All industrial concrete floors and brick tiles. You can takeaway but i’d recommend eating in, slightly more money but a nice setting. Now I know a glass of prosecco with your fish n chips doesn’t sound quite right, but apparently it’s a ‘thing’ so who am I to argue! And at £43 for a family of 5’s evening meal it was worth every penny.
A special day was had by all and memories of sun, sand and those scrumptious milkshakes linger on:)
NB: A lovely blog post about a last minute trip to the seaside by Jess who you can follow Jess on Twitter as @cudsncocktails here.