North Norfolk – Part Two

Until my birthday I had never visited Norfolk. I never knew the beauty it held or why so many people decide to holiday in Norfolk. Now I know why!

Now, I’m no travel blogger and I havent got nearly enough photos of the places we loved, especially Burnham Market (lesson learned) but I thought I’d share my favourite places and parts of our trip.

Jamie booked for us to stay at Wild Luxury Glamping for my birthday, if you haven’t done so already, you can see my blog post all about our stay here.

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We arrived on a gloriously sunny day, welcomed with blue skies and miles of unspoilt countryside. Our first day didn’t quite start as planned as it took us 2 hours to find The Hideaway where we were staying. We were hoping to go to a local pub we had been recommended before checking in to our lodge and heading out for an afternoon adventure. When we finally found our lodge it was 3:30pm and we still had to unload the car and somehow convince William to get back into the car after a 3.5 hour journey so we could finally have our ‘lunch’ at 5pm. It felt like we had lost our first day but it was my birthday, our first family trip away and we decided that rather than be defeated we would make the most of the rest of our day. And you know how sometimes things happen for a reason? Well, we had the most amazing afternoon/evening together. It was magical, it was the best part of my birthday and a day we will never, ever forget.

We decided to head to Brancaster beach and grab some chips on the way. The camp recommended some places for us to visit and we decided on Erics in Thornham, a couple of miles away. We arrived to find Erics nestled among various other shops at Drove Orchards, an orchard with PYO, showcasing local food, lifestyle and clothing shops and a play area. The fish and chip shop wasn’t like any other I had experienced, with decking chairs outside along with picnic tables and benches, the interior decoration a nod to the traditional fish and chip shops we know and love but with a modern twist, and the chips were perfection, maybe it was because I can’t recall the last time I had chips, perhaps it was because we were at the seaside… all I know is they were utterly delicious and I am so glad that Jamie ordered an extra portion so we didn’t have to share!

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With full tummies we headed down to Brancaster beach and it wasn’t a sight I’d ever expected to see in Norfolk. The bluest skies, long stretches of beautiful golden sands and barely a sole to be seen. We crossed paths with a few dog owners but otherwise it was all ours for the evening. It was William’s first time on the beach, with a bucket and spade in hand he ran towards the sand, jumping in the pools of water from the receding tide. It wasn’t long before his clothes were abandoned and the nappy soon after, running around the beach naked, the only sound his squeaks of laughter. There and then Jamie commented that this was one of his top five favourite moments and I have to agree, a moment that we will both remember and cherish for all of time. Of course I didn’t take the camera to the beach and my phone ran out of battery but we managed to capture some pictures with Jamie’s phone.

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Past bedtime, we finally persuaded William to leave the beach so we could head back for dinner. We arrived to a quiet campsite and while Jamie showered with William, washing away all the salt and sand, I fired up the small gas hob to cook William some dinner. Once William was sleeping soundly Jamie lit the firepit ready for a BBQ. We sat next to the dancing flames as the evening chill enveloped us, watching the sun set, drinking prosecco, in a quiet, happy bubble. It was past 10:30pm by the time we were ready to eat, Jamie checking the burgers were cooked with the torch on his phone. We finished the night with toasted marshmallows and S’mores, heading to bed at midnight once my eyes were fighting a losing battle to stay awake, feeling 7 months pregnant with a food baby. What we worried would be a lost day probably meant that we squeezed every last drop of sun, fun and happiness into the day instead. It was the best birthday I can remember.

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On day two we started the day with a trip to see the farm animals on site and a simple porridge breakfast. We mapped out the day together, the sky was slightly overcast but in the sunshine it was gloriously warm and so we decided to head to Holkham Nature Reserve and beach for a walk before driving to Burnham Market for lunch.

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We arrived at Holkham Nature Reserve opting to leave Williams pram in the car, he loves walking and we thought this would help tire him out for his nap before lunch, the ground wasn’t particularly buggy friendly either, being a mixture of woodland, marshland, sand and dunes. We headed through the woodland, spotting diggers on the way only serving to fuel Williams obsession even further, headed across the marshes, William chasing me with sand in his fists, making our way to the white sandy beach and dunes. We set ourselves up in a quiet corner, watching as horses trotted along the beach in the sunshine before strolling to the sea edge, ready to dip our toes in the cold water, watching Williams excited face as we did so. Jumping in the waves with a rolled up sundress, yet more happy memories that will stay with me, stories to tell William about his first trips to the beach. With the ticket running out on the car we started to head back with one tired toddler, a mixture of holding hands and mummy cuddles on the way back to the car, creating stories and looking for crabs to keep him happy(ish) and heading in the right direction, because we all know toddlers joy for running the opposite way! Holkham Nature Reserve is such a beautiful part of the country, the diverse landscape like nothing I have experienced before.

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On the way to Burnham Market I truly believed William would sleep, it was past his nap time and he hadn’t stopped walking all morning but to our surprise he did not fall asleep, the excitement obviously too much. We parked up and agreed to take a walk through the village, an opportunity to choose somewhere to eat and take in the beauty of the village and all its shops. After about 20 minutes of walking William finally gave in to sleep while we pushed him around this pretty village, I can totally understand why they call it Norfolk’s loveliest village, it absolutely is. With magazine worthy houses, independent shops, art galleries and places to eat aplenty all either side of a village green, it is a place I could happily spend all day. We decided to try and sit down to eat while William had his nap, something that never and I mean never, ever happens. The Hoste came with great reviews, it had a beautiful garden to enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine and modern country interiors that puts other pubs to shame, the type of pub I strive to find when looking for somewhere to eat. The bar was set high but sadly the food didn’t meet the same high expectations and left us feeling a little disappointed. We ordered a light sandwich lunch so perhaps a main dish would have been more impressive but it was a sandwich I could have quickly made at home and one that didn’t leave a lasting impression other than, I’ve had better. That said, I loved the overall feeling of The Hoste so do not rule it out because our sandwich didn’t meet expectation and I’d highly recommend drinks in the garden.

And our day didn’t finish here, opting to do more walking and visit somewhere else before dinner, we drove to Hunstanton only 12 miles away. A fresh, blowy walk along the quiet seafront was well worth it for the ice cream we stopped for before heading back to the car. I am extremely picky when it comes to ice cream, always looking for a waffle cone and gelato and we hit the jackpot, nothing makes me happier than great ice cream.

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We arrived back to the camp slightly earlier than the night before, wanting to enjoy some time on site, playing and relaxing. So while William played on the park next to our lodge we sat back and enjoyed a glass of prosecco, firing up the wood burner early so we could eat before dark. As the sun started to set in a bright blue sky, turning it dusky pink and the cold started to creep in we threw on jumpers and enjoyed the beautiful evening sky. Once showered and alone, we cooked more food than we could have ever eaten and finished with more marshmallows under blankets. We were once again the last ones standing and everyone else had long gone to bed, it occurred to me then that even though we are now parents, somethings haven’t changed. Before William we would always be the last two on the beach or by the pool reading, heading back to the room in our swimwear and towels, maybe stopping for a cocktail on the way while everyone else was already dressed for dinner. I was worried that our holidays would be different after William, that we wouldn’t enjoy our own pace, having everything dictated by a tiny person but without realising it, this hasn’t happened. We were still the last back to camp, the last to eat, the last to bed and realising this made me so happy – we are still us and move to our own beat!

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The following morning pretty much followed the same as before, a quick hello to the animals, porridge breakfast and while we packed up the lodge to go home that evening William played at the park.

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On our third and final day we wanted to go to Blakeney Point to visit the seals so we drove to Morston to buy tickets from Beans Boats and then headed to the Quay to board. A couple of tips if you’re looking to book a trip, you can book ahead over the telephone or purchase from Beans Boats on the day. Do not forget to check the departure times, we didn’t even consider this when we set off but there are only two trips a day at varying times depending on the tide, it was pure luck that we arrived at the right time! It was slightly overcast so with jumpers on, we hopped on the boat and headed out in search of seals. It was Williams first time on a boat, lots of firsts for us this holiday, and to begin with he was spotting all the boats making sure we didn’t miss any. A little while later he excitedly exclaimed ‘water’! Realising we were in fact on a boat in the water. It never ceases to amaze me that such seemingly small things make him so happy. It was a short trip out to the seals in which we all got fairly wet from the spray, something that only seemed to increase our excitement levels, probably something to do with the very excited toddler we had on our laps. The seals were enjoying basking on the island and we took a few trips around to enjoy watching them and the birds, learning more about them. With time to spare we headed out a little further to see if we could spot any swimming and to everyones joy the seals frolicked around in the sea before us, while we all played spot the seal as they popped up above the surface, a game which William was particularly good at. We returned to land and were ready for nap time after all the fun and fresh air of being on the water.

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We drove while William napped, enjoying all the picturesque villages and started on our way to Wells-Next-Sea for lunch and an afternoon at the beach. We parked up by the beach cafe so we could grab a quick bite to eat and walk straight onto the beach. The cafe was clean and friendly with food you would expect to see, sandwiches, salads, sausage rolls and plenty of range for little ones too… Oh, and cake which we managed to resist, opting for a light lunch before dinner. You can choose to eat inside or out and there are toilets and showers too so you have everything you need close by. A short walk to the beach and we were greeted by beautiful soft sand and the most Insta worthy beach huts. It was surprisingly quiet and we enjoyed an afternoon in the warm sun, making memories, burying daddy in the sand, building sandcastles, collecting more shells. When it was time for dinner we loaded everything back in the car and decided on chips on the beachfront at Hunstanton as we had spotted somewhere the night before, conveniently located next to the delicious ice cream we had enjoyed. We arrived just as they were closing for the evening but thankfully in time to make an order and sit on the outside terrace, we didn’t manage however to eat them in time to get an ice cream before they closed. I won’t lie, I was devastated, I live for ice cream in the summer time!

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After our final walk along the beach it was bedtime for William and we had planned to leave at this time so we could drive home while he slept, it also meant we could make the most of our final day. At 8 o,clock, dressed in pyjamas we hit the road, stopping in Tesco for petrol… it was then I had the genius idea of running into the store for ice cream! We drove home, enjoying our ice creams while William happily chatted, threw his bears around and generally did everything in his power to avoid sleep. Somehow he made the 1.5 hour journey home without so much as a power nap. I have no idea how he managed it but once we were finally home we were able to get him settled and into bed before we enjoyed a little more time together, squeezing out the very last of our holiday together.

We had the most fantastic time , my favourite places were Brancaster, Burnham Market and Wells-Next-Sea and I’m counting down until we can visit again, with all this fantastic weather I don’t think a visit will be far off! Have you been to Norfolk before? Do you have anywhere recommendations for our next visit?

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