The “Norfolkness” of Norfolk

The “Norfolkness” of Norfolk, where the locals are friendly and relaxed and all the produce is sourced locally, the County has some of the best small producers in the country.  As you may remember reading here we had a weekend planned away to Norfolk this past weekend and stayed at the Wiveton Bell.  The cosy Inn had everything we needed and hoped for.  The Library Room which was our home for the 2 nights was small (for 3 of us) but it had all the luxuries from Egyptian Linen and goose down pillows, to fluffy bathrobes and REN products. The room was done up in French Chic decor with antique shutters and handcrafted stable cupboards.  Each morning hot freshly baked bread, croissants and pain au chocolat’s were delivered to the room with milk and The Daily Telegraph.  The rooms are equipped with toaster, fridge, coffee plungers and kettles as well as cereals and condiments for breakfast.  The cosiness was incredible and the roaring fire in the bar/restaurant was by far my highlight, I was so pleased that the evenings were cool, so each night we would arrive back a little chilly and after a hot shower, change into a warm jersey and jeans, and settle in next to the fire.

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Norfolk was quite different to what I expected but it certainly didn’t disappoint.  One of the local restaurant owners was asked what he loved most about Norfolk and his answer was, “the Norfolkness of Norfolk”. Lets not be mistaken, the locals are extremely patriotic and would live nowhere else, why would you! It’s an extremely outdoorsy place so would recommend visiting in Spring or Summer.  The activities (crabbing, boating, seal watching, bike trails, walks, picnics, water zorbing etc) to Culture (museums, Art galleries and potters) to site seeing (including the possibility of a Royal siting whilst exploring the famous retreat of Sandringham Estate) to endless award winning restaurants, nature reserves, beautiful sandy beaches that stretch for miles and more.  The options are endless and so are the heaps of little villages that make up North Norfolk (which is where we were).

After arriving and sitting down to a delicious Easter lunch at the Wiveton Bell restaurant (and then a sneaky nap) we set off to do a little exploring close to home, and found ourselves in the cute traditional village of Blakeney.  Although it wasn’t so cute after receiving a parking fine on Easter Sunday (have you ever). Luckily the fine stipulated that if we bought a pay & display ticket for (£3) and posted the ticket together with the fine into the letter box the fine of £50 would be revoked. Phew!

The Blakeney Hotel would be another good spot to stay with pretty views and a great restaurant and heated pool. It’s a privately run family hotel which always makes a place more attractive (to me anyway). After a long walk we retreated to our cosy Inn for the evening. Put Oliver to bed and headed down to the restaurant (again).   I ate the Crab (it would be silly not to as it comes from as close as 2 miles down the road and is fresh daily) and Bruce had the Hake. We finished off with Raspberry and Thyme Creme Brulee. Delish!

Our first port of call on day 2 was Holkham, famous firstly for Holkham Hall, the home of Lord and Lady Coke, and secondly for having one of the UK’s best beaches.  We took a shaded walk through the pinewoods and then through a slightly marshy area (hence the Hunter Wellies in the pic below) before arriving on the golden sands of Holkham Bay which rolls on for miles and miles. Unfortunately the day was a bit windy but luckily not too cold and when in a sheltered spot it was lovely and warm.

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After quite some time of exploring the beach and playing in the sand we headed back to Holkham Park. The grounds are extensive and the beauty is eye watering. Designated walks allow visitors to explore the 3,000-acre grounds and take a closer look at prominent landmarks, such as the monument to Coke of Norfolk and the obelisk.  The grounds are also home to a beautiful lake where you can try a relaxing and leisurely lake cruise, hire a rowing boat, canoe or kayak. For those visitors feeling really adventurous, try water zorbing to really get your heart racing!

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Holkham Beach
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Holkham Hall Estate

We had lunch in the walled gardens of the Park, with lots of Easter activities going on and plenty of dogs running around, Oliver was in his element which meant he wandered around safely whilst Bruce and I sat down and relaxed!

The afternoon took us to Wells-next-to-the-sea. Now this isn’t necessarily a spot I would write home about but it’s a little bustling village in the summer with a port, lots of boating and crabbing going on and famous for the fish and chips at The Quay as well as beach huts that can be hired. Our main reason for going was to catch the little train down to the beach but sadly we were too late and the rides had ended for the day.  So we headed off back towards Wiveton and stopped off at The Anchor Inn in Morston which is a favourite pub of the locals and they are racking up the awards including BBC Top Ten Coastal Pubs and EDP readers Restaurant of the year.

Another stop worth making is Stiffkey, a quiet little village, very quaint with some of the narrowest roads. The reason for stopping would be for Stiffkey Stores. Here is a shop with plenty to discover. Artisan coffee alongside decadent cakes made daily in the store to be enjoyed in the sunny courtyard.  Delightful produce is on offer from wood fired bread, organic wares, to seasonal cut flowers. Interesting books for adults and children and lovely homewares and accessories can be found in the adjoining barn.

 

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And our last evening spent (again ofcourse) in the relaxing restaurant with the fire blazing at the Wiveton Bell Pub.  Bruce ate the Pork Belly which tasted amazing (even though I am not a fan of pork) and I had the Hake which he enjoyed the night before.  If you know my husband you will know he has the sweetest tooth around and cannot end a meal without dessert.  This makes me quite happy because it means I never have to order but also get to try 😉 We ended the meal with mini cinnamon donut balls and ice cream.

To conclude our mini break in Norfolk on day 3,  we walked through the grounds of the beautiful St Mary’s Church of Wiveton to release some energy before climbing into the car for the 3 hour journey back to London. Sadly the camera’s and phone’s were out of space for picture taking and I wasn’t able to get a shot of the beautiful rolling hills beyond the Church yard which was quite misted up early in the morning.

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend and had a very Happy Easter! x

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