We took a short break to Norfolk this weekend, venue for many a childhood holiday when I was under 10 years of age. My partner was working at a prawn factory in a tiny village on Sunday, so whilst he was hard at it, I took the opportunity to revisit some of my childhood haunts.
First on the list was Wells-next-the-Sea, a quaint little town on the East Anglian coast. Sadly the weather was less than kind, so I opted to take a few photos in a mad dash from the car, rather than risk getting drenched. Below: the tide was right out, leaving the anchored boats balancing on the mud flats.
Despite the rain, the town was quite bustling for a Sunday, and there seemed to be plenty of attractive shops and several places to grab a coffee and a bite to eat. One to re-visit sometime, I think.
I made my way eastwards along the coast, through the salt marshes of Stiffkey (I’m reliably informed by my mother that it’s pronounced “Stewkey”, and onto Blakeney – a lovely village, again on salt marshes.
Next on the agenda was Cromer, a place of very happy holiday memories. I clearly remember certain elements of our stays there: the Craigside Hotel on St Mary’s Road, run by Mr and Mrs Swann (since demolished and apartments built on the site); the Pedlar’s Pack – a treasure trove of a shop on Jetty Street (sadly no longer there – now holiday accommodation); Cromer Lighthouse and, of course, the beach.
But it turned out that specific memories for me were few. The town seemed unfamiliar as I drove through it and I had misplaced the lighthouse which is to the east of the town, rather than in the centre as I’d thought. I’d forgotten Cromer had a pier and the lighthouse looked much smaller than I remembered.
The following day we went to Holt … and fell in love! Holt is a beautiful town with lots of lovely shops, galleries and cafes. We stumbled across Folly’s Tearoom, one of the most gorgeous cafes I’ve ever visited.
Tucked away in a quaint courtyard, Hopper’s Yard, it is beautifully furnished and decorated in vintage style – but without falling foul of being too clichéd or twee.
We chose the Gentleman’s Folly (sausage roll, 2 different quiches, chutney, finger sandwiches and 2 scones, jam and clotted cream) and the Cheese Folly (3 cheese scones, including 1 Stilton) served with chutney. Both were served with a huge pot of loose leaf tea and plenty of butter for the scones!
The mismatched china teacups and saucers, food served on cakestands and the unique touches like these cutlery hooks (above) added to the ambience.
One of the main features we noticed whilst out and about in North Norfolk was the style in which the houses were built. Many of them are brick with flint and pebbles set into the exterior walls, whilst the roofs are tiled with red Norfolk Pantiles. There’s a great reference on Pinterest about these materials.
And so it was time to make our way home. With a four hour journey on single carriageway A roads, it’s not an easily accessible place but it’s one to which I’d love to return soon.