There’s nothing nicer on a beautiful summer’s day than exploring our beloved Blighty when you can enjoy the UK’s stunning scenery in all its glory. Last weekend I found myself in the picturesque surrounds of North Norfolk, a destination I had never been before, and frankly never really thought of going to. However, I was soon blown away by the beaches, the delicious food and the beautiful countryside. So much so that I am already thinking of when to go back!
Here are my highlights:
Wells-Next-to-the-Sea, a small harbour town, was as quintessentially English as they come with bunting-clad streets, pretty boutique shops and inns and plenty of boats bobbing in the harbour. Unsurprisingly, the thing to do here is to head to one of the many fish and chip shops for a bite to eat, which serves some of the best – and freshest – around. I opted for a simple-yet-delicious cod and chips, which I then enjoyed on a bench overlooking the harbour, the perfect way to start my trip. I also chose to stay in Wells-Next-to-the-Sea at The Crown Hotel, a charming boutique-style pub with individually designed rooms owned by Kiwi chef and hotelier Chris Couborough. I can really recommend it!
Just up from Wells-Next-to-the-Sea, Holkham beach is one of the areas most popular spots and one of the best beaches in the country. In fact, Gwyneth Paltrow walked across Holkham sand at low tide during the closing scenes of the film ‘Shakespeare in Love’. It’s not hard to see why its so loved with everyone from couples to families (dogs are welcome too) with its colourful beach huts, soft white sand and plenty of secluded stretches of sand sloping gently into the calm blue sea (which was wonderfully refreshing!). As the sun descended we decided to take the cute vintage train back to Wells-Next-to-the-Sea instead of walking (it only cost £1.40).
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Norfolk is Blakeney Point Nature Reserve where you can go and see the many seals who visit its shores. We went on a two-hour afternoon trip with Temple Seal Tours (which sets off from the Anchor Inn). It was a brilliant day, helped by the fabulous weather. Travelling by boat through Blakeney Harbour, we soon encountered the seals sunbathing on the sand (the region attracts both common and grey seals). They even swam close to the boat so we got some great pictures! The skipper then left us on the reserve for an hour to explore the area and historic lifeboat house (you have the option to stay or go straight back).
Hunstanton was another lovely – and very foodie – area that’s worth exploring and a popular seaside resort in which to base yourselves in. Famed for its striped cliffs and long stretch of beach, it’s perfect for a lengthy windswept walk before a tasty dinner in a cosy pub. I loved The Orange Tree, a pub in neighbouring Thornham that’s known for its great seafood. I certainly wasn’t disappointed and it was one of the best meals I have enjoyed in ages – melt in the mouth hake with soft shell crab and salsify followed by a delicious deconstructed pavlova. Delicious!