Ms B and I have just returned from our fabulous weekend trip to Norfolk. Fellow bloggers Ourworldforyou, whom we follow closely on the internet, had made us aware of how great a holiday destination Norfolk really is.
Until I read their posts, I really only associated Norfolk with two things (both of which I’m a huge fan of): Alan Partridge and Lesbian Vampire Killers. Well, no more! We were so fascinated by this lovely stretch of land in the north of East Anglia that we’ll return again soon for more. Next time we’ll do an extended weekend stay, because last weekend was done on an extremely tight schedule.
We got up at a quarter to five on Saturday morning (crazy, I know!!), to catch a cab to Liverpool Street Station an hour later. From there our train departed to Norwich at 6:30am, to arrive two hours later at 8:27am. We got another cab to get us to the car rental pick-up point on the outskirts of Norwich. By 9:15am I was sitting behind the steering wheel with my co-driver by my side and we were on our way to Hunstanton.
After an extended lazy breakfast near the seaside we arrived with plenty of time to spare at the promenade in Hunstanton, from where our seal safari (blog post here) was scheduled to take off at 12:45pm. Our Vietnam War amphibian vehicles left right on time for the sandbanks where the cute and cuddly caniformes were waiting for us. We’d highly recommend this one-hour tour.
We squeezed in a quick late lunch, then spent the rest of the day exploring the coastline and doing a bit of hiking. It was then, that we were informed that our deep sea fishing boat trip the next morning had been cancelled because of the heavy winds that were starting to cause havoc all along the coastline.
Our dinner at the Wells Crab House in Wells-next-the-Sea was seafood perfection on a platter (blog post here). We arrived at our King’s Lynn B&B at around 9pm and went straight to bed, feeling grateful that we wouldn’t have to get up before 5am another time the next morning.
We just made it to breakfast on time (the B&B stopped serving breakfast at 10am) and were pleased to get some sustenance in the shape of two Full English.
Initially we had planned to explore the harbour of King’s Lynn, which looks pretty on the photos we had seen, but time was of the essence if we were going to visit Sandringham and the Norfolk Lavender farm before our 1:30pm lunch reservations in Old Hunstanton.
I’m no fan of the Royals and generally not too much into 19th Century architecture and interior décor (I prefer Renaissance and earlier, the older the better). Exploring the vast and outstandingly well-managed gardens and ponds and the building was surprisingly fascinating, though. The Queen usually stays for around ten weeks from November to January, you learn from the friendly guides. She brings about 100 of her regular close staff with her, who help a bit with the cooking, running the household, and the being-the-head-of-state-of-sixteen countries bit.
Unsurprisingly all of the guides are enormous admirers of the Royals, so it’s difficult not to let their enthusiasm catch on, even for an old curmudgeon like me. (Ms B, like all little princesses, is quite a fan of the monarchy anyway.)
In many of the rooms there are photos, some recent, some decades old, that have been taken in precisely the respective room you’re standing in at that moment from exactly the same angle. You see the dining room where every single meal is being taken when the Queen’s staying. Several of the photos include Pippa and her car-racing hedgie husband.
After just over an hour we made our way to Norfolk Lavender, only to find out that they had closed the farm for the time being, because of storm damage to several trees. We still walked around a bit outside the gates and caught a glimpse of purple, so it had been worth the short trip from Sandringham.
Then it was time to depart for Old Hunstanton, where we were booked in for lunch at Michelin-starred Neptune (blog post here). Before our meal we found some time to explore the coastline next to the restaurant.
After our meal we drove back to Norwich and were glad that we had allowed sufficient time. There were several construction sites with one-lane-only and traffic lights and several tractors on the roads, slowing down the traffic for miles on end.
We returned our car and took a cab back to the train station, only to find out that they do not have any lockers. It was 5pm and we still had 3 hours until our train back to London was going to depart, so we explored Norwich and grabbed some food. By 10:30pm we were back in our London flat, exhausted but very pleased with how our weekend had worked out.