Our first full day on the North Norfolk coast coincided with the start of the recent beautiful weather across the UK, so we thought we’d have a nice lazy day on the beach! Although it was a bit of a trek from our campsite we chose Wells next the Sea. We set off along the coastal A149 which ran through several lovely historic villages (Weybourne, Cley next the Sea, Blakeney and Stiffkey) as we wound our way towards our destination.
On arrival we initially stopped in the town car-park, ideal for visiting the harbour or the town centre, but can also be used to visit the beach if you don’t mind either walking about a mile, or taking the little train. This car-park had fairly reasonable charges, but we continued along the beach road and found another car-park right by the beach (where the charges were considerably higher!) There are toilets here as well as a nice café and upmarket beach shop (Joules!)
We made our way onto the beach and could see lovely colourful beach huts up on stilts in the near distance. Calv refused to walk any further so we parked ourselves quite quickly. Very soon I saw a disturbance in the water just in front of a sandbank dead ahead of us; I knew it wasn’t caused by a human and thought that perhaps it was a dog. But it was seals! We watched as 4 of them hauled their way up onto the sandbank to bask in the sun – they stayed for nearly as long as we did, which was almost 4 hours 🙂
The beach was beautiful apart from the fact that in front of where we had parked ourselves, and before you got to the water, there was a large strip of mud to negotiate. You could avoid it by walking about another 100m up the beach, but I tried this and turned right too soon! By the time I realised my mistake (I thought I was on wet sand) it was too late and my feet were caked 😦
We have since been told that if you park at the back of the car park and walk through the forest you enter the beach at the other end, where it is all sand. As we’re going back to West Norfolk next week we might have another go (weather permitting).
The following day we decided to make use of our National Trust membership again and chose to visit Blickling Hall, thinking that we’d go to Felbrigg Hall (which was very close to our campsite) another day….(we never actually made it).
The house is quite interesting and I particularly liked the bathroom scales that we spotted, but the estate is very much about the gardens. As we’re not particularly into gardens we would have been disappointed had we paid separately for our visit. We did however make use of the estate for a bike ride. There are many paths available and we took the multi-use path, 4 1/2 miles that takes you past the tower (now a holiday let) and within reach of the mausoleum in the grounds. The walks and paths are available to all.
After a break from the van that saw us take 5 1/2 hours to drive 200 miles (stuck on the M25) in the little white car, and then 2 days later return to North Norfolk from Portsmouth via Chippenham in Wiltshire (to see my newest nephew; 2 days old at the time) – another 300 miles or so, we felt very tired. As a result we were really lazy for the rest of our time at Woodlands!
We did go swimming each day (and made use of the sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi of course…), but the only other thing we did over the course of the next 3 days was to visit Langham Glass to see glass being created. There is a factory shop and café and then several different options to either just watch the glassmakers in their work, or experiences to actually have a go at glass blowing or to make your own ornaments.
We simply watched while a small owl and a larger vase were made. As the craftsmen work they explain everything that they’re doing and answer any questions you might have. Having seen the creations being made you can appreciate that each piece is actually unique 🙂
It’s great to do something different and we both really enjoyed this.
One other place that we briefly visited on the evening that we went to Cromer, we Mundsley a little further east up the coast. This looked like a lovely little resort; a couple of caravan parks, a hotel, an amusement arcade, mini-golf, pub, restaurant, little museum (literally) and a lovely beach. We do know someone who has visited a couple of times and they assure us that it really is lovely – just perfect for a young family 🙂
There were a few other things we would have liked to have done during our stay, including:-
- Felbrigg Hall (National Trust)
- The ruins of Baconsthorpe Castle (English Heritage)
- Leatheringsett WaterMill (we did try on the way home from the glassworks, but were too late)
- The historic town of Holt
- More exploring of Sheringham Hall walks and cycle paths