The best places to see Father Christmas during your stay in North Norfolk

Well, it’s that time of year again! Time to start thinking about jingling those bells and dusting off the elf to keep an eye on the children.

If you are planning a nice, relaxing pre-Christmas break in North Norfolk you will be spoiled for choice on where to take your little angels to meet Father Christmas.

Santa’s Magical Journey at Thursford

Thursford is famous for their Christmas show. People from all over the country flock to visit. Even royalty can’t resist the charm and magic of this festive treat. Tickets are in high demand, but this isn’t all Thursford has going for it at Christmas time. Bring the children along and experience the joy of Santa’s Magical Journey.

Tickets must be pre-booked and cost £17.50 for children and £11.50 for adults. It may seem a little pricey, but it’s well worth it. More than just a present from the guy in red, the children will be led on a journey past penguins, polar bears, giant teddy bears and even into the toy factory where you will be greeted by elves before you meet Father Christmas.

Santa’s Magical Journey is open 1st, 2nd,8th, 9th & 15th-23rd December. They sell out fast so make sure you book as soon as possible.

In addition to Santa’s journey you’ll be able to spend time perusing the shops on site. There is a range of festive and foodie gifts to get your hands on. Why not get your Christmas shopping done at the same time? Entry to the shops and café are free.

See the lights of Holt

Now, this one’s not strictly focused on Father Christmas but if it’s a magical wonderland you’re after, Holt is the place for you.

The town has one of the most impressive and beautiful set of Christmas lights in the whole of Norfolk. Your children will be mesmerised walking through the town with every building looking like a gingerbread house.

If you’re going to be around North Norfolk during the festive season it’s a must.

Holkham Hall offers a traditional Christmas

If you like your Christmas with traditional flair then Holkham is the place for you!

There is more than just Father Christmas at the Holkham estate over the festive season. Events include Christmas music nights, candlelight tours and festive gifts in the onsite shop. Be sure to book on to these events if you are interested as Christmas at Holkham is very popular!

Jarrolds in Norwich

Jarrolds is an independent department store in the centre of Norwich with an impressive toy department. Don’t forget to also check out the Christmas display window. It gets bigger and better every year!

From the 25th November Father Christmas sits in his Grotto waiting to hear what children would like delivered on Christmas Eve. Tickets are £5 per child and will be available from the Toys, Christmas or Craft till points.

Whilst you’re there, make the most of your time in the shop. With five floors of fabulous gift ideas, you’ll be able to find something for everyone.

Visit Father Christmas on the Bure Valley Railway…

Go on a Magical Train Journey to visit Father Christmas in his grotto. Hop on the train at Wroxham station and enjoy the steam train ride to find Father Christmas.

The Magical Train Journey takes place from 1st – 24th December 3 times a day (except on Christmas eve when it only runs twice). Tickets must be pre-booked and cost £17 each.

In addition to meeting Father Christmas, once you get to the grotto there will be Children’s entertainment and festive refreshments. A perfect festive day out.

…or book on the Santa Special on the North Norfolk Railway

Another fabulous Santa meet and greet complete with train ride, this one gets booked up fast. Running from 1 December to Christmas Eve, the train departs from Sheringham for Santaland at Weybourne, where children receive a gift from the man himself.

There’s even a sherry and a mince pie for the grown ups!

Santa’s Experience at Wroxham Barns

Do you have children between the ages of 2 and 10? They’ll love meeting Father Christmas at Wroxham Barns! Hosted by Father Christmas’ elves, there will be plenty of singing and games. Prices vary from £7.50-£12.50 per child (under 2s are free).

Santa’s Experience at Wroxham Barns is open 1st, 2nd,8th, 9th & 15th-23rd December. There are 5 slots a day so plenty of opportunities for the children to get involved.

Haven’t booked a festive break yet but sounds like a great idea? Get in touch with us today and see what availability we have in the run up to the new year. Our luxury cottages are the perfect place to rest after an exciting day visiting Father Christmas. With properties sleeping from 4 to 8, you can bring the whole family!

The Best Autumnal Walks for You and Your Dog in Norfolk

It’s the cosiest time of the year! Crisp autumnal days are the perfect excuse to wrap up with the family and take a walk in the colourful countryside. The leaves are turning red and the low sun casts a golden glow through trees and across fields. It’s magical.

Norfolk is full of stunning scenery. There’s an abundance of walks to take advantage of. We have picked out some of our highlight to inspire you.

Whether you’re after a walk through woodland, a stroll by the seaside or a tour through a town there is something for everyone.

Sheringham Country Park 

Sheringham Country offers the best of both worlds. You get to enjoy stunning sea views as you’re exploring the parkland.

There are four marked trails around Sheringham Country Park. The distances vary from one to five miles – or you could make up your own! During the autumn season there is plenty of wildlife to spot. Dragonflies, butterflies and fungi are in abundance. See if you’re lucky enough to spot a Woodpecker too!Autumnal fungi in Norfolk

Four-legged family members are welcome at the park. There are areas where cattle can be found grazing so remember to keep you pup on a lead when cattle is close by.

Holt Country Park

Situated on the outskirts of the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Holt Country Park is a wonderful Green Flag awarded park. Boasting woodland and heathland, there is plenty to see.

Four trails are marked out at Holt Country Park, and one cycle route. Along the way you can discover the pond and viewing tower. A perfect opportunity to take in views of the beautiful Norfolk Countryside. The walks are fairly short, varying from 1/3rdmile to just under 2 miles. Combine a few to make a longer trail for you and your family.

Children will love spending time in the play area and sensory garden; see if they can also discover the totem pole and sculptures around the park.

Done exploring? Then why not have a wander around the pretty Georgian town and treat yourself to a scone or two.

Wander around one of our fab country homes

We are lucky to have a number of impressive country houses to spend the day wandering around. Surrounded by miles and miles of beautiful woodlands and parkland, you can really make a day of it.

The Norfolk Coast

We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it. You can’t come to Norfolk without a trip to the coast! Most of the beaches are dog-friendly during the winter season so your pooch can dip their paws in the sea and run around until their heart’s content.

If you want a change of scenery but still get to enjoy the sea air, take a walk along the Norfolk Coastal Path. There are 84 miles of path running from Hunstanton to Sea Palling!

Find maps of the walks online. Don’t forget to pack plenty of snacks and water if you are planning on making the day of it!

Mousehold Heath & Norwich

If you are after something a little closer to a town or city, Mousehold Heath is a great option. It is located on the outskirts of Norwich. It boasts stunning views overlooking the historic city.

Once you have spent enough time wondering round the heathland head into the city. There is plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy as you walk around the city too. Elm Hill is a picture-perfect cobbled street dating back to the medieval times. Take the opportunity to explore the grounds of the Cathedral and follow the river.

The Lanes is where you will get a feel for the soul of the city. They are dotted with quirky and independent shops and eateries. If you want to learn more, consider taking a guided tour around the city. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Our luxury holiday cottages are situated throughout North Norfolk. The perfect base for your autumn holiday! Get in touch today to see what availability we have.

Top 4 Stately Homes to Visit in North Norfolk

The weather may be starting to turn but there are still plenty of things to do in Norfolk to keep you entertained during your luxury holiday cottage stay.

Norfolk is home to a number of impressive and beautiful stately homes, no more than a short drive away from our fabulous cottages. We love nothing more than spending a lazy day exploring the country estates. So, here are our top 4 stately homes to visit during your cottage break in Norfolk.

Blickling Hall

 Blickling Hall is a very popular day out for visitors and locals in the North Norfolk area. Believed to be the birthplace of Anne Boleyn, Blickling Hall is a very impressive stately home. The house has an amazing walled garden complete with an orangery, overlooks a vast lake and is set in an abundance of surrounding park land.

As part of the National Trust family, visitors are treated to plenty of informative activities and exhibitions year-round. There is fun and games for everyone, sport equipment is available including crickets sets. The whole family will be running around and enjoying the great outdoors in no time.

If you would rather go off and explore the surrounding woodlands, then there are walking trails for all abilities and cycle hire for those a wanting to get around at a faster pace.

If the weather takes a turn, be sure to pop into the house. Art installations and displays are often on show. Don’t miss out on the on-site gift shop and café. Or call in at the pub on the outskirts of the estate.

Autumn is one of the best times to visit the hall. During this time Blickling celebrates the seasonal produce they grow in their walled garden and orchard. You will be able to sample the delicious flavours of home-grown apples and pumpkins if you pop into one of the on-site cafes. There is even an Apple Picking event on October!

Our fabulous cottage in Holt is the closest to Blickling, however it is well worth the trip from any of our properties.

For more information about the Blickling Estate, and to plan your trip visit the National Trust website.

Felbrigg Hall

Said to be one of the most elegant country houses in East Anglia, Felbrigg Hall is a National Trust property that is just over 2 miles from the popular seaside town of Cromer.

Discover all you can about Felbrigg Hall by taking a guided tour of the attics and cellars, as well as visiting the number of rooms that are open to the public.

Once you have discovered all there is to see in the house, take a walk through the picturesque gardens. Within the orangery there are plenty of unusual and exotic plants to find, including the ‘headache tree’ – like the name suggests, it is said that the smell can cause headaches!

After the gardens, go on to explore the estate woodlands. Be sure to take in points of interest such as the lake, St Margaret’s Church and the 18th century ice house.

If you’re feeling up for a challenge and really want to make a day of it, follow the ‘Norfolk Mountain’ walk – a National Trust 16-mile circular walk beginning at Felbrigg. It takes you through countryside, parkland and along the coast with total combined gradients of 1140ft – the equivalent of a small mountain! Don’t worry, despite the name you don’t actually have to climb up the side of a mountain. Norfolk is, after all, one of the flattest counties!

More information can be found on the National Trust website.

Holkham Hall

You can hit two birds with one stone when visiting the Holkham Estate. Visit the house and explore its grounds, then take a walk down the drive, across the road, to the perfect, flat white sands of Holkham Beach. You may actually need more than one day to fit it all in!

Holkham Hall is an impressive Palladian style house. The interior boasts a number of magnificent rooms which guest can visit on select days. Rooms include The Marble Hall, The Libraries and The Old Kitchen. Each room as impressive as the next, you can spend hours taking in the exquisite interior.

The vast grounds were designed by Humphry Repton in the 18th Century. Within the park you can explore the lake and walled gardens. Children can release their inner adventurer at the Woodland Adventure Play Area.

There are three walks which can be followed around the estate; The Farm Walk, The Lake Walk and The Park Walk. Varying from 3.7 to 6 miles, there are options for everyone.

Landmarks not to be missed along the way are The Obelisk, The Monument, The Ice House and The Temple.

If you’re not much of a walker, Holkham offers two hour or full day cycle hire. There are three sign posted routes around the grounds to explore at your own pace.

The Holkham Estate is perfect for wildlife lovers. Holkham is home to a large herd of Fallow Deer that roam freely around the grounds. There is also a fascinating Nature Trail with a quiz along the way being sure to keep the children running ahead!

There is a café and gift shop within the grounds. Have a cup of tea and slice of cake to set you up for your adventure around the grounds or refuel once you have finished exploring.

Dogs are welcome in the park if they are kept on their lead. A perfect day out for the whole family and only a stone’s throw away from our cottages in Wells-Next-The-Sea. The Holkham Estate puts on events throughout the year so why not see if there is anything happening during your stay.

Find out more information about the Holkham Estate and beach on their website.

Sandringham House

 

Sandringham House is best known for being The Queen’s Norfolk retreat. But there is much more to the Sandringham Estate than it just being home to the Royal family over the festive season.

As with our other stately home choices there are some amazing grounds to explore. Sandringham boasts an exciting play area and even a sculpture trail around the Arboretum to get the children running around. Children and adults alike will marvel at the skill of the craftsmen who sculpted the statues from tree trunks using chainsaws.

Within the woodland there are two marked walks on offer, you can choose from the 1.5 mile or 2.5 mile trails. Bring along your four-legged family members too, but be sure to keep them on their leads.

From March to October, you really should not leave without visiting the house, gardens and museum. There are knowledgeable guides in each of the rooms open in the house and the museum is home to extraordinary collections of Royal vehicles, photographs and memorabilia. It’s not to be missed!

Sandringham house is set in 24 hectares of gardens that range from peaceful woodlands, to rockeries, to the formal North Garden.

Pick up a souvenir from one of the shops at the Visitor Centre. At Sandringham you can find a restaurant and two cafes where you can grab lunch or maybe afternoon tea.

With all this on offer it’s no wonder that it is suggested you allow at least 4 hours for your visit! Open year-round Sandringham is a charming day out. Visit the website to find out more information.

 

It’s hard to choose just one of these exquisite stately homes to visit so why not squeeze a couple in during your trip to North Norfolk?

If we’ve inspired you to visit our beautiful county, get in touch with us today. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Top tips for a great beach holiday in Norfolk

Tide marks on a deserted beach

Norfolk is the perfect place to come on holiday if you’re after beautiful, relaxing beaches here in the UK. With the glorious summer we are experiencing looking to stick around for a little while longer, and with so many to choose from, you can visit a different beach every day!

Plan your beach trip

First thing’s first, be prepared for your day trip. Make sure you don’t forget anything by writing a list.

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Check the tides
  2. Pack the sun cream
  3. Bring a parasol and/or windbreak for shade
  4. Bucket and spade
  5. Towels
  6. Swimsuits
  7. Picnic
  8. Digital radio – listen to local station for tide times
  9. Cash – for ice creams!
  10. Plenty of water
  11. Sunhats and sunglasses
  12. Bodyboards
  13. Blankets
  14. Pop up tent – for shade at midday, portable changing room and a nap zone for small children
  15. Spare clothes – your first ones are probably going to get wet!
  16. Book
  17. Beach activities such as a football or a frisbee
  18. Beach shoes in case of stones, or perfect for rock pooling.

If you do happen to forget anything, don’t panic! You’re at the British seaside after all. There are plenty of shops selling anything you could possibly need. And if the picnic gets forgotten about, fish and chips it is!

Stay safe on the beach

It’s important to remember to take care when visiting the beach. Especially if you and your family are swimming in the sea. Try to always swim at a beach patrolled by lifeguards.

Beaches with lifeguards that are close to some of our luxury holiday cottages are: Wells-next-the-sea, Sheringham, East Runton, West Runton and Cromer.

Lifeguards are on patrol at all these locations between 10am and 6pm every day during the summer.
A full list of beaches with lifeguards on shift and more information can be found here: https://rnli.org/find-my-nearest?type=Beach

Keep an eye out for safety flags and the information signs usually found at the entrance of the beach. These will identify any potential hazards present at the beach and the safest areas to be in the water.

Know the time of the tides. Being cut off from the main beach is not the holiday adventure that you and your family want. Being aware of the tides and keeping an eye on them if you go exploring throughout the day will mean you stay safe and sound.

Know where your children are. Beaches get very busy in the summer time so make sure you set up a camp that is easy to spot. Decide a meeting point with older children in case they get lost. Make sure younger children are supervised at all times.

Stay safe in the sun

Beach Hut Number 10, Wells Beach

Day after day of sunshine and scorching temperatures are what summer holiday dreams are made of.

Be sure to stay safe in the hot weather by drinking plenty of water. The sun and wind can dehydrate you, even if it’s not that hot.

Don’t forget your sun cream. A holiday is no fun if you spend half of it burnt and sore.  Slather up before you leave your cottage in the morning and reapply every 2 hours. Make sure you are using one with a good SPF and at least 4 UVA stars for the best protection. Always reapply after swimming, even if your cream is waterproof.

Sun hats and sunglasses are a must. A hat will protect you from heat stroke and the glasses will shield your eyes from the bright sun. Get glasses that have UV protection built in.


Most importantly, have fun 

You’re on holiday after all! And what better way to have a good time than a day or five at the seaside! Get the sand in your toes (and ears and tummy button and nose) and the sea breeze in your hair.

Holidaying in Wells-Next-The-Sea

Wells-next-the-Sea is a popular harbour town in North Norfolk, boasting picturesque scenery and a lively quayside. There is plenty to see and do in this small and very well-liked holiday destination.

It would take us all day to list absolutely everything there is to do. So instead, we’ve picked some of our Wells-next-the-Sea highlights.

Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk

Wells-next-the-Sea

Things to do

The beach is the obvious draw to Wells-next-the-Sea. Within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), it’s expansive white sand and colourful beach huts entice visitors from all over the country and provide perfect photo opportunities.

Lined with a pinewood forest and a trail down to Holkham there are so many opportunities to explore and create your very own family adventure. Try walking the two miles through the forest one way and back again along the sandy, dune lined, beach.Beach Hut Number 10, Wells-next-the Sea, Norfolk

Hire Beach Hut Number 10 to make the most of your day on the beach. An ideal base, equipped with crockery, deckchairs, a windbreak and beach toys, it has everything you need for a perfect day.

Back down the beach walk and along the harbour you will always find people fishing for crabs – grab a bucket and line and have a go! You can also hop on a boat tour to go and see the local seal colonies.

Of course, there is also the traditional draw from the lights and sounds of the arcades on the quay front. If you’re feeling lucky try and win some prizes! Above the Pop Inn Arcade you will find Playland, indoor adventure play for 2-11-year olds.

The Wells Maltings

In spring of this year, the Wells Maltings completed a renovation project turning an old community centre into a brand new, state -of-the-art Arts and Heritage Centre.

With a variety of activities on the bill over the summer there’s something for everyone, from craft sessions for the children to film screenings and talks on the local geomorphology and oceanography of the area.

Take part in the Wells Maltings Heritage Art Trail, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Follow the trail of sculptures created by Norfolk artists up until March 2019 – an outdoor activity which is sure to have you making the most of these lovely summer days. Free trail maps can be picked up from the Wells Maltings complex.

Every Monday evening you can catch a film in the newly refurbished Maltings building, the films vary from latest releases to modern day classics.

Where to shop

The local shops are full of souvenirs and treats to remind you of your holiday. Along with the typical souvenir shops there are plenty of art galleries and shops selling framed photographs of the beach by local photographers and beautiful homeware pieces. Predominantly independently owned, you’re sure to find some unique goodies.

You may be worn out after a long day on the beach, just craving a cosy night in. In which case, there are local delis, greengrocers and butchers to grab some top-quality ingredients to take back with you to your holiday cottage.

Eating and Drinking

Being at the seaside the first choice is obviously going to be fish and chips. Two popular choices are right on Staithe Street, the main street running down to the quay.

If it’s dinner with a view you are after than The Sands restaurant is a must! Situated on the first floor and with a wall fitted out with windows from end to end. Your elevated position is perfect for watching the tide come and go or the sun setting, at one of the best spots on the Norfolk coast.

For something a little different, The Albatros offers dinner on a boat! One of the oldest sailing boats still afloat, you can pop in for a drink, pancakes, or a 3-course meal.

Coffee lover? Make sure you don’t miss out on Grey Seal Coffee House. A multi-award winning North Norfolk artisan coffee roaster. Open every day between 9am and 4pm. You can even buy some of their coffee to take home with you.

Maybe you are after something a little sweeter? The town is dotted with ice cream parlours serving local and delicious ice-cream as well as traditional seaside rock. There are also plenty of cafes to grab a cup of tea and slice of cake.

Where to stay in Wells-next-the-Sea

Our luxury cottages Hideaway Barn and Hideaway House are situated in the heart of Wells-next-the-Sea. Just a stone’s throw away from the Quay, everything you need is right on your doorstep.Hideaway House, Wells

Hideaway House sleeps 8 people. Hideaway Barn is just 2 doors down. It sleeps 6 people and allows one well behaved dog to stay. These cottages can also be booked together for the ultimate family holiday.

Just a short drive away we have properties in Binham and Brancaster, ideal if you are wanting to explore a little further around the coast.

Glaven Cottages, last minute Norfolk availability 25th June

With temperatures rising what could be nicer than a quick getaway to the coast?  We have some great Norfolk cottages with last minute availability over the next week

Perfect for couples are pet friendly Bottle Cottage in the pretty village of Binham and Daubeney Cottage, in Sharrington.  Both sleep 2.

Holkham Beach

Holkham Beach

If you are looking for something a little larger then Netherfield     Swan Cottage and Blue Stone Cottage in Holt are available too.

 

Dogs at Wells

Bring your Pet to Norfolk

Our why not book a day in our beautiful Beach Hut No 10 on Wells Beach.  Well equipped and great location on the dog free area.