My week … the one in Norfolk

This week has seen us on week one of our summer holiday. With the postponed 2020 holidays, we’re doing a two centre break this year, this week in Norfolk and four nights in Kent next week. When we were planning our holiday we wanted to go somewhere a little different, we’ve enjoyed Cornwall and Devon so we’ve gone east. I have visited Norfolk before. It was the summer when I was 16 and my friend and I stayed in a small converted barn in her aunt’s garden near Diss. I remember playing Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet CD all holiday, long walks in the fields and a shopping trip to Norwich! Thirty two years later, my holiday looked a little different.

We broke up the journey as it was a long one with a stay in a hotel in Colchester. By chance on the evening we came across the most sparkly rustic pub garden where we stopped for a delicious dinner. It was pretty perfect, relaxing in the sunshine and the dusk with the fairy lights twinkling, great food and simply talking about holiday plans, an unexpected delightful start to the holiday.

We stayed in a Haven caravan park, Wild Duck. As we live at a beautiful seaside resort, we decided to stay more inland and chose the site for its woodland setting. It was a beautiful site, so well maintained and our caravan was nested in the trees, the views from the bedrooms were amazing. The picture above illustrates this, the window did feel like a picture frame for the stunning landscape. One bonus of the forest setting was really poor mobile signals so it was an enforced but welcomed digital detox.

In our family we all have roles and Mr S is chief holiday planner and organiser. I pack! Mr S had the booking system set up very efficiently, so we had daily swimming sessions in both the indoor and outdoor pools. I preferred the outdoor pool, it was so warm and again with the hour slots it was easy to get a sun bed too. One of my holidays reads was a present from a friend the Lido by Libby Page. It’s a fantastic read and the tonic I didn’t know I needed. I did feel inspired by it and the outdoor pool did make me wonder if I should do more outdoor swimming ( I am not going to become a sea swimmer, I need a chlorinated pool!)

We also had lots of other activities on site, Segways, Archery, Paint a Pot (that’s the birds in the picture above) and Bike Hire. The bikes was my favourite activity. The previous morning I had discovered the Angles Way on my morning run and we returned to cycle it. It gave the most gorgeous views of the Norfolk Broads and in perfect weather conditions, bright blue skies, sunshine and a gentle breeze. We also found some old castle ruins and windmills which added to the fun.

Away from the site, we explored the local area too. We went to Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft in the evenings and also had a morning in Gorleston where we played on the beach. I recently discovered the poet Robert M Drake and my daughter and I read some of these aloud on the beach and were really struck by his observations and commentary. There was also fun to be had making pebble sculptures. We also found a craft fair on the field behind the beach, my type of shopping and I did return with a new candle! There was also a brownie stall, with the most amazing array of flavours I have ever seen. We may have bought a few to try! I liked the quiet and peace of Gorleston a real contrast to Great Yarmouth. I didn’t know what to expect from Great Yarmouth but it was loud, bright and brash, the Blackpool of the East. The children of course loved it, spending their money on ice creams, fancy milk shakes and what I can politely describe as tat! Lowestoft was a mix of the two towns, we went to the UK’s most eastern point and enjoyed an evening drink on an outdoor terrace in sunshine. Life felt pretty normal this holiday, with only mask wearing and sanitiser as references to Covid.

We all really enjoyed Norfolk, the countryside was beautiful and the site the perfect setting to explore the Broads. Our caravan was gorgeous and we had treated ourselves to a 3 bedroom caravan so the children could have a room each. This helped night times and gave the children some space and time to do their things. We’re in a 2 bedroom caravan next week and it’ll be interesting to see the difference.

It was a really wholesome week at Wild Duck, our activities were outdoor based and we all benefited from the fresh air and sunshine. The weather was a pleasant surprise, warm and sunny every day and we left feeling refreshed and happy.

Postscript.
On Sunday in Gorleston, we came across what was signed as a Banksy piece of art. It did amuse me as it was the grabber from an arcade machine, the very machines we avoid as it only ever ends in tears. By the time we left it was covered in Perspex and there was security. In looking on the web it seems Banksy is on a staycation and it was part of an art project Great British Spraycation.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-58145220

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