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A Royal Retreat; Part 1

The trouble with writing a blog post having had some fizz, is it ends up in the wrong place!

So please click on the link for this mornings blog list about our first day on tour yesterday at Hampton Court Palace!

A Royal Retreat; Part 1

Our morning view at Chertsey Camping and Caravan Club site

Plan B

We made it to half term- yay!- and Ruby the Campervan SHOULD currently be ooop North. We were due to be heading to West Yorkshire yesterday, but the impending Storm Dennis has resulted in us delaying our departure. Since the reason we were heading there was to do plenty of walking in Bronte country, and high winds and torrential rain was forecasted we opted to stay in the warm and comfort of our house until the storm passes.

Instead, we spent yesterday at the Beach. It was actually a lovely sunny but rather blustery day in Aldeburgh, Suffolk and we enjoyed fish and chips and some Adnams Old Ale and a brisk sea front walk to blow our cobwebs away.

Beach Selfie at Aldeburgh Beach on Valentines Day.
Fish and chips on the beach

It’s great what a bit of sea air does. I started the day feeling a bit grumpy that we’d had to change our plans. I look forward to hitting the road once our work commitments are done, and I don’t think we’ve ever had to cancel because of weather. But, as our day progressed, I could feel myself relaxing and the starting of a new plan was formulating. Helped I’m sure by the Old Ale.

The best winter ale in the world – Adnams Old Ale

The weather is looking consistently awful in Yorkshire for the week ahead. As we have lots of walks planned in Yorkshire, and neither of us are THAT dedicated that we will start a walk in the wet- unless it looks like it will improve, we were starting to wonder if we should see if the weather looked any better elsewhere next week. Sure enough, it looks better down south, and a chance comment about how we had been meaning to visit Windsor Castle led onto an official plan B being formulated.

Cheers to plan B

We will batten down the hatches and have a weekend at home whilst we get battered by Storm Dennis, then as soon as we can on Monday, point Ruby in the direction of Berkshire. We’ve booked onto Chertsey C&CC club site and will visit Hampton Court Palace first, then Windsor Castle the next day and then have a visit to Bletchley Park on route home. All three have been on our list of places to visit for a couple of years. We feel really pleased with our new plan B and are keeping everything crossed that we can get away easily on Monday.

Hope you are all keeping safe and warm. Are any of you out and about this weekend?

Until next time

Lx

Camping in the Forest – Norfolk camp and walk

For us when we arrive at a campsite, once we are set up, we don’t want to move the van if we can help it. I spend all week chasing around in between schools and gigs so once the journey is out of way, I want to hang up those car keys and embrace not having to drive. Because of this we are always on the look out for campsites with walks or bike rides from our pitch.

For the second year running Keith and I have signed up to “walk 1000 miles”. Last year we smashed it by walking over 1100 miles which we were thrilled about- crossing the 1000 mile mark in mid November.

As usual its been a busy start to the decade, and with some pretty rough weather and my lingering lurgy, the 40 odd miles walked so far this year by us have been mainly in the dark either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. But this weekend a welcome break in the weather arrived at the same time as a welcome day off.

As we only had the day spare we opted for a local walk just 5 miles away from our front door. However seeing as we have a really rather decent campsite in the middle of the walk and various attractions around us – we felt it was well worth a write up to add to our ‘Campsites with walks from the pitch’ list.

Campsite:

Dower House Camping About 7 miles away from Thetford, Norfolk. Easily accessible from the A11.

This campsite is right in the heart of the forest. The pitches are really pictuesque and there are decent facilities and even an outside pool for the summer months. It gets very busy, we even know neighbours who go there on holiday despite it being 3 miles from our front door. It is open from Mid march to mid October.

The Walk:

9 miles but many shorter (or longer) routes available.

Because we live so close obviously we didn’t camp. We parked Ruby at Knetttishall Heath which has two large and free carparks. Knettishall Heath also has miles of trails to follow and is the start of the Peddars Way.

Our route began in the main car park which we walked away from by turning left out of the main gates, following the road back towards the A1066. After about half a mile we took a small footpath towards Riddlesworth Hall Private School. The path goes behind the school and you get good views of Princess Diana’s former school – the impressive Riddlesworth Hall.

We then crossed the 1066 and took a quiet lane through the forest towards Dower House Campsite. We took the campsite entry road and followed it for the mile or so before breaking off to the left following the path towards Thorpe Woodlands (Forest Holidays). This is a good place for a refreshment stop as there is a pet and child friendly bar/cafe which serves decent food and is open to non residents.

We carried on to the Peddars Way National Trail which we followed all the way back to Knettishall Heath. Our route covered 9 miles and was really enjoyable.

If we were staying at the campsite we would head towards Riddlesworth Hall first then Knettishall Heath as that way you get the road walking (albeit quiet road) done first.

There are enough walks directly from the campsite to occupy you at least 2-3 days so it’s perfect for a weekend break.

East Harling is just about walkable from Dower House – or cyclable on a very quiet lane. There are two decent pubs, one that serves exceptional food – The Nags Head and one that is a drinkers pub, The Swan. There is also a traditional tea room, Peppers, a village store, fish and chip shop and post office. The 2 pubs and the tea room are all all dog friendly. If you don’t fancy the distance, there is a great cab service that is based in the village.

Just outside of East Harling is England’s oldest Whiskey Distillery. Its well worth a trip if you like Whiskey or Baileys – they do a very nice Norfolk Nog which is similar to Baileys. There is also a restaurant and cafe at the distillery too.

A little further afield but less than 10 miles away there is Snetterton Race circuit and also Banham Zoo, or Bressingham Steam Museum.

Did you know that the legendary actor James Stewart was stationed nearby to here in Old Buckenham, about 8 miles away during WW2? You can visit the small museum on the airfield and visit Jimmy’s cafe. Or perhaps come and watch the very popular and really great air show in July.

As you can see we are blessed with where we live. If you decide to come and try the campsite out do let us know, we’ve love to meet up! This truly is our stomping ground! In fact during this walk we bumped into two of our followers randomly! Great to meet you Eric and Pam!

We’re always on the look out for inspiration of where to visit for a night or two which requires no driving once on site. If you have any spots you’d like to share, please do so in the comments below.

Our next Ruby adventure is just 3 weeks away, we’re looking forward to seeing some hills in West Yorkshire.

Until next time

Lx

A new year ahead – welcome 2020!

Welcome 2020! A new decade lays ahead of us, and it feels like a freshly laid road lies ahead. New memories to make, fresh eyes to see the journey with. Miles upon miles of roads to be discovered, countries and continents to explore. It’s a great time to stop and reflect, and get planning some adventures for the year ahead.

2019 was a phenomenal year for us. We ticked off more bucket list items – despite adding more to the list, we worked harder than ever and travelled more than we could have dreamt.

Camping wise we ticked off two bucket list adventures – our stay at Dufton last year and led us to complete a walk I’d been itching to do, High Cup Nick. We also took Ruby the VW across the Irish Sea and did a fantastic tour of Northern Ireland – ticking off the Giants Causeway.

We managed our earliest ever outside BBQ during feb half term in the Lake District of all places!

Worldwide adventures went off the scale – we travelled to Canada and Alaska, and saw some incredible scenery and wildlife.

I took my first cruise and got hooked and I also overcame my two biggest fears – firstly taking a sea plane in Alaska and then later swimming in the deep ocean with whale sharks in Mexico. I can still remember how scared I was on both those occasions- I genuinely thought I would die but the sense of achievement and adrenaline afterwards will never leave me!

Keith ticked three bucket list items off by visiting Colditz Castle in Germany, Chitchen Itza in Mexico and Gettysburg Battlefield in PA 🇺🇸.

As a couple we celebrated a whole decade of being together and booked a indulgent but marvellous trip to New York for Thanksgiving. A day we’ve always celebrated (despite not being American) for 10 years – this year we watched the Macy’s Day Parade from the front row on sixth avenue.

Blog wise we started a sister site to Adventures in Motorhome – a specific place for us to share our non Motorhome travel. We introduce WanderLeefy.com.

Please pop and give us a follow. We’ll be keeping this site more specific for camping trips and pairing worldwide on WanderLeefy. We have a new Facebook page and would love you to follow us on both.

Despite all our worldwide travels last year we still managed 43 nights in Ruby – that’s one more than the previous year! This year, we’ve got some exciting adventures planned for Ruby including Switzerland in May – and Yorkshire in February and much more I’m sure. Worldwide adventures include Vietnam and Cambodia in March/April and possibly a couple more USA trips if the January sales are good to us!

Thank you to all our followers – we love sharing our adventures and hearing from you.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2020!

Cheers

Lx