Gandalf the VW is having a case of Deja- Vu. Regular followers may recognise our pitch for this weekend- this is our 4th stay here in 18 months.
It is of course, Sandy Gulls at Mundesley, North Norfolk. We are lucky, it’s only an hour away from our house, so ideal for a quick escape without having to remortgage to afford fuel to get there. We RARELY revisit campsites unless they are extra special or in a convenient location (Edinburgh/ London). I think we can all agree the location of this site is more than extra special.
We arrived at lunch time Friday and settled immediately into our chill zone- the sunshine was glorious and despite a chilly wind, we had a couple of hours sat outside enjoying the sea view and breeze! Keith set the cadac going and we enjoyed our first bbq of the year, a delicious fish bbq. Ooph it was GORGEOUS, good job Keefy!
He cooked raw king prawns in chilli and garlic as a starter, then we had cod, sea bass and salmon alongside jacket potatoes cooked in the Remoska and coleslaw. Mouth watering!
Unbelievably (for England haha!!!) we got to the end of the meal and the weather spectacularly turned. The pure blue skies had vanished and instead we got hit with rain, wind.. rain and wind. But we couldn’t have been happier, we’d managed a sea view bbq and we actually secretly wanted to just chill with our books. So we retreated inside, listened to the rain and the sea and spent the afternoon reading and snoozing. Perfect.
Saturday dawned and we were happy to see the return of the blue skies. We had a lazy morning enjoying the view from bed- and after a great shower, the facility block here is incredible- huge wet rooms and bags of hot water- we cooked up a fry up, again outside!
After this we had a leg stretch down the dog friendly beach (which is accessible from the site either by foot (10 mins) or car (1 min).
We walked right along the beach and followed it to Mundesley and a little beyond. We got tempted into one of the most scenic beer gardens in the country, enjoyed a pint each and made our way to Gandalf via the road.
At this point, we’d walked 4 miles, so put two mini pizzas in the Remoska for lunch, and settled into our books for the afternoon.
The next thing it was time for dinner- a Keralan Cod curry.
It was yummy even if I do say so myself. We followed this with chocolate fondue- oh yes we did!! (The first outing of my Christmas present from Keefy- a small porcelain bowl with a tea light below) we enjoyed dipping fresh fruit into the melted chocolate whilst watching a Rom com.. Husband points right there..
Before falling fast asleep with the wonderful sound of waves crashing below our feet.
Sunday came far too quickly and our weekend of rest was almost over. But not before another beach walk and oodles of tea watching the ever changing view.
We didn’t utilise the site for its tremendous location (other than to sit admiring the view!) this time as we were close to burn out and needed a reset. However if you are feeling more energetic than we were this is the most perfect location to base yourself as you have the coast hopper bus (dog friendly) right outside the campsite entrance, which links you with Cromer all the way through to Kings Lynn. You can also get to Norwich and North Walsham from here via bus. If you like cycling there are lots of country lanes. For walkers, you’re Literally ON the Norfolk Coast path and there are a couple of nice circular walks here too (here)
Sandy Gulls have really invested in this site since we first visited in Oct 2020. The website that you use to book onto the site is excellent- you use a map and pick your pitch at the point of booking. Pay a £10 deposit which is fair. They’ve built a road and hard standing pitches right at the front of the site last winter and invested in free decent WiFi this winter too. The facilities are EXCELLENT and although some of the pitches do require you to have levelling chocks, it’s a small price to pay for arguably one of the best sea view sites in the country. One important note- it’s adults only.
If you want to read what we got up to on our previous stays click:
Like many others in England, this week we managed to reclaim some of our freedom, as Covid restrictions began lifting, and campsites were allowed to reopen. We had a few days at work to get through, but they flew and before we knew it I was wide awake at 05.30 on Friday morning with excitement seeping through my veins at our impending departure to the North Norfolk Coast.
Our campsite of choice, booked way back at the start of the new year for the beginning of March and rescheduled, was Sandy Gulls, an adult only caravan park situated as close as close can be to the North Sea. We’d pre picked our pitch, a new feature I think for this year, and were bursting with excitement that we’d bagged a front row pitch, high upon the cliff top with uninterrupted sea views.
We set off from home relatively early; we wanted to make a stop at the Adnams shop in Norfolk to stock up on their delicious gin and also some of their Kobbold Lager. We then made our way to Mundesley in time for the seafood van not to close, so that we could buy some fresh fish for a bbq later that evening. The Lobster Pot is situated in a trailer next to the butchers and we picked up two terrific looking cod tails and a pint of prawns to cook. We also grabbed some local sausages and bacon from the butcher and some local eggs, sausage rolls and scotch eggs. Yum, we were all set!
On arrival to the site, we got settled onto our stunning pitch- pinching ourselves that the weather God’s were shining down on us yet trying our best to remember how to set up our relatively new to us Campervan! The weather was glorious (if not a touch chilly) and the local paragliding club were out in abundance, soaring not that much higher that our vans. Life felt absolutely terrific, like others, we have missed this soooo much!
After a couple of drinks admiring the view, we walked along the coast path to Mundesley village. Here you can drop down onto the dog friendly beach, and then rejoin the promenade into the village centre. Mundesley is a small, relatively unspoilt Norfolk village/seaside location.
There are a couple of chippys, a couple of shops, a couple of tea rooms, and a pub. We opted for a pint in the beer garden of the ship, mainly because the beer garden is possibly one of the most scenic in the UK, again with uninterrupted views of the sea. Sadly the service was utterly dismal, and our potential pub lunch turned into a complete non event. It’s difficult to complain right now isn’t it, pubs have been so hard hit with the pandemic, but this one really needs to pull its socks up.
Link to trip advisor review here for the full story if you’re interested. ( I do these so rarely, I hated having to this, but it was shocking.)
We wandered back to the campsite, via the Tesco express for a couple of bits we’d forgotten, mainly Jazz’s dog food Whoops! Before Keith gave the solar shower in our tailgate awning a whirl. He was pleasantly surprised, the awning cancelled out the wind chill and his shower experience was a good one despite the chilly air blowing off the sea.
We then set about our fish bbq, which had been eagerly awaited and planned to the finest detail. We served garlic chilli prawns as a starter, followed by cod tails served on creamed spinach, with cous cous. Yum.
And with this view! We were in heaven. We layered up, got the hot water bottles out and watched as the last rays of sunlight trickled down behind us and the twinkly lights of the boats at sea began to sparkle. I found a great app telling us what each boat was carrying and where it was heading from. I’m so nosey. Once the sky became ink black, the stars came out and we enjoyed a Jack Daniels honey as we watched for shooting stars. It couldn’t have been a better first day back camping and we slept like logs.
Saturday dawned brightly and we had a relatively lazy start to the day. Early on we peeled back the front curtains to reveal the sea ahead – watching the view as we had a couple of cups of tea. We then cooked a fry up on the cadac, again, not wanting to miss a moment of that staggering view, I even remained in my onesie in public much to the amusement of some of the passers by. Our pitch was practically on the coast path, so we had lots of opportunities for friendly hellos with passers by.
I then braved my shower- a far more pleasant experience than I had thought it may have been.
Around midday we walked the very short distance to the coast hopper bus stop, which conveniently stops almost right outside the site, and made our way to the lovely Cromer where we met up with my mum, who had caught the train to see us.
The coast hopper bus runs once an hour and is dog friendly.
Once in Cromer, we didn’t stray far from the Pier, enjoying watching passers by and the ever changing sea. We’ve all missed the seaside so much. We’d brought some drinks with us and just sat, in the sun, until our tummies started to remind us that it was almost time for fish and chips. No 1 Cromer was busy, but not as busy as I’ve seen it in the past, but those fish and chips are just delicious and well worth the wait.
As the sun lowered in the sky, we went our separate ways, waving mum off at the station before we caught our bus back to Mundesley. We had time for a cuppa and another sit outside before the temperature plummeted forcing us inside – but our view remained through the windows until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more.
Sunday arrived all too quickly, and our departure was looming. Before we packed away we enjoyed another cooked breakfast outside- we loved the local sausages, trying two interesting flavours, a bourbon smoked sausage and a pork and black pudding Sausage.
The Cadac Safari Chef 2 has proven to be a welcome addition to our camping equipment. It’s dinky size and versatility in terms of mixing and matching with our own frying pan etc make cooking on it a dream.
Sandy Gulls Caravan Park is terrific, so good that I almost don’t want to share it! In fact, I realised this weekend, that I must have had the same feeling when we last visited in October, as I appear to have failed to write a blog post about our previous stay here in October.
At £20 pn at this time of year, we consider it to be a bargain. Even at peak times it doesn’t raise higher than £32 pn. The site has been invested in heavily, with new roads and hard standing pitches having been introduced. Pitches are well spaced, flat and have decent electric hook up. The facilities (water and waste disposal) are well kept and well organised, especially during the time of covid, and there was sanitiser everywhere. Plus, it must be the most scenic waste disposal location in the country right? We haven’t used the toilets or showers here as both times we’ve stayed they’ve not legally been allowed to open them, but I’ve read terrific reviews about them. The touring park is adults only, so it’s nice and quiet and there is easy access to the beach, and miles upon miles of walks from the site. We will DEFINITELY we back.
We may have only managed two nights away, but we’ve returned home feeling recharged and raring to the start the week ahead. We’re almost back to fully face to face now and life in school is chaotic but really excellent to be back. We’ve got loads of trips lined up in the coming weeks, so we look forward to sharing them with you.
Have you been away this week? Where have you been? Where’s on your list?
Until next time, keep safe and happy camping to you all
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.
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.
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.
Ruby the VW has made a return to the North Norfolk coast to help us celebrate the end of our first decade together. It’s a place that is special to us – convenient to get to and home to the biggest and most beautiful skies around. Each village has its own individual charm, a dog friendly pub and some really tasty local shellfish. A perfect place for us to retreat to!
Last year we spent a very happy NYE mini break at Deepdale Campsite – which we would have been more than happy to have revisited – but on enquiry they had more than doubled their prices up to over £40 pn. So we ended up trying a new site for us, a C&MC certified site called Foxhills, an adult only CL on the outskirts of Weybourne, North Norfolk.
We’ve had a crazy winter of work and it has caught up with me, so I travelled on Sunday with lurgy. I was adamant we would still go – my body crying out for some sea air and a change in scenery.
On arrival to Foxhills we got ourselves unpacked and had an acclimatisation wander down to the small but pretty village of Weybourne. First (and only) stop being the pub, the thin serpentine of smoke from the chimney luring us to the log fire in the bar inside.
A couple of drinks including a whiskey to help my cold later, and we made our way back to Ruby where we set the bed out, got our pjs on, put the heater up to max and dozed and read for the remainder of the evening. Dinner was a homemade turkey and brie pie, which I’d made at home – we reheated it in the Remoska oven and served with veg and the last of the Xmas spuds.
Monday (New Year’s Eve Eve) dawned a beautiful winters day. My cold was lingering and I was aching, but I was desperate to get some sea air. We picked up the Norfolk Coastal path at Weybourne beach and followed it North with the sea on our right towards Wells next sea.
We weren’t sure how far we’d get, and the answer turned out to be not too far! The surface underfoot was mainly pebbles on the beach and I found it really hard going. The sea breeze was icy and it was making me cough and cough. Jazz was windswept and I think Keefy just fancied a pint! So, after about a mile and a half along the sea we diverted off the seafront at Salthouse and found ourselves a lovely pub to warm up in.
Inland we found the small but pretty village of Salthouse, situated on the salt marshes. As the name suggests this charming little village was named as such because of the salt houses that used to store salt here- it’s even listed in the Doomsday book as such.
The Dun Cow at Salthouse was just a brilliant impromptu find- we bagged the last spot in front of the fire and even though we weren’t planning a pub lunch, couldn’t resist a starter of local mussels and a main of crab linguine to share. The food and atmosphere was lovely – a true North Norfolk gem of a pub, dog friendly thoughout and serving food all day until 9pm. We will absolutely be back!
We picked up the coast hopper bus on to Cley next the Sea where we enjoyed a wander before picking up the coastal path and walking a further 3 miles to Blakeney. We caught the last of the winter light – it was a spectacular sunset, the gold dripped down onto the path ahead and it was impossible not to feel recharged, despite starting to feel a bit rank!
We caught the bus back all the way to the campsite before heating up some chicken and pumpkin curry from the freezer and settling in for the evening. On the trip to the shower block we became aware of the most spectacular night sky we’ve seen whilst in the UK so layered up and did some star gazing. We saw the 60 satellites in formation called Starlink Constellation. They are 60 bright lights in a straight line going upward and really took our breath away – once we’d decided we weren’t being abducted by aliens. You can read about it…
We had a bit more of a lay in than planned as I was not feeling 100%. Instead of our planned walked to Sheringham along the sea, 2.75 miles, we caught the bus to Cromer instead and met up with mum who had her first day off since the day before Xmas Eve, for a fish and chips lunch. We had a beer in the dog friendly Wellington Inn before going for a fish and chip takeaway from No.1 fish bar – owned by Michelin starred Galton Blackiston.
They were delicious – we’ve eaten in their restaurant upstairs which is also marvellous if you’re passing – and we loved that they sold mini bottles of Prosecco and Galton’s lager to wash it down with, despite having a takeout. We popped to the butchers for some steak for dinner tonight, and venison for dinner tomorrow before waving ‘bye to mum onto her train and us picking up the last bus back to our site. We are so impressed with the Norfolk Coasthopper bus service – it’s dog friendly, reasonable in price and regular in service and the drivers have been friendly.
Once back at Ruby the VW we showered and got our NYE glad rags on. Otherwise known as our pyjamas- rock and roll! We cooked some party food nibbles and baked a Camembert in the Remoska, and fried up the steak to dip into the Camembert -all of which we washed down with a bottle or two of red and Keefy’s playlist serenading us. Perfect!
Around 11pm we stuck our head out the window to check on the stars – and couldn’t believe our eyes that we were being treated to an even more magnificent display of the night sky than last night. The mass of gas and dust that makes the inside ribbon of the of the Milky Way so spectacular was completely visible by eye and we saw a number of shooting stars. I always knew this area of North Norfolk is registered as a Dark Skies area, but whenever we’ve been visiting there has always been clouds above. What a treat. Unfortunately I didn’t have my SLR camera, as I had a tripod- that would have been a perfect opportunity for me and capture the sky. And because I was feeling ill I didn’t bother getting my telescope out either. Instead I settle for 6 layers and my hip flask!
I can’t remember a more perfect end of a year, let alone decade. As we watched the hands of Big Ben cross over into the new decade, our campsite was completely silent, which was bliss. We did a quiet Auld Lang Syne in Ruby before hitting the sack.
Wednesday (New Year’s Day)
Unfortunately I’d woken up feeling pretty rough – my lurgy was refusing to go away, and I had a really tickly and annoying cough, so a duvet morning was declared. We enjoyed a delicious New Years Day brunch of haddock, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on muffins, washed down with champers – yum – who says camping can’t be posh eh?
I then got the venison stew in the slow cooker on high as it’s was gone midday – before we went for a stroll along Muckleburgh Hill which was next to the campsite and backed onto the Muckleburgh collection of tanks and military guns and down to the beach.
We popped in for a departing drink at the pub, The Ship at Weybourne – our last pub visit for a while as we go dry for January. It’s a lovely pub and the staff were so friendly. Before dark we made our way back to Ruby to settle in – fresh Cromer crab salad and venison stew was our New Year’s Day menu and it was delicious.
This trip was really lovely despite feeling cranky – the sea air and huge blue Norfolk skies really cheered me up after a funny old couple of months.
The campsite; Foxhills Caravan and Motorhome CL – adults only – was a perfect escape for us. It had two showers (free) an outdoor but with hot water washing up area, two loos per sex and heaps of space. We paid £19pn with electric and hard standing which I thought was a bargain.
The coast hopper bus which links Wells next to Sea and Cromer everyday except NYD and public holidays had a stop just outside the entrance – (around 100 yards away). The North Norfolk Coastal path is accessed just down the road with miles upon miles of walks to be enjoyed. Next door is the largest private collection of Military memorabilia in the UK – sadly it was closed and doesn’t reopen until February so we will definitely be making a return visit. You can easily park up here for a week and not move your vehicle once.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – The whole area is probably the most dog friendly place we’ve been to – every pub, restaurant, bus, even many shops seemed to welcome our furry friends in with open arms. The bars are laden with treat bowls, water bowls under every table, it’s just brilliant.
Also within Weybourne, the Sheringham to Holt steam railway passes through- there is even its own station stop, less than a mile away from the site entrance.
We were lucky enough to see their Christmas light special train every evening chugging through in the distance.
All through the stay we could hear the choo choo of the steam train. What a glorious sound.
As you can probably tell – we’ll be back to this hidden gem on the Norfolk coast that’s for sure!
Seeing as the weather forecast for this weekend was so good, we decided to jump into Ruby again for a cheeky night away on Saturday, two weekends away in a row – how lovely!
Our wheels we once again set towards North Norfolk, this time towards The Weavers Way at North Walsham. The Weavers Way is a 61 mile footpath – parts of which are disused railway lines – and it takes it name from the cloth industry that was once one of the areas major industries.
We were staying at another Caravan and Motorhome club CL site, this time with no facilities other than hook up, tap and disposal facilities. Old Bridge Farm is situated conveniently just off the Weavers Way- perfect for our weekend of walking and enjoying the weather.
After a quick lunch, which we enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine, we actually had a quick nap! Feeling much more rested, we don our boots and head towards Aylsham on the Weavers Way.
Less than a mile from the site we came across one of the most well preserved stations we’ve seen on these disused railways; Felmingham Station. Sadly it’s not in use- it would make a wonderful cafe.
The banks along the Weavers Way are steep in places and full of pretty butterflies. We really enjoyed our 3.5 miles stroll to Aylsham before doing an about turn and making our way back to Ruby.
Once again, Keefy found an appropriate blind spot to take a shower, although the wind was a bit fresher than last week so it was a bit cooler.
We sat for a while, enjoying the peace and quiet before moving inside for dinner- that wind was very fresh!
Dinner was teriyaki salmon, noodles and stir fry. I used the Remoska to cook the salmon and it was delicious.
We ended up going to bed at 8.45pm – what party animals lol! And slept soundly until 7am. Must have needed that! These CLs are wonderfully quiet though – a real place to relax and unwind.
The sunrise was spectacular
As we had woken up so early, and the forecast for later in the day was rain, we got up early and went for a walk in the opposite direction, to North Walsham. It was just over a mile, so we walked about 2.4 miles in total. The light was wonderful.
We really enjoyed our time exploring the Weavers Way and highly recommend this campsite – it’s location and serenity were perfect and at just £12pn, we felt a real bargain.
On the way back we stopped for some local potatoes at a nearby farm and then at a farm shop for some leeks. Leek and potato for lunch!
It’s been a busy couple of weeks back at school, stress levels have been high and I was itching to get away for a night for a change of scenery. We’ve been meaning to revisit the Marriott’s Way, a disused railway line now turned into recreational track, that runs 26 miles from Aylsham to Norwich. Last time we visited we stayed about half a mile off the Marriotts Way, but whilst cycling along spied a quirky little Caravan and Motorhome club certified site (5 van site) in an old station situated right ON the Marriott’s Way. We made a mental note to revisit sometime – it’s only taken us 4 years!
More info about the Marriott’s Way can be found here
We got a last minute pitch at The Station, Attlebridge, and on Saturday morning left ours around 10am, arriving at the campsite at 11am – we’d checked that we could arrive early. This CL has a small toilet, hookup, tap and emptying facilities, so we decided to make use of the solar shower. What we love about CLs is the flexibility to park however we wish, rather than the more regimented club sites. We took advantage of this and parked side-wards on, and within 5 minutes we were enjoying a cuppa and admiring the view.
The Station Campsite is host to the former platform and station buildings and has lovingly resorted signalling box and gates, and even a small stretch of railway line. It’s ever so quirky and it’s big grassy paddock is perfect for a small quiet campsite.
After lunch, we put our best foot forward, this time opting to walk the Marriotts Way.
We walked as far as the Whitwell and Reepham railway, where there is a museum and cafe/bar – a distance of around 4.5miles.
The trouble with walking the Marriotts Way is that it’s linear, so we retraced our steps back to the campsite, clocking up 9 miles in total. We absolutely loved it though – it’s flat and easy walking. There are some old bridges and railway banks to admire, and at this time of year the tree canopies are really pretty.
Back at the campsite and Keith found a blind spot at the back of Ruby for his solar shower, which had heated up nicely in the sun on the roof of Ruby! We enjoyed a couple of (non alcoholic as we are doing sober September) drinks in the late afternoon sunshine, before knocking up a delicious pasta carbonara with some left over gammon. It was great to be able to cook and eat outside- we do love Indian summers.
We sat outside until the last rays of lights dipped behind the trees, reading and keeping an eye out for owls. We heard two but didn’t see them- before turning in for a early night.
Sunday morning dawned as bright as the day before so we enjoyed breakfast al fresco before walking in the opposite direction towards Norwich.
We covered a further 3 miles reaching Drayton before turning back to Ruby and waving bye to our perfect spot to relax for the weekend.
This campsite is perfect location for the Marriotts Way and at just £14 was a bargain.
It may only have been two weeks since our last adventure, but it’s been a fortnight of work, work and more work stress! Exam season is upon us and between Keith and I we’ve had nearly 60 students taking grade exams in this fortnight alone.
Luckily, we’d got a weekend of escapism to look forward to, celebrating Father’s Day with dad and Jenny – double van date so to speak. Our original location was supposed to be Ferry Meadows in Peterborough, however the recent bad weather resulted in a phone call from them on Thursday advising that they’d had to shut as they’d flooded. That left us precisely 24 hours to find somewhere else that accommodate not one but two vans.
Luckily Dad managed to get us on at Kelling Heath, Norfolk. This pleased me as despite recent bad weather, the coming weekend looked to be forecasted to be nice – and there is no place I’d rather be than or the seaside.
Kelling Heath has been on our list of sites to visit for a while. It didn’t disappoint- the showers were phenomenal, and the site layout user friendly and beautifully landscaped. The bar area and restaurant looked appealing, there was n outside pool should we feel brave, and we were on the train line to Sheringham (and Holt). It was slightly pricier than other sites we stay at but facility’s being so good meant we had no issue paying this.
Friday night was spent with a few drinks, and putting the world to rights. We took a wander to the on site bar (dog friendly) and I sampled some local gin.
Saturday morning dawned sunny and so we wasted no time, bacon rolls first then a wander to reception to buy tickets for the train. As it was Father’s Day, they’d ramped the prices up somewhat, it we didn’t mind paying £20 pp as it’s a heritage line, and someone’s got to fund it. We then realised the next train to Sheringham was imminent so legged it the half a mile down to the station arriving just in the nick of time for the scheduled time of arrival. Annoyingly, the timetable was running over half an hour latest actually we needn’t have rushed! Oh well! The views from the small request stop station were glorious and fields of Poppy’s surrounding us were appropriate not to mention beautiful, considering we were on the Poppy Line.
Eventually our train arrived and we enjoyed the short journey to nearby Sheringham.
We had a couple of ciders overlooking the sea before fish and chips and of course this summer no trip to Sheringham is complete without a look at the newly formed and rather large sinkhole on the highstreet!
After a bit of a charity shop browse, we headed back to the station to make use of our roamer tickets. We were hoping to get to Wells but unfortunately the train station and poppy line were still in chaos. No one seemed to think that we’d be able to get back from wells to Kelling Heath, I’m still not sure why, it was all very confusing, but the long and short of it meant that we ended up paying £20 pp (£80 in total!) for a 6 mile return trip to Sheringham! Ouch. Having said that we enjoying using the heritage train line – it just needed a bit of fine tuning perhaps.
Saturday evening’s tea was burgers and salad which we cooked on Dad and Jenny’s cadac – a first for us.
Sunday arrived and we decided to make the most of the early departure time of 10am by getting up and away, and driving down the road to Weybourne beach car park for breakfast. We were treated to a full English which went well before a little leg stretch on the beach.
Soon the weather turned, so we bid farewell to Dad and Jenny before heading home.
Ruby the VW Campervan is parked on the very lovely Deepdale Backpackers hostel and Campsite, at Burnham Deepdale, North Norfolk. We’ve driven by this place many a time, but the recent addition of electric hook ups and a complete toilet and shower revamp saw us booking on back in September for our much anticipated New Year break.
The campsite is absolutely excellent by the way; huge pitches and probably the best facilities we’ve ever come across; plenty of massive wet room showers with your own private loo and hand basin, even heated flooring! There are plenty of dish washing facilities, free Wi-fi and even not one, but two warm doggie showers!
These are the facilities just on site, aside from these we’ve got a fully stocked supermarket/petrol station that is open 7-7 even on New Year’s Day! A number of lovely shops, a cafe, not one but two pub/restaurants, the Norfolk Norfolk coastal path running practically from the site and a bus stop that is the coastlines and runs from Hunstanton to Fakenham and back every hour. It’s just the perfect place to spend New Year- a time when we always end up walking miles and miles to try and burn off some of those excess pounds that we’ve gained since, well Texas really!
The journey here on Sunday was indirect from ours but relatively quick- just over an hour and we were pulling onto our pitch. We took our time setting up as our last pack away was in the middle of the night and after a hearty lunch of homemade pea, ham and mint soup, made in my compact soup maker that Santa brought me, we donned our boots and set off on a small walk. The soup was amazing by the way!
We turned left out of the campsite and walked along the coast path towards Brancaster Staithe, a walk of around 1.5 miles and then looped back along the road, obviously checking the two pubs out too. We passed two small places selling fresh mussels. Obviously we brought a bag of live mussels, (and some fresh eggs) ready for a starter tonight.
Sunday night was spent chilling before dinner. Dinner was a rather exciting affair; first we had the local Brancaster mussels, cooked in a simple white wine and onion sauce- oh my they were good.
Main course was homemade turkey, ham and leek pies using our new gadget, an electric pie maker. I made the pies at home and we reheated them in about 15 mins using electric. It was a blustery wet evening, and our pie and mash dinner really hit the spot!
It never fails to surprise me how well we eat in Ruby, considering we only have just two gas hob rings!
New Years Eve
We had a fairly lazy morning, and after a breakfast of sausage and egg baps, we set off on a 3 mile or so saunter, this time in the opposite direction of yesterday’s walk – so turning right out of the campsite.
Despite leaving Ruby at 11:30 we found our pace was fast, so we decided to pause for a quick drink at The Hero, and then carry on along the coast path through Holkham and finishing at Wells-next-the-Sea 11 miles later!
Then through the trees and forest before coming up to the sea wall at Wells Next the Sea
We arrived at Wells at 3pm, not bad at all- we really loved the walk, even with our fast pace!
Obviously after such a long walk with no snacks/water (although there is a cafe with water station and loos at Holkham. And a pub which we didn’t stop at!) our first objective was to find a drink, and then fish and chips at Frenchies which hit the spot and beyond, before grabbing the next coasthopper bus back to the campsite (£2.10pp & £1 for dogs). We accidentally 😜 missed our stop and got off at the next stop, the Jolly Sailors, for “one for the road”; well it was NYE!
Our evening was quiet and chilled, exactly as we like it. We managed to polish off a steak and noodle dinner around 9.30pm, and then opened a bottle of fizz as we waited for the big countdown.
The atmosphere on site was good – a lot of campers had gone down to the Jolly sailors (or we assume they did as we watched them leave dressed as pirates and there was a pirate party on). A midnight, a few of our neighbours came out with sparklers singing Auld Lang Syne, and in the distance (but far enough not to trouble Jazz) we watched a pretty impressive firework display. But ten mins later the site was quiet again, so we pulled out the bed and promptly dozed off – not waking again until 10am.
New Years Day started rather lazily, in fact, I don’t think I got out of bed until 11! Once I did get up I made us a fry up, and we tested our legs after yesterday’s long walk. Luckily neither of us had still legs so we decided to do a nice 4.5 miles loop provided by the campsite, Burnham Deepdale – Brancaster and back via Barrow Common.
Despite there being a few drops of rain as we lay in bed, by midday the weather had cleared right up, and actually the sun was attempting to show its face. We really enjoyed walking over Barrow common, and took the opportunity to toast the new year with a swig or five from our hip flasks whilst looking out to sea.
The walk included walking across a field ahem, I mean the remains of a Roman Fort, Branodunum, which dates back from 200AD, and would have been one of three important sites in East Anglia. Keith was absolutely in his element – I’m better at seeing physical remains rather than using my imagination but I understood that it was a very important archeological site, and in its day would have looked like this:
The walk rejoined the coastal path just below the fort and we followed it all the way back to Burnham Deepdale. As we passed Brancaster Staithe the sun fully came out and the light was just wonderful. The tide was now almost fully in and lots of people were out taking pictures, bird watching, even some launched sea kayaks. It really is my happy place here.