Sunny Spring Bank Holiday on the East Coast of England

Bank Holiday Saturday  Bluebell the motorhome is feeling like she’s experiencing a case of De-ja-vu, she parked up by the sea and she’s fairly sure she recognises the view! 

View from Flint House CL

She’s right, we have been here before, and unlike anything that we usually do, we’ve decided to come back to Flint House CL in Walcott, Norfolk less than three months after leaving here back in February! 

Flint house

 
As you may (or may not know) we are smack bang in the middle of buying our first house together. Our entire life is stuffed into boxes and we are in that horrible period between offer acceptance and completion. Feeling stressed, tired and fed up of clambering over boxes to get from one side of the room to other, we saw the weather forecast give something other than grey miserable wet and cold weather on Wednesday and not the phone looking for somewhere that could fit us in. Luck was in our side and Flint House had received cancellations so were able to accommodate. £13pn hard standing with electric. A bargain. 

Sunrise Flint House

We arrived at lunchtime and after a quick sarnie we headed out into the glorious sunshine along the coast to Bacton on the Norfolk Coast Path. Last time we were here we had a glorious walk to Happisburgh, and although the views weren’t as spectacular as the journey to Happsibugh as it was a lower stretch of path, the beaches here were glorious. 

Saturday walk along the beach

  

We walked past the Kingfisher Fish Bar (10 mins from the site) and noticed they were selling local ice cream so stopped for a Norfolk ice cream which was yum. We carried on past the Poachers Pocket pub, and onto Bacton before coming off the coastal path and finding a couple of geocaches and having a look at the remains of Bacton Priory, before a quick pint and walk back to Bluebell. That evening I cooked an amazing cod curry, we had stopped at The Fair Maiden Shellfish shop in Happisburgh on our way to the site and bought ourselves some half of a fresh local cod. Fish curry overlooking the sea made for the most pleasant of evenings. All our stresses went out with the tide as we drifted into a 12 hour sleep! 


 

Local fish curry, yum


Bank Holiday Sunday 

 We had a really deep sleep (apart from nipping out to watch sunrise!) and woke feeling refreshed. Waking up and hearing the waves is really something! Jazz had a good run on the beach ( dog friendly all year) and I cooked us a Full English before we packed up and moved on, to a Brit Stops stopover, no. 248 (2016) on the Norfolk Broads. 

 

Sunrise

 

First impressions of Britstop 248

If you haven’t heard of Britstops, it’s a fantastic resource for motorhoming in Britain. You okay £25 for a handy glovebox sized guide which lists over 640 places in Britain that you can stay overnight (generally no facilities) in your van, for free as a guest.The idea is that you take an interest in their produce, and perhaps even spend a bit of money however there is no obligation to do so. We always do, not because we feel we have to, but more because we want to, I mean, we’re at a pub offering local ales, a delicious sounding reasonably priced menu, with a beer garden on the side of one of the Norfolk Broads. And it’s sunny. We’ve parked up for the day/night.. Who wouldn’t want to sample a few drinks, it’s hardly a hardship, and in actual fact, we probably would have gone there for a few drinks if we were staying down the road on the CL anyway! For us, and we hope, the owners of the stopover, it’s win win. Not all of the stopovers are pubs, there are vineyards, farm shops, you name it. 

A chill day at 248

So, I suppose my paragraph above sets the scene of our Sunday. We had a wander the 20 metres or so to the beer garden, found a table in the sun, and had a couple of drinks. Had another small wander to man made beach, watched the paddle boarders and sailors. Wandered back to the beer garden. Had another drink. Had a doze in the sunshine back at the van. Went for dinner at the pub and before we knew it we’d had several pints of Dog Dancer (6.9% local cider) and not only was the dog dancing but the room was spinning and it was time to hit the sack! A real gem of a stop though, we will most certainly return, and we are secretly high giving how lucky we are that its only an hour from our front door! 

Arial view of Norfolk Broads

Arial view from my drone

Can you spot Bluebell hiding amongst the boats

Bank Holiday Monday dawned and thank goodness we had no visit from the hangover fairies. We had a fairly lazy morning before hitting the road back home, where we gave Bluebell a wash and a good clean before taking her back to her new storage yard. 

Sparkling Bluebell after a clean

 

What a lovely relaxing and impromptu weekend!

Until next time, which could be from Scotland at the end of May, it will be depend on house moving dates.. 

Lx 

 

  

February Half Term ~ Fun and Frolics in Norfolk, Part 4

Saturday Morning

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on a nice small little Certified Location in West Norfolk, near to Kings Lynn, called The Old Appleyard.

 
On Thursday morning we reluctantly packed up Bluebell the motorhome and moved from our sea view pitch at The Flint House, travelling about an hour or so around the coast towards Kings Lynn. The reason for the change of direction was Castle Rising, one of the finest preserved 12C keeps in the country. This site is about 5 miles away, and our plan was to cycle there on Friday.

 On arriving at The Old Appleyard we were greeted by the friendly owner and instructed to keep on the top of the field as the lower ground was still a bit wet. A small little stream runs to the bottom of the Caravan field and there are lovely field views to enjoy right from your pitch. Noticing that the entrance to the field was on a slight slope, and with no rough to grab onto at the entrance , it was with trepidation I attempted to get Bluebell up onto the pitch. After 3 attempts I managed it, but not without causing some damage to their wonderfully neat grass, which I felt pretty bad about, but I suppose if you’re going to open all year round and not have hard standing then it’s to be expected! 😕 Still, I felt bad!  

  
 

We had a chill for the remainder of the day, watching the sun set and re charging our batteries. Keith was busy preparing our walk for tomorrow, realising that a walk we have already done from our AA box of walks was only a mile away from us, so the decision was made to walk from Bluebell to encorporate this walk rather than cycle. We had a tawny owl very close to us, and were sent to sleep hearing it’s call. Lovely.

Luck was on our side on Friday morning, the day dawned beautifully so we got up promptly and had an early start. We were on the walk just before 10am, a rarity for us! The walk took us along a small road from Grimston to Roydon, and luckily there was a footpath alongside the road for the whole walk down to Roydon. We picked up our route at Roydon and the next thing we knew we were at Castle Rising.   

  

  If you’ve not visited Castle Rising, we really recommend it, it’s fantastically preserved by English Heritage and costs only £4 to go in. We decided not to this time, as we’ve visited before and we still had lots of miles to walk. It seemed that actually the start of the walk was a little bit further than we’d anticipated, more like 2.5 miles than the 1.5 that we’d previously thought. This meant an extra 5 miles onto the already 7 mile circular! Gulp! 

After a quick flask of soup we carried on with our best foot forward. Sadly, the rest of the walk was disappointing and not how we’d remembered it, the highlight definitely is Castle Rising, there wasn’t a massive amount to see on the remainder of the walk. Annoyingly, the walk was nearly all on small roads, so in actual fact it would have lent itself better to a cycle. Never mind, we will know for next time.   

 After exactly 12 miles we hobbled back into our Caravan field, feeling very tired, that was more than we had walked for a long time! Nevertheless, despite feeling a bit disappointed with the walk, we were proud we’d managed such a distance, and within 5 hours too. Plenty of time for a nap and a chill for the remainder of day/evening! 

Today (Saturday) and it’s time to head home. Boo! Although the weather has conveniently decided to deteriorate, so we’re leaving feeling chuffed to bits with how much good weather we’ve had!  We’re planning on stopping at nearby Castle Acre for a leg stretch, and that’s all it will be, as we are both aching after yesterday’s near half marathon!!  

(Pics from Castle Acre below)  

   
  
  
 
We had a nice stroll around the castle, which is free to explore, however were left reeling at the fact that there were many children using these walls as a playground, climbing all over them whilst their parents egged them on. We couldn’t believe it, it’s our 3rd visit here and this has happened every single time. We decided to take a wander up to the Priory where we knew English Heritage have a manned reception to mention this. The warden was horrified and came back to the castle, and of course they’d all gone! Hopefully it will get flagged up, as this is one of the best preserved Norman Motte and Bailey castle earthworks in the country, to think of the damage that is being done as people climb them, and not to mention what would happen to the site if someone fell of and got injured. … 

On this visit we popped into the church to see the medieval 14th century wooden Pulpit and screen panels.  Worth a look.

   
So that brings us back up to date, as after our morning at Castle Acre we travelled home, unloaded, washing on, hoovered and cleaned Bluebell etc- we’ve had a brill week, and been especially lucky with the weather. We’ve done only 230 miles, walked 40 miles, and spent less than £200. 

  
We’ve come home to our new copy of our BritStops bible, so are hoping to get away for a mini adventure sometime in March. In April we are nipping to Japan, like you do(!) sans Bluebell obviously, to see the Cherry Blossom festival, but in May we will be out for another adventure in Bluebell, 10 days in Scotland then a month in Germany and Austria in August! All of which we’re looking forward to!

Until next time

Lx 

February Half Term ~ Fun and Frolics in Norfolk, Part 3

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up once again on her lonesome, this time we are tucked up behind Flint House Caravan Club Certified Location, Walcott, Norfolk and we are just metres from the sea.   At just £13 pn we’ve got hard standing, water, electric, loo emptying, and the owners even have to arial leads ready for you to plug into their arial if needs be. What a bargain.  The only downside is, due to a narrow and windy access drive, caravans aren’t allowed, it’s open for 3 motorhomes only.

We arrived yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) after a short drive from our Britstop location with an excursion to nearby Horsey WindPump, owned by the National Trust. Sadly for us, it’s currently under a major refurbishment so the sails were dismantled and the site was more like a building site, however I’m sure later in the year it will be looking as good as its former glory.


 From Horsey WindPump, we were hoping to do a 3.5 mile cIrcular AA walk from the WindPump to Horsey Broad , but the path was closed due to flooding damage, so instead we headed on a permissive footpath following flocks of people towards the beach. On arriving at the beach, it was obvious why so many people…. Seals! And loads of them, all having a little sunbathe. What a remarkable sight!


  
After a lovely time on the beach we wandered back to Bluebell, surprised to learn that we’d walked 3.75 miles!

 We had a quick play with my drone camera, getting a good shot of the WindPump from above before some soup for lunch and moving on.

   Our journey to Walcott was only 9miles and seeing as the light was so nice we decided to pull in for another drone play at Happisburgh Lighthouse although it was quite windy so didn’t take it too high.

 

We settled in for a quiet night, waved at Major Tim as he flew over us in the ISS, and were lulled to sleep by the crashing of waves below us. Perfect.

About 06:30 I became aware of a golden glow through the air vent, and gingerly poked my head through the curtain. I was rewarded by my early morning with a gorgeous sunrise.


After a bit of a lazy morning, we set off for a walk along Norfolk Coastal path, back towards Happisburgh along the fast eroding cliffs. The sun was shining and the views were lovely.



We wandered around Happisburgh, enjoying more views of the picture perfect lighthouse, and carried in a little further beyond Happisburgh towards Sea Palling before returning to Happisburgh on the beach.



We enjoyed a picnic on the beach, before heading back up to Happisburgh and onto the coast path back to Walcott.




It’s astounding how quickly this part of the coast is eroding and collapsing, the road to the beach had been washed away and you can see the gas and water pipes still in the ground.

   When we got back to Bluebell we were shattered! Keith looked on his memory map and discovered we had walked 7 miles! We had a nap, before I cooked dinner, which was, even if I do say so myself, gorgeous!

 Ca Kho To, which is a cod based curry. I signed up to Simply Cook recently and this was one of their recipes. Will write more about them another time

Until next time
Lx

February Half Term ~ Fun and Frolics in Norfolk, Part 2

Bluebell the Motorhome is parked up metres away from the front door of Britstops no. 241 (2015 book), a pub and brewery situated within the Norfolk Broads. As per the Britstops rules, I can’t tell you our exact location as its members only, but if you’re a motorhomer and love your food and drink, then you need to join! It’s a free stopover, but you are encouraged to spend some money within the establishment…. What an utter hardship!! It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to do it…! In return you get a place to park overnight, which is very handy considering all the ale on tap tonight! 🍻 Although some Britstops offer some facilities like water or hook up, there are no facilities here but that’s ok as we filled up/empitied before leaving this morning.

Today has been a lovely day- the weather has been cold but mainly clear- luckily we’ve timed our day so that when the downpours of hail arrived, and we’ve had a few, we’ve not been out and about. We had a fairly lazy morning, partly cos we were waiting for the owner of Deodara to arrive so we could pay him, but he never turned up despite telling us he was coming at 09:30 so we ended up leaving the cash inside the electric hook up box and make our exit around 11:00. Probably wouldn’t rush back to that site if we are honest- nice location, but this business of the clay pigeon shooting every other weekend was a bit off putting not to mention loud, plus Sunday afternoon was spoilt by the neighbourscoming onto our pitch cutting down trees in a tractor whilst we were parked! All these things we’d have liked to fed back to Tim, the owner, but as we never saw him it was difficult!

Moving on, we stopped off at Tescos for a couple of bits and bobs and head towards Ludham, a small village sat on a picturesque broad.

We had a 5 mile walk (courtesy of our AA Walk box) which we enjoyed. About half way through the walk, Keith noticed on his memory map, a detour of about half a mile from Toad Hall, How Hill Centre to the River Ant.

The sun was shining so we went down the track and were rewarded by one of the prettiest spots I’ve seen on the broads.

There were two wind pumps and some decking and picnic tables- in the summer boat trips go from there, but today despite the sun shining, we were the only ones and it was truly wonderful to have half an hour there taking in the world and hearing nothing but reeds rustling in the wind and the water lapping up against the boardwalk. Perfect

The walk took us past a large water tower and back to pretty Ludham.

Our Brit Stop pitch for the night was only a 20 minute drive away and so here we are, parked up outside one of our favourite pubs in the county, faces glowing and bellies rumbling. We’ve already been in to sample a Nog- research of course, needed to check it was on for later! Our table is booked for 7pm and we’re treating ourselves to a slap up dinner. I’ve noticed venison pie on the menu- may have done a little jig at the bar in excitement, I had everything crossed that it would be on..

Until next time

Lx

February Half Term ~ Fun and Frolics in Norfolk, Part 1

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up on her lonesome on the Caravan Club CL Deodara, a small 5 van site near to Burgh Castle on the outskirts of Great Yarmouth. Despite being close to the arcades and amusements of Great Yarmouth, we’ve gotten ourselves a slice of peace and tranquilly all to ourselves- it’s a large field with pleasant and quiet (kind of- more on this later!) outlook within walking distance of The Angles Way, Burgh Castle and Breydon Water.

Facilities here are basic, but that’s what we like and at £9 a night (electric hookup is on a metre, so far we’ve used about £3 amd had heater on lots!) it’s well priced. We arrived lunchtime on Saturday after an easy and short journey from home, with a stop at Norwich Camping and Leisure shop where we picked up a new couple of outdoor chairs (not that we will need them this time of year…brr!) and some sausages and eggs.

The weather was dull but dry so after a quick lunch we set off to find Burgh Castle Roman Fort, about 40 mins walk off road away from us, some of the route is on The Angles Way and follows the waters edge.

Burgh Castle Roman Fort is one of the best preserved Roman monuments in the country, and has 3 of its 4 walls still in tact.

 It was pretty chilly but luckily despite forgetting my gloves, we’d remembered the hip flasks! Priorities! 😉 A quick walk back and we settled in in front of the television for the night!

❤️ St Valentines Day dawned an unusual one… We were woken abruptly to gun fire sounds, which was a bit frightening!

Turns out (after 2hrs of intermittent shots, then a full blown war zone type sounds I rang the owner of the site!) that we are 200 yards from a clay pigeon shooting range. Naughty of him to not pre warn us when we booked as they shoot every two weeks. Luckily Jazz wasn’t too freaked out with the noise from the guns, but I expect some dogs would be as it was similar to having our own firework display behind us.

Anyway, after a quick fill of water we headed for another walk up to Burgh Castle and beyond. I took my new drone with me yesterday but managed to switch the video off instead coming out with some fisheye shots, so I wanted another go today – plus the sky was a nicer colour! 

Yesterday’s fisheye shots \/

  

Sunday Angles Way

 

 

 

 

We had a nice walk further up Breyton Water and a picnic sat at the view point.

 

 

Before returning back to Bluebell the motorhome in time for an afternoon nap! Having lots of luck with our motorhome wifi aerial here we have picked up a good BT Fon spot, so currently have some Spotify on and are about to cook a valentines steak and chatuneuf du pape dinner before watching the movie “Valentines Day”

Hope you are having a good day!

Until next time

Lx

Edited with BlogPad Pro

October Half term (and Lydia’s 30th) Part 2

Monday
Bluebell the motorhome is parked on a working farm in Upper Hambleton, Rutland, where she is enjoying some fine views of Rutland Water. It’s very basic Caravan club CL but has all that we require and at only £13 a night is a bargain.  

My birthday weekend has been fabulous. We had a good chill on Saturday morning before heading to Cley Beach, Norfolk for some sea air. 

We then had a gentle walk around the very pretty village of Cley Next to Sea, enjoying the windmill, a pint in The George and some serious droolage and spending in the fantastic deli in the village. It took all the will power we had not to empty the shop, instead opting for a few bottles of Woodfordes Nog, some homemade lavender bread, local honey and chutney and some handmade fudge!

      

We then headed on round the coast to Blakeney, where we had another mooch and then a chill in harbour car park. Keith bought me a birthday cake complete with candles and we enjoyed watching the tide come in.

  
Around 6pm we moved on the short journey to Morston Hall, where the management had very kindly let us park up in their car park overnight. We both showered and got poshed up before heading inside for 7:30 for my first taste of Michelin Starred fine dining.  

 I was not disappointed, it was without doubt the best meal I have ever eaten- all 9 courses! We met the chef / owner Galton Blackiston as he bought our canapés to the table. The wine flight – an additional experience where they bring you a new wine to match each course (hic!) was right on the mark and the 60 day aged beef and Ox cheek was absolutely breathtakingly delicious.

After a great sleep in their back car park, we woke early and moved on, not wanting to overstay our welcome. We headed the short distance to Morston Quay, where there is a large national trust carpark which was a nice spot for breakfast- the homemade lavender bread and honey from yesterday’s splurge in Cley.

We hit the road at 9am and drove west on the A47 towards Rutland Water arriving at our certified site for midday. We quickly emptied and refilled, and by 12:15 were en route in a taxi towards the Wheatsheaf in Edith Weston, where we were meeting some of my best friends for Sunday lunch. The pub is very dog friendly and the food was lovely. We had a great catch up and got back to Bluebell late afternoon, where we caught up with Strictly before hitting the sack just after 8pm!


Monday dawned bright, despite the weather forecast saying otherwise, therefore after a quick 8 egg frittata for breakfast and getting the beef casserole in the slow cooker, we were on our bikes by 10am ready to tackle the circuit of Rutland Water. Our campsite is located on the peninsular so we ended up cycling the full 24 miles, but there is an option to cut out the peninsular if you don’t fancy that distance. However the route that goes around the peninsular is beautiful and we enjoyed it.


The weather was perfect, and at times we could have been forgiven for thinking we were in the Italian Lakes! The route itself was fairly challenging for us, it’s very up, down, up down etc, and usually we try to avoid hills if we can, so we found it hard, but massively satisfying and very enjoyable. The route took us 5 hours but we stopped for refreshments every hour or so. 



Highlights were Normanton Church and also seeing all the sailing boats on the water. The colours of Autumn were in full abundance and it really was spectacular.

  


Next stop tomorrow, Market Harborough and Foxton Locks
Until then

Lx

October Half Term (and Lydia’s 30th) Part 1

Friday

Bluebell the motorhome is tucked away under the autumn leaves on The Caravan CL The Sheleig, on the outskirts of Cley next to Sea, North Norfolk.  We have a sea view, we have 2 pubs within walking distance and life is feeling rather good. We arrived after a less than smooth journey- making the silly mistake of relying on google maps to get here and ignoring the roadmap. We squeezed down some tiny roads in a “sat nav effort” to save a couple of mins, but seem to have gained a couple of extra wear and tear scratches. We vow to consult the road map next time…!


 The site is nice- on a slight grassy slope however luckily the owner didn’t mind us tearing up his grass to get onto our pitch! We have a slight sea view and it’s wonderfully quiet. After a quick soup lunch (I made a pumpkin soup earlier in the week-yum) we got our walking boots on and set about on a 4.5 6.6 mile walk.






The walk took us mainly on quiet lanes to Glandford and across its impressive ford, across Wiveton Down and into Wiveton where we had our first refreshment stop in The Wiveton Bell in front of the roaring log fire. I managed to polish off most all of the Liquorice Allsorts on the bar tables!




  
We walked across the 13th Century medieval bridge into Newgate on the outskirts of Cley, where there was another inviting pub, The 3 Swallows, it seemed rude not to pop in for “one for the road”. It was a short journey back to the campsite and we surprised to realise we had actually walked 6.5 miles.


  
Since getting back, we’ve given my new DAB radio a whirl, a present for my birthday, and currently are waiting for my homemade chicken and pumpkin pie to finish cooking in the oven. Not a bad way at all to spend the last night of my twenties!!!

Saturday

Its my 30th birthday!!!!!


I’ve had a lovely chill and been thoroughly spoilt!! Keefy’s cooked me a fry up and tonight he’s taking me for my first Michelin star meal, at nearby Morston Hall!

Excited!

Until next time

Lx

Our Royal Ramblings around Sandringham, Norfolk

Bluebell the motorhome is parked on a lovely spacious pitch overlooking Woodland within Sandringham Country Park. We are nestled upon the Caravan Club club site- a first for us, but there were no CLs close enough for us to park up on Friday and not drive again til today, so here we are.

  
We are lucky in that Sandringham is only an hours drive from home, so we arrived on Friday bang on the check in time of 12:00 ready to explore. On arrival we were told about SCD (Seasonal Canine Disorder) from the cautious warden and advised not to take the dog out into the Country Park. Panicking, we didnt know what to do for the best, as the country park goes for miles and we were smack bang in the middle. We decided to walk Jazz as normal, but not let him off lead ( well we dont do that anyway) and be extra vigilant for signs of illness. 

The weather was fantastic, blue skies, no clouds, so we decided to set out on a 6.5 8 mile walk to Wolfreton and back through the park and past the visitor centre. The walk was glorious, taking in the wonderful Royal Wolfreton Station, once the main station where Royals would disembark on their way to Sandringham, but now a residential property which has been wonderfully restored privately. You can access the station, and visit the museum and it’s all free. Remarkable. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  The walk took us over Dersingham bog (on the boardwalk of course!) with views of the wash and then back through the country park. We haven’t walked that length in a while (it turned out to be 8 miles as we added 3/4 mile each way getting from the campsite to join the AA Route.   
   

We had a great sleep on Friday night, the site is very quiet, and we were treated to hearing the Owls in the woods. They sounded very close to us! Always a lovely sound. 
Saturday dawned another sunny day, so we got the bikes off the rack and set out on a 15.5 23 mile cycle, a route we found on the Caravan Club website. The route took us through West Newton, Amner (and past Amner Hall where Kate and Wills live- not that you could see it!) Great Bircham and its impressive windmill (sadly now closed until Easter- we’ve been up previously and it’s fantastic). 

   
    
    
    
    
   
We then carried on through Fring, Snettisham – where we stopped at the picturesque Rose and Crown, winner of Pub of the Year 2015, and we can see why, it’s very pretty and our sandwiches were delicious. It was then the home stretch through Dersingham and back to Sandringham campsite via the visitor centre. 

   
    
    
 We passed several shops selling local produce, and took advantage of the fact stopping to get cheese at each, and chutney atSandringham visitors centre,  building ourselves a nice little local cheese board for later that night! Not sure why the cycle ended up being 7.5 miles longer than the route suggested, we don’t think we went wrong! Anyway, we were glad to get back as it was just about our limit and actually there were a surprising amount of hills- but it was a lovely day nonetheless. 
Saturday night was spent chilling and watching Strictly. Here’s a strange story- I went to enquire about a TV arial lead at reception as Friday night our TV signal off the status arial was ok but sometimes broke up, and we noticed everyone else on site had Arial leads. I was shocked that they were not available to hire, you had to buy them and they were £15! I’m not sure if we are out of touch with these larger commercial sites or what, but I was surprised to hear that, especially in an area where TV signal isn’t so good, you would think that they perhaps would let you have them  for free to hire with a deposit or something? Especially when we are paying £20 a night?  Suffice to say, I didn’t buy one, and in the end we had no problems off status arial so that was satisfying! 

Sunday dawned and we were up early ready to pack away and the short drove to Sandringham House. It’s 1.5 miles from the campsite, so we could have walked t you can’t take dogs in so we wanted to reduce the time that Jazz needed to stay on his own in the van. 

It cost £13.50 each to get into Sandringham, this included the stunning gardens, downstairs of the house, and also a large museum.  We felt it to be very good value. The gardens were spectacular, the leaves just starting to change colour.  

    
    
    
    
 The first view of the house was exciting, it’s a stunning property you can see The Queen chooses to spend Christmas here. 
   
    
   

  
We weren’t allowed to take piccies inside, but we got to see the lounge/saloon, drawing room, dining room (where they have their Turkey!) and ballroom. It was better value (IMO) than Ballmoral. 

Inside the museum were loads of old Royal vehicles and a wealth of history and information. Also, a very large Pumpkin!

   
    
    
    
   
  
The west lawns were our favourite  

    
 
Finally, after going to pick Jazz up, via the shop may I add, we went for a quick look around the church where The Royal Family worship on Christmas Day. What a pretty spot, the inside is lovely. We will watch the news with a vested interest on Xmas Morning

   
    
   
Jazz licking his lips on the above signalled time for home- we’d had a lovely break, and are now looking forward to doing Leicestershire over half term! 

Until next time

Lx 

Cycling The Bure Valley Way, Norfolk

A few days ago, we found ourselves with a unexpectedly free day, which happened to be sunny- Hurrah! Since our last trip, which saw us cycling along The Marriott’s Way, we’ve been on the hunt for other local traffic free cycle trails to go onto our list of places to go. It wasn’t long before we found The Bure Valley Way, a cycle/foot path that follows the 15 inch Narrow gauge railway that runs 9 miles between Aylsham and Wroxham. A quick Caravan Club search ensued and we were on the phone to Heath Farm CL in Buxton, exactly half way along the Bure Valley. Perfect.

Heath Farm Heath Farm Heath Farm Heath Farm

Buxton is less than an hour from us so we were up and on the road and pitched up by 11:00. The site was really pretty, with fields surrounding it. Be warned- it’s a very basic CL, offering 2 stand alone water pipes, electric, chemical loo point and a toilet and shower (although it was a very basic one, we chose to use our own facilities on board!)- but the price was remarkable – just a mere £9 per night!! What bargain and really, what more does one need?!

Keith’s agenda for the day was to be able to test his new bit of kit, his Memory Map Adventurer 3000 GPS (currently on sale). We’ve had the old version for 5 years now and it has successfully prevented navigational arguments guided us ever since, until someone dropped it *ahem* and the screen COMPLETLY smashed in!!

adv3000_os50_flash

Once set up, it was soon off on the bikes. Heath Farm campsite was only 1 mile outside of Buxton and we used the memory map to guide us down a very tiny back road into the pretty village and onto the Bure Valley Way. There is a small path that follows beside the train line for the whole 9 miles.

Bure Valley Way

We chose to head towards Wroxham first seeing as the sun was only set to be out until lunchtime before it was supposed to cloud over. It was about 5 miles and we were passed by several small steam trains – it was a lovely sight.

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Wroxham is a largish village on the Norfolk Broads and has everything from a supermarket to Kebab shop, tourist info to fishing tackle shop, and most importantly, what we were after… a nice pub with area to sit out overlooking the river.

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After a pint each and a chance to catch our breath, we ate our packed lunch and then, after a quick look round Wroxham Signal Box were back onto our bikes for the return leg – this time to the other end of the line to Aylsham.

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It took us just under an hour to cycle the 9 miles, and we rewarded ourselves with a nice ice cold can of coke from Tescos and some Ben and Jerry’s to take back to Bluebell’s freezer for pudding!

We doubled back on ourselves the 3 miles back to Buxton station where we were to leave the trail and head back to our campsite, passing numerous train spotters that we had seen earlier on! During our cycle, we were passed by probably 10 trains, all in wonderful condition, and with lots of passengers on board. I think there were some visiting engines from another railway also running that day. Hearing them choo chooing along the railway was a lovely experience.

We headed back to Bluebell (*Memory map informed us we had cycled 21 miles!) and enjoyed a really lazy evening and following morning, just what we needed with it being the end of term, we are frankly frazzled. The campsite owner was very easy going, he told us there was no hurry to leave, so we enjoyed a lay in and fry up, before packing up and heading the short journey home. Definitely would return, and do the cycle to Wroxham again – but next time, would leave the packed lunch and enjoy fish and chips instead!!

Until Next time

Lx

Sunshine on the North Norfolk Coast

Bluebell the motorhome is parked up back at home having whisked us off to the Costa del North Norfolk coast for a sneaky night/couple of days of sunshine, beach time, swimming in the sea, good food and an enjoyable 8 mile walk. It’s been a little while since our last outing due to work commitments- summer term is always a grueller for us with summer concerts, exams, gigs etc, so we were delighted to find ourselves with a gap in the diary this week, that coincided with the weatherman giving the virtual thumbs up on getting some decent weather!

We were planning a trip to Sandringham House and Castle Rising, but after seeing the weather forcast predicting temperatures of 28-30 degrees, a trip to the beach just couldn’t be resisted, so we chucked our beachwear in, loaded the essentials ( Pimms….check, gin…..check, bikes, picnic, etc) grabbed our Brit Stops bible and hit the road. We were to return to a Brit Stop pub/restaurant that we’ve been to twice (read about it here and here) before, number 239, situated right on the North Norfolk Coastal Path, in between Hunstanton and Wells next to Sea.

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Bluebell the motorhome in the car park of BritStop number 239

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The outside of BritStop 239

We arrived just after 12:00, it only took just over an hour to get there from our house- ideal for a one night trip. A quick hello to the staff, confirmation that we had a table booked for dinner that night and Keefy set about dismantling the bikes whilst I packed the picnic bits into the cool bags. All loaded up, we cycled the 3 miles to the nearest beach, Brancaster Beach, which we’d visited back in February and vowed to return to in nicer weather.

20140725-212518-77118020.jpgBrancaster Beach in the summer sun- we could have been in Spain!

We enjoyed our picnic on the beach, several glasses of pimms, and a right good chill (or rather bake!). We even managed a swim in the unusually warm sea, it was like a bath!

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a few beach snaps 🙂

As dinner time fast approached, we packed up our kit, cycled back and had a sneaky nap (well all this sunbathing is tiring!) before getting on our glad rags, and moseying across for our 7:30pm booking.

The pub/hotel (I’m referring to it as number 239 as you have to be a member of BritStops to stay there in your motorhome and Steve and Mandy are working very hard on the scheme, which we fully support and recommend) is quite an upmarket place, but in a nice subtle way. It has all the appeal of a cosy village pub, with roaring log fire, views over the sea and splendid ale, but then its annex is a fairly posh affair, almost mimicking a Michelin Starred restaurant with its table layout.

The menu is amazing, and ranges from fresh local oysters, fish, steaks, traditional pub food- you name it. We both opted for a battered fish and chip dinner and a crisp bottle of white, and it was delicious.

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enjoying my fish and chips

After dinner we nipped Jazz out to walk it off and enjoyed the sunset.

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red sky at night, sailors delight..

After a blissfully quiet nights sleep we awoke and enjoyed a Harling Sausage Bap (The Harling sausage is a sausage made by our village butchers and it is delicious!)
Today’s plan was to do the 8 mile circular walk from Holme Next to Sea through Ringstead and Old Hunstanton. Sadly, we were unable to park at the car park at Holme next to Sea due to a ridiculous height barrier meaning we couldn’t get in! Sorry Holme, you just lost our £3:50 parking charge we would have happily paid and money at the kiosk on cold drinks! We carried on up to Hunstanton and found a suitable spot there, and therefore starting at a different point. The walk was lovely, it took in a stretch of the North Norfolk Coast Path and The Peddars Way, as well as some of the sand dunes along the coast between Hunstanton and Holme- interesting, as you walk right beside and then through the Golf Course!

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walking on the North Norfolk Coast Path, through the dunes, with the sea on one side and the golf course on the other

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walking towards Holme next to sea and looking back to Hunstanton

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walking through Ringstead Downs, a pretty area belonging to Norfolk Wildlife Trust

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a lonely medieval barn ruin

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the pretty school house in Ringstead

We had a great night away and have come home feeling like we’ve been on holiday- good job, as we are now busy with gigs for the next 3 weeks, but are looking forward to our 2 week trip later in August!

Are you off out in your van over the summer? If so, where? Need some serious holiday inspiration as ours feels ages away yet!

Until next time

Lx