Away to Norfolk

R organised a surprise trip away to Norfolk last weekend. After a rather stressful week in work for both of us, it was a treat to be heading out of London, towards wide open fields and moody skies, vibrant greens, yellows and blues, to wild windswept beaches that rolled on and on and on. 

We left London as it was getting dark, me trying to guess where we were going (a challenge when your geography is as bad as mine) and failing miserably. On the way we saw a bunny, a fox and a hedgehog crossing the road (very slowly). We arrived at our B&B very late, where we promptly fell straight into bed and slept soundly for a long time. The next morning we woke up to sun and birdsong, with views of fields and farms and not much else. We stayed at

Tuttington Hall

 in a tiny village called Tuttington which was a lovely place - secluded, peaceful and very comfortable, and home to several very friendly doggies.

On Saturday we headed out to explore. It was our first time in Norfolk so we didn't quite know what to expect. It was so flat! Not at all like home. We kept looking for hills and mountains but we didn't find any. It was beautiful though - rolling and vast and empty.

We headed for Holt, a pretty town nearby that we had heard good things about. On the way I spotted a car boot sale so we stopped to take a look. Its 11am start time was very strictly enforced by the organiser, Dave. We got told off several times for looking and we had to wait for Dave to blow his whistle before we were allowed to start buying! It was a good car boot though:)

Dave with his megaphone. He was a bit of a maniac. I will post some pictures of what we bought at some point:)

Holt was indeed very pretty, full of cobbled streets and cobbled houses (we saw lots of cobble-rendered houses all over the place). There were lots of little independent shops and antique shops. We spent a lovely couple of hours moseying and taking pictures and having a spot of lunch. 

This shop had loads of beautiful things. We are currently looking for garden furniture, an enamel washing up bowl, a wardrobe for R and coat hooks for the new house.

Rooms and rooms of beautiful 50s kitchenalia. It was 'spensive though. 

We resisted lots of things, but we did buy a very cute pair of 70s bathroom scales for £3. Bargin. 

All that bargin hunting makes for a hungry girl. We stopped ina place called

Byfords

for delicious homemade pasties and cheese on toast. Mmmmm. 

Oh, and a scone and a cup of tea.

After lunch we set off for Wells-next-the-sea, to see the sea!

We stopped on the way to marvel at fields full of near-neon yellow flowers. We spotted lots of pheasants flapping around, hiding among the stalks, running away when they saw us coming. 

Wells is a lovely seafront town, with steep lanes leading down to the sea and a pretty harbour looking out onto windswept marshland. 

We wandered along the front as the sun started to go down. Children sat with their legs dangling off the harbour wall, happily idling away the hours crabbing, seagulls circling excitedly overhead. 

We enjoyed catching a bit of early evening sun.

We spotted a beautiful orange Camper. We shouted, "A camper! A camper!". 

In the evening we went out for dinner at

The Gunton Arms

which was very near to our B&B. It's a beautiful old pub set in a thousand acre deer park. It was renovated a few years ago by an art dealer, who has decorated it with lots of incredible modern art. We spotted a few Damien Hirsts in the bathroom. They also have an giant open fire for cooking called the Elk Room Fire. 

I see deer!

We shared dressed Cromer crab and Queen scallops for starter. Both delicious.

Then we had rare steaks with roast potatoes and bearnaise sauce. Mmm mmm mmm.

And mini doughnuts with chocolate sauce. We were both extremely full and very happy. It was nice to catch up, wind down and reflect on life at the moment. Warm and full and very content. 

On Sunday we said goodbye to the friendly doggies and headed off towards the coast.

We made a stop in Cromer and had a little wander around the town. It's an old-fashioned seaside place - a fish and chips, sweet shops and walks along the promenade type place. We breathed in the sea air and bought some lunch and then drove to

Sheringham Park

, a nearby National Trust parkland and garden, famous for its rhododendrons.

We were a bit early in the year to see the best of the rhododendrons but there were a few bright blooms of colour, and we enjoyed getting lost among the trees, strolling down winding pathways, and glimpsing the sea through the bushes. 

In the 1950s the park's owner, Tom Upcher, would hold rhododendron champagne parties to show them off. Apparently, the ladies would arrive in wellies to allow them to wander along the pathways in their gowns, sipping champagne and admiring the beautiful swathes of flowers. 

We emerged out of woodland into bright sunlight, and a rather splendid house (sadly not open to the public). 

Then we followed the path to the sea. 

We spotted a steam train in the distance! 

We ended up on a coastal path, wind blowing, skylarks singing up above, watching the waves. 

We found a spot on the beach, ate our sandwiches and had a little doze. Blissful. 

We stayed as long as we could, then we got back in the car and headed back to the city. A perfect weekend.