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Considering Norfolk in 2014

TX
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Considering Norfolk in 2014

My 73-year old (very active) mother and I take a mom/daughter trip to England annually,and have just recently returned from a lovely visit to Suffolk and the Rutland Water area. Not being content to sit back and simply reflect on our holiday, we tend to immediately jump right back into planning the next one, so here I am. Having visited Suffolk (and loving it), I'm compelled to look into seeing Norfolk next. That's where I'd like input from you fine fine folks as to where you'd recommend we stay.

We have always had a car in previous areas of the country (Cotswolds, Cornwall, Suffolk, Rutland), but that's not because I love to drive in England -- it's been a matter of necessity if we wanted to see outlying towns and villages. Mostly what we love to do is to just soak up the local atmosphere. Stroll through the markets, visit the tea shops and pubs and churches and actually "rub shoulders with" and get to know the locals. We've also enjoyed visiting historical sites, but for the most part the charm for us is not so much in visiting tourist attractions, but in immersing ourselves in local life. I am wondering if it's feasible to think about just taking the train from London to a Norfolk coastal town and then depending on train service (I understand there's a steam train in the Sheringham area which looks like great fun too) or the odd taxi to get us around. Our car rental cost for our last 2-week trip was a bit on the astronomical side, so if at all possible to get away with not renting one, I'd sure like to give it a try. What are your thoughts?

I've been looking at self-catering cottages in Sheringham, Cromer, Wells-next-the-Sea, Hunstanton, but am open to other suggestions. We love charming, character-filled 2-bedroom cottages that also have all the mod cons, and there seem to be plenty to choose from in the areas I've researched thus far.

Any recommendations are welcomed at this point, as we're just starting to look at Norfolk as a destination for our next holiday!

middle england
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for Leicestershire, Norfolk
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1. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

Very good choice in my opinion. I would like to emphasise that a car nor a taxi is required, because of the Coasthopper bus service which links Cromer with King's Lynn by the coast road, calling at Sheringham, Cley, Blakeney, Wells, Holkham, Burnham Market and Brancaster amongst others. There is a website

www.coasthopper.co.uk

which unfortunately is not kept up-to-date. There was a half hourly service between Cromer and Hunstanton with half the buses carrying on to Ling's Lynn last summer, and no reason not to expect the same next summer (if we ever have one!). Small buses have to be used because of the narrow roads and sharp bends and that makes the whole experince very user friendly. Very reasonable fares and you can get weekly tickets etc.There's so much to do it's not possible to list all attractions. Holkham Hall, deer park and famous beach, Titchwell RSPB reserve. the Norfolk Coast Path are all on the bus route, as is Morston for boat trips to Blakeney point to see the seals and sea birds. There's a narrow guage railway from Wells to Walsingham as well as the Poppy line at Sheringham. Sandringham can be reached by car or by changing buses in Hunstanton. Others will have other suggestions.

england
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2. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

You can get a train from London to Cromer or Sheringham, both have an old fashioned charm, we have had lots of lovely holidays in Cromer, but Sheringham is just as nice. There is also a bus called the Coasthopper which, as the name implies, runs right around the coast of North Norfolk to Hunstanton, and from there you can get a bus to Kings Lynn, which is also connectoed to London by train.

Wells next the sea is a lovely old fishing town, now busier with holiday trade than fishing, I would not want to spend a week in Hunstanton although the children loved it for day trips, there is a very good beach and a small funfair but not a lot else.

North Norfolk has everything, charming market towns, villages made from flint- each with a church and a pub and often a windmill, miles and miles of open sandy windswept beaches, Holkham Hall and even a Royal Home. Lovely countryside, lovely people.

If you liked Suffolk you wil love North Norfolk!!

(Norfolk is a lot better than Suffolk - this is a dumpling's point of view - those from Silly Suffolk will say otherwise).

There is, as you will see, a friendly rivalry between the two counties!!

TX
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3. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

Thanks so much for your quick replies! I'm very much encouraged to know that a car is not a must in this area. That greatly increases Norfolk as a 2014 contender in my mind! I should probably add that our trip will take place in mid-March of next year, so not sure if any of the primary transport links (train or bus) would be non-operational at that time. We'd love to ride the steam train simply for the old-fashioned charm, if we have the opportunity.

I have noted to avoid Great Yarmouth. Anywhere else that you'd suggest we definitely NOT see or stay?

Love the Norfolk-Suffolk rivalry! :-)

england
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4. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

www.nnrailway.co.uk/ for the steam train from Sheringham to Holt, you may be unlucky in March, it runs some weekends only. The mainline trains are year round and so is the Coasthopper althought it is more frequent in the Summer, the Coasthopper stops at Cley Marshes Visitor Centre, not just for birdwatchers, you can get a meal, or a snack, in a fantastic setting, its a new centre with panoramic views over the marshes, definitely not to be missed.

Sheffield
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5. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

And do consider Norwich too - access by public transport from most of he bigger places on the coast.

Suffolk, United...
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6. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

Hi Bajablonde,

Although a lot of Great Yarmouth is designed(?) for the candyfloss brigade and is quite run down, it does have some redeeming features. There are a couple of good museums, Time and Tide to name one, a few interesting buildings including the Tolhouse (yes! with one "l"), one of the last two purpose built permanent circus buildings still operational (Hippodrome circus).

However I doubt I would bother to try and get there by public transport from North Norfolk for a day.

Have a look at the National Trust and English Heritage websites for some places to see.

I can recommend Owners Direct as a source for cottages to rent. It just happens that we are staying in North Norfolk for a few days over Easter at one of their cottages. Probably not suitable for you as it is not on or near any bublic transport. I will however post here some comments on places we visit.

Cheers

Bob

TX
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7. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

Thanks for additional thoughts! The steam train in Sheringham indeed had very limited operations during March of this year, so I assume 2014 would be along the same lines. However, per their calendar April is "full steam ahead" (bad pun, I know), and now I'm wondering if we would be better served by planning to visit in April instead of March. March is ideal for my mom's schedule, but we may be able to flex a bit.

I'm looking at Owners Direct right now, and there are quite a few options there! I still very much like the idea of staying in Sheringham or Cromer - would be nice to be right on the coast. The closest we've gotten on previous visits is staying about a mile from Mousehole in Cornwall, and taking a day trip to Aldeburgh while staying in Lavenham, Suffolk.

Oh, to not have to rent a car would just be heavenly!

Edited: 27 March 2013, 20:11
middle england
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8. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

If being by the sea is important to you, you perhaps should avoid Wells. The clue is in its full name "Wells-next-the-Sea". It's about a mile from the town quay to the beach and open sea. A little train connects the two, but only runs in the summer. There's a good but pricey cafe at Wells beach.

TX
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9. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

Being by the side would definitely be a plus - although it's not an absolute necessity. Our primary requirement at this point will be easy access to public transportation to avoid renting a car.

Lewes, England.
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10. Re: Considering Norfolk in 2014

Blakeney is superb (with plenty of cottages to rent thro' the Blakeney cottage company), is connected by the coast hopper bus and is reasonably flat. `good walks to Cley (famous windmill, smoke house, gallery, etc) and Morston in the other direction... Morston hall is a great restaurant / hotel with some self catering units, owner / chef is a bit of a character.... worth a visit if only for a coffee and home-made biscuits, or afternoon tea....

Sheringham otherwise might be a good bet because of the transport links, including train (very pretty countryside) to Norwich via Cromer. There are a good range of rail rover tickets available, too.

Edited: 28 March 2013, 00:19