I'm always interested in places to escape the city and find a bit of fresh air...especially if there's a beach involved. North Norfolk is famous for its food growing, farming and fishing industries and as we discovered this weekend, it's a brilliant, easy place to visit with babies and kids.
We spent the Bank Holiday there with a bunch of friends, and Baby B. We stayed at our friend's mum's house in a village called Heacham and we had such a nice time I thought I'd share a bit about why.
North Norfolk has some of the best sandy beaches in the country along the 45-mile beach-front path from Holme to Cromer. The coastline is peppered with quaint market villages, crab shacks, farm shops, pastel beach huts, vineyards, fruit farms, family-friendly boutique B&Bs, cute holiday rentals, and foodie pubs with locally-sourced menus and playgrounds overlooking the sea.
It's a 2-3 hour drive from London or an direct 1h 40m train from King's Cross - King's Lynn, then a 15-25m cab to any of the coastal villages.
WHERE TO STAY
This coastline has one picturesque old village after another. There are loads of lovely towns and beaches within close driving distance of each other so you can't really go wrong. Nice places to be based: Thornham, the Burnhams, Old Hunstanton, Heacham, Wells-next-the-Sea.
AirBnb's top 20 listings in the area HERE.
The Victoria, Holkam - pretty gastropub with rooms right on Holkam Beach. Gateway to the Holkam Hall heritage site/stately home, which also has cute lodges to hire.
The Gunton Arms - a pub with rooms that's famous for its food. Slightly east of the main coastal beach scene but worth the drive for the pub's restaurant. Baby and kid-friendly.
Cliff Barns - a little bit further from the beaches but great if you're travelling as a big group. 16 of us stayed here for a wedding a couple of years ago and it is honestly one of the best group holiday rentals in the land. Some friends recently hired it for a hen party weekend, and it's brilliant for kids. Ideal place for summer or winter. Big kitchen, games room, enclosed courtyard garden, hot tub.
Chequers Inn - family-friendly pub with rooms in a brilliant location for the sweeping beaches around Holkam.
FOODIE STUFF THAT LITTLE KIDS WILL LOVE
Foraging. We ate so many wild blackberries at Heacham and Old Hunstanton we had purple tongues, and the beach approach at Holkam is packed with samphire.
Crab shacks. There are a few along the coat road around Wells-next-the-Sea, and you will never taste a better, fresher crab salad...not even in Cornwall (Cromer, a town further along the coast, is famous for its crabbing industry). Loads of local beers and wines to try.
Walsingham Farm shop and lavender gardens. Like stepping back in time. And the smell of the lavender...it's like being in the south of France. Check out this DayOutWithTheKids review of the petting farm and gardens HERE and see the farm shop HERE.
Drove Orchards. The most incredible fruit-picking farm. Also on site is a health-food restaurant in a yurt (try the soba noodles), a smokehouse for award-winning Gurney's fish shop in Burnham Market (take some of their smoked salmon home to have for breakfast with with scrambled eggs), and the mighty Eric's fish and chips to eat in the sunshine overlooking a little vineyard (Baby B's first fish supper...off the charts...she ate a bit of everyone's).