For our October holidays, we decided to take a trip around Norfolk. To cut down on our travelling time from Dartford to the top of Norfolk we thought we would break the trip up with a stop at Cambridge seeing as we have never explorer this beautiful city.
So, we booked two nights at the caravan and camping club site just off the M11 and not far out from the city centre. The website looked very good and I had done some research on Cambridge so was looking forward to this stop of.
We pulled into the site at about 17:00 after a two and half our trip. The roads where playing up as usual with the M25 taking 25 min to get through the tunnel. So when we pulled onto the site I was very pleased to see a beautiful green site and the weather was also on our side with blue skies.
When travelling from the M11 to this site you will see signs for the site along the road. From the main road there is a left hand sign which points down a private road. The site is at the bottom of this private road and there are no caravan camping club signs at the private road entrance to suggest this. This made us miss the turning and we had to do a U turn to get back. I thought this might be worth mentioning if you are thinking of visiting this site.
As for the facilities, well they were as good as you would expect from a club site. Nice toilet block with good clean showers, a good motorhome service point, and if you have a dog they will be delighted with the dog walk. There is also a play area for the kids to enjoy.
For our first night, we set up and then decided to take a walk to the Hudson’s Ale House for a pint of beer and to check out the local Inn for possible food on Saturday if we did not find a place we liked in Cambridge. From the site, main road turning right it takes about 20 min to walk to the pub. This is a popular Inn for dinning out or just to have a pint. It was having its 2nd anniversary when we visited so was very busy. I had a couple pints Wherry ale and then headed back to the site to plan our next day.
Saturday morning, we headed of the Cambridge, just outside the site to the right you can catch the number 7 bus to Cambridge. This is just outside the local convenience store which is worth mentioning. We got an all-day ticket so we could get on/off all day. The bus route takes you past the local hospital and is about a 20-min journey. We got off on Hills Road next to Our Lady and the English Martyrs church and headed down to the market square just outside Great St Mary’s Church. The market is full of food outlets from local people and some craft stools. From here we headed around the university’s passing the famous St Kings university and walking through the sheep’s green passing Darwin’s College Island seeing the gondolas on the river Cam to end at The Mill Inn by the river off Mill Lane.
We popped into the inn to have some refreshments a pint Adams for me and a bowl of water for star or lab. Then headed off following the river passing the mathematical bridge. By now we thought we would head off for some lunch and had already looked up some good dog friendly pubs. So, we headed off to The Clarendon Arms walking through Christ Pieces park on the way so star could stretch her legs. We arrived at the pub which on the outside looked very good and when entering was delighted with the decor, we were in luck to get a table by the window as this was a popular pub for lunch and a lot of places where already reserved. My son and I ordered the burger with mature cheese and bacon which came with a sour dough bun which was to be a first for us. When it arrived and after the first bite we knew why this place was so popular. The bun was lovely, not your usual doughy muck but a tasty crisp bun and the homemade pepper sauce on the side with homemade coleslaw made the whole meal a delight. My son and me both agreed this was one of the best buns we have had in a long while. I would recommend this place for a meal which was all washed down with a lovely pint Abbot ale.
After lunch, we caught the bus back which was only a 5 min walk from the pub to the bus station off Parker Street. After an afternoon rest, back at the van and a shower we decided to head back into Cambridge seeing as we still had the bus tickets. We headed back to Our Lady and the English Martyrs church for afternoon mass. After mass, we had some refreshments at the Prince Regent across the road and then headed back to the van for the afternoon.
We had a lovely time at Cambridge and will be looking forward to visiting again. The site was very nice and conveniently located to visit Cambridge city.
After two nights stop at Cambridge we headed north to Pinewoods site at Wells-next-the-sea where we will be stopping for three nights. From searching the internet, the week before this looked like a great place to visit for fishing, harbor walks, and restaurants. We arrived early at 11 am and was not allowed on till 13:00 so we parked up in the car park and headed to the town along the river foot path. It’s about a mile walk to town and took us about 20 min. It’s a nice walk watching the birds and boats bobbing up and down and a very busy area for dog walkers. The town is very popular for visitors and has a very good selections of eating establishments. Even on the harbour there is a moored up old Dutch cargo ship called the Albatros that has been turned into a restaurant and drinking place, on Sundays evenings they even have live music. We had a walk around and decided to pop into Platten’s fish & chip shop seeing as they allow dogs in and have excellent review’s. This is a traditional fish and chip shop which have been in the Platten’s family for four generations. We ordered two cod and chips and was delighted with the quality of the fish. On the wall in the fish and chip shop was a TV showing a documentary on where they source their potatoes and how they cook their food. It was quite entertaining to watch whilst we ate our lunch. The Platten’s family have been in this area for a long time they also own the restaurant next to the fish and chip shop and the hardware shop at the end of the village.
After lunch we headed back to the site to set up have a shower and get ready to go out for an evening meal. The site is very open so you will get battered by windy days as we found out on one rocky night. The toilet block looked new and was probably the best facilities we have had. Very modern clean and spacious. Just what you want on an autumn holiday. Our pitch was hard standing very level with water, waste and electric point. The site even had electric car points if you have brought one. There is a miniature train that pulls up by the site and will take you to town for about £1.50 each way per person. There is also great access to an excellent sandy beach which allows dogs on one side all year round. The reception was not very helpful, no info on the train service, public services or anything local when asking. There is a gym and pool on site but only for residents not campers, it did come across that you are not too welcome and this is only a money spinner to add to their residential site.
We headed back out to town around 6 o’clock. Another mile walk along the harbour to town, first stop was the Albatros restaurant to have a look inside and get a pint beer. It’s a steep climb down the ships steps to the bar below so although they do not mind dogs it would be dangerous taking them down the steps. Inside it’s a small bar area which has been decorated with shipping lane charts and ship items. I had a pint of Wherry ale which was nice and we then went over the road to the Sands restaurant. This is a top floor restaurant with panoramic views across the harbour if you can get a window seat. We were very lucky to get a window seat even do we had not booked. They do not do beer on tap which is a disappointment but they had real ale bottles. The view was excellent watching the evening traffic of people strolling past below whist we waited for our order. The river tide was also coming in, so as we enjoyed our dinner we could see the boats start to rise and as the sun went down the harbour lights started to come on. This was definitely one of the best restaurants for views and as for the food well this was just as good. We ordered the sea food platter for my son and I which had a good selection and was very well presented. Fist time trying white bait and cray fish, the whole meal was delicious. To try something new my wife had saw fish which taste like tuna steak. The whole night was very enjoyable so much so we went back here for our last night.
The next day we planned a walk along the beach front to the national park and up to visit Holkham estate. The weather was on our side with blue sky’s as we headed off. At the beach entrance there is a beach cafe. We did not try this out as it was always very busy and not much seating area. To the left of the car park you will find the foot path which is signed dog friendly area. This takes you to the steps over the sand dune and onto the dog friendly part of the beach. It reminded us of Bordeaux climbing over the sand dunes. The beach was amazing for a dog beach in this country. A massive spans of sand for them to run around in. This then leads into the Holkham estate which is also very beautiful and worth a visit whilst you are here. After about a 2 mile walk we arrived at Vitoria Inn where we stopped for a pint. Again very popular pub as you would expect on a historic estate like this. We then headed up to the estate entrance turned left and followed the woodland back to the town. We did not explore the estate fully as we did not have much time here on this holiday.
On our third day we took a drive out. We needed some shopping so headed to Fakenham to a Tesco to fill up. We then decided to explore some of the area by van. On our route back, we stopped at Little Walsingham which is known for its religious shrines in honour of the Virgin Mary and pilgrimage centre. Very interesting place to visit, in the town there is a good van parking area next to the railway museum. From here we headed to Blakeney town to check out the sea trips and for Sean our son to do some crabbing. This again was a nice town with a free parking area on the main road so you don’t have to drive down to the harbour.
After a very nice three-night stay at Pinewoods we headed toward Cromer to stay at Laburnum Caravan Park. This is a good site location to visit Cromer and Sheringham with pitches on the cliff top with excellent views overlooking the sea. On route we tried to stop at Sheringham town to have a look around seeing as the market was on but there is no parking for motorhomes here. We arrived at the site which was very friendly and had the great views which we were looking for. Pitching up with our rear window pointing over the cliff made eating dinner and morning breakfast much more interesting. We decided to go and visit Sheringham by bus as my wife loves looking around the marked. So once set up we headed down to the town and caught the local bus to Sheringham. It’s not far and there is a regular bus service so as we have said before its worth going straight to site and use public transport rather than trying to park the van in the town. Sheringham is a typical sea side town, lots little shops and eating out places. The market was not much but my son was happy picking up a hog roast in a bun which was very delicious.
The next day we went to have a look around Cromer. This time we took the train which is only one stop from West Runton to Cromer. We had a little walk around Cromer and explored the pier, picked up some ice creams and then got the train back. We wanted to have lunch at Rocky Bottoms cafe but this is an extremely popular cafe and was sadly booked up all day. So back at site we took the sea cliff walk to the left back to Sheringham. It’s about 25 min walk, along the cliff then down some steep steps to the beach to follow the coast line to Sheringham, this was a very enjoyable walk and we also had a lovely afternoon dinner in the Crown Inn. Nice steak and ale pie for Sean and steak and kidney pudding for me with a pint.
We only stayed two nights at this site. It’s a good site location in the middle between Cromer and Sheringham. The pitches are flat and as I have said on top of the cliff overlooking the sea. This could be a problem on strong windy nights. We had one night where the wind was about 20mph and it was very choppy in the van, any stronger and it might have been a worry. Ensure you have your chocks under the wheels, you wouldn’t want to have a hand brake failure up here.
This was the end of our trip to Norfolk we headed home via Colchester to visit some family then back home to plan our next adventure.