The last few years will change us forever – both physically and mentally. We were so used to that jet-setting lifestyle … being able to get to another culture or climate in just a couple of hours. I was definitely guilty of going on multiple trips every year, and it even became a big part of my business doing so. And why not? It was so easy and often quite inexpensive, and any excuse to get away from the rain of winter was fine by me.
Then the world stopped. 2020 was a time when we were told to stay at home. Where we needed to put the health of our communities and making sure our essential NHS was supported. How did you fare during the pandemic? I felt like it was something that I could handle at first. The slow pace was even welcomed frankly. I had forgotten how incredibly fast my world was, moving from one project to the other, for fear of missing opportunities or not keeping up with my peers. Can we take a moment to really reflect on that? The insane amount of pressure we put on ourselves, especially pre-pandemic.
While the cases slowed down, and the world began to reopen, we were told that you could only travel within your own country. After a mild mini-meltdown, I started researching something I hadn’t done in a long time – places I could visit in the UK.
Proud to be British
Don’t get me wrong, I am a proud British woman and recognise how amazing we are as a country. How cool is it that we have introduced The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Adele to the world? And we all know that no one quite makes a cup of tea like we do. But one of my greatest discoveries was brought to light by the pandemic. A silver lining to all of the chaos and hardship that we have experienced was discovering our landscapes and the counties in my backyard.
Norfolk is one of those places that just says “Quintessential England” to me. You might be thinking – what does that even mean, Lydia? Well I’m glad you asked because this is literally what this blog is about. Ali and I went away with some our favourite people, and we just had the best time so I thought I would share with you.
Getting To Know Norfolk
So this is a trip that we booked ages ago, and it was one of those trips where we wanted to have a great chill with a couple of people that I love, with a fireplace and boardgames. Hopefully with enough petrol to get us there and back! So armed with my suitcase full of too many outfits, we dashed out out the door into the unknown.
We drove up to the house (after a casual 4-hour drive), and ohh my goodness, we were not disappointed. The absolute most adorable village we cruised down was everything. And once we got into the house, we did a little tour which is always a must for me. From the pantry to the little cooking apple tree outside, I found myself absolutely falling in love with this cottage. We chose to stay here because it was something a bit different with brightly coloured rooms and endless period features not to mention prime location in Cley-Next-The-Sea for the local pubs, bookshop and shops.
It wasn’t perfect and could absolutely have done with a bit of a dust/de spider before we arrived (never good for arachnophobe). The fact they didn’t provide firewood for the wood burning stoves, no coffee pods and only 3 dishwasher tablets is important to note. But it was a beautiful house which we enjoyed playing games in-front of the fire and eating together around the dining table.
Things To Do
We loved being in the village of Cley-Next-The-Sea and these are some of the top spots that I definitely recommend.
Visit the local bakery Pastonacre
We went here to pick up bread for breakfast. I’m so glad we did this because it was the perfect addition to a hearty breakfast. Their cinnamon buns are out of this world too!
Walk from Cley-Next-The-Sea to Blakeney
It’s a long one so wear appropriate shoes and pack snacks and water but it’s a lovely walk to do first thing in the morning. We walked and chatted all the way there and stopped for coffee at the two magpies bakery for a morning coffee and wandered through the stunning streets. We stumbled across a shed selling handmade chutney which was perfect to polish off the bread from the Pastonacre bakery
They have the most gorgeous grounds, complete with greenhouses, gardens, and even little spots to get some food along the way. And their vineyard is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. What a amazing way to visit the history of the 17th century! And to check out the gift shop as it has beautiful ceramics, local produce and tasteful pieces to commemorate the trip. Also stop for a Duck Wrap at The Duck Truck (if it’s there, it moves around!), the other food options aren’t great.
Besides the fact that I wore my Hermes boots on the walk (perhaps wasn’t my strongest decision?) and Ali needed to carry me over the massive puddles of water on the beach, we had such an amazing and silly time at the beach. We brought a picnic to Holkham Beach, complete with rosé and Andrea Bocelli playing in the background. We soaked up every last inch of summer with the gorgeous weather, but there is also something so nice about a beach visit when it’s starting to get cooler too, don’t you think?
What a picturesque part of the country. If you are looking for an authentic countryside experience, look no further. I loved going through the little shops and seeing all of the locals walking around. I think exploring places like this really give you an idea of what life out here is like.