I must admit, Norfolk is not the first place I think of when it comes to holiday destinations. In fact, I’m not sure I ever had any thoughts about Norfolk, and despite priding myself of my geographic skills, most likely would have failed to point out the county on a map prior to booking a week in a cottage there. It turns out it looks mostly like this – very wet.
And despite being relatively close to London, it seems to be the land that time forgot. Case in point- Roys. Roy owned the town we stayed in, Wroxham; the supermarket (like something from the 1950’s complete with tiny trollies!), a toy shop, a clothing store, a Mcdonalds etc. It is the type of place that still advertises that they are open 7 days a week like it’s revolutionary. Saying that, the toy shop does kick ass and we got this Melissa & Doug picnic set there that kept Weasel entertained for months.
We managed to get a cottage right on the marina advertising a free boat out of season, so a great excuse to buy Weasel a Spotty Otter down snowsuit to wear on the boat before she was born. We just had to wait half the week for the ice to thaw around our boat so we could use it. The view out of our bedroom window was of our boat- awesome (with bonus holy swans!), but it did cross our mind that we wouldn’t want that bedroom with a mobile munchkin.
And this would be the look of total shock after her first boat trip. And although clearly bemused by the whole boat concept, she was sweating like a pig, so at least she wasn’t too cold during her ordeal.
Local Attractions that miraculously were open:
St Helen’s at Ranworth- a lovely little church that was just open and totally empty of people. Sadly Weasel couldn’t go up the tower in the Baby Bjorn, even for us risk-taking parents a sign like the one below put us off! Abandoning my husband to admire alter pieces, I did get to climb the awesome creepy tower and bounce on the roof.
Wroxham Barns – Good little petting zoo nearby for kiddies. It drizzled, a lot, like most of the holiday, so this was a bit of a damp trip that mostly freaked Weasel out by shoving her at cows and wondering why she wasn’t excited.
Great Yarmouth – not too far away for aquariums or beach (obviously if it isn’t January…), see previous post.
Seals! – This is something you only get in the winter, well, the pups at least. Pointless for Weasel, who slept through the whole windy experience, the trip to the beaches to meet the baby seals was amazing. Be warned you can’t really negotiate the grassy sand dunes with a pram, so it’s a carry or walk kind of a deal. You will need a few extra layers, these seals seem to choose the most wind-swept, desolate of places to breed and it’s a good few degrees colder.
What I learned about Norfolk, or well, mostly Wroxham-
– Nothing is open, even if t’internet has told you so. T’internet lies.
-Everything will be vaguely familiar but different enough to creep you out and have someone called Roy’s name on it. Where does that man get all that time to make jam for example?!
-Out of season holidays are a false economy – you will need to spend a lot more on wine to keep you occupied and have bored toddlers on your hands (clearly Weasel was far from toddling at this point, but we did have another with us).
-Abandon ye all hope of a decent meal. Think Harvester. The Fur & Feather was ok-ish, saved by the fact that the Woodforde Brewery was attached to it. Beware, you may walk away with bizarre beer based products from the gift shop that will slowly die in the back of your fridge for years to come.
Pay extra and explore the Norfolk broads when it’s lovely and warm and take a car full of emergency Waitrose rations with you.