Cromer – the gem of the Norfolk coast

We love the timeless and classic appeal of Cromer, just a short and scenic drive around the coast from Seascape.

A real family resort, with something for everyone – we spent a lovely family day there yesterday with several generations celebrating a 70th birthday.

Stunning beaches, lovely cafes, a couple of amusement arcades for the young ones and the iconic Cromer pier with it’s wonderful Pavilion theatre.

We started our day with afternoon tea in the garden at The Grove on the Overstrand Road – a little oasis just outside of the town.   £10.95 per person gets you a fantastic formal tea, we enjoyed sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, Victoria sponge, meringues and profiteroles !!

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After a serious sugar rush, we took the lovely path through the back of their site passing through the wonderfully named Happy Valley, which gives you great views approaching the pier and main beach.

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The afternoon was spent enjoying the fabulous end of the pier show Seaside Special. Our party ranged from ages 10 to 73, but everyone enjoyed the highly polished and professional show…..  A great way to spend some time if not such a nice day/evening to enjoy the outside.

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and finally, our day ended at Upstairs at No 1 Cromer, Galton Blackiston’s bistro fish and chip restaurant overlooking the sea.     Wonderful fish and chips and we had hoped for a lovely sunset (for which Cromer is the best!), sadly despite no clouds all day, about 7.30 a few popped up to block the sight of the sun setting.  Oh well, it means we have to go back again….2015-08-22 19.25.01

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A right Royal day out….

Sandringham hosts a wonderful annual flower festival at the end of July each year.   I enjoyed a trip with my sister this year and was amazed how much was going on !

In addition to the lovely show gardens and nursery stands, loads of general stalls and crafts and a central ring with an ongoing programme over the day.   The air display late afternoon was magnificent…

The show is attended by HRH Prince Charles and Camilla and, completely by chance, Sue and I managed to secure ourselves pole position next to the press photographers opposite East Anglian Air Ambulance stand (where William is now working).     We were so excited to shake hands with the royals as they passed !

If you are interested in gardens and plants this is a “must do” occasion, I will certainly be heading back next year….

Sandringham is a beautiful place to visit any time of the year, the house is open to the public, lovely walks around the grounds and park and a great tea room.

Gogo see the Dragons in Norwich !

photo (2)There are many things we can guarantee about Seascape, but unfortunately the British weather is not one of them……

But don’t despair, there’s plenty to do in Norfolk even when it is not a sunny beach day!

Something fun and a little bit different for the kids (and adults!) in Norwich this summer from 21 June to 5 September – the Gogo Dragon Trail.   An interactive arts sculpture trail of 84 dragon sculptures spread throughout and around the city.    A free activity, although you may wear your shoe leather out as they cover a fair distance, and a brilliant way to see the main sites of Norwich on foot.

Norwich is a 40 min drive from Seascape or, easier still, pick up the regular train from North Walsham to Norwich (a 25 min train ride –  meet your first dragon Bittern and Wherry outside the station).

Have a look at the informative website www.gogodragons.co.uk where you can download the trail map !   Do send us a photo if you get to see them …. As a taster, the photo above is Clang, who is temporarily guarding the green outside my office in the city centre, and below is one of my favourites, Horatio who you can find on Fye Bridge.

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Sea Palling….. Surfing dudes and homemade fudge!

Popped over to Sea Palling beach last Sunday on a beautiful,  but cold, winter’s day.  Sea Palling is a short drive from Seascape and a lovely sandy beach.  Always very popular with families and dog walkers, a fantastic beach to swim from in the summer (has a Blue Flag award and life guarded in high season) and also great fun to watch the surfers ride the waves ….

Stop by the Little Fudge stall in the village for a sugar rush as you come away from the beach !

A personal story !

It’s that time of the year for reflection, what’s past in the last year and what is to come….

I can’t believe that it is nearly 7 years since we completed the purchase of Seascape and  all the happy memories that it now holds.     Having been brought up as a child by the seaside, I had dreamed for a long time of having a seaside retreat.   Late 2007 we stumbled upon Rainbows End Park and, the day I went over on my own to take a look, my chin dropped when I drove onto the site.      I could not believe the view,  openness and peaceful feeling of the site.     Mark came over next time with me, felt the same about the location and very quickly we made the decision to purchase, being one of the first owners on the site.

We set up the chalet as a second home for us, spending time on the décor and furnishings – the intention was to create a real retreat, somewhere warm, welcoming that would be a real bolthole, even though it was only 15 miles from our home in Norwich.

Over the years we have enjoyed so many happy times at Seascape, on our own, with Nathan and other family and friends, parties, barbeques, walks and beach games.  We have made great friends on the site.

Time does have the habit of marching on and life events change things.   The boy became a young man with other interests and 2012 brought some trying times.   It became more difficult to find time to get over to Seascape and the running costs of a second home was a luxury we could ill afford when we were not regularly using the chalet.    So, with heavy hearts and a few tears we made the decision to put Seascape on the market for sale.       However, that was clearly not in the script!

After several months and several timewasters, we decided on plan B.   Over the years we had many guests stay at the chalet, but not on a real commercial basis.   We had never advertised, but the feedback we had received from the people who had stayed was always so positive, maybe we did have something special to offer?    So, late 2012 we changed our mind set, leapt into action and decided to properly enter into the holiday rental market.  We had great support, our friend Rob Ward (who actually introduced Mark and I to each other!) used to be a lawyer but had changed direction and become a professional photographer.     Rob took some amazing photos of the chalet and beach on a beautiful October day and pointed me in the direction of his website designer, David “the web God”.

Then we were off ! live on the worldwide web……   Looking back things happened so quickly, our first “official” guest arrived on Christmas eve 2013 with her lovely dogs and bookings started rolling in for 2013 by word of mouth, repeat visitors and the website.    That first guest has now stayed with us four times !

So things have changed, and like everything, there are good and not so good things.

The downside we can’t just decide on a sunny June evening to go straight from work to the chalet to enjoy the long summer evenings, we can’t leave our personal stuff at the chalet, there is a lot of paperwork and time spent doing marketing and admin (although if I am truly honest I really enjoy this as I have slightly nerdy accountancy tendencies) and I dread things breaking or stop working and it impacts on guests’ holidays.

But the positives far outweigh these things – our guests have been delightful, friendly and so respectful of our home.  I have truly enjoyed the interaction with guests and helping them to have a lovely holiday. The feedback we have received has been wonderful, we could not believe that we were awarded a Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence in our first year based on the guest reviews received!!

AND best of all, we still get to enjoy Seascape ourselves from time to time.   So the best of both worlds really.

So forward into 2015, lots of bookings in the diary, new interior design plans as we want the chalet to continue to look fresh and, all being well, the patter of tiny feet for us THAT’S FOUR NOT TWO !     This year should bring our own dog to share the chalet with us and become the new poster girl for Seascape !

If you have ploughed through this, well done and a very Happy New Year to you and your family – maybe we will welcome you next year ?

Here’s a few of our memories

 

Bertie’s first holiday at Seascape

I have posted these photos on Facebook already, but they are just too lovely not to add to the blog as a permanent feature….

This is Bertie the beagle enjoying his first holiday with his mum and dad at Seascape in October.   Isn’t he just adorable !

We are told that he loved having the beach to himself and keeping watch on the comings and goings on the green !!

A big thank you to Bertie’s owners for sharing these lovely photos with us…..

Cromer Pier – 10th anniversary of the Christmas show !!

The wonderful Christmas show at the Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year.   The show opens on 30 November and runs through to Saturday 27 December……   The Pavilion Theatre is a traditional end of pier theatre venue originally built in the early 1900s.    The pier took quite a bashing in the freak storms the East coast suffered in early December last year and for a short period the show was suspended whilst emergency work was undertaken.  However, in true cabaret tradition “the show must go on” and the doors reopened before Christmas.     You can imagine this gave our own Norfolk comedian Olly Day plenty of new comedy material!

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Olly returns to headline the show this year, hopefully with a little less drama, but plenty of new gags.   Olly is joined by Lyn Paul (remember the New Seekers?) and dancers from the local Marlene School of Dancing.

This show is a lovely way to get you in the mood for Christmas, good old fashioned, traditional entertainment with something for all ages.    Book on line to get a 10% discount on seat prices – find full details at cromer-pier.com

We are fully booked up from 22 December through to 3 January but we still have plenty of availability for short breaks in December. The chalet will be tastefully decorated for the Christmas season.      There are loads of other events going on in the area for everyone, including Santa specials on the nearby steam trains, Felbrigg and Blickling Hall decorated for the season, festive menus at our local pubs, Christmas shopping at lovely Holt or just enjoy a breather before Christmas and relax and enjoy some coastal walks….

 

Back to the Garden at Letheringsett

 

Pottering around near Holt?    Take some time to visit the award winning Back to the Garden – Farm shop, café and garden at Letheringsett… The farm shop sells a huge selection of organic produce – great butchery counter, cheese and fresh veg.

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When you have shopped out, enjoy the produce in the bright and airy barn café/restaurant – they serve cakes and snacks or full meals – when we popped in the place was buzzing with Sunday lunch diners.     It the interests of Seascape research we felt obliged to sample their gorgeous cake !

More information at back-to-the-garden.co.uk

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How do you like your eggs in the morning ?

 

How about free range, £2 for a dozen and about a mile and a half away from the chalet?  These look like the happiest chickens.   Turn right out of Mill Lane at main road, the farm is just up the road on the left hand side – down a long drive track.  Eggs sold by the good old fashioned honesty box system.

Add to the mix some delicious sausages from Nick’s pigs, Church Farm in Bacton (buy them at the Bacton superstore on the Coast Road – and bacon)

bacton woods 12 Oct 073Makes for a pretty good beachside breakfast with less than 2 food miles on the clock …. If the provenance of your food is important to you, you can’t beat that !