Wells Next the Sea | Norfolk

IMG_2439 IMG_2443 IMG_2449 IMG_2452 IMG_2458The first thing that struck me about Wells, which we came to next on our walk down from Holkham, was the beach huts. Standing proud out of the sand, these small huts were decorated with bunting, stripes, and bright paint. Some were open, fitted out with shelves and makeshift kitchens (though there was no plumbing or electricity to speak of), with beach chairs on the small balconies and children running up and down the pristine stairs into the sand below.

I adored these huts – several of them. The sand underfoot was white and soft, and it felt like I was far away from England. How much I wanted a hut of my own at that moment! To put a small single bed inside (which is illegal, I since found out) and have it as a small retreat for myself. Imagine waking up to the stillness of the Norfolk coastline and the roar of the waves, with no one there. How peaceful that would be.

We walked further into the town of Wells Next the Sea, and sat on the quayside to have our small picnic lunch. We took off our Hunter boots and dangled them over the edge, high above the water. Children crabbed next to us, lines cast down into the waters and nets following shortly after to catch small creatures and put them in their water pails as a prize. Some were actually quite big, and reminded me of the crabs I use to catch as a child in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

After lunch, we walked through the towns high street – picturesque but not filled with the type of shops I was interested in. We quickly walked through and back down the road to our car in Holkham.

Advertisements

Holkham Nature Reserve | Norfolk

IMG_2422 IMG_2423 IMG_2425 IMG_2437 IMG_2438 IMG_2432

We got out of the car on a dirt road lined with green trees, the sun shining brightly through the branches. It was a bright morning, our first in Norfolk, and we had decided to go walking on the Nature Reserve in Holkham – down to the beach of Wells Next the Sea, and back again. We were greeted as we put on our Hunter boots by other early risers such as ourselves – dog walkers, horse riders, and couples who did not have the burden of children.

I grabbed the bag filled with our picnic lunch that we had prepared back at our cottage: tuna sandwiches, crisps, apples, and a large bottle of sparkling water. Putting this on my back, I held in my other hand my small purse – once again filled with the necessities of a day out: books for the both of us, money, umbrella, and other such things.

We headed towards the dense forest on the far side of the road and stepped out of the mud and onto a wooden slatted pathway to the sea.

The sea at the beach at Holkham is far – much farther than I had originally envisioned. The tree line disappeared down the coast towards Wells. The sandy beach continued on in front of us, still soaked from what must have been the tide only a few hours before we had gotten there. We walked confidently out to the edge of the water with our thick rubber boots – no water was about to penetrate them – and continued our slow meandering walk towards the town of Wells.

What a great spot. We feel alone out in this vast beach of nothing but sand and sea, the forest far behind you. A few families were scattered on the shoreline, but moored up on the high dunes still tens of meters from the water’s edge. We walked alone with a lovely feeling of isolation. The walk was not tough, despite being a six-mile round trip – and the scenery was breathtaking. Had it been slightly warmer, there would have been no better feeling than to sink our feet into the damp sand and wade out into the waters.

Blakeney | Norfolk

IMG_2418 IMG_2500 IMG_2501 IMG_2505 IMG_2517 IMG_2523

Picture this: seaside village with houses made of stone and pebbles, windy high streets with shops, art galleries, and pubs, marsh lands that stretch as far as the eye can see, and the North Sea, that comes in so far during high tide that you have to move your car from the car park before its semi-submerged. After a hike to the beach, you feel like you are the only person on the edge of the world; it’s just you, the sea, and sand for miles.

I am of course talking about North Norfolk, and especially the lovely village of Blakeney: coastal village within the North Norfolk Heritage Coast and AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

Ben and I have wanted to go back to Norfolk ever since our three day weekend/holiday back in 2013. We loved it for its long walks and feeling of being completely isolated – even though it was only a 2.5 hour drive from us in Hertfordshire. The quiet, the openess, and the serene beauty called us back – so back we went.

I chose Blakeney based on some reviews, and especially based on this adorable 2 person cottage in the heart of the town. What a gem. I booked almost immediately after, and on a long weekend not too long ago, we headed up for a great adventure.

We were greeted by sunshine (thank you England!), a bottle of rose, Victoria sponge cake, and fresh flowers. The house was immaculately laid out, and perfect size for the two of us. We unpacked then headed out to explore the adorable village of Blakeney.

Blakeney is small, but very adorable. There was a fete going on – a hog roast and water games down on the quayside. We grabbed the rose and some crisps we brought with us, and headed out to watch the spectacle. What a great time! Loads of families were there with their dogs, having food and drinks with their feet dangling over the quay edge.

On the Saturday night, we ate at the locally owned The Moorings restaurant, where we got excellent seasonal, local food. We were sat by one of their big bay windows that looked out to the sea, which was lovely and romantic. We had fish soup and local crab cake for starters, local lobster and sea bass for mains. It was delicious.

Then on Sunday, we walked up the Norfolk Coastal Path (highly recommend as a walk to either Morston or Cley next the Sea) to pick up a boat to Blakeney Point to see the seals! What a highlight! So many seals in their natural habitat, in lands owned and protected by National Trust (all hail). It was a fantastic trip, and I would highly recommend doing this – there is no better way to see them so close!

We were sad on the Monday when it was time to get back to reality – Norfolk now holds a big place in our hearts!

Sandown Park | Surrey

As a summer party at work, we went as an office for a day out to the races – at Sandown Park in Esher to be exact!

We had a great time at the races. Everyone dressed up, though very few of us wore a hat or fascinator. We had Pimms and prosecco, sat in the glorious sunshine, and lost all of our money betting for the horses with the best names. It was a fantastic day.

While the races aren’t generally my thing, watching the horses and sitting in hot, English sunshine is definitely right up my alley. I adore England when it is sunny, as you all should know by now, and I am in the best mood I can possibly be on those days. It was a great time out with the whole studio, and something we don’t do as often as we should.

St James Park | London

   
   Bright and sunny mornings in London are some of the best in the world. The tourist areas are quiet, the buzz of the city is at a low hum from commuters headed to work. This is where I found myself on a beautiful Friday morning last week. 

I took a roundabout route into work – grabbing my typical Starbucks coffee to walk down Regents Street to St James Park. I sat in the sunshine with my book and enjoyed the warm sunshine. It wasn’t crowded, the tourists were still at breakfast, and true Londoners (if they spared the time) are able to enjoy the spoils of their city without the fuss.

Green grass was fried brown in patches, a victim of too much sunshine and no rain – London loses its sparkle when this happens, even though we enjoy the rare sun. You have to love the rain as much as the good weather – the country needs it. 

Off to work refreshed and relaxed – this is the way to start a day.

Cambridge | Cambridgeshire 

   
           
It is very important to give yourself some ‘me’ time every once in a while. This is time just for you – to do what you want when you want to, to think things through in life, to gain perspective on things which were once driving you mad. 

So one Saturday I took myself for just this purpose to the nearby city of Cambridge.

I don’t know why I don’t go to Cambridge more often. It is just as close to me as the great city of London is.. It is cuter, less busy (but still packed with tourists), has lovely shops and canals and a lovely park – yes, why don’t I go more often?!

I arrived late morning to do a meander through the shops, grab some food, and have a mini picnic in the park looking out over the river. I walked nearly everywhere, through some of the college grounds, around the cobbled streets, wandering in and out of boutiques, and ultimately sitting down next to the river to watch punters try to turn around and tourists in the boats who looked out almost unfazed with their superb surroundings (who are these people anyways?!). My M&S sandwich and I nearly attracted some bad attention from the local swans, and my poor timing saw me sitting down at the exact same time the clouds arrived, hence beginning the on-off dance between myself and my light jacket. 

I returned to my home calm and happy with the world, and pleased that I hadn’t wasted the day in front of my iPad, which I typically find myself doing when at a loose end on a Saturday. X

Dyrham Hall | Gloustershire 

IMG_1241 IMG_1245 IMG_1247 IMG_1250 IMG_1254 IMG_1266

In an attempt to break up a long drive to one of the most beautiful parts of the UK (Cornwall… If anyone’s missed my last month of posts), I planned a stop off at the National Trust property Dyrham Hall, just off of the M4 highway nearly to Bristol and at the same turn-off as Bath. Knowing myself, I would have gladly progressed onto the great UNESCO protected city, however with a 8 hour drive ahead of us, Bath was too much of a time commitment. Thus we find ourselves on a beautiful, sunny afternoon in Gloustershire.

The grounds are stunning: rolling hills very common in that part of the country, a large deer park, city views in the distance, and a Manor House with manicured gardens. The house is currently under refurbishment, and you can explore the work the National Trust are undertaking in order to conserve the roof specifically. The grounds are lovely and large, with great walks and views of the countryside. You can’t even see the house when you arrive down the long driveway.. It’s tucked out of the way, around the path and down the hill.

We had the most beautiful blue skies that day, which juxtaposed against the bright green grass gave us stunning colours. Photos don’t show enough of the real thing – it was a visual delight.