We spent a bright summer afternoon chatting to our co-founder Vicky about Norfolk, her beloved setting for many a generation of family holidays and the county that inspired our signature scent Seaweed & Samphire.
So, Vicky, why is Norfolk so wonderful at this time of year?
Well firstly I should say that it’s spectacular at all times of the year but particularly special in the summer. Something about the combination of the long stretching days and that ethereal light has a transportive effect. It removes you from reality, exactly what you want from a holiday.
And what does a typical summer day in Norfolk look like for you and your family?
The beach always plays a huge part in the day for us. We can walk to the local beach in 5 minutes and so normally take the dogs there a couple of times a day. But we will venture to a little further afield for a picnic or an afternoon of exploration. To my mind nothing beats fresh seafood and sandcastles.
A Bear Hunt in Bacton Woods is always popular.
We love visiting National Trust properties and there a several nearby. Felbrigg Hall and Blickling Hall have beautiful grounds and I, for one, am always losing myself in their second-hand bookshops. Wiverton Hall, although not National Trust, is also great for lunch. If you’ve watched “Normal for Norfolk” you will enjoy a visit here!
A particularly special way to spend the day is to hire a boat and sail out into The Broads. The waterways are ripe for adventures.
We like to squeeze in picking our own berries if possible as they make yummy puddings later. (If there are any left by the time we get home.)
On occasion, we will take a day for ourselves leaving the children and the dogs with my dad. Holt is often a favourite place for us, there are lots of gorgeous shops and cafés or we will sometimes find ourselves in a little salvage yard on the hunt for something unique.
What are your best kept secrets from the area?
We are particularly fond of a little beach called Cart Gap. It is always very tranquil. There is also a small café set back from the beach, “Smallsticks”, and their crab sandwiches are delicious!
Horsey Gap is the place to go to see the seals. You can see their little inquisitive heads popping out of the water all along the coast, but Horsey is where they like to meet on mass.
Happisburgh has a beautiful light house. It is entirely run by volunteers, and they are riveting storytellers. They will make the place come alive for you. The view from the top is also pretty special. They are only open on certain days of the year, so it is best to check this before making the trip. It is well worth the planning though. Also in Happisburgh, is a small family run fish shop where you can buy fresh fish that has been caught by the family.
There is a local pub called The Ingham Swan that sells the most incredible food. Tucked away in a tiny village, it is the perfect way to end a day.
And what about that most important of British summer staples, fish and chips. Where can we get our hands on the best?
Ooo, that is a tricky one to answer because there are so many delicious chippies in Norfolk! Our personal favourite is No.1 in Cromer which sits on the seafront but Eric’s Fish & Chips in Holt is also very good.
If we were thinking of a weekend out of the city, where would you suggest we stay?
Our house, Eden Hall Cottage, is really best for family gatherings so if it was a getaway for a couple, I’d recommend either The Ingham Swan that I mentioned before, or The Gunton Arms. It is set in a spectacular deer park and has a brilliant art collection.
Most people visiting Norfolk go to Burnham Market, Holkham, Brancaster, Blakeney, Cley etc. All of which are beautiful and well worth a visit but if you want something a little different, and perhaps a little quieter, the area around us, near Bacton, is definitely worth exploring.
Thank you so much Vicky. One last vital question, as an expert, what’s your best sandcastle building technique?
Ha! Very important! Firstly, it is all about getting the consistency right, damp sand is essential! But for me, it’s the decoration. I’m always very liberal with the pebbles and seashells!