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For many years now October has meant a few days afloat for me for an autumn break. But not this year. For a number of reasons we decided not to hire but ... it was interesting to spend time around Norfolk and the Broads without being on a boat. So rather than add to my Places to Visit topic I thought I would write this up as an example of the kind of holiday you can have if you are land based when you come to stay.

Day 1 - Felbrigg Hall

This is a National Trust property situated about 35 minutes drive from Wroxham, a little inland from Cromer, kind of on the way to Sheringham. There is a house and garden that you can pay to look round. But there is also a lot of land with well signed walks, which you can access without paying for any more than your parking. NT members park for free. This is what we did.

You can access the coffee shop without needing to pay entry so after a little light refreshment we set off on a walk round the parkland, past the lake, and with an old church on the way. This was open, so as usual we went in for a look.

This was one of those unseasonably warm October days which added to it being wonderful to be out in the fresh air. A very enjoyable visit, plenty for us to return to, plenty more to see.








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Day 2 - Venetian Waterways and more refreshments

I have long wanted to visit the Venetian Waterways that were reopened a few years ago. This is sited at the very northern end of Great Yarmouth. I remember visiting with my children back in the 90s when you could take a ride on a little boat around the water. Today there is a boating lake and you can hire rowing boats and pedalos.

We started with coffee at the coffee house within the waterways, but there are other kiosks along the promenade bordering the gardens. It was another warm day so it was just nice to have a gentle stroll, sit a while in the sunshine, and have a look at the sea out across the wide sand and dunes that line this end of Great Yarmouth.

During the afternoon we needed a few things from the shops in Hoveton so we ended up taking a seat for a couple of hours outside Hotel Wroxham by the river. An afternoon drink is most unusual for us but it was warmer than a lot of the summer had been. So it was a great place to be, watching the world go by.





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Great thread Jean. Felbrigg and the Venetian waterways are now on our to-do list.

There are a couple of cafes around the Venetian Waterways area which have excellent reviews, The Beach Cafe and Munchies. I know a lot of people are sceptical about reviews, but when out of the way places mostly get brilliant reviews I pay attention and have never yet been disappointed. 

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Day 3 - a walk along the Thurne ... with more refreshments ... :)

As I recall now there was a chance of rain on this day so we decided to get out in the morning with one eye on whether we needed jackets or umbrellas. 

After a short drive to Potter Heigham we fortified ourselves with scones and coffee in Bridgestones. Always a favourite stop.

Then we walked along the bank of the Thurne, behind some of the chalets, and on up to Martham Boats. It's a walk we've done before but enjoyable nonetheless. We knew there were a couple of benches on the grassy bank where we could sit and watch the few boats that were passing on that stretch of river. 

The rain held off until we were home and it was a lovely time out.





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Day 4 - a beach walk at Walcott

I hadn't been up to this part of the coast before. Probably one of the closest points to Stalham on the North Norfolk coast being only a ten minute drive from there.

There is a coast road that would take you from there to Bacton, Mundesley, Overstrand, Cromer, Sheringham, and further on round the North Norfolk coast. I want to follow it one day.

It was one of those days with dark moody skies but not cold. Parking was free along the roadside. And dogs were allowed on the beach between certain dates. We watched one dog clearly enjoying just digging as deep as it could in the sand. Others were chasing their balls into the sea.

We had a lovely walk. I don't know whether that's always possible or whether we hit low tide. It's definitely one to go back to.



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Mine must be the only dog who doesn’t really like sand and the beach, he must take after me as I detest it. 

That walk along to Martham is one of my favourites Jean. I think you can go on to West Somerton, so may be worth parking down by the boatyard sometime and continuing on. I’ve gone as far as the next dyke before running out of time one day.
I went along from PH yesterday and got as far as the end of the chalets before deciding I needed waterproof leggings to stop getting mud splashing on my trousers as I waded along with Finlay bounding about in the flood. Even then, they did get dirty. 

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Day 4 - Bufferstop Books and the steam train

This was another of those days of watching the weather and judging when it would be good to go out. In the end we opted for a mid-afternoon walk around the Hoveton & Wroxham station area. A strange choice you might think, but I fancied a little look around Bufferstop Books. They will be open on reduced days through the off season up to Christmas so you may wish to check their website for the details. But they're well worth a look for that cheap holiday read.


The station also marks one end of the footpath that sits alongside the steam railway. We walked in the Coltishall direction and were pleased to find that since the footpath was relaid some long while ago now, it's not the muddy track it once was, at least up to a certain point which was as far as we went.

We happened to be there as a steam train left so ... there will be a little video of this coming at the end of this tale.

Day 5 - staying local

We do like a day in the middle of any holiday where we chill out a bit, make the most of where we are in terms of facilities of our chosen accommodation or boat hire. This was the day where all we did really was nip to Vera's coffee shop for more refreshments. And while there we stocked up on some fresh produce, fruit, and veg, in Meale's, the farmshop.

This is a great place for that top-up shop. It's only a few minutes walk from Wayford Bridge. Or depending what you need it's worth a stop on the way to Stalham instead of Tesco's, if you just need a few bits and pieces. I highly recommend giving it a go. :)



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Day 6 - Ranworth and South Walsham

This was a very enjoyable morning out. First it was a stop at the Granary at Ranworth Staithe. Yes, you've spotted the pattern ... more refreshments. We do like a good coffee stop and are more inclined to do that than to have a full meal out.

This has become one of our absolute favourites. Sitting outside watching the comings and goings is hard to beat. Boats, people, children, dogs and ducks. A great way to pass the time. The food and coffee is excellent and the staff are so welcoming and friendly. 

After our stop at Ranworth we carried on to South Walsham. There's a car park in the village. From there it's a short walk round to Fleet Dyke. It's always a favourite mooring if we're afloat and we enjoyed our walk up past both sets of moorings.



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Agree with you about coffee stops Jean. I’m finding as I get older that I don’t have the appetite for full-on lunches or dinners. The only snag is that I tend to prefer savoury rather than sweet. On our way back from Holyhead last week we stopped at a pub (The Running Hare) in Ewloe (not far from Chester), just off our route that had a carvery which offered ‘small plates’. The portion was just right for me, and very reasonably priced at just over £8 on weekdays, more expensive on weekends. We’ll probably be using that as a stopover for future trips to North Wales.  

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Day 7 - Holt

To round off this week of exploring Norfolk without a boat we visited the town of Holt as it was another place we had never been to. I think it was about a 45 minute drive from Wroxham, much of it across lovely countryside rather than main roads.

I had seen good reviews of the Owl Tea Rooms so as we had parked in a car park just down the road from there, it was another coffee stop before we looked around. It was very busy and I think we were lucky to get a table without a reservation even at around 10am.


Holt is described as a pretty Georgian town. We looked round a couple of art galleries where the staff were really friendly and welcoming. And I was quite fascinated by their old style department store Bakers & Larners. Worth a wander round even if you're not in the market for buying anything.


We wandered into St Andrew's church before driving home. There is a country park just outside the town, and the North Norfolk coast is not far away. 




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As ever I enjoyed putting together a couple of little videos. The first covers Venetian Waterways and some places around the Broads. The second shows the other places we visited.

If you enjoy watching them it would be great if you could subscribe to my channel. I don't release content very often, and my videos serve as memories for me as much as anything. But it's nice to know when other people enjoy watching them too.



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We parked in Church Street car park. It's by the church and Gresham's school. Good sized spaces, reasonably priced as these things go. There were payment machines or you could pay on a website. That worked really well rather than having to download yet another parking app. Would recommend trying that location.

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I hate to think how many times I visited Felbrigg as a kid. Had some great days fishing the lake there, but probably caught very little. If you're visiting by car, it's worth driving down through nearby "Lion's Mouth". It's beautiful in the summer, but also stunning in autumn when all the leaves start to change colour. At one time, you used to be able to go from Holt Road, down through Lion's Mouth and enter the Felbrigg estate via the back entrance, but last time I tried, there was a closed gate in front of the house, so seems they're discouraging that now.

We used to visit my great uncle's shop in Holt on occasion and often stopped off at the county park there, which is also worth a visit for a walk on a sunny day out. Holt itself seems to be getting more like Burnham Market as time passes.


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