Our week in Norfolk.

January 13, 2015

Our Christmas present to each other this year, like last year, was to book a cottage for the first week of January to start the year off. It was a long drive to the Lakes last year, and to somewhere like Devon and Cornwall but Norfolk is just over two hours from us and we'd been there before, for just two nights last summer, and really loved it. I'm a bit fussy when it comes to cottages as I think I've mentioned before so jumped at booking one of the Cartshed Cottages at Sharrington Hall after lots of googling. They all looked beautiful, boutiquey, in a good location and so tastefully done. It had to have a log burner, our winters can be so cold and if it was bad weather we wanted somewhere comfy and cosy to snuggle up in. We hit the jackpot with Shell, our chosen cottage for the week and had such a heavenly start to the year with long beach walks, amazing food {post Christmas detox started as soon as I got back} and cosy afternoons in the cottage.

There are four cottages converted from an old cartshed in the grounds of a Jacobean manor house in Sharrington, a small hamlet just outside of Holt and about a fifteen/twenty minute drive from all of North Norfolk's main coastal towns. They have been beautifully converted by a trendy couple who used to live in London, I'm soo jealous of the incredible Sharrington Hall they live in just behind the cottages. She was an interior designer and it shows. They must have good PR too as the cottages have been featured in nearly every publication, The Guardian, Conde Nast Traveller etc. 

We had a huge kitchen, equipped with everything we needed. We cooked in every night, figuring it was too cold and dark to go out. 

Each cottage is loosely based around a different theme, ours was Shell. 

Such a cosy lounge, I loved the beams so much. 

Two stylish bedrooms and bathrooms.

Complete with REN toiletries, it felt more like a boutique hotel in some ways compared to a rental cottage. The best of both worlds. And you are given a white, John Lewis towel bundle to use during the stay and then take home with you. 

On our first day, Monday, we drove straight to Horsey Gap Beach, quite a bit further East of the North Norfolk Coast but we'd heard there were seals and their pups on the beach which only happens between December and January each year. 

If you're in Norfolk at that time of year it's worth a visit, the beach was pretty even on a grey day and the seals so sweet. We were at the end of the season and if we'd visited two weeks earlier would have seen 1500 seals covering the beach! 

We had a walk along the top of the beach and then headed towards the cottage, stopping off for lunch and Waitrose to fill the fridge and cupboards for the week. It was perfect timing and our cottage was ready just as we arrived.

Everywhere in North Norfolk seems so pretty, this was just outside our cottage, Sharrington was a pretty little village to walk around surrounded by fields. 

The next day we drove up the road to Blakeney, a cute seaside town, for a circular walk across the freshes to Cley. We did it in the summer when we visited and it was really lovely stopping at the Wiveton Fruit Cafe en route {one of the best places to eat if you're here in peak season on a fruit farm}, this time with a freezing winter wind it wasn't quite so lovely but pretty nonetheless and good for blowing the cobwebs away. 


We reached Cley and saw the windmill across the reeds, I think you can stay inside it. 

After our walk we drove to Holt, a gorgeous Georgian old market town. When we stayed in Norfolk last time we were near Holt and loved wandering around the shops there so it was nice to return again this time. There are lots of antique shops, with not too bad prices. We can never resist a browse and I bought a few little bits, some nice old books on flowers and a marmalade jar I've been looking for for ages, it's sitting in my kitchen filled with narcissi right now a nice reminder of Norfolk. And there are your typical Joules shops and some quirky interior shops too. Byfords is a classic Holt institution in one of the oldest buildings in Holt, it's a deli, cafe and restaurant.

Then it was lunchtime and we had heard amazing reviews about Back To The Garden, a farm shop and restaurant on the road from Holt to our cottage in Sharrington. The building was amazing, an old barn with such high ceilings. One half is an organic farm shop and deli where we picked up some local produce and the other a cafe for a yummy lunch. In the summer you can sit outside and they grow/source most of their ingredients locally. Norfolk is so good for amazing farm produce with so much farmland, in the summer we ate the freshest asparagus and strawberries. Just driving around you see little allotment stalls at the side of the roads. 

It started raining as we came out of lunch but we were more than happy to hole up in the cottage by the log burner for the afternoon! The clouds all cleared up just in time for a beautiful sunset and walk around the lanes. 

That evening, after dinner we toasted marshmallows and made winter s'mores {a favourite from Californian beach holidays roasting marshmallows over firepits and sandwiching them together with chocolate in between biscuits, so so delicious}

The next day, as promised by the weatherman, we had lots of sunshine! We headed straight to Holkham Beach parking on Lady Ann's drive and walking through the pine forest out onto a beautiful beach. They filmed Shakespeare in Love here and it's one of Britain's most beautiful beaches. 

Even when the tide is in you have to walk for what feels like ages to reach the sea. I love the sand dunes. The beach was so quiet, we saw just two dog walkers out. We were off season but even on the hottest summer days it doesn't get too crowded. I think because it's so huge and you have to walk quite a long way. 

We walked along the sand for a couple of miles heading up to Wells Beach where all the beach huts are. I think these are definitely my favourite beach huts in the UK, there are so many in different colours and styles. Most on stilts to protect them from the fast building sand ridges. You could see the ones built a few years ago where their steps are almost covered already! The newer ones are built even higher up.

I bought a new toy just before we went away, a Selfie Stick! Love them or hate them, we got some nice photos from it. We're terrible at taking regular selfies and with hardly anybody around wouldn't have been able to take many photos of us together. I got this one from amazon after looking at quite a few and found it to be really good. It has bluetooth to pair with your phone so that you can press a button on the stick to trigger your phone. It holds the phone securely and I always use the back camera on an iPhone rather than front for much better quality. The front camera is so grainy, it does mean you have to take a few and play around with the angle as you can't see the screen but is worth it for a decent photo.

After playing around taking selfies and admiring the rest of the beach huts we cut back across the forest footpath behind the beach huts to get hot chocolates at Wells Beach Cafe, filled with seaside bunting and then walk back along the path behind the pine trees next to fields back to Holkham. We took our folding bikes on our summer weekend visit and loved cycling from Holkham Hall all the way to Wells Next the Sea but our legs were tired after walking on sand so we decided to drive round to Wells town later on. 

From there we drove onto Burnham Market, aka Chelsea on Sea. It's one of those gorgeous really English villages with beautiful houses, shops and a village green. I did some sales shopping in Joules and Jack Wills, they had such good stock in Norfolk compared to where we live and a browse round some of the more upmarket interior shops like Norfolk living. Burnham Market is home to The Hoste Arms, we were recommended it by so many people and had afternoon tea there on our summer trip but just didn't have enough meals in the day to visit all of Norfolk's amazing pubs. 

We did lunch though at The Orange Tree in Thornham, which again was recommended to us by the cottage and a few others. It's won Norfolk's best dining pub for three years in a row and some people say it's michelin star worthy. I'm not sure about the star but it was definitely some of the best food we'd had in a while with an imaginative twist like a deconstructed prawn cocktail for a starter and The Fairground for dessert. Well worth a visit. 

Full up and on our way back to the cottage we had a quick stop off at Wells Next The Sea, it's like a seaside town of two halves with the {slightly tacky} amusements and fish and chips shops along the front of the working harbour and then a lovely high street behind with delis, posh courtyard cafes, art galleries and seaside interior shops. We loved it during the summer but being low season this time, a lot of shops were shut until February half term. 

On our last full day we had an indulgent lazy morning, that's what holidays are for right? Then drove the long way along the coast through pretty lanes and past miles of countryside and the sea. I love North Norfolk so much.

We were headed towards Blicking Hall, a National Trust property. We had lunch at The Buckinghamshire Arms, a gorgeous old pub next door to Blicking. The food was  a m a z i n g. These were our puddings: {hence my huge health kick this week} Literally every day all we did was eat an amazing lunch, go for a long walk somewhere pretty and then relax at the cottage. So heavenly.

When we came out of lunch the clouds had cleared leaving amazing blue skies, I laughed at the 'horse car park' as two riders had ridden to the pub for lunch.

Blickling Hall is what you'd expect from a National Trust property, gorgeous big house, manicured gardens and parkland to walk around. It was even better that the sky was so blue and it was so quiet to wander around.

It was SUCH a beautiful afternoon, crisp and blue skies. We walked around the lake, lined with reeds and jetty's for fishing from. Then all through the parkland, I could walk forever on afternoon's like that.

The sun was just starting to set as we got back to the car and drove back for our last night in the cute cottage. That's the worst thing about trips away isn't it, when they come to an end too quickly. 

The next day we begrudgingly said goodbye to our cottage, not wanting to hand back the keys! And drove home. 

Such a heavenly, heavenly start to the year. Amazing scenery, fresh coastal air, fields, food, cosy evenings and most of all such quality time with Ben. Counting down until the next trip already...

Also thanks to everyone's kindle recommendations on Instagram, I will do a post talking books sometime soon.

R <3 xxx

{If you're heading to North Norfolk, some other places highly recommended to us for eating, and if there were more meals in the day we would have done, were:
- The Kings Head, Letheringsett, near Holt
- The Wiveton Bell, Wiveton
- The Victoria, Holkham. }

You Might Also Like


  1. What a week you had! That cottage is gorgeous! So many pretty towns around there too. I like that you had a even mix of woodsy/outdoorsy outings and shopping/eating excursions. That is my kind of travel too!


@rvk_loves on Instagram