River Wissey Lovell Fuller

A Pre-christmas weekend in Norfolk

January 2004

Graham describes an idyllic weekend visitng some of the delightful Norfolk villages which celebrate christmas traditionally

Four of use decided that it would be nice to combine a sight-seeing tour with a Christmas shopping spree. We set off on Saturday morning to Walsingham, the very attractive shrine town. There we visited the Barns, a small development of shops selling textiles, carpets and gifts plus an excellent picture gallery. There is also a small cafe for those in need of sustenance.

Having started our spending, we meandered across country via some beautiful villages until we arrived at Holt where we took the road to Baconsthorpe. This village is very small but does possess the best Tea Shop in Great Britain. It was voted this in 2003, and already boasts six other prestigious awards. The ambience is of a "Miss Marples-type" cottage, where you can choose from ten types of coffee and twenty-five different teas! The food is cold, except for the soup, but do make sure you are hungry if you go there. Everything is home-made, including the bread, and there is plenty of it.

We left and headed back to Holt. By this time it was just dark and driving through the streets was a magical experience. Holt always has had a reputation for its Christmas lights but they just seem to get better each year. They are the same throughout the town, on every shop, and up every narrow lane. We then parked and bought some more presents and left once the shops had closed. We then drove to Cley-next-the sea where we stayed overnight.

Sunday morning dawned fine but with a rolling sea mist. We all set off and after about ten minutes stopped off at Morston Quay. We were just in time to see two boats, fully laden with people, going off to an island just off the coast that has a seal colony. We promised ourselves that we would do this sometime next year. From Morston, we travelled along the coast road, diverting down to the harbour and beach at Wells-next-the-sea; a most interesting resort. Back onto the coast road, we turned left at Brancaster and drove on by way of Docking to Sandringham.

The Christmas Craft Fair was to be our last port of call. As usual, the marquees were absolutely crowded. We jostled our way around and duly emerged fully loaded presents. There were so many unusual items of all descriptions for sale at this Fair and it is well worth the entrance money.

We finally dragged ourselves away and headed for home. We may have eaten too much and spent too much but it was a brilliant weekend. Roll on next December when we intend to repeat the dose.

Graham Forster

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