Come to Cromer

When you think of Cromer, the image of a base for a weekend soaking up the local history and heritage doesn’t necessarily spring to mind.  Succulent Cromer crab, buckets and spades, and even the RNLI might be in the forefront of your thoughts, yes, but stately homes and steam trains?  Well you’d be surprised! Anyone that knows Mr Lighty and I knows that we do like to be beside the seaside, but we recently discovered that Norfolk is rich in local culture, too, and Cromer, as a base, is an excellent choice.

A beautiful base deserves a beautiful B&B
Of course, any minimoon that Mr Lighty and I go on needs to have a fabulous Bed and Breakfast at its heart.  The last time I was in this part of the East of England was on an A-Level Geograph field trip some 13 years ago, so I was pleasantly surprised when Cromer managed to excel itself in this area. Time for a bold statement: the Wellington House B&B was probably the best bed and breakfast we’d ever stayed in.
Located in the very heart of Cromer, just one road away from the seafront, our hosts couldn’t do enough for us, and nothing could beat falling asleep to the sound of the North Sea lapping at the shore just a few feet away. After a breakfast cooked to order, our B&B set us up each morning for a day spent exploring the Norfolk countryside.
And so our National Trust quest begins…
So, getting back to that history and heritage: having recently acquired National Trust membership, Norfolk is an excellent place to ‘do the rounds’.  Our delve into history started at Anglesey Abbey en route to Cromer (which is technically in Cambridgeshire, but who’s counting?!).  The weather was fine and bright as we arrived at this Jacobean House, which made for excellent viewing-of-the-impressive-gardens-conditions. 
Anglesey Abbey
The silver birch garden, studded underfoot by a carpet of tulipa (mini tulips) was personally my favourite part of the gardens, but the overall effect of the delightful secret-garden style doorways and mirror-clear canal added up to a beautifully landscaped space.  The grounds are also home to a working mill, and the house itself is homely yet stately at the same time.
The Silver Birch Garden
Peacocks and Poultry
On Saturday, our membership took us to Felbrigg Hall.  For me, the highlight of the visit, was the secret garden, with its peacocks and chickens wandering freely. Of course, the house itself was also very interesting – particularly the peculiar slipper bath on display, and the library with its tales of spooky sightings – but there was something quite lovely, almost mythical, about wandering around the gardens with beautiful creatures nearby.
A Peacock at Felbrigg
We were also lucky enough to see a rare highlight of any visit to Felbrigg, which is the Estate Office.  Not often open to the public due to volunteer shortages, we were lucky to visit on a day when staffing allowed the room to be open, meaning that we were able to see where the estate workers would have queued, in the open air and in all weathers, to pay their dues.
The Felbrigg Estate
The Blickling Estate was also on our agenda during this weekend in Norfolk, and although arguably the most impressive of the three properties visited, I think this was probably the least ‘us’.  Maybe it was just a little too formal for our liking, although the living history recordings by the former workers certainly brought the house to life, but I just can’t imagine having lived in such grandeur.  
The Blickling Estate
And a little bit of being beside the seaside thrown in too
Of course, that’s not to say that our weekend didn’t include some more light-hearted visits too, with a trip to the lovely, if still fairly small, Amazonia Zoo (which is within walking distance of Cromer town centre, and makes for a charming stroll through the countryside on a sunny Easter Sunday morning). My obsession with beach huts also took us to tiny nearby Mundesley, and Sheringham, where we saw the North Norfolk Steam train depart.
The North Norfolk Steam Railway
Beach Huts at Mundesley
If you’re looking for seaside attraction, then Cromer won’t disappoint: fabulous restaurants and a long stretch of sandy and shingle beach make it a great mini break destination. Throw in a historic pier, the interesting RNLI museum dedicated to the life of Henry Blogg, and the usual amusement arcades and penny-drop machines and you’ve got yourself a friendly seaside resort. The history and heritage nearby just adds the cherry on the cake…
Cromer Pier

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