Who would have thought this summer I’d be writing up a blog post about G and I’s summer hols…camping? Not me that’s for sure! We were supposed to be heading to Bali in May and knew that it was off as soon as Boris mentioned lockdown in March. Luckily, we got most of our money back and are hoping to reschedule next year. This time last year we were in Copenhagen, but there’s nothing better than the Great British Summer, right?! So that’s why this blog post is all about our summer camping staycation in Norfolk!
People have given me a lot of grief whenever I’ve mentioned camping – I can’t hack it, I’m too glam or they just laugh in my face. But I bet I’ve done more camping than them! I actually did a lot of it growing up, even choosing it for my birthday parties in the garden when I was younger – there’s nothing better than toasted marshmallows, am I right?! Living in Yorkshire for 20 years and living on a (non-working) farm has also meant that generally I’ve spend a lot of time outdoors – walking the dogs, mucking out horses, building bonfires, hide and seek, you get the picture.
With all of the uncertainty around travel over the last few months G and I were nervous about booking something abroad and a staycation seemed like a good option. Because we’d only taken a couple of days off work for a long weekend in July, camping seemed the right fit and I love Norfolk too!
So… what did we get up to?
We arrived in Norfolk late afternoon and we’d pre-booked a campsite called ‘Breck Farm’ which was close to where G had stayed previously. It was a fab location, really close to the beach, pubs and other villages – but still ‘in the middle of nowhere’ for it to feel like we weren’t camping in the garden. We chose Breck Farm, not only because it was a pretty decent price (£48 for 3 nights – definitely our cheapest summer holiday to date!) but also because it allowed us to have an open campfire. And let’s be honest, campfires are the no. 1 reason why we camp!
Breck Farm in general had everything we needed for the weekend. We didn’t have an electrical hook up but it was available if you wanted. There were showers and toilets that were pretty decent for a campsite, a little shop selling marshmallows, fire wood and other essentials, and plenty of space for you to find a spot. It was a little busier than I thought it would be though, so I’m glad we arrived on Thursday to get a pitch near the forest and out of the way. G and I wanted to be antisocial for the weekend rather than socialise with our camping neighbours (sorry not sorry, I wanted to turn off, chill and relax – not make small talk!)
After putting up the tent, arranging our chairs and blowing up our air mattress, we sat back and popped open a bottle of fizz. We enjoyed a BBQ with food brought from home, a lot of marshmallows and even more chocolate. The holiday had definitely started…! It was a beautiful night, with the sky turning pink as we got our campfire going. We chatted into the evening and it was the first time in ages since we’d just had good quality time together since before lockdown!
On Friday morning we awoke from our (still inflated) air mattress to blue sky and sunshine – glorious! The plan was to walk from our campsite to Sheringham and this was about 2 hours there, with the option to get the train back. However, considering how beautiful the weather was we decided to walk the whole way which was the PERFECT day out. The walk goes through some woodland and then all the way along the coast cliffs, giving us a sea breeze and stunning views. It really was gorgeous! We enjoyed a double scoop ice cream at Sheringham and then headed back along the coast. Our legs were a little achey, but it was worth it – my favourite day of the weekend.
And it didn’t stop there. Next, we picked up our picnic from Byfords in Holt to have for dinner on the beach. A wicker basket, big slices of cake and an empty beach – it was everything I was hoping for and more! Once the sun had set, we wrapped up in coats and enjoyed the tranquillity and space from normal life. Feeling very full we went back to the campsite and lit another fire to keep us warm until late!
Saturday’s weather forecast was horrendous – torrential rain, thunder and lightening. Not ideal for camping. So, we planned an entire day out in Holt which is a gorgeous little town about 5 minutes drive from our campsite. Luckily for us the weather held out for most of the day so we sat outside and enjoyed a coffee at Byfords – we didn’t have any cake as it was just before lunch, but the counter was bursting with freshly baked goodies so it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re nearby! After this we ate the best fish and chips from Eric’s (seriously good) and perused the shops at our leisure including some gorgeous homeware shops that were total goals! It was the first time G and I had a ‘normal’ day out with the only slight difference of having to wear face masks inside shops. Holt is a must on your list if you’re visiting Norfolk!
Before heading back to the campsite we went to the beach to walk off lunch. It was a little blustery but definitely made us feel a little lighter. We also spotted a seal off the shore!
Then the rain started… and it really, really started. Thunder. Lightening. Rain. More rain. What fun G and I were having on our summer camping staycation in Norfolk! So, we hid in our tent (which survived the gales) and played some card games until it was time for more food. We’d booked ‘Wiverton Bell’ on a whim due to the weather forecast and was so glad we did A) because it rained badly that night and so sitting outside having a BBQ would have been miserable but B) because it was bloody delicious and made us feel completely at ease given that there were one way systems and other covid measures in place. Again, would highly recommend!
Our last day was a chilled one and the sunshine returned. It took us a while to pack everything away – we had a lot of ‘stuff’ in my car and it ended up getting pretty messy during our stay. We drove via Brancaster to Burnham Market (along with everyone else in Norfolk which meant we didn’t have time to stop for a walk on the beach). We visited all the local shops and the most amazing one called ‘Norfolk Living’ which had homeware bits and pieces GALORE! G treated me to a gorgeous little shell pot for my jewellery at home but there were also so many other lovely things for your home from placemats, wicker baskets, mirrors and candles.
After we’d been in all the shops and explored the gorgeous little ‘insta’ village we went to The Hoste Arms for lunch. I’d stayed there about 10 years ago (wow time flies) with my family and remember it being lovely. It was so quiet which meant that there wasn’t much of an atmosphere which was a shame, but the staff were lovely and the food was delicious. G and I were both so full of food from the weekend we couldn’t even stomach a Sunday Roast. We opted for sandwiches but these were equally as filling as there was a lot of bread!! As the weather was so glorious, we also treated ourselves to a Pimms before heading home.
Our summer camping staycation in Norfolk was truly gorgeous, allowing both G and I to really turn off from work, escape lockdown life and spend some time together. I hadn’t taken any holiday this year and so I really was ready for a break and to not have to worry about day to day tasks, replying to emails or even home chores. As you can tell we consumed a lot of food, but again it was nice to finally have a break from home cooking (even though that’s what I enjoy 99.9% of the time) and treat ourselves with too much chocolate and marshmallows – it’s what holidays are all about! We spent most of the weekend talking about our plans for the next few months and years, holidays we want to go on, things we want to do, where our careers will go – the first time we’ve been able to look beyond the next weekend!
Norfolk as a staycation destination is also pretty perfect. Full of aesthetic villages, wide beaches, authentic pubs and beautiful countryside – there’s the right balance of ‘things to do’ and escaping the city for a bit of ‘nothingness’ in the middle of nowhere. I will definitely be returning!
Have any Norfolk recommendations? Been camping this summer? Have any other staycations tips? Comment below!