Sheringham and North Norfolk

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For centuries a remote fishing village, Sheringham grew into an Edwardian summer retreat following the arrival of the railway in 1887. The fishermen's quarter, with its flint and pebble cottages, remains at the heart of the town, the little boats still winched from the sea each morning with their catch of lobster and crab. Today Sheringham is a small, unspoilt seaside town, surrounded by clifftop walks and rolling woodland. It has an old fashioned high street full of independent shops, pubs and restaurants, the Blue Flag award winning beach, a fine coastal golf course, the Little Theatre, museums celebrating the town's seafaring heritage, and the much loved Poppy Line steam railway.

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There's a long seafront promenade lined with colourful beach huts, and a clifftop esplanade with lovely gardens. Sheringham Park (National Trust), landscaped in the 18th century by Humphrey Repton, offers miles of waymarked paths with spectacular sea views. 

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 Within a few miles are the lovely Georgian town of Holt, with its galleries and cafĂ© culture, the Victorian resort of Cromer, and many of Norfolk's great houses and gardens: Felbrigg and Blickling Hall (National Trust), Houghton Hall and Holkham. The pretty coastal villages of Weybourne, Blakeney and Cley, with their flint cottages and windmills, wind along the heritage coast to Wells-next-the-Sea and magnificent Holkham Beach, fringed with pines trees and beach huts. Slightly further afield are Norwich (cathedral, castle, cobbled streets and excellent shopping), Sandringham royal estate and the waterways of the Norfolk Broads. With its dry, sunny climate and Flemish architecture this little corner of Norfolk has a distinctly continental feel.

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In a very compact area there's something for everyone: for steam enthusiasts, the Poppy Line and Bure Valley railways; for foodies, a fabulous array of eating spots from crab shacks on the saltmarshes to fine dining, with crab and lobster straight from the sea; for children, safe, sandy beaches, rockpools and that quintessential North Norfolk pastime, crabbing. Nature lovers will enjoy birdwatching at nearby RSPB / NWT reserves Cley, Pensthorpe and Titchwell, and boat trips to the seal colony at Blakeney Point. For walkers, the Norfolk Coast Path stretches for almost 50 miles across a hauntingly beautiful coastal landscape. Or you might come simply to unwind under North Norfolk's endless skies and long horizons, watching the waves, stargazing, or watching the sun set into the sea, an unexpected quirk on the East coast, and a magical end to the day.

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Throughout the summer Sheringham is alive with festivals: the Crab and Lobster Festival, the Lobster Potties festival, when 40 morris sides from across the country dance through the streets, August Carnival week, vintage transport, arts and real ale festivals, the Poppy Line's steam galas and the 1940s weekend, when the whole town steps back in time to recreate the sights and sounds of wartime Britain.

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North Norfolk in winter has a magic of its own: bracing walks on windswept beaches, cosy pubs with log fires, fluffy seal pups and spectacular flights of pinkfoot geese. December brings festive stately homes, the winter wonderland of Holt's white lights, Thursford Christmas show and Santa & Mince Pie steam trains. On New Year's Day, Cromer Pier fireworks light up the sea; February brings Sheringham's Viking Festival and Walsingham Abbey's snowdrop walks. Stables is open all year, with winter short breaks. 

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Useful links:

North Norfolk guide www.visitnorthnorfolk.com
North Norfolk guide www.northnorfolkguide.co.uk
North Norfolk guide  www.tournorfolk.co.uk
North Norfolk Railway, the 'Poppy Line' steam train www.nnrailway.co.uk
Sheringham Little Theatre (films, jazz, plays, summer rep) www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com
Sheringham Golf Club www.sheringhamgolfclub.co.uk
Sheringham Park (National Trust) www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sheringham-park  
Felbrigg Hall www.nationaltrust.org.uk/felbrigg-hall-gardens-and-estate
Blickling Hall www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blickling-estate 
Holkham Hall www.holkham.co.uk
Houghton Hall www.houghtonhall.com
Sandringham Royal Estate www.sandringhamestate.co.uk
East Ruston Old Vicarage Gardens www.e-ruston-oldvicaragegardens.co.uk
Mannington Hall Gardens www.manningtongardens.co.uk
Hindringham Hall Gardens www.hindringhamhall.org
Coasthopper bus www.sanderscoaches.com   
Bittern Line train to Norwich www.bitternline.com
Norwich www.visitnorwich.co.uk
Cley Wildlife Reserve www.norfolkwildlifetrust.org.uk
Blakeney Nature Reserve www.nationaltrust.org.uk/blakeney-national-nature-reserve
Pensthorpe Natural Park www.pensthorpe.com
Seal trips www.sealtrips.co.uk www.beansboattrips.co.uk
Norfolk Coast Path www.nationaltrail.co.uk/peddars-way-and-norfolk-coast-path 
Norfolk Coast AONB (good walks to download) www.norfolkcoastaonb.org.uk
Broads National Park www.visitthebroads.co.uk
Thursford Christmas Spectacular www.thursford.com  

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