Sheringham and North Norfolk
'Twixt Sea and Pine': Sheringham is well described by its motto. Once a tiny fishing village, then an Edwardian summer retreat, Sheringham today is a pretty seaside town, nestling between high cliffs and rolling woodland. It has a vibrant 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. 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.
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. In summer the sun rises and sets in the sea, an unexpected quirk on the east coast, and a magical end to the day.
Sheringham is at the heart of North Norfolk. Within a few miles are the lovely Georgian town of Holt, with its galleries and café 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.
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 nature lovers, birdwatching at nearby RSPB / NWT reserves Cley, Pensthorpe and Titchwell, and the seal colony at Blakeney Point. For walkers, the Norfolk Coast Path stretches for 84 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, falling under the spell of this special place.
Throughout the summer Sheringham is alive with festivals: the Crab and Lobster Festival, the Potties folk festival, when 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.
North Norfolk in winter has a magic of its own: crashing waves on windswept beaches, fluffy white seal pups and spectacular flights of pinkfoot geese. The coastal towns and villages sparkle with Christmas lights, Santa sails into Wells harbour to fireworks over the saltmarsh, and Blickling Hall's avenue of Christmas trees is an unforgettable sight. February brings Walsingham Abbey's beautiful snowdrop walks, and Sheringham's Viking Festival, culminating in a torchlight procession and ceremonial boat burning on the beach.
For more photos and videos of all things Sheringham/North Norfolk do visit our Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest pages @magnoliacottagesheringham
North Norfolk guide www.visitnorthnorfolk.com
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
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
Beach hut hire www.north-norfolk.gov.uk/beachhuts
Broads National Park www.visitthebroads.co.uk
Thursford Christmas Spectacular www.thursford.com