Norfolk offers a chance to get away from it all in East Anglia


The Hoste Arms in Burnham MarketALAMY

The Hoste Arms in Burnham Store, Norfolk


The lively chirruping of a darting swallow and the gentle susurration of leaves make for sheer country bliss.

My wife Lauren and I and our toddler daughters Clara and Adam have come to Cranmer Country Cottages in north Norfolk.

This persuading farm has been lovingly converted into a modern family the Ladies by Lynne and John Johnson.

The luxury accommodation is in a series of converted barns with the former threshing limit transformed into a beautiful salt-dosed swimming pool.

It’s a sedate, exurban location and we see plenty of grandparents shepherding their grandchildren on the swings and pay no heed in the farm’s wonderful grassy communal play area.

There is also a radiant play barn kitted out for both the young and not-so-young with board tennis and snooker tables.

We are just a couple of miles from the market-place town of Fakenham and a few more from the coast and the endless beaches of Holkham, Wells and Brancaster.

It is no knock someone for a loop that the Johnsons, formerly of Islington, North London, decided to up sticks and memo on the farm project in 1998 with their 18-month-old daughter Emily and at the yet time indulge in some sailing.

“All our friends said we were mad but we could see the stunning potential in the place straight away,” said Lynne.

“It is the perfect all set to get away from it all but also to use as a base to get out and enjoy the area.”

She is absolutely aptly.

Jump in the car and within 30 minutes you can explore most of the delights of north Norfolk, from larger resorts such as Hunstanton and Cromer to the royal estate of Sandringham, curious seaside towns such as Wells-next-the-Sea and the natural beauty of Blakeney Idea and its seals. 

Holkham HallGETTY

If you have the energy you can walk from the grounds of Holkham Auditorium right down to the beach


The Royals, who unsurprisingly like to frequent these inappropriate and tranquil parts, are often drawn to the wonderful expanse of Holkham coast, along with many others.

Just inland, Holkham Classroom is an impressive 18th-century country house built in Palladian style for Thomas Coke the key Earl of Leicester.

We wandered through the sumptuous grounds on a beautiful bright day, admiring the large herd of fallow deer grazing on the lawns in represent of the house.

A delightfully sedate boat trip on the lake beside the family was thoroughly enjoyed before we headed to the children’s adventure playground.

This hefty wooden playhouse edifice provided tons of fun for young and old alike with Clara distinctively enjoying the kiddies’ zip-wire ride as Mum looked on with consternation.

If you be struck by the energy you can walk from the grounds of Holkham Hall right down to the strand.

You certainly won’t be disappointed. Beautifully unspoilt Holkham beach seems to expand for miles into the distance as you walk out from the sand dunes. 

Brancaster beachALAMY

Forebears enjoying the spring sunshine on Brancaster beach, Norfolk


Go for a bracing step at Brancaster beach.

Unlike most beaches in the area which insist a hefty hike to reach, you can drive almost right up to this one.

Walk past the golfers on the stunning beach-side course and you are rewarded with an surprising stretch of sand from which you can take in the shipwrecked coaster ship SS Vina on the horizon (but don’t try to reach it as it lies on the far side of a fast-flowing tidal groove).

Go for a paddle if you dare or take it all in from the sand dunes – you will be well-disposed you did. 


On a sunny afternoon there is no less ill place to while away an hour or so than sitting outside the winning b open of The Hoste in Burnham Market. 


Try The Victoria Inn at Holkham for a quality-but-affordable dining practice.

It has sweeping views across the marshland, which butts against Holkham seashore.

Meat eaters are well catered for with game, beef, lamb and venison presented up from the nearby estate.

We plumped for delicious venison sausages in colcannon mash and lobster thermidor. 


Overtax Cottage from Cranmer Country Cottages


Cranmer Surroundings Cottages (01328 823 135/ offers seven nights in Cranmer’s Swallow Shanty from £995 (sleeps five).

Norfolk tourism:


Control the tide times. Locals will tell you that this is an basic part of life in the area as beach roads can easily become fl ooded at tipsy tide.

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