Home Farm Blog
3rd June 2019
Cranmer Country Cottages were the perfect place to spend our May half term holiday as a family of 6 including 4 children aged 10,9, 7 and 3.
We stayed in Swallow which forms part of a row of barn conversions looking out onto a large open field in the beautiful Norfolk countryside close to the North Norfolk Coast.
Swallow a self catering cottage with three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and open plan living all on one floor is spacious, with modern farm house features and very comfortable furniture. The interior whitewashed walls are fabulous with modern art prints and the space is light, airy and very clean. The kitchen is well stocked and the big farmhouse table is perfect for family meals. A dishwasher and washing machine are always an added bonus! The south facing outside eating area is private and a relaxing space to eat and read.
Activities at Cranmer Cottages
he amazing indoor swimming pool within one of the converted barns looks out onto open fields and is a delightful pool for all the family. We swam in the pool everyday, sometimes twice a day, most days having the pool to ourselves. The pool is a salt water pool rather than chlorine which is a real treat and the steps leading down to the pool were great for our youngest daughter.
The large open field which Swallow looks out upon from the glass, sliding doors provides the perfect natural playground for all the children from the various cottages to spill out and play together. The subtle slide, wooden climbing frame, swings, beautifully painted shepherd’s hut and playhouse are all lovely additions and give the children a variety of things to do outside. Most evenings before and after tea the children from the cottages would play happily together and on one evening they set up a football match.
The indoor games room within the courtyard area has something for all ages with a play kitchen, reading corner, play tent and toys for toddlers and babies. The tennis table and pool table are great for older children.
Things to do in North Norfolk
On the Saturday we visited Holkham beach which is a beautiful, large beach accessed on a boardwalk leading from the car park through pinewoods. The beach is perfect for building sandcastles on a fine day and long walks at any other time. It is a popular beach for horse riding and watching horses gallop along the beach in groups is spectacular. We had a lovely lunch at The Victoria which is perfect for families and looks out over the marshes. Holkham Hall is a wonderful place to visit for the day and on previous visits we have all particularly enjoyed the ‘Field to Fork’ exhibition, tractor ride, cycling through the deer park and family games in the Walled Garden. There is also a 5k Park Run on a Saturday morning through the grounds.
On Sunday we went down the road to Walsingham to see the Slipper Chapel and then walked around the pretty village. A visit to the Walsingham Farm Shop supplemented the Sainsbury’s delivery nicely for local fresh strawberries, asparagus, fish and meat. The Wells to Walsingham light steam railway can be picked up close to the farm shop and is a great ride through the Norfolk countryside to Wells with open carriages as well as covered carriages.
A visit to Norfolk can not be without a visit to Burnham Market foundly know as Chelsea-by-the-Sea! The smart independent shops and more familiar chains such as Joules and Jack Wills make this a hot spot for the well-healed. The Hoste on the Main Street is a popular place to eat and apparently on occasion a few famous faces have been sighted. The children spent their holiday money in the independent book shop which had lots of lovely books and then had a stroll around Burnham Market. We headed on from here to Brancaster to the Crab Hut for some fish for tea and on to Wells where walked along the beach past the pretty multicoloured beach huts. Brancaster is also a fantastic beach for families within close walking distance of a car park and great for sandcastles and beach games.
On Tuesday we ventured east to Glandford and the Shell Museum where the children each picked a special shell as a souvenir. The Museum has a fantastic collection of shells and is a gem. Nearby Wiverton Hall made famous by the television programme and the phrase ‘ Normal for Norfolk’ made a perfect stop off for tea and scones. We sat outside overlooking the marshes on brightly coloured chairs. The cafe is fun, with great staff, art on the walls that can be purchased, a toilet with a ‘vue’ and the delicious home made food including cakes and salads all served on the full collection of delightful Emma Bridgewater pottery. In the school holidays Wiverton runs Pizza evenings and in the sumner months PYO strawberries and raspberries. The next village along is beautiful Blakeney where we parked in the National Trust car park and went crabbing with buckets and nets from home that we managed to remember this time! The children caught lots of crabs in the late afternoon sun which they put back into the sea and it was a lovely way to spend the late afternoon/early evening in a village where it truly feels as though time stands still.
On Wednesday we took our binoculars to RSPB Tichwell which is an active bird reserve suitable for children and leads onto a fabulous beach. We went home via Eric’s fish and chips in Thornham which opened around 3 years ago and is a perfect place to eat in and enjoy tradition fish and chips as well scampi and a vegan option. At 5pm Eric’s filled up with families and the atmosphere was as good as the food. Gurneys next door is a brilliant place to pick up fresh fish including home smoked salmon, oysters, prawns and lobsters as well as food from Cley Smokehouse. Thornham Deli is highly recommended for food as well as shopping.
On Thursday we visited National Trust, Blickling Hall and enjoyed a 4 mile cycle ride around the grounds. HSBC in conjunction with British Cycling has subsidised the cost of cycle hire and provided excellent bikes for all ages including balance bikes and cruisers for younger children. The house is magnificent and has a number of exhibitions and various activities for the children. The gardens are spectacular and when we walked round the wisteria was in full bloom and the peonies were peering through. The coconut ice cream and mango sorbet comes highly recommended by the children too! National Trust, Felbrigg is also nearby and worth a visit.
There are plenty of other things to do in the local area such as Pensthorpe Nature Reserve, pot painting in Holt, soft play in Wells, a dinosaur adventure park a little further afield and Bewildered with a huge playground. Norwich isn’t too far for a day trip to see the impressive cathedral. Cranmer Cottages provide a very good file in each cottage and lovely Zoe is always on hand to discuss what there is to do and help with anything relating to the cottages.
There was time for a quick swim on Friday and the children to say goodbye to the friends they had made before we checked out at 10am. The children had the best half term week, there was plenty to visit and stay active plus we had chance to relax and chat on an evening whilst the children played in the field. Half term doesn’t come better than that.
Thank you Cranmer Cottages.
30th September 2016
|Tilly felt very at home|
- · Visit Fakenham Fairways for Pitch and Putt.
- · Enjoy a boat trip to see the seals.
- · Have a walk around Holkham Estate to see the house and the deer.
- · Visit Langham glass to blow your own souvenirs.
- · Take in the beach at Brancaster
29th June 2016
To that end, we wholeheartedly support Make Holidays Greener month and their Big Holiday Beach Clean campaign – with holidaymakers, travel companies and hotels encouraged to take part in the Big Holiday Beach Clean 2016 this July. This year, the campaign to raise awareness of more sustainable holidays will step up a gear and will be led by ABTA, with support from Travelife and the Travel Foundation.
The campaign is calling for more travel businesses to promote how people can take action to protect the local environment while on holiday, and for hotels to sign up for a beach clean as part of Make Holidays Greener month. Throughout the summer, holidaymakers will be encouraged to take care of the local environment and support local communities in holiday destinations.
We think that initiatives like this and the 2 Minute Beach Clean are fantastic campaigns that not only highlight the need for us all to be more environmentally aware when we are visiting often protected areas of our coast but give simple, practical ideas to how anyone can help.
8th June 2016
As well as our luxury holiday cottages being open year round for individual families and couples to enjoy we do, from time-to-time, rent out our whole site to large parties for get-togethers and celebrations.
MFMC are a group of 50 motorcyclists and one of their members flew in all the way from Canada to celebrate their anniversary! They shared the cottages and a few members also stayed in classic camper vans in our grounds. They also hired The Green Room venue and courtyard areas and they dined on bespoke wood fired oven pizzas, salads and a few sherbets J – which we sourced locally and provided.
The group stayed with us on the Saturday night and took a ride out along our beautiful coast on the Sunday, before heading back to London.
Group member, Yasmin, said: “It was lovely to meet you both again and thank you so very much for hosting the party. We all had an absolutely fantastic time. The cottages and your location are stunning… you really do live in paradise, thanks for inviting us into your world.”
16th July 2015
The North Norfolk Steam Railway
My particular favourite. Travel the Poppy Line between Sheringham and Holt through North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – lovely whatever the weather. Enjoy the nostalgia of the Sheringham buffet, where you can eat in or have a picnic and watch the activity on the station platform. Sheringham is the quintessential east coast seaside town, so is well worth a visit.
31st March 2015
Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse
Our own Herdwick sheep are fed at 9.30 am every morning (times may vary).
10th February 2015
|Walsingham Priory before the Dissolution|
29th July 2014
It’s a real honour to be nominated for a Goldstar Award from Green Tourism but being Green is not an easy ride, especially for a small holiday cottage business. But there’s little point in doing the work unless you take it seriously and can back it up with actual results.
Since 2008 we have reduced our carbon emissions by 70% per bed night based on current occupancy levels. Annual emissions from onsite energy used by the business and customers were 115.5 tonnes per year in 2008 before we joined GTBS (Green Tourism Business Scheme), developed our barns and introduced an innovative mix of green technologies. As a result, (as of April 2014) this has been reduced to 27.4 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Over 80% of the energy we consume here at Cranmer is supplied by renewable sources; wind, GSHP, solar thermal & solar PV, Ecotricity for our electrical needs and a biomass boiler for heat. It’s been a massive undertaking and a large financial investment which we understand is a stumbling block for many small businesses. It hasn’t exactly been pain free but if we can do it, so can others. And we are always happy to share our experiences.
And we’re working with local suppliers to develop their businesses as well. Under the recent regulatory changes/updates to the RHI guidance woodfuel supplies must conform to 2013 standards. We suggested to our boiler supplier and our local recycled woodchip supplier Drurys Recycling Services that they obtain authorisation under the DECC RHI Biomass suppliers’ list. Drurys have been accepted onto the scheme as a producer/trader for chip-waste. Double whammy for us and for the environment by keeping wood waste out of landfill and securing a local supply for our boiler.
19th June 2014
We always listen to our guests – both by reading our Customer Service Satisfaction and talking to them during their visit. We know what our guests like about staying at Cranmer so we thought we would share our top 10 reasons why people book with us.
1. Family friendly: You might think that this is obvious but we are really family-friendly. All our cottages are stylish, comfortable and spacious. Open plan living/dining areas means that families can all be together while preparing food. Everything is on one level which means no running up and down stairs and parents can easily keep an eye on the children.
2. Heated indoor swimming pool: The pool is designed to be perfect for children. With a water temperature of 29oC little ones can be warm both in and out of the water. We salt dose the pool rather than using harsh chemicals so it’s kind to delicate skin and beneficial to asthma sufferers. And when the weather is not so good it is a good way to amuse the kids when they cannot play outdoors.
3. Owners live on site: Unlike many other holiday cottages, the owners Lynne and John Johnson live at Cranmer. We also have administration and maintenance cover during normal work hours on site. While we do regular weekly maintenance on the cottages, there is always the possibility that something will break or stop working and we can usually get it sorted quickly rather than having to wait for on outside contractor to get here. Lynne and John are on hand to dispense local knowledge and, if you are interested, John will give you a tour of the eco-systems they have installed at the cottage complex or even show you his collection of vintage cars!
4. Award winning: Cranmer holds two important awards; Visit England Gold Award and the Green Tourism Gold Award. Both of these are testament to the quality, cleanliness and facilities available at the cottages. We all work hard to gain and maintain these standards and guests can be confident that their holiday will be top notch.
5. Booking direct: following comments from guests we now have an efficient online booking system. Guest can check availability and pricing on our website in real time at any time of the day or night. Perfect for booking last minute deals.
6. Secure payments: our new booking system means that we no longer have access to your credit or debit card details. All payments are made online using a secure SagePay system, giving guests the reassurance that their payments are promptly made, securing their holiday and their details are secure.
7. Local knowledge: Lynne, John and their daughter Emily have lived in North Norfolk for sixteen years and John knows Norfolk from his childhood. They are regular sailors and know a great deal about North Norfolk and what it has to offer visitors. If you want recommendations for restaurants or nearby amenities for children, they have test driven most of them. The whole team has an excellent knowledge of the best places to visit and the best food to buy or eat.
8. Facilities: As well as our heated indoor swimming pool, Lynne has worked to make Cranmer very family friendly. The large fenced paddock area at the back of all the cottages (except Coot) is perfect for children to play safely, watch nature on their doorsteps and make friends. There are swings and a Wendy House and summer cricket matches are often organised by guests. We also have 2 all-weather tennis courts and a well-equipped Games Room for those wet days where families can play table tennis, pool or darts. There are books for children and the grown-up and lots of information about local attractions. We also have a lockable bike store.
9. Location: Cranmer offers the best of countryside and coast. Close to the North Norfolk heritage coast and Holkham, it’s only 3 hours from London (on a good day!).The beaches are spectacular, there is shopping in Burnham Market and Holt and if you crave some city life, Norwich is only an hour away. There’s lots of healthy outdoor things to do with the children.
10. Green Tourism: While this might not be the most important thing you think about it when you are booking your holiday, we believe that it is important that our business is sustainable and eco-friendly. Our biomass boiler, solar panels and wind turbine mean that we are energy efficient. So it’s going on in the background during your stay, it’s good for the environment and it’s sustainable.
1st April 2014
If you’ve not heard of Geocaching, it’s a worldwide, real life treasure hunting game. All you need to play is a GPS device i.e. a smart phone. Geocache has it’s own app which is available to download and from there you can search for caches near to you which you can then track down. Other than purchasing the app, it is free to do and gives families the opportunity to spend time together enjoying the great outdoors. For full details visit http://www.geocaching.com/