In: Holkham

Although it’s a little late we’d like to wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. We’ve had a busy start to 2014 as we’re currently connecting our brand new biomass boiler to our older cottages meaning we’ve made a huge step of reducing our carbon footprint and we will soon wave goodbye to fossil fuels for good (well, apart from a little gas we use for the cookers). Whilst this work happens, we’re also refurbishing a few rooms in the cottages and we look forward to all the final touches being completed in early February.

January is also a busy month as we receive lots of enquiries and bookings from people who are planning their annual holidays. The summer months are already looking very busy for us and we’re looking forward to welcoming new and returning guests throughout the year.

Last summer brought us beautiful, hot sunny days and we are hoping for the same this year. For us, there is no better place to be in the world on a hot summers day than enjoying the great outdoors in North Norfolk. From coast to countryside and everything in between, there’s something for everyone. It’s the perfect destination for a staycation.
But, summer isn’t the only time to visit North Norfolk as the area is always bustling with activity. As a result, we’ve put together our A to Z of things to do and see in North Norfolk and hope you get to enjoy some, or all of them, when you visit.
Attractions – There is something for everyone to visit in North Norfolk. Stroll around large stately homes, learn something new in the museums and view local artists work in the galleries. Nature lovers will enjoy the big choice of nature reserves nearby and families will be spoilt for choice with the family friendly attractions.
Beach Huts – If you fancy having a base by the sea then there’s not better way to do this than by hiring a traditional beach hut. Wells-next-the-Sea and Old Hunstanton both have beach huts that are available for daily and weekly hire.
Crabbing – This is a fun and cheap way of entertaining the children for a few hours and can become quite addictive! Pick yourself up a crabbing kit, which includes a crabbing line, bucket and some bait (bacon always works a treat!) and head to Wells Harbour Quay, Blakeney Quay or Burnham Overy Staithe to see how many crabs you can catch.
Dungeons – Norwich Castle is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and was built by the Normans as a palace over 900 years ago. It is full of interesting exhibitions and historic treasures that the whole family will enjoy discovering. For the fearless and sceptical people out there, how about a tour of the famously haunted dungeons… you may just find yourself covered in goosebumps whilst you’re down there!

Exercise – For those of you who enjoy an active life, there are plenty of ways to keep fit and get some exercise when you’re away without it feeling like it’s a chore. Our heated indoor swimming pool and tennis courts are available for all of our guests to use when staying in our cottages, we can also help organise cycle hire so you can pedal around the countryside and enjoy the beautiful views. The coast is a popular place to enjoy an invigorating walk or run and being by the water also means there are plenty of watersports to enjoy too.

Farmers Markets – Stock up on delicious seasonal produce at one of our many farmers markets. There are monthly markets in Fakenham, Holt, Blakeney and at Creake Abbey in North Creake. The area also has plenty of farm shops and other fantastic food outlets that sell locally produced food and drink, full details can be found here.
Grey and Common Seals – Blakeney point is famous for its huge seal colonies of both Grey and Common seals. During the winter months the Grey seals have their pups giving visitors the opportunity to see little white fluffy pups braving the elements whilst the common seals have their young between June – August. There are several boat trips available to book on a daily basis but we recommend you book to avoid disappointment. We think the seal trips are a fantastic opportunity to get up close to some of the UK’s favourite wildlife residents and an experience we highly recommend to all of our visitors.
Holkham – Holkham is a thriving 25,000-acre agricultural estate that has been in the same family since the 1750’s. Visitors can tour the house and enjoy vast parts of the land including the beach and nature reserve. There is also a deer park, museum, pub and shops to visit. Holkham beach has recently been voted the UK’s best beach and we are very proud to have such a wonderful place on our doorstep to enjoy.
Ice Cream – No seaside holiday is complete without enjoying an ice cream on the seafront. What’s your favourite? A 99 with a flake, chocolate, strawberry, rum and raisin, raspberry ripple, butterscotch… The list goes on and on!
Just Relax – You’re on holiday, so it’s time to relax and take it easy. For a few days, switch off that alarm clock, don’t worry about work, step away from daily routine and just enjoy yourself.
Kite – No childhood should go without the experience of flying a kite. Such a simple thing can create hours of fun. You can fly a kite on the beach all year round so long as you have a breeze! For the adrenaline junkies who want a bit more of an adventure, why not try a kite surfing lesson, which are available to book at Hunstanton beach.
Lavender – Heacham is home to the world famous Norfolk Lavender gardens. Here you can stroll through scented gardens, purchase lavender gifts and even try a few lavender cakes and other delicious treats in the onsite restaurant. There is also an animal farm and outdoor play area for children to enjoy too.
Market Towns – There are a number of market towns dotted around North Norfolk and they’re brimming with boutique shops, local delicatessens, bakeries, art galleries and teashops. Fakenham is our nearest market town, but nearby there’s Burnham Market, Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holt which are all very unique and definitely worth a visit. 
Nature Reserves – You are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring our nature reserves and discovering the Great British wildlife. All year round there is something going on. During the colder months the reserves become home to several winter migrants, in spring we enjoy the spectacle of new life and summer brings plenty of visitors including terns and avocets to the area. Sculthorpe Moor is very close to our cottages, so you don’t need to travel far to enjoy the wildlife. Other reserves in the area are Pensthorpe, Titchwell Marsh, Cley Marshes, Blakeney National Nature Reserve & Scolt Head Island.
Orchard – Drove Orchards have over 40 acres of apple, pear and plum trees, and boast over 150 varieties of different apple. In addition to this, they also grow Strawberries, Raspberries, Gooseberries and much more. The beauty of Drove Orchards is that you can turn up and pick your own seasonal fruit to enjoy during your stay. The shop also stocks their own delicious award winning apple juice along with a great collection of pickles, chutneys, local cheeses and other delicious local produce too, perfect to stock up on and take home to enjoy.
Paddling – For a refreshing cool down on a hot summers day, take a paddle in the sea. Or for the hardy, dip your toes in the icy waters on a cold winter’s day to see how brave you are!
Queen – Sandringham House is the country retreat for the Queen and several members of the Royal Family, who famously spend their Christmas on the Sandringham estate. The house, grounds and museum are open to the public to visit from April to November and the visitor centre and shops are open throughout the year.
Racecourse – A day at the races is always fun and Fakenham Racecourse is a stones throw away from our cottages. Race meetings are on a monthly basis and unlike some other places it offers a casual atmosphere and is very family friendly – Children under 16 go free!
Seasons – Whatever time of the year, North Norfolk offers plenty for visitors. Winter brings lots of Christmas events, perfect for Christmas shopping, plus you can enjoy brisk, refreshing walks on empty beaches and warm up in cosy pubs that serve up hearty meals. In spring there’s lots of activity on the reserves with nesting birds eagerly awaiting the arrival of their chicks. During Easter there are lots of family events including eggciting egg hunts! In summer you can pack up picnics and spend your days at the beach or take day trips around the area visiting attractions and exploring nearby towns. As the nights begin to draw in during autumn, we look forward eating lots of local seasonal food and have fun celebrating Halloween and Bonfire night.
Trains – Take a vintage steam train ride along the coast with North Norfolk Railways. The Poppy Line is a scenic route that runs from Sheringham to Holt and is a memorable day out for all ages. Wells and Walsingham Light Railway also runs through the North Norfolk countryside and offers a great adventure for the whole family.
Umbrellas – The east is the renowned for being the driest region in the UK making it a great place to spend your holidays. But, it if rains during your stay don’t let it put you off exploring the area, just take an umbrella with you and remember, it never rains in a pub!
Victorian Cromer – Cromer is on the very edge of the North Norfolk coast and is famous for it’s crabs. The seafront is full of beautiful Victorian buildings and whilst you there you should treat yourself to a tasty portion of fish and chips and take a stroll along the pier.
Watersports – You can enjoy a wide range of watersports including windsurfing, sailing, kiting, canoeing and kayaking around our beautiful North Norfolk coastline. Courses and lessons are available for anyone who’s wishing to try something new. 
Xtreeme Adventure – Well, ok, so it’s called Extreeme Adventure so we had to cheat a little! This high ropes adventure course is situated in some of the tallest trees in the East of England. For families who like heights this is an adrenaline packed day out where you can conquer a course that’s situated 20ft up in the trees (or 40ft for the more adventurous!) Children under the age of 10 are not able to do the course, but there is a woodland walk and quiz plus an under 10’s play area available.  Extreeme Adventure is situated 8 miles south of Fakenham and offers an exciting day for those who have a taste for adventure.
Yachting – Our coastline is a great place to enjoy sailing whether you’re an experienced sailor or a novice wanting to give it a try. There are a number of places around where you can hire boats and take tuition. For an enjoyable day out a little further afield, there’s also the beautiful Norfolk Broads to discover either by boat or on foot.
Zzzzzzz – the lovely sound of exhausted children who are tucked up in bed after an adventurous day!
22nd December 2013

Exciting plans for 2014

2013 has been a very busy and enjoyable year for us at Cranmer Cottages.

Snowfall  at Cranmer in early 2013

The early winter months brought plenty of snow, the whole area looked picture perfect and very tranquil.
When spring arrived, we enjoyed an abundance of snowdrops, crocus, bluebells and daffodils. The countryside was literally peppered with a good splash of colour. Guests enjoyed the spectacular snowdrop walks at Walsingham and there were plenty of Easter events planned locally for families to attend.
Then along came summer and for the first time since 2006, we enjoyed record high temperatures and long, sunny days. Our guests spent their days on nearby sandy beaches and evenings outside playing family games in our large paddock area where children also enjoyed our brand new play area.
The summer extended into the early Autumn months and now we’re in mid December we’re looking forward to the New Year ahead.

Late Summer Sunshine Near Holkham

We’ve got a few exciting things to look forward to in 2014 which we’ve been planning over the past few months.
Firstly, we are delighted to launch our one-hour, on-site farm/ nature walk. This walk is only available for our guests and gives an exclusive opportunity to view our fabulous countryside and get up close and personal to the local nature. We have even created a trail quiz to encourage our young visitors to learn more about the great outdoors and the amazing wildlife we have.
We’ve also teamed up with Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens who have kindly agreed to offer our guests a discounted family ticket. For those who haven’t heard of Pensthorpe before, it is an award winning wildlife and conservation reserve that offers something for all ages. The reserve is bustling with birds and wildlife throughout the year, so it’s perfect for birdwatchers and nature lovers. There are also a lot of exciting activities and things to see for families, including their brand new play area, Wild Rootz, which is definitely a winner with the children.
During January, we will be carrying out some refurbishing work on our cottages. We’ll be sharing details of the work we’re doing on our Facebook Page over the next few weeks, so remember to head over and ‘Like Us’ to receive our updates.
Being an eco friendly tourism business, we have worked very hard over the last few years to lower our carbon footprint. On site, we already have a wind turbine and solar panels, which heat and power some of our facilities, but we took a giant leap this year and installed a 100kw biomass boiler. This biomass boiler now means that, other than using a little gas for cooking, we can turn our backs to nasty fossil fuels that we’ve previously had to use. The biomass boiler is fuelled by recycled woodchip, which would otherwise go to landfill. We can now proudly say that our self catering cottages are now ‘powered by nature and nurtured by us’
Rescued Grey Seal Pup
Finally, we’d like to make you aware of a visitor payback scheme, which we’ve just introduced in the wake of the recent floods that affected the seal colonies at Blakeney. We are asking all visitors who book a break with us to make a voluntary donation of £1, which we will match fund, to go towards the RSPCA East Winch branch. This charity is specifically dedicated to rescuing seal pups in the area and rehabilitating them back into the wild. Blakeney is home to large colonies of Grey and Common seals, who breed and bring up their young throughout the year. It really is a magnificent sight to see and one that shouldn’t be missed when you visit the area.
If you book your break and would like to make a donation, simply tick the box on your booking form which says ‘Visitor Payback Scheme’ and our online system will do the rest for you. We will update our website with details on the progress of this scheme over the coming months.
North Norfolkreally does offer something for everyone. From coast to countryside, it is brimming with quaint market towns, extraordinary wildlife, superb visitor attractions and an indulgent selection of places to eat. Once you visit you’ll be itching to come back. Our self-catering cottages are already booking up fast for next summer, so if you don’t want to miss out check our availability and book your holiday now. 
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout 2013 and we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Best wishes,
The team at Cranmer Cottages.
The festive season is beginning to ramp up in North Norfolk. Lights are being strung up in local the towns, the shops are playing festive music and are stocked up with Christmas decorations, gifts and lots of delicious food.
We’re buzzing with the anticipation of a busy Christmas period and we have guests visiting so they can do their Christmas shopping. Our local towns are full of boutique shops with beautiful gifts to suit everyone.

We offer short breaks over during November and December, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a break away and stock up on gifts and seasonal goodies. And if shopping isn’t your thing, there are still a number of Christmas events planned that will definitely get you in the festive mood. From Christmas lights being switched, spectacular Christmas Shows to special Santa steam train rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
20th November 2013
Holt becomes a winter wonderland when thousands of white fairy lights glisten over the over Georgian buildings. Join in on the festivities where there will be street entertainment, food and shopping before the lights switch on with a firework display. The Christmas lights will sparkle in Holt until 5th January.
Lights Switched on 6.45pm, festivities start from 5.30pm
Burnham Market
23rd November
4pm – 8pm
This year’s Christmas lights will be switched on by the ex Norwich City Footballer and local celebrity, Darren Huckerby. In addition to this, Burnham Market will host a Traditional Christmas Market between 4pm – 8pm. 
There will be over 25 art, craft and gift stalls to peruse around with gifts including jewellery, soft furnishings, artisan chocolates, Christmas wreaths and much more available to buy. Whilst you wander around the stalls you’ll have the opportunity to listen to carol singing, a brass band, Nelson’s Shantymen and a local live cover band playing on the Fairstead Green.
Father Christmas will make a special appearance for the children and there will be lots of activities including ‘Pin the Nose on the Reindeer’ to keep the children occupied.
There will also be lots of tasty food stalls where you can enjoy an array of foods including a hog roast, mulled wine, mince pies, Crepes and much, much more.
Fakenham Parish Church
28th Nov – 5th Dec
10am – 8pm
Fakenham Church hosts a very special Charity fundraiser with 90 decorated trees all trimmed and lit for over 80 selected charities. This event is free, but we recommend you take a bag of coins so you can donate a few pennies to your favourite charity trees. Last year over £22,000 was raised for charities including local schools, nurseries and the British Heart Foundation. There is also a Christmas Market selling items such as Christmas cakes and cards. Food and refreshments including light lunches and homemade cakes will also be available to buy throughout the festival.
North Norfolk Railway
1st – 24th December
Enjoy a steam train ride to visit Santa in his magical wonderland. Special services will run between the 1st – 24thDecember where you can take scenic train ride from Sheringham Station through to Weybourne Station, to find Santa waiting by an open fire to give the children a warm welcome and to ask that all important question of what they would like this year for Christmas.
Adults get to enjoy sherry and mince pies during the train ride whilst children receive a biscuit and soft drink.
Booking is recommended for this unique and wonderful North Norfolk Christmas experience.
Holkham Hall
7th & 8th, 14th& 15th December
Christmas this year at Holkham Hall will be a wonderful sight! See the magnificent state rooms beautifully decorated in traditional Victorian style, complete with handmade decorations, real greenery from the park and candle light. A visit to see Father Christmas in our new grotto will be pure magic for the children.
Burnham Deepdale
7th & 8th December
The Deepdale Christmas Market has over 70 stalls, along with entertainment and activities. It’s the perfect place to stock up on Christmas presents, decorations and local food and drink. The weekend will be full of seasonal cheer and guarantees to set you in the festive mood for the big day itself.
Felbrigg Hall
15th December
11 – 3pm
A small number of select food and gift stalls will be at Felbrigg Hall on Sunday 15 December. Take the opportunity to do some last minute Christmas shopping and buy some gifts and goodies.
25th December
Hunstanton
For all the brave people out there, how about taking a plunge in the sea on Christmas day?
The Hunstanton Christmas Swim has now been going for over 50 years and over recent years we’ve seen record crowds watching and participating. The event raises funds for the Round Table which help to support many local good causes.
If you fancy it, you may want to think about doing it in fancy dress as there’s the opportunity to win £25 for the best dressed individual or £100 for the best group. What bizarre outfits can you think to wear?!
King’s Lynn Corn Exchange
6th – 31st December
This year’s panto is the fairytale story Beauty and the Beast, and stars Darren Day as the Beast himself.
In good old fashioned panto style, there’s a baddie to boo, the goodies with their hilarious gags and a heroine in need of being rescued. This is a rip roaring adventure full of fun and live music. True Christmas entertainment at its best!
Theatre Royal Norwich
17th December – 19th January
This year’s festive extravaganza is the most popular panto of them all – Cinderella.
There will be magic, comedy, audience participation and fun along with music and dancing to enjoy. This traditional panto will be a delight for all the family.
The all-star cast includes Shelia Ferguson (The Three Degrees) as Fairy Godmother, Christopher Ryan (The Young Ones, Absolutely Fabulous) as Baron Hardup, Matt Milburn (Hollyoaks) as Prince Charming, and Richard Gauntlett as Buttons.
UNDER THREEs FREE
9th November – 23rd December 2013
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the largest Christmas Show in England and is a magical experience. The show starts on the 9th November and runs until the 23rd December. Booking is essential as it’s a hugely popular event, people travel from all over the country to see it. It is well worth treating yourself and loved ones to a long weekend in Norfolk to attend this spectacular show…… and a great excuse to get into the festive spirit!
3rd October 2013

Autumn Half Term Fun

After a very busy summer period, September seemed to pass us by in flash, now it’s the beginning of October it means that the half term hols aren’t very far away. Halloween falls over the half term period this year so we thought we’d share some of the spooktacular events that are taking place in North Norfolk for families to enjoy!
Trick or Tweet
Pensthorpe
26th Oct – 3rd Nov
www.pensthorpe.com  
Take a spooky self-guided trail around the nature reserve, playing games and learning about the local history and natural world at this time of year. Also explore the brand new WildRootz adventure play area where there’s over 30 individual pieces of play equipment to play with and enjoy.
Halloween at Holkham
27th – 31st October
www.holkham.co.uk
Creep through the bygone museum trying to avoid the spiders and creepy crawlies to find mad scientists at work creating spells and potions. Get involved in the weird and wonderful craft making and you can take home a spine-chilling memento.
Visit our walled garden to take a creepy spider hunt, you will also have the opportunity discover lots of spooky facts about these eight legged creatures.
There will be a daily fancy dress parade in the courtyard so make sure you come dressed up for the occasion, gory face painting and carving pumpkins will also be taking place too.
Halloween Week
North Norfolk Railway
26th October – 3rd November
www.nnrailway.co.uk
Are you brave enough to ride on the ghost train? Take a daring trip on the North Norfolk railway over half term and you’ll be in for a treat and a few tricks too!
For an extra spooky experience, stop off at Weybourne Station and enter the spook-laden Halloween Hall, a hellish haunt of witches, warlocks and shuddering spiders……. It’s not for the faint hearted!
The Real Halloween
Holt Hall
26th & 27th October
www.fairylandtrust.org/real-halloween.html
This magical and enchanting event will celebrate the Halloween festivities with an array of workshops and activities to entertain children and parents alike.
Children will have the opportunity to make a magic wand, a witches pet (a bat!), a wizard shield, a magic potion or a witches messenger (an owl!) in one of the bookable workshops.
There are plenty of other free activities including a walk through the woods to discover the magical power of trees and children can also help make the fairy banquet or some special brew in the witches’ kitchen.
Don your Halloween costumes and prepare for a spooky evening at Gressenhall where there will be plenty of activities to get involved with.
Help track down a howling hound that’s on the loose and take a ghostly tour of the workhouse. There’s also a shadow puppet show to enjoy, face painting and lots of arts activities to get involved in too.
AND A LITTLE FURTHER AFIELD…..
PrimEVIL
Dinosaur Park, Lenwade
25th October – 2nd November
www.primevil-scare.com
Head to Norfolk’s biggest Halloween experience and enjoy 5 frightening attractions including the screaming woods and the maze of mutants! Take the opportunity to carve your very own pumpkin and get up close and personal with an array of creepy crawlies if you dare!
Snagglefang’s Spooky Spectacular
BeWILDerwood
26th October – 3rd November
www.bewilderwood.co.uk
BeWILDerwood will be feeling a little spooky over half term week so come dressed up in your best Halloween gear and take the opportunity to build your own lantern and join in with Snagglefang’s end-of-day Luminous Lantern Parade – it’s a magical way to finish the season!

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to the coastline in North Norfolk. Did you know that Both Wells and Holkham feature in the Telegraph’s best British beaches review, which got us thinking about the all of the local beaches we like to enjoy.  
Here’s our top five:

Holkham
Holkham beach was famously featured in the film, Shakespeare in Love a few years back, but did you know that it’s also part of one of the largest National Nature Reserves in the country? The beach offers miles of beautiful golden sands and it really is a place of unspoilt beauty. Be mindful that if you have young children, they will need to be good walkers as this is an expansive beach where you can walk for miles before you reach the sea when the tide is out.

Wells-next-the-sea
Wells beach is a beautiful sandy beach backed by dunes and pine trees. It’s also lined with lots of colourful beach huts, giving it that authentic seaside feeling. The beach is only a mile away from the town centre so it’s easy to stroll between the two, alternatively, there is a beach car park or in the summer you can use the miniature railway to travel between both areas. The gentle sea waters makes the beach at Wells a perfect family day out and don’t forget to treat yourself to some fish ‘n’ chips whilst you are there!

Brancaster Beach & The National Trust Millennium Activity Centre
Brancaster has an accessible sandy beach with adjacent car park, making it a popular beach for families. Like Wells, its gentle sea waters make it a calm and relaxing place to enjoy the coastline and take a leisurely dip in the sea. It’s also a great place for kite flying and enjoying a range of watersports.  In addition to this, Brancaster is an extensive coastal area that’s famous for its wild birds, so offers a great birdwatching experience too.

Hunstanton
Hunstanton, also known as Sunny Hunny, is famous for it’s striped cliffs. This seaside town is great for families whatever the weather as there are amusements arcades as well as the beach to enjoy. The shallow beach can offer some fantastic rock pools to explore when the tide is out and for the more adventurous; it’s a great beach for kite surfing. If you’re one for taking it easy, then why not hire out one of the beach huts, chill out in your deck chair and enjoy the seaside experience and an ice cream!

Blakeney
Blakeney nature reserve offers 4 miles of natural coastline that hosts a massive spectrum of wildlife including seasonal migrating birds and seal colonies. The reserve also has varying landscapes, a sand and shingle spit, salt marshes, sand dunes and a range of plant life. It’s a spectacular place to discover and enjoy our beautiful wildlife and unspoilt surroundings.

Available for booking arrival dates after August 01 2020

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