Flat as yer hat. That’s what My Beloved Brit’s comment was as we drove north through Norfolk. And he was right. Huge expanses of level fields and hedgerows to the edge of the sea were everywhere we looked.
We are staying in a great Best Western (Le Strange Arms…a strange name) right on the edge of the sea in Old Hunstanton and used it as our base this week to explore Norfolk. It was perfect.
We were pleasantly surprised to have a room with a separate living area with many large windows facing the sea, and have had great pleasure viewing it at all times day and night, no matter what the weather.
The sky and sea is always dramatic.
We have gotten out and about during the day exploring the area. And the week has turned from chilly and rainy at the start in Sandringham…
…to chilly and partly cloudy at Houghton Hall. A definite improvement. It is all relative.
I promise future posts on the amazing homes and gardens we have seen this week, but for the moment I am focusing on what makes Norfolk Norfolk…at least to me.
It is very rural, with lots of farming (from lavender to cows) and many beachy seafront villages that cater to the family on holiday.
It reminds me a bit of Holland with the scattering of windmills about…
and the many canals with dikes separating the flat fields of cows from the irrigation.
There are a scattering of excellent large estates that were well worth the visit.
I love the buildings in the area, faced in different patterns of red and white stone. Everything is done in these stones in a huge variety of patterns.
But the beaches seem to be the main attraction, and even in this chilly grey month of June (everyone keeps telling us this is the coldest June in 8 years), the beaches are busy with dog walkers and children running in the sand.
The area does seem a bit hard hit from the economy downturn with lots of For Sale signs and empty storefronts, but people are still very cheerful and extremely friendly. One of the things I notice over and over again in England is how absolutely polite people are. Manners are still very important, especially in rural England, and Norfolk is no exception.
I will miss this area. It is always wonderful to make a new discovery. But tomorrow we head south again for a weekend of sailing for MBB…the forecast is for cold and rain.