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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.

The flat fields of Norfolk. Photo by me.

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.

Our escape next to the sea. Photo by me

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.

Our view. Photo by me.

The sky and sea is always dramatic.

Sunset at Le StrangeArms comes late. Photo by me.

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…

Sandringham in the rain. Photo by me

…to chilly and partly cloudy at Houghton Hall. A definite improvement. It is all relative.

Houghton Hall and the skies are clearing. Believe it or not, this is good weather. Photo by me.

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.

The north coast of Norfolk near Wells-next-to-Sea. Photo by 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.

The beach in Hunstanton. Photo by me

It reminds me a bit of Holland with the scattering of windmills about…

A windmill in Cley, on the Norfolk Coast. Photo by me

and the many canals with dikes separating the flat fields of cows from the irrigation.

Thoughtful cows at Holkham. Photo by me.

There are a scattering of excellent large estates that were well worth the visit.

The estate at Holkham on the chilliest day of our trip so far. Photo by me

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.

The stone on the buildings in Norfolk are in all sorts of patterns. Photo by me

Stone like mosaic on the sides of buildings. Photo by me

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.

Little beach huts line the shore in the resort town of Wells-Next-to-Sea. Photo by me

The beach is busy, even on a cold June afternoon. Photo by me

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.

The seaside resort town of Hunstanton where there seems to be more ice cream and Fish ‘n’ Chip shops than anywhere we have seen on this trip. Photo by me

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.