As a child my parents would regularly take me and my brother to visit places around Britain, some close to home and others further afield. I want the same for my boys, Finley has been quite a lucky boy travelling to quite a few places in his two years. Now Chantelle and I also have Arlo it can make things a little more tricky but I want them to have as many experiences as possible. This is made more difficult due to my working pattern and the amount of hours I work a week.
Over the weekend, 24th – 26th June I wasn’t at work on the Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. I wanted to take the opportunity to take Chantelle and the boys away. Being a man of organisation I looked for places a week before I wanted us to go, this left limited choice in limited places. I wanted to go to the seaside, Cornwall was out of the question due to distance, a hotel Chantelle and I have regularly visited in Dorset was fully booked so I decided to look at Norfolk.
Norfolk is somewhere I’d visited a few times as a child with my family and have fond memories of playing on the beach at Cromer to travelling on the steam train at Sheringham.
After a little research I wanted to located somewhere in North Norfolk close to Cromer or Sheringham. I was able to find a hotel through booking.com, because there was going to be four of us wanting to stay I phoned the hotel to check, they said it wouldn’t be a problem.
On Friday while I was at work Chantelle gave an heroic effort organising the boys and packing the car ready for when I arrived home from work.
When I did arrive home we all jumped in the car and set off, in my mind we were looking at a two and a half hour drive. This was possibly a little optimistic on Friday afternoon but after a stop for a nappy change I wasn’t expecting the journey to have taken nearly four hours.
On arrival at The Pheasant Hotel we were all warmly welcomed by reception staff, that was lovely after a long journey. Normally after a long drive I like to have a lie down, not with Finley around. He was so excited about our room he kept running around, playing with the phone and bouncing on the bed, the room clearly had his seal of approval.
Saturday morning after a lovely run along the beach, the hotel served a substantial English breakfast, along with many other item. Finley thoroughly enjoyed the toaster. One of those you only see in a hotel, like a hot conveyor belt. After breakfast we headed off to find the sea. We went to Sheringham, a lovely seaside town I remember from my childhood. As soon as we drove into the town memories flooded back of the railway station and the beach.
Being as organised as I generally am meant that I hadn’t checked the tide times, it was high tide. This meant instead of building sand castles with my boys we were playing with pebbles. Arlo seemed fascinated by the sea and Finley loved the pebbles. Finley was really amusing actually collecting stones as if they were going somewhere and then plopping them in the sea. We spent a little while on the beach before walking up and down the seafront. Poor Finley was a little reluctant to leave the water’s edge but he was getting tired.
To allow the boys a nap I suggested we went to Ness Point, admittedly a little drive away in Lowestoft. I’d never been before but being the most Eastern point of England I was expecting something similar to the most westerly point, Land’s End. I was underwhelmed with what we found. After driving through an industrial estate, past a gas works where some youths were skateboarding and a drunk sitting on a wall. At least the sun was shining. Chantelle and I took a photo to prove we’d visited this point and headed back to the hotel. I can’t say this is a 5 star visit on TripAdvisor.
On returning to the hotel we choose to eat in the hotel’s Orangery. I had suggested to Chantelle getting some fish and chips to eat overlooking to sea but it probably would have been a little much after a long day for the boys. The Orangery at the hotel had a laid back atmosphere and there were some toys for Finley to play with which he enjoyed. The food was pretty good too, I particularly enjoyed the Cromer crab and there were some lovely options for the boys.
Sunday started off with another lovely breakfast, eggs benedict, before packing up the car to head back to the Midlands. En route, me and Chantelle had decided to go to the SeaLife Sanctuary in Hunstanton so we drove along the coast, I fancied a quick pit stop on Blackney but it was really busy so we passed on that. We arrived in Hunstanton at late morning, I couldn’t remember if I’d been before but where the SeaLife Centre was located wasn’t particularly pleasant with a large caravan park and amusement arcade not ringing any bells.
Although it wasn’t the most picturesque of locations SeaLife was well worth a visit as only Chantelle and I had to pay, the boys were free. There is a wide selection of marine life to look at but Finley was most interested in the seals. I was amazed by the number of seals the sanctuary rescues a year.
Before we headed home we had to test out the play area, Finley gave it the thumbs up. If you’re in the area the SeaLife Sanctuary is certainly worth a visit and from what I saw of Hunstaton, it would really be racing back.
Big thank you to Chantelle and the boys for letting daddy get his fix of the sea, although I think they enjoyed it too.
If anyone has any suggestions of place to visit with the boys, I’d love to hear – especially if it’s by the sea!