Ah, Bank Holidays are beautiful things and 2011 has been a vintage year for them, as we have had 1 bank holiday for every 1/2 day at work. This statistic may astound some of you, but what is more astounding is that I just lied.
Lies aside, the August Bank Holiday is perhaps the most precious of them all, signalling as it does the end of the summer period and perhaps the beginning of needing to do some work. The horror! For my bank holiday, I researched into the best walking opportunities in England and aside from Devon, which has an incredible coastline North and South, Holkham Beach was mentioned a lot. The beach itself has walks advertised as two miles but the full extent is about four miles; it is simply enormous.
There is a beautiful sense of space when you first enter the beach from Lady Anne’s Drive, and the options for exploring are seemingly infinite; you can explore the beautiful Pine woods that follows the beach all the way to Wells-Next-The-sea, head to the sand dunes which are a major feature of the beach, or walk to the North Sea which can take a good twenty minutes walking. The quality of the sea water here is nothing special, so for swimming there are plenty of other beaches nearby. For space though, I’ve really not felt anything like it since Wadi Rum in Jordan. A major plus, the size of the beach means that no amount of bank holiday tourists can really render this place packed. Perhaps the lack of amenities such as toilets play their part!
The area of Holkham and Wells is packed full of things to do, and Holkham Hall is definitely worth a visit; if you want to see the Hall and the Bygones Museum, you’ll be forking out £11. If you just want to visit the gardens that is free! The grounds of Holkham Hall were laid out by Capability Brown so are of course perfect and are so enormous there is a Deer park and mile-long lake within it. Wish I had a massive country estate.
There were moments on this visit that England really did seem to be the most perfect place in the world. The weather was a glorious mix of blue sky and fluffy coud, the grounds of Holkham Hall just oozed elegance and Autumn hadn’t yet robbed the trees of their leaves. The coast was hypnotic; I briefly questioned by obsessions with travelling the world, but only for a few moments.
So, all is well in albion and you’d think things couldn’t get any more adorable? You would be wrong! Aha, there’s Seal spotting to be had from Blakeney Point which was so much better than I’d have expected. We went with Beans’ Boat Trips and for £9 each, got to be terrified by the choppy waters in a boat that seemed safe but played havoc with my general distrust of water. The journey out to Blakeney Point was idyllic, and we slowly made our way out towards the sea past hundreds of boats, getting wetter with every splash from the sea water. I had very salty lips. As we got within viewing distance of the Seals I gave up being terrified and stood up in the wobbly boat, just enjoying the view. Seals are great – apparently Blakeney Point usually gets about 250 seals out, and we only saw about 100 but it was still a thrill to see them all, looking totally silly; they are basically a cute head and a tube of fat but who can fail to love them? Answer = nobody.
During the brief time we had in Norfolk, I was consistently impressed with the natural and ma-made beauty of the area that I’ve come back to The Chilterns, no slouch in the beauty department, feeling a bit sad, which is always the sign of a good break.
If you are reading this and have spent the LAST bank holiday of the year sat in front of the telly eating crisps, shame on you!