Back in early March before the lock down saw us all go into a permanent state of living in lounge wear, eating chocolate biscuits for breakfast whilst watching Disney movies and finding that first G&T of the day getting earlier and earlier every week (home schooling anyone?), we had the absolute pleasure of staying at The White House near Burnham Market in North Norfolk.
We set off early on Friday morning for the 4-hour drive and decided to stop off at Cambridge quickly as we had never been to the University city before. We had about an hour to wonder around the blossom filled streets and grab a quick bit of lunch before we headed off to North Norfolk.
Arriving at The White House
After an hour of panic when we realised, we were running out of fuel (jazz hands spring to mind when it comes to The Boyden holiday prep!) and couldn’t find any petrol stations that had diesel because North Norfolk really is the back and beyond, we made it to The White House just as it was starting to get dark and were greeted warmly by a member of staff and a cosy fire.
The kids needed to stretch their legs so we had a quick wonder around the accommodation and were immediately transported to a place of warmth and tranquillity. The lounge is decorated in beautifully rich colours with large and cosy oversized sofas that are wrapped around a wood burner.
The wood burner had been lit and even though the lounge has extremely high ceilings and huge sash windows overlooking the grounds, it made the room feel inviting and homely. The lounge also displays some wonderful pieces of art by local artists which I thought was a wonderful and thoughtful touch.
Leading from the lounge is another generous sized room with a large table which is perfect for big gatherings or for families to sit around and play one of the many board games that are dotted around the room.
There are also some more invitingly comfy loaf sofas where you can unwind with a book and admire the aspect looking out towards the garden and grounds. They also had a well-stocked honesty bar with nibbles, wine, beer and soft drinks for the kids.
Our room for the weekend
After grabbing a well-deserved G&T from the honesty bar, we headed upstairs to our room in The White House for the weekend. We stayed in Bedroom 9 which consists of a Super King size bed with an extra bed or twin beds for a family. The room is calming and fresh, decorated in grey and whites with original features like fireplaces and sash windows and can be divided with large curtains so your children can get to sleep undisturbed (or should that be us adults?).
We walked through the divided section into a smaller part of the room with wonderful views over The White House courtyard and grounds. Twin beds had been set up for the children and on the left was a very generous en-suite bathroom which was beautifully done. Marble flooring, grey panelling and walls, vintage style sink and painted grey roll top bath (if you want to know how to paint your own bath, click here) with a walk-in shower made this the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring the wind swept beaches of Norfolk.
After a comfortable night sleep in the luxurious super king size bed, we woke up early, excited for our day ahead of exploring the surrounding countryside. We wondered downstairs to the contemporary and spacious dining area to have breakfast. They had a delicious spread on the table of fruit, cereals, Danish pastries and fruit juice and a separate menu where you could order anything from bacon sandwiches to Eggs Benedict. The food was served quickly by the friendly staff and they told us the best places to explore around the local area, so we packed some fruit and off we went.
Morston and Blakeney National Nature Reserve
First stop was Morston and the Blakeney National Nature Reserve where we were hoping to see some Seals! The scenery is stunning, you can see for miles across the reserve from the National Trust look out point so we decided to take a walk out towards the sea. As usual, my daughter was wearing inappropriate footwear and after getting stuck in the mud several times and the kids moaning about the damp weather, we decided to forget the boat trip to see the seals and head to Wells-Next-The-Sea instead.
Wells-Next-The-Sea is a small seaside town situated around a harbour and only a 15 minute drive from The White House. It is famous for it’s iconic overhanging harbour gantry and crab fishing in the town which is dotted with ice cream parlours and fish and chip shops. It has an award-winning expansive beach which is dotted with wonderfully colourful beach huts. We grabbed some fish and chips and took a walk along the harbour where we did a bit of crab fishing and admired the quaint seaside cottages dotted along the sea front.
We then headed down to the beach so my daughter could cry for an hour because she got some sand in her shoes. It’s a beach little one, take your shoes off and enjoy it (being Cornish, I often question if my daughter is actually mine? Haha). The beach also has a fantastic café and toilets and even on a cold and brisk Saturday afternoon, it was thriving.
After a superb dinner at the White Horse in Brancaster Straithe (one of the main reasons we want to head back to North Norfolk is so we can go to the White Horse during the day and eat on the veranda. It was pitch black when we were there but you could sense that the views would be amazing!), we headed back to The White House for another restful night’s sleep.
Filling ourselves up with fruit, plenty of freshly made coffee and a full fry up, we headed into the nearest town of Burnham Market. It has a wonderful high street that is lively but traditional and had an actual stream running right through the centre of the village, over the road and through the green which amused me greatly. There are some fabulous independent shops, traditional post office and butchers, several trendy restaurants and pubs and even its own home interiors shop!
Holkham Estate and Beach
Finally, before we sadly had to head back home to Sussex, we had to visit Holkham estate and beach. So many people from the area had recommended it and it didn’t disappoint. The landscape is stunning with pine forests, nature trails and endless beaches covered with dunes. The whole area is a designated nature reserve and you can see that the Holkham Estate really puts the beautifully bio-diverse environment before tourism!
A recently built facility called The Lookout blends into the landscape perfectly and offers wonderful views over the nature reserve with information on the area whilst grabbing something to eat and a hot drink. It had been quite wet whilst we were there, my Son managed to lose a welly boot in the mud and my daughter moaned pretty much all the way around (I don’t like sand, I don’t like hills, it’s cold, it’s too hot… and on and on) but other than that, it truly is a stunning place to visit.
We absolutely adored North Norfolk and it is somewhere we will definitely go back to again. The beaches, villages and countryside are imposing, dramatic, beautiful and unspoilt and being a proud Cornish woman, I’d say they could even rival that of my favourite county (Kernow to those of you in the know!) And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, you’d be hard pressed to find somewhere better than The White House.