Last year was terrible, we lost my father-in-law to cancer in July and at the end of the year, my mother-in-law decided that we needed something to look forward to, and so booked and paid for 10 of us including my husband’s two sisters and niece and nephew to go away over Easter.
Barn Accommodation and Pool
We had high hopes about the accommodation – Great Barn Farm in west Norfolk after seeing the pictures on the website, but as soon as we arrived, we knew that it had exceeded expectations; the place was amazing. As a working farm, some of the out-buildings had been converted into self catering accommodation. We stayed in The Cattle Sheds which was the biggest. A huge open plan lounge and diner which managed to easily fit all 10 of us and an extra 5 guests on Easter Sunday round the huge dining table.
The decor was very effective mixing the old barn building with new simple interiors. The bedrooms were spacious and comfortable, but best of all there was an indoor pool, jacuzzi and steam room which we shared with the other guests who we rarely saw meaning most of the time we had the whole place to ourselves. We had trouble keeping the 4 kids out of the pool for the entire week!
Knowing that the entire family, complete with my husband’s visiting three aunts would be together over the Easter Sunday, my mother-in-law took the opportunity to scatter my father-in-law’s ashes at a nearby beach. We chose Brancaster beach for its beauty, lovely coast-line and nearby golf club which seemed a fitting tribute. We took my father in-law’s beloved classic car – an MGC to the beach and despite the aftermath of storm Katie, the skies remained sunny and blue. My brother-in-law read a beautiful poem out about the sea. It was a little emotional, but lovely.
My husband’s cousin and one of his aunts live in Norfolk and so we took the opportunity to visit them on our break. They own 3 ponies and so much to the excitement of all kids, they were allowed to sit on and walk round the paddock. It was the first time both of our girls had sat on and ridden a pony and they both loved it. I was surprised as Alice, our eldest, is scared of dogs, cats and flies but seemed completely at home with the ponies. We’ll definitely be visiting again this year!
After a few days of doing family activities we had a couple of days left to explore. I’m not overly familiar with the north Norfolk coast but from what I saw, it seems beautiful:
There’s a mini train which takes you from the car park down to the beach which the kids loved even if it was a bit pricey. The beach is beautiful and as the weather was warmer, the kids were in there element building sandcastles, collecting stones and shells and running around letting off steam.
Blakeney and Cley
Blakeney is a beautiful little quay with some quaint little shops. You can do trips out to visit seals or spend some time crabbing. If we were visiting without the kids it would have been great to walk the couple of miles round to the next beach (Cley). Instead, we wandered around soaking up the atmosphere and sunshine and then drove over to Cley. It’s a shingle beach but this didn’t matter to the kids who continued to collect stones and dodge the rather turbulent waves. There’s also a stunning windmill nearby which is now a luxury B&B, I quite fancy staying there sometime!
Food, Drink and Family Bonding
As with most holidays, we ate and drank a lot! Red wine, gin and tonics, ice creams and the inevitable Easter eggs all played a heavy part. I need to to focus on being a bit healthier now that we’re home! We had a few late nights up talking and one very funny drunken dancing night where my sister-in-laws and I even managed to get the aunts and mother-in-law up dancing.
I feel like we’ve all had a good break as well as a fitting tribute to my father-in-law. We’ve had a good mix of family bonding, swimming at the pool and days out, but still feel like there’s a lot more to see of Norfolk. My mother-in-law has already said she wants to book the accommodation again for next year, so here’s hoping.
Have you been to Norfolk? Any tips or recommendations for our next trip?