March – A week in Norfolk
This blog post was originally published on the 27th June 2018.
Our next housesit took us to the very North of Norfolk where we stayed in a beautiful cottage! We spent our week looking after Inca and Puff, two cuddly terriers, as well as roughly thirty free-range chickens! While the chickens spent their days strutting around in the garden, or pecking for food in the field next to the cottage, Inca and Puff never left our sides. Wherever we were in the house, they wanted to be! They loved to jump up on the sofa and curl up in our arms, or snuggle in their bed together in the kitchen to watch us when we cooked meals. We also helped out with running the next-door cottage, which also belonged to our host who ran a holiday cottage business. We enjoyed experiencing running a holiday home business, as it’s something we’ve spoken about for our distant future. As well as revelling in our lovely time at the cottages, we also took pleasure in some beautiful walks while staying in Norfolk.
On our first day with Inca and Puff we visited Holkham beach, which was just a ten minute drive from the cottage. While Inca loved running ahead through the twisted trees and showing us the way, the moment we took Puff off her lead she stopped in her tracks and didn’t want to walk any further! We put her lead back on and she happily walked along at our side – we figure she just didn’t like to walk by herself! The beach at Holkham was beautiful and we loved our long loop walk on the dunes – there were hundreds of beach huts as far as the eye could see, and we even spotted a few seals with their pups on the water’s edge! We were so in awe of the beauty of the area even from this first day, and we couldn’t wait to explore new places over our week long stay.
Fakenham and Creake Abbey
For any shopping or food we needed during the sit, we drove to the nearby town of Fakenham. There we enjoyed rooting through charity shops, visiting the almost daily markets, and most of all drooling at the town’s chocolate factory shop which sold misshapen chocolates and sweets at incredibly discounted prices! We giddily brought home 150g bags of honeycomb, broken Easter eggs and yogurt covered raisins, all at £1 each! As our stay occurred the week before Easter, we were lucky enough to be in the area while so many Easter markets were taking place, and we loved taking Inca and Puff to sniff around all the stalls as we browsed the local handmade goods. On days when we were feeling particularly snacky we would drive two minutes from the cottage to Creake Abbey – a beautiful country farm shop that sold, amongst other things, Italian cannoli and aragostine that we tried for the first time and happily devoured!
Another new experience for us with this housesit was the opportunity to take care of cockerels and hens, which we looked forward to but were initially worried before the sit as we didn’t know what we’d have to do to care for them. When we arrived at the cottage, however, we learned that they more or less take care of themselves! Especially our Norfolk ones as they happily roamed free in the garden and neighbouring field – the area was apparently fox-free! Each morning we’d wake up and top up their water, scatter some grain for them to eat, and collect their eggs from the roosts. With around twenty hens laying eggs each day, it meant we ate eggs for lunch every single day of our sit – in omelettes, scrambled on toast, fried or poached with baked beans… They were fresh and delicious every time!
Our favourite walk of the sit was a four-mile trail around the beautiful Holkham Hall grounds, which took quite a while only because we kept stopping to take photos! We chose the middle of the three varying trails available and we’re glad we did, as it was just enough walking to see and appreciate all of the gorgeous sights that the grounds have to offer. We passed still waters and ducks swimming along, an old ice house kept completely intact, we walked around the whole perimeter of Holkham Hall from the front to the back and saw wild deer running in a herd! As March was an off-peak time to visit, the grounds were almost totally silent as not many other people walked the trails at that time of year – in fact we only saw two other couples on the entire four-mile walk! It made for a peaceful, leisurely walk, taking in all the monuments and quiet woods. Puff and Inca gladly trotted along with us, though as soon as we put them in the car to go home they were fast asleep!
Our Norfolk housesit was definitely one of our favourites to date – we loved the easy-going country lifestyle and local markets, and walking the dogs along the beaches which were an easy fifteen minute drive from the cottage. Hunstanton beach was so gorgeous that on the day we visited, we drove back again that evening to walk along the sands at sunset! It was just as glorious at dusk as it had been that afternoon, with its two-tone chalk cliffs, and the blood orange sky casting shadows over an abandoned boat wreck in the dunes. When we spent time at home, we loved the quirks of the cottage – the creaky wooden floorboards, the maritime themed living room, and the wood burning stove that made us nice and sleepy when we would light it on chillier evenings. We were so sad to leave the peaceful cottage and surrounding countryside behind, especially when we’d so loved walking Inca and Puff in the fields around the house, and snuggling up with them on the sofas. Even when Puff was a bit sick one day during the week we still kept her close – even carrying her around a local garden centre so she could eagerly watch fish in their tanks! Both dogs were great companions for the week and they did a great job of showing us around tiny villages like Little Walsingham, which has a delightful, quintessentially English charm. We’ll miss both Puff and Inca very much! We’d absolutely love to return to Norfolk on our travels and see more of this stunning part of the country.