December 13 2013 Latest news:
Friday, August 23, 2013
As summer gives way to autumn, the coast enjoys a last hurrah, as families grab a final week or two beside the sea before the kids go back to school.
Hunstanton’s been packed out in the recent heatwave, with thousands enjoying the traditional British seaside holiday in the colourful resort.
“Since we’ve had the onset of the lovely weather, the resorts have been very, very well supported,” said David Pope, West Norfolk council’s portfolio holder for tourism. “On some of the really hot days, Hunstanton’s been choc-a-bloc.”
“For children, the seaside serves its purpose. I remember as a small lad we used to go to the caravan site where Tesco is now and the train station used to be.
“It seems like a different world now. We’d spend all day on the beach and we’d have a bit of pocket money to go round the amusements at night.”
Maybe it’s not so different after all. Families still form the mainstay of those who travel to the resorts for their summer break each year. Nigel Croasdale, who manages the Hunstanton Sea Life Sanctuary, said: “We’ve been experiencing very buoyant trading levels since the beginning of the year.
“We’ve had a very busy period of seal rescue from June and we’ve had a very busy time with the seal pups, which is an added attraction for the visitor, being able to see a real working hospital caring for little abandoned seals.”
Mr Croasdale said the North West Norfolk coast remained as popular as ever. “It’s a beautiful place to come to, it’s got miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches which are always going to be popular, it’s a coastline we can all be very proud of.”
While the beaches may be packed at Hunny and neighbouring Heacham, there are plenty of places you can get away from the crowds. Away from the better-known beaches like Brancaster, Holkham and Wells, there are others which are much quieter.
Check out Titchwell or Thornham, where a long walk leads to a pristine strip of white sand, where few tourists stray.
Head inland from the coast road, hook up with the lane which crests the downs between Ringstead and the back end of Brancaster for some stunning views. Who said Norfolk was flat..?
Roy Everett, membership secretary of the 350-strong King’s Lynn Ramblers, said a walk on the downs between Ringstead and Holme was always one of its most popular.
“The view’s probably the best you get,” he said. “On a nice clear day you can see right acrosss to the other side of The Wash, but all around you there’s such stunning views.”
That stunning coast and countryside teems with life as well.
Reserves at Snettisham, Titchwell and Cley are synonymous with nature tourism, attracting people from far and wide to relax with nature. Pernille Egeberg, at the RSPB’s reserve at Titchwell Marsh, said visitors had enjoyed a good summer.
“We’ve had good viewings of spoonbills this year and they’re still visible on the freshwater marsh,” she said. “We’ve got a spotted redshank that’s changing plumage at the moment and we’ve had three litters of water voles.
“The marsh harriers produced fledglings and the bitterns have been successful as well this year.”
In a few weeks’ time, huge v-shaped formations of geese heading inland at dawn to feed, or waders probing the foreshore in their thousands, will herald the changing of the seasons.
When the salt air and sea breezes make you hungry, the coast has a plethora of eats and treats on offer.
For fish and chips, you won’t find finer than Hunstanton or Wells, where eating our national dish beside the harbour is just divine. At the other end of the scale there are gastro pubs and nationally-renowned eateries like the Neptune in Old Hunstanton, the White Horse at Brancaster and the Victoria at Holkham.
Between the two sit some of the region’s best resto-pubs and inns with rooms, like the Lodge at Old Hunstanton, Briarfields or Titchwell Manor (both at Titchwell), the Lifeboat Inn at Thornham, The Ship at Brancaster, the Hero at Burnham Overy Staithe, The Crown at Wells, and King William at Sedgeford.
Venture a little off the beaten track and you might find the Lord Nelson in Burnham Thorpe – where the great seafarer himself was born. The house speciality is Nelson’s Blood – a formidable concoction of rum and spices. Also worth a detour is the Fox and Hounds, a real ale pub in Heacham where they brew their own.
September has an ‘r’ at the end –that means locally gathered shellfish, most notably mussels, come back on the menu. Try a bowl of freshly landed, black-shelled beauties done mariniere, with a hunk of fresh bread and a glass or two of white wine for company.
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