Why lovely Cromer is my favourite place for a weekend day out
- Credit: supplied by Jane Reynolds
Cromer has become one of my favourite places to visit for a weekend day out in Norfolk and each time I go, I find yet another hidden gem.
On the recent mini heatwave the Sunday before Easter, I ventured to Cromer expecting it to be horrendously busy – when in fact there was still plenty of parking on the grassy cliff tops, which is in itself a stunning beauty spot. It was actually the queue to get a parking ticket which was unusually long that took up the time!
Cromer has eternal beauty with its interesting turreted red brick hotels, pastel painted Victorian terraces and the sturdy old church tower dominating its skyline. This nostalgic seafront town is timeless and seems to have remained the same over the years.
The old architecture has such charm compared to the modern buildings that line some seaside resorts that are quick to go out of fashion within a decade or so and can make a place look so dated.
It's great to see Cromer pier busy but not heaving, with day trippers, holiday makers and locals strolling, crabbing and just admiring the sea view in the sunshine from its unique vantage point.
A white Cromer pier bench is such a great place to sit whilst eating the town's famous and very best fish and chip take away from either Number 1 or a Mary Jane's.
The recently revamped promenade has recovered well from this year's winter storms, which inevitably took their toll again during the annual high tides and sea surges. Even the multi-coloured beach huts, which were badly damaged, are taking shape again from the battering they received, with a fresh lick of paint and new wood.
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Along Cromer's long seafront prom with its kiddies' mini fairground rides and cafe stalls with outside seating, it's great to see such happy faces basking in the sun. If only the British weather could churn out a few more sunny weekends early in the season!
It was also lovely to see Cromer beach filled with paddling children and adults just soaking up the spring sun on their islands of beach blankets/towels strewn across its sand and pebbles, with enough space for everyone to relax and unwind without feeling overcrowded.
The charming revamped North Park Gardens is well worth a visit, with its boating lake (currently under renovation) and its abundance of wooden benches to relax and take in the refreshing North Sea air. It takes you right back to another era as you sit outside viewing carefully tended flower beds and carpets of fresh mown grass.
North Park Gardens even has its own shabby chic bunting-clad tea rooms run by volunteers and serving up freshly baked homemade cake, crepes and cups of tea 1950s style at a very reasonable price.
Is it me or are our seaside towns like Cromer on the rise again? There is definitely an upbeat atmosphere.
Cromer town centre is lined with a variety of cafes and the souvenir shops actually seem busy again, selling anything seaside-related for the tourists and daytrippers to take home as a momento.
My favourites are the homemade pies from Shelly's Pie and Mash Shop, coffee from Cafe Main, Henry's and the Pier Pavilion Bar, lunch at Craft Burger and the Rocket House with their stunning seaviews and dog friendliness.
But for me the winner has to be the Red Lion Hotel, with its twist of traditional rustic cosy English pub-style interior, contemporary service and great food with and seaside view.