Fish and trips on our Norfolk coast break

An opportunity to stop, sup and refresh on the Norfolk Broads.

An opportunity to stop, sup and refresh on the Norfolk Broads.

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Tucking into freshly dressed crab in Cromer, it occurs to me that you could eat your way around north Norfolk.

From mussels in Morston and Stiffkey, shrimps in Sheringham and samphire – a kind of sea asparagus found along the north Norfolk coast – to good old fish and chips, no culinary stone is left unturned.

But to work up an appetite – and work off the calories – for such gastronomic delights, I’m well aware of the need for some serious exercise on our travels.

That isn’t difficult in Norfolk. Cycling routes abound, bracing coastal walks are an everyday occurrence and you’re spoiled for choice with nature trails through acres of protected wildlife reserves.

Making our base in a luxurious Victorian cottage in Overstrand, about a mile-and-a-half from the popular seaside town of Cromer, it’s great to be just far enough out of town to miss the crowds but able to zip in by bike or walk the vast stretch of sand and pebble beach.

Overstrand also boasts a beautiful beach, but for more seaside adventures we take a walk along this wild stretch of coastline where the vast sky meets the North Sea.

Here, seabirds sun themselves on the wooden posts stretching out into the water, locals walk their dogs and, in summer, holidaymakers flock to the brightly coloured beach huts fringing the beach at Cromer.

Venturing further, we put on our walking boots and head for the pristine salt marshes along Norfolk’s northern coast which are renowned for their striking beauty and abundant birdlife, past the Morston salt marshes, stopping for a bowl of steaming mussels at The Red Lion at Stiffkey.

Of course, no trip to Norfolk would be complete without a visit to the famous Norfolk Broads, a series of navigable rivers and broads (lakes) in yet another area of outstanding natural beauty.

We drive to Wroxham, the capital of the Broads, where we hire a day cruiser equipped for up to eight

passengers,

At a cost of around £90 a day in low season, it’s one to share between families if you can – but this is our best day.

A day on the Broads is like stepping back in time. It reminds me of an Enid Blyton adventure – mugs of hot chocolate and a sense of adventure as the kids try their hand at driving the boat (under our supervision).

There’s a surprise around every corner, whether it be a windmill, bridge or boat. If there was ginger beer on board, we’d have lashings of it.

Our children, William and Grace, aged 13 and 12, have fun taking the wheel.

Once we’ve had our fill of walks and water travel, we venture back to Cromer.

With its famous pier, built in 1902, Cromer still offers a traditional End of Pier show at the Pavilion theatre.

As well as being known for its crab, Cromer is also famous for its lifeboats, which have been running for two centuries.

Stories of bravery abound in the Henry Blogg museum, named after the RNLI’s most decorated lifeboatman who, with his crew, helped to save 873 lives.

Venturing further into town we find Mary Jane’s, the best fish and chip shop in Cromer, and take ours down to the seafront to scoff and take in the real beauty of Cromer – its wide and picturesque expanse of beach.

ESSENTIALS

Hannah Stephenson stayed in Forsythia House, Overstrand, Norfolk, courtesy of Premier Cottages.

A week’s stay in Poppyland Holiday Cottages for up to four people costs from £345 to £795.

To book, visit premiercottages.co.uk or call (01263) 577473.

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