A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: InvictaMoto

Three Go To Norfolk - Days 1 to 5

Day 1 to 5 Away.

Day 1

The car was packed and we set off around the scheduled 1030am departure time.

All was plain sailing until on the A2 we began the descent down the hill, after the Bluewater turn off, towards the M25 for the Dartford Crossing.

Solid traffic over the flyover and the same nonsensical two lanes into one to join the already stationery traffic.

We wanted to get off to get into the service area at Thurrock and so chose the left tunnel. From the A2 to the entrance to the tunnel it took 40 minutes. A further ten until we parked up.

A takeaway Costa later we were on the road. We planned to stop again before arriving at Claire's sister's house near Stowmarket.

The service area at Colchester across the A12 from the football ground was packed. So I aborted. In the end we stopped just before Ipswich.

In total it was about 4 hours from home to the A12/A14 roundabout just south of Ipswich.

We had a pleasant couple of hours with lunch and scones before the last hour's drive to the Cottage with a quick drop in at Tesco.

The cottage is self contained in the garden of the the main house. One bedroom, kitchen and lounge.

The garden is L-shaped and secure with fences all around.

We had a few problems with Reggie overnight as he wanted to be on the bed. In the end he found his own bed and we got some sleep.

Day 2

We had a late start after the rough night with Reggie.

After breakfast we got togged up and chose Old Hunstanton as the destination.

The beach there is dog friendly all year around and there's a big parking area.

After one false start where the satnav took us to the wrong place, we eventually parked. It's about £2 an hour. Four quid later we set off along the top of the cliff to the Lighthouse Café.

Lunch for us. Good value sandwiches. So-so coffee.

Nearby are two buildings. The lighthouse itself, and the Coastguard look out building.

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And then to the beach. Both of us had shorts on so paddling was okay but we had forgotten the aqua shoes at home. Still carrying trainers wasn't that difficult.

The sea was about a quarter of s mile out and it looked as though the tide was going out.

I let Reggie off the lead do he could run free. He loves the sea and was soon enjoying himself.

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We stayed there until the parking was almost up. So we walked back, dried feet and drove back to the cottage.

This time via Morrison's to get dinner.

An evening if relaxing to follow...

Where tomorrow?

Day 3

Today's visit was to the National Trust site at Blickling Estate.

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Nissan Connect claimed it was around 19.5 miles away but the cross country journey seemed more like 50. It took over an hour.

On arrival I found a good parking place. As it was grass with no marked spaces I did leave plenty of room to get the back door open to sort Reggie out.

We had a coffee whilst we perused the map.

Some areas are dog friendly and that includes both the café by the entrance and the Courtyard restaurant nearer the house.

We decided on the Lake Walk and set off. It says it's 1.9 miles but my phone registered that I walked 3.1 miles!

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I brought the Nikon D50 with me. It's bulkier than a phone but generally takes good photos.

The walk is around the outside of the main house and garden. It's a little uneven in places. One stumble and I felt something rip. Yes. My shorts. Rent asunder around the undercarriage.

After the walk we retired to the café and enjoyed a sausage roll with Reggie. Washed down with Lipton's Lemon Tea.

Rather than "enjoy" the country lanes on the way back I set the navigation for Aylsham Station.

This is the northernmost station on the Bure Valley Light Railway.

I wanted to see what it was like and maybe see the trains. On the platform were a couple of diesels.

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I like heritage railways but Reggie doesn't.

From here we returned to Clinton Cottage but via the more major roads, A140 and A47, rather than the potholed back lanes.

Once back it was time to sit in the garden with a book/kindle and a large mug of tea.

Tomorrow. Bressingham Gardens. Claire to meet her sister Sally for a wander about. The site looks positively dog unfriendly and despite another railway 🚂 museum I need to look for something Reggie and I can do....

Day 4

Up and out at 10am. It's cloudy today with a chance of rain early.

Today we have two destinations. Claire is meeting sister Sally to look at the gardens at Bressingham. Reggie not allowed in the garden.

There is also a garden centre where Reggie can go, and a Steam Railway 🚂 where he can't.

So the plan is to drop her off and head to a nearby fen and have a walk.

Stage one successful and we met up with Sally. Whilst there I took a photo of the big steam engine outside.

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Stage two to find Redgrave and Lopham Fen. It's dog friendly. Luckily it is signposted off the A1066 about two miles west of Bressingham.

Once parked and Reggie on the lead we checked the walks board. I chose the spider trail. It's only 2kms but with iffy looking clouds that looked enough.

We had gone less than half a mile when we came across evidence of cows. A lot of evidence laid like land mines all over the paths.

In fact they were bullocks. A group of around a dozen were ahead. Mostly ignoring us but Reggie was reticent. One of the bullocks followed us. When I stopped it stopped until after about 50 yards it gave up.

Of the famous raft spider 🕷️ we saw nowt.

We did see a small brown deer. When I say we I mean me. Reggie spending his time sniffing the undergrowth.

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Maybe not the best wildlife photography...

We had a few stops for Reggie to have a drink. Then as we neared the visitor centre I saw the Lopham Loop, a 500m loop.

It was only as I saw the "land mines" that I realised we had joined the Spider Trail. Luckily no bullocks!

Then it began to rain. Back at the car, despite marked spaces, some 🤡 had parked so close I couldn't open the back door to get Reggie into his seat and harness.

Eventually we arrived back as Bressingham about 1220.

We had lunch and there are four tables, effectively in the entrance hall to the garden centre, where dogs are allowed. We had a table and lunch.

Whilst they went have a look around I went and put Reggie in the car for a rest, and went to watch the little steam train.

Once we said our goodbyes we headed towards Diss and Wymondham, stopping at Waitrose to shop for dinner tonight and tomorrow. Also picked up some beer and cider.

Tomorrow? Rain forecast. Maybe a "local" day.

Day 5

Raining.

It was forecast but was supposed to have been over by lunchtime. So we packed up the car and set off for Wells next the Sea. We picked the car park at Holkham Beach.

It looked to have dried up before we got there but it was cold and windy. We paid to park and had a coffee before a walk to the dog friendly beach, and then along the edge of the harbour.

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In the end we gave up and set off for Wells itself. Jam packed. Nowhere to park so we headed along the coast road towards Cromer before heading for home.

Eventually arriving back at Clinton Cottage at around 4.45pm.

Snacks and Kindle time.

Tomorrow the weather is slightly better before it all turns to shit on Thursday. So where to?

Posted by InvictaMoto 15:17 Archived in England Tagged norfolk Comments (0)

Three Go To Norfolk - Planning

Planning and booking stage

Three? Yes. Me, Claire and Reggie the patador dog.

As the country starts to pull itself out of the Covid pandemic and lockdowns we are hoping that by mid-August we can get a holiday.

Rather than bother with going to foreign climes, we decided to stay in England. I looked for somewhere dog friendly and with an enclosed garden. We decided on Norfolk.

We have thought about the county before and have ended up in Devon. After the 2019 journey to and back from Devon, where we could have been south of Lyon in the same time (!) we have marked the South-West in August as a write-off. At least until I retire when we can go at times when the school aged children are not on holiday! It's the nature of my job I am afraid.

So Norfolk it is. A cottage with enclosed garden and mostly 10/10 reviews. I paid part of the cost with £99 by cashing in some Tesco Clubcard points (£33 in vouchers) and the rest of the deposit on dear old Tesco MasterCard. At least we'll earn some more points to spend as vouchers from that!

Booked through cottages.com on the Tesco Clubcard page.

Just in case we have a problem driving home after possible meetings with relatives I have booked a hotel near Ipswich for the night.

It's also dog friendly and at £38 still quite a bargain. As usual I have used booking.com with the free cancellation and no prepayment option. If we aren't going to use it, then I have to cancel a couple of days before we are booked.

Sorted.

Posted by InvictaMoto 17:06 Archived in England Tagged england norfolk dereham dog_friendly Comments (0)

Folkestone Harbour Arm and Station

Staycation!

The idea of this trip was to go to the bakery on the Harbour Arm called Dockers and a walk across to get some seafood from one of the stalls on the opposite side of the harbour.

After bread buying from the bakery housed in a group of lorry containers we had a coffee at the Harbour Coffee and then along the Arm to see what was open. Not a lot at this stage of the morning.

Folkestone Harbour Arm

Folkestone Harbour Arm

Folkestone Harbour Arm Good Van

Folkestone Harbour Arm Good Van

On the entrance the arm is part of the huge concrete bulkhead where the ship moored. On it is a rather odd yellow sign... Telling us it is a..... Large Concrete Structure!!!

Large Concrete Structure!!

Large Concrete Structure!!

As you can see the Harbour Arm has a railway line. Next door is the old Folkestone Harbour Station. A loop line used to leave the main London to Dover line after Folkstone Central station and curve round and down to the town, crossing the harbour on a viaduct and into the station.

The trains arrived to meet the Boat/Train ferries operated by British Railways and then the passengers passed through customs and onto the ferry for the journey across to Boulogne.

Such a shame that the ferry service ended some years ago, Boulogne is so much nicer than Calais!

Recently the station has been the subject of renovation and hopefully some of the rooms will be opened but at the moment signal box is used at a cafe.

I took a few photos on my phone.

Folkestone Harbour Station and Signal Box

Folkestone Harbour Station and Signal Box

Folkestone Harbour Station the sea end of Platform 2

Folkestone Harbour Station the sea end of Platform 2

Folkestone Harbour Station along Platform 1

Folkestone Harbour Station along Platform 1

Folkestone Harbour Station and Signal Box - view towards town

Folkestone Harbour Station and Signal Box - view towards town

Folkestone Harbour Station Platform 2 Triennial Art on Beach

Folkestone Harbour Station Platform 2 Triennial Art on Beach

Folkestone Harbour Station Statue of the Travellers

Folkestone Harbour Station Statue of the Travellers

Folkestone Harbour Station Sign

Folkestone Harbour Station Sign

From here we walked across the pedestrianised viaduct to the other side of the harbour so that we could visit Bob's Seafood to get a prawn and seafood mix to have on our Dockers baguette.

A short trip out from home, but staycations don't have to mean staying in your own country and travelling mils and miles.

So where next?

Posted by InvictaMoto 13:12 Archived in England Tagged folkestone_harbour Comments (0)

The White Cliffs of Dover

Staycation - No bluebirds

sunny 15 °C

Sadly there are no bluebirds to fly over the White Cliffs of Dover. There never were any. There are however magpies and jackdaws. The corvids supplement their diet by scavenging amongst the tables outside the visitor centre and café; there are always crumbs and things to purloin.

Our visit today was to have a walk in the autumn sunshine and give Reggie, our Patterdale X, a walk where he can get his nose around new smells.

It is also our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Much better weather than on that day back in 2000.

As members of the National Trust we get in free to all their sites, although "free" comes after we have paid to be members. As seniors we do save a couple of pounds each year.

Dover is about 15 miles from our house, so this was definitely a staycation day. Despite it being a weekday and October, there were a lot of people enjoying the walks across the top of the cliffs from the parking and visitor centre.

Our first stop was as usual for coffee and as it is a special occasion Claire bought a sausage roll each. Reggie has his own water and treats that I carry on my back! Sometimes going out with a dog is like going equipped for a baby. Poo bags instead of nappies (diapers to the non UK)

We set off via the car to pick up that gear and then took the cliff edge walk. After Storm Alex last week and into the weekend I had expected it to be much muddier and more slippery but the chalk path was okay. Some of the other steps cut into the chalk were very wet and muddy.

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Luckily we didn't meet anyone else on the narrow bits. The drop to the right is only about 75 feet onto a lower ledge that is quite wide. You would have be a a complete idiot to find yourself in the sea!

The first part of the walk overlooks Dover Eastern Docks. This is where the ferries from France come in and leave from. Despite Covid-19 and various lockdowns the movement of trucks seems to be unabated.

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There is also a really good view of Dover Castle.

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Our walk took us along Langdon Cliff until we got to the muddy bit. Despite being in walking boots we opted to turn back and take the higher route but not before taking a few photos of the famous White Cliffs.

large_DSC00015.JPGlarge_DSC00023.JPGRemains of the wartime buildings

Remains of the wartime buildings

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The Trust uses ponies to keep the grasslands natural and we were lucky to come across a few of them on the way back. Reggie doesn't really react to farm animals but as instructed we keep him on a lead in case he decides to act differently one day!

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From here it was back to the visitor centre for a loo break and Claire to visit the shop. Reg and I had a wander across the entry road as he isn't allowed in the shop. Not that he'd want to buy anything anyway, and of course, he doesn't have any money ….

Visitor Centre

Visitor Centre

large_DSC00034.JPGReggie Exploring

Reggie Exploring

And then home. A nice few hours on the English coast and it didn't rain.

One Man and his Dog

One Man and his Dog

Oddly when I got home I noticed my phone had received a message whilst I was out. It was from Tesco Mobile welcoming me to France. Err. France. I was about 22 miles from France on the White Cliffs.

Posted by InvictaMoto 06:35 Archived in England Tagged white_cliffs_of_dover staycation national_trust Comments (0)

British Motor Museum - Gaydon

Staycation!

The museum is located off the M42 in Warwickshire. and it spread over several buildings. There are exhibits that you wouldn't normally find in most car museums, and that's what makes this one unique.

There are prototypes as well as the ugly reasons why many of the British motor manufacturers went bust. If you think the Allegro was a lovely car, then you will certainly love this place.

You may think that the rush to get rid of the internal combustion engine (ICE) is a new fad, but it's not. In the UK we had electric vehicles delivering milk for many years, and then the twisted brain of someone came up with this monstrosity.

1972 Leyland-Crompton electric car prototype.

1972 Leyland-Crompton electric car prototype.

There are some beautiful examples of cars at the right end of the spectrum and some that should have been destroyed before they ever made it off the "designers" table.....

Beautiful MG prototype

Beautiful MG prototype

Jenson FF

Jenson FF

More information can be found on the museum's own website.

More photos from the trip.

Posted by InvictaMoto 00:48 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged staycation british_motor_museum Comments (0)

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