Dreaming of the Coast: Beach Days in Norfolk

I dream of living by the sea, the fresh salty air, the smell of the sea, sand between your toes. Even a pebble beach would do – I just love the beach atmosphere and the clarity you get at the edge of the country, looking out to the horizon and having nothing else to think about. It blows off the cobwebs, clears your head and invigorates your soul. Unfortunately, I live a good three hours away from our nearest beach. I’m pretty sure I’m about the most inland you could get here in the UK. It doesn’t stop me wishing for beach days and savouring the odd trip to the coast now and then.

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to one of our nearest beaches, Hunstanton. I have fond memories of visiting Hunstanton often as a child – I think everyone who lives local to us in Northamptonshire used to head to Hunstanton for every beach day, and I even had a few school trips there as it’s about the closest beach we have at about 3 hours away. Now I’m older, I realise how traditional and seasidey it is – plastic windmills, windbreakers on the beach, a gaudy fairground and arcades with flashing lights and thick fusty carpet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still pretty with it’s little bungalows and flower displays around the town, but it definitely hasn’t moved with the times and is exactly how I remember it 20+ years ago when I used to ride donkeys as a child and eat ice-cream on the sea front (although, to be honest, I’m still eating ice cream on the sea front!). It definitely has a old-world charm and nostalgia.

Having done all the family traditions (ice cream, the amusements, fish and chips, a cuppa in the sea life centre…), we headed off in search of golden sandy beaches that my dreams are made of. We stopped off at the stunning Norfolk Lavender garden and shop, which is a gorgeous place to browse and sniff (it smells amazing there!) before making our way to Brancaster beach. Although it was busy with summer holidaying families, it was just the place I needed to be – beachy grasses, seashells and soft mounds of sand. The only thing missing was the sea which was so far out, I had to enjoy from a distance.

Next time, we might have to spend a whole day at Brancaster, or even search for neighbouring beaches that are a little less busy. I’m totally in love with spending time on what seems like the edge of the world, I might have to find myself a beach house one day.

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