Since moving to England eight years ago I have been lucky enough to explore many regions of its beautiful and diverse landscape, however there are still a few areas that are lesser known and East Anglia was one of those until now. Earlier this month I sought out my first Airbnb and resigned myself to shutting off from work and daily worries for the weekend with a rural escape to the Norfolk broads with my partner in tow.
With foreign holidays clearly off the cards for a while yet, I have come to embrace the best of what Britain has to offer over the last year, when it has been possible to hit-the-road once more, and despite the long, drive at dark, I couldn’t have been more smitten with the hidden treasure I would unearth in our reserved pocket of woodland. On arrival in the wee small hours, after an admittedly epic drive, it wasn’t long before we got the wood-burner going and immediately made ourselves at home in the natural warmth that exuberated from our beautifully restored railway carriage, its rustic natural décor most reminiscent of a little house on the prairie.
Our host had provided a basic but bountiful breakfast hamper with fresh locally-sourced goods and instinctively I was ready to forget about all mod-cons and succumb to a back-to-basics way of living. Naturally, when we arrived no sooner were we in the door when the heavens burst upon us, but in truth the rain bouncing off our roof proved surprisingly relaxing as I caught whiff of the smoking wood, knowing I was snugly tucked up inside. After a much-needed rest, I awoke earlier than expected to a wet and muggy dawn, but I didn’t let that dampen my spirits, with the birds singing from afar, I made out onto the patio and took a breath of the cool still air and tucked into a rustic brunch.
We made the most of the out tranquil lakeside setting throughout the morning, before braving it out in the afternoon between lighter showers, driving through the remote but charming villages was lovely, but you could easily have spent the day wiling around the grounds of our natural wonderland had we managed an extra night’s stay, with a small shop on-site and three lakes from which to swim in it appealed to country girl within me (although my heart will always be by the sea and so we spent most of our afternoon by the coast on this occasion); we were spoilt for choice.
Returning home to our humble abode that night was a welcome sight and I lived out my childhood dream, albeit for a bit, as I scribbled notes by the popping fireside, the furness warming my cockles as the moonlight shone high above and I found myself suddenly inspired in the wee small hours. Despite the intermitted showers I was determined to take a drink out on the patio and so with woolly jumper and coat thrown on, I lounged by the fire-pit as the sweet scent of wood smoke caught the air and embers cracked in the depth of the night. It set a most atmospheric scene overlooking the lake and proved a welcome bliss despite the nipping cold, and for a while nothing in the world could trouble me; proving a truly ideal escape.
As is more often the case it would have been lovely to stay for an additional night, with a chance to enjoy the woodland grounds in a warmer climate and maybe explore some more of the Norfolk Broads, however I was still more than satisfied with my brief weekend escape to this beautiful part of the country and I would happily stay again in our quaint and cosy little railway carriage. The site also had a small menagerie and the sheep were kindly curious, we even saw baby deer skipping through the long grass at night, a first for us and an enchanting site to behold.
If you’re able to drive there are a great number of charming villages, coastal stretches, woodland walks and nature reserves to explore at your leisure, allowing you to fully-immerse yourself in the great outdoors and unwind from daily life; see Visit Norfolk or Visit Britain for further inspiration. I’m certainly starting to find my groove with this glamping vibe lately and I look forward to future road-trips, as aim to visit other undiscovered areas of England later in the year!