Being a tourist at home

The beach at Great Yarmouth
The beach at Great Yarmouth

The week has passed very quickly and, in between reading sessions, I have practised being a tourist at home. Being a solo traveller in England is a new and unexpected experience for me as, when I have been here previously, it has always been to visit family and friends. Now, I am in an area that I don’t know and alone, apart from meeting up with Maddie a couple of times.

One of these times was at Biddy’s Tea room in Norwich, which displayed an array of cakes, as well as a variety of teas to choose from, including one of their own mix. The room featured very comfortable, elderly leather arm chairs, old fashioned tea sets and a number of old hard back books. The walls were decorated with plates and pictures and took me back rather more years than I would like to consider. I can recommend the Bakewell Tart.

I also had a couple of forays to the coast. The first was to Great Yarmouth, on a particularly grey day, when I decided that I needed to go for a walk by the sea. The beach was mostly shingle with some sand and there was yet another wind farm just out at sea. There seems to be a prolific number of these along the Norfolk coast, which rather indicates that it might be quite windy here, usually!

Great Yarmouth itself is a typical English seaside town with a pier, many amusement arcades, mini putt, donkey and horse and carriage rides, casinos and fish and chips. Some of the buildings along the sea front have definitely seen better days but there are some lovely Georgian houses leading away from the beach. Inevitably, there is, also, a prolific number of terraced Victorian Bed and Breakfasts. I wonder if they still lock people out after breakfast and deter them from returning before tea time?

I parked some way out of town and walked along the beach towards the pier and then all the way along the promenade, so had ample time to admire both the infrastructure and the people. The latter hadn’t been deterred by the gloomy weather and were out in force along the main street, in which there were a number of cheap clothing shops intermingled with the cafes, souvenir and sweet shops. (I have to confess to buying a packet of Cinder Toffee, of which I consumed far too much and, consequently, felt a little sick.) I feel that I have now seen enough of Great Yarmouth and have no need to return!

Sheringham beach
Sheringham beach
View from the coastal path
View from the coastal path

My other coastal trip was to Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast. I had a very pretty drive to get there, through obscure country lanes, guided by the lady on my phone, on a beautiful sunny day. Having done no research or planning as to what to do when I arrived, and, having parked at the start of the Coastal Walk, it seemed to be a good place to start.

The tide going out at Sheringham
The tide going out at Sheringham

I therefore spent a couple of very enjoyable hours walking along the cliff overlooking the beach and out to sea. For the first part, it traversed the golf course and then continued on past fairly flat farmland. The sound of the water receding over the shingle was very relaxing and there weren’t too many other people. If only I had been well prepared and brought my sandwiches!

Afterwards, I had a wander around Sheringham, which is an attractive small town that, at this time of year, also has a lot of visitors. There were a number of people on the beach, sheltered by wind breaks, as well as sitting along the promenade wall, eating ice cream. I had coffee and bought a cake from the bakery. (Cake eating is becoming an obsession and is not helping the waistline!)

Boat disappearing under a very low bridge
Boat disappearing under a very low bridge
Norfolk Broad
Norfolk Broad

My intention was to stop in Cromer on the way back but there was a tailback of cars through the town and no obvious parking, so I continued along the coast for some way before turning inland towards Norwich. At one point, I realised I was passing through a town on the Broads (a lot of boats on a wide river being the clue), so stopped for a walk there. However, it was very crowded and the waterside pubs were filled with people from the boats that had moored alongside, so I didn’t stay long but continued ‘home’. (Am I becoming that averse to people?!)

I would have to say that I preferred the north Norfolk coast to that of the east and it must be lovely out of season. It has also been a novelty and quite a strange feeling being a solo tourist in England!

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