Home Farm Blog

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Things to Do (Whatever The Weather)

We would all cherish the fiction of long, hot sunny days lasting all summer long but (and don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolutely fabulous summer day as I write this) but we all suffer the vagaries of the English weather.

We have designed Cranmer Country Cottages to offer facilities even in less than great weather. We have a lovely heated indoor swimming pool – salt dosed for comfort and a well stock games room with table tennis, darts, pool, books and DVDs.

However the kids will want to go out and there are lots of things you can do, even if it’s raining. Here are a few of our favourites:


This is our guests' number one favourite destination. Pensthorpe Natural park is an "award-winning mix of meandering nature trails, beguiling woodland walks and a showcase for British Wildlife and nature conservation." It works for both adults and children and this year opened Hootz House, a truly amazing indoor nature adventure playground. It fits seamlessly with all the natural ethos of Pensthope. Guests at Cranmer get special discount vouchers.

The North Norfolk Steam Railway

My particular favourite. Travel the Poppy Line between Sheringham and Holt through North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – lovely whatever the weather. Enjoy the nostalgia of the Sheringham buffet, where you can eat in or have a picnic and watch the activity on the station platform. Sheringham is the quintessential east coast seaside town, so is well worth a visit.

Farmer Freds

For more traditional adventure playground fun with a country twist Farmer Freds Playbarn at Norfolk Lavender is great fun for children aged 0-12 years. There is fun filled maze of slides, tunnels, rope swings, drop slides, walkways and bridges. Toddlers can play safely in a separate area. There is also an Animal Farm, the Walsingham Farm Shop for tasty treats and a lovely café for after fun sustenance.

Sandringham Museum

Ok, I admit younger children might not like the idea of trailing around a stately home but the Sandringham Museum is full of the most amazing finds. We all have stuff we never get to through out but with this house the ‘stuff’ is really interesting. Vintage cars and fire engines (they had their own), costumes, vintage household equipment and not too much stuffy history. Oh and there’s a fabulous café and restaurant with freshly prepared local food by Royal Warrant holders, Debbie Steward Catering.


Many of the artists and artisan producers in North Norfolk offer workshops aimed at children and grown ups.
Dale at the Chocolate Deli in Walsingham offers chocolate making courses, Langham Glass in Fakenham for glassmaking, Salt Glass Studio in Burnham Thorpe for creative glass and print making.
You can learn to paint and decorate pots at Doodle Pots in Holt.

Information on all the above and more can be found in our Games Room. Have a wonderful stay at Cranmer and enjoy all the delights of Norfolk.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fun things to do at Easter

Easter is upon us and we have a full house for the holidays. We are keeping our fingers crossed with the weather – we've had sunshine, wind and showers in the past few days so it's anyone's guess.

North Norfolk has a lot to offer all year round but I thought I would just offer up some special Easter events taking place locally.

Holkham Hall

Good Friday to Easter Monday has four fun-filled ‘egg-citing’ things to do from storytelling in a magic yurt, an interactive tile painting workshop, Kiddy Cook in the Old Kitchen or various puzzles and face painting – all with an Easter theme. Check out opening times and details at www.holkham.co.uk


One of our guests’ favourite venues, Pensthorpe is putting on an Easter Eggstravagansa with a special self-guided trail around the site. Learn about the species that share our natural world and finish off at WildRootz. Cranmer guests enjoy a special two for one offer on entry – just check your welcome tray. www.pensthorpe.com.

Fakenham Racecourse

It may not be the home of the Grand National but Fakenham Racecourse is much more family friendly with its casual atmosphere and no formal dress code. Children under 17 are admitted free (must be accompanied by an adult).  Racing on Easter Monday. www.fakenhamracecourse.co.uk.

Sheringham Park

Take part in their Easter trail and win a chocolate egg. Daily March 28 – April 12.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

‘Spring has sprung down on Gressenhall but poor Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep. Help her to find them and discover more about the life of a shepherd and his tools. Get creative in Art Attack! And make your own fluffy sheep to take home.


Easter Bunnies, Bonnet and Bounce Day – fun day out for all the family.


Not so local but well worth the drive, BeWILDerwood is one of the most amazing fantasy experiences for the family. Take part in their ‘Bouncing Boggle Bunny Egg Hunt’ from Saturday 28 March – Sunday 12 April. ‘Follow a bunny themed trail, bound down the bunny tunnel and meet Cedric in the Big Egg. Bounce your way through the hippity hop with a little Easter gift and settle down to hear the tales of Cedric and his friends at the story-telling stage. Visit the Big Hat and make your own ever-so-bonny Boggle bunny outfit. Get your face decorated with a pink or black nose and some wonderfully wiggly whiskers’.

Our own Herdwick sheep are fed at 9.30 am every morning (times may vary).

Personally I will be enjoying the weather, visiting my favourite beach at Overstrand and munching my way through one of Dale’s (The Chocolate Deli, Walsingham) scrummy handmade Easter eggs.

Have a great holiday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Channelling your inner Wolf Hall

We are kicking off February half term this year by 'chanelling our inner Wolf Hall'. Despite all things Tudor having been explored again and again by dramatists and historians, this BBC series has shone a fresh light on this fascinating period of our history.

Cranmer is a great place to explore Norfolk's Tudor history and links with Wolf Hall. First of all we have Blickling Hall, Anne Boleyn's birthplace. Although the original Tudor manor house no longer exists, Anne Boleyn's ghost is said to the haunt the Jacobean hall on the anniversary of her execution. Oxburgh Hall once welcomed Henry V11 and his wife and Henry V111 and his wife, Catherine of Aragon were frequent visitors to the Augustinian Priory at Walsingham, just 5 miles from Cranmer. In her will, Catherine asked for someone to go on pigrimage to Walsingham and distribute money on her behalf on the way and records show that Anne Boleyn announced her intention of visiting Walsingham on pilgrimage during the heady period of her history with Henry.

Henry V111 is reported to have stayed at East Barsham Hall where he broke his journey before walking barefoot to the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. Although the house is in private hands, you are able to see this magnificent Tudor house from the road from Fakenham to Walsingham.

In 1538 Thomas Cromwell ordered the dissolution of the Priory and what you can see today is the ruins including the magnificent East window arch. In the crypt you will find a timeline of the history of Walsingham but what makes the Abbey so special at this time of year is the magnificent carpet of snowdrops in the 20 acres of grounds. It's well worth a visit.

Walsingham Priory before the Dissolution

The connection with Wolf Hall gets even stronger - some of the books used in the series were created by Allan Barton, who runs the Martlet Gallery in Walsingham High Street - well worth a visit for his handmade paper and notebooks.

If Game of Thrones is more your thing, there is plenty of violence and bloodshed in Walsingham's history. During the period leading up to the dissolution, reports were made to Cromwell of the dissipation and corruption of the Priory and there were even rumours of 'dark arts and the philosopher's stone'. In 1537 several 'conspirators' were condemned to be 'hung, drawn and quartered' including the Sub-prior who was executed in Walsingham. The village itself is also very interesting with shops, places to eat and drink. Lose yourself in its history.

If history doesn't appeal there plenty of other things to do at half-term. The North Norfolk Railway is running its steam trains from Holt to Sheringham and for wildlife lovers Pensthorpe has special events planned for the holiday.Further afield is the magic kingdom of Bewilderwood.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 Reasons to book at Cranmer



We always listen to our guests - both by reading our Customer Service Satisfaction and talking to them during their visit.  We know what our guests like about staying at Cranmer so we thought we would share our top 10 reasons why people book with us.

1.  Family friendly: You might think that this is obvious but we are really family-friendly. All our cottages are stylish, comfortable and spacious. Open plan living/dining areas means that families can all be together while preparing food. Everything is on one level which means no running up and down stairs and parents can easily keep an eye on the children.

Each cottage has large patio doors which open onto a terrace. From the terrace parents can enjoy a glass of wine while watching their children play in the large paddock at the back of the cottages. This paddock is completely fenced in, making it a safe environment.

2. Heated indoor swimming pool: The pool is designed to be perfect for children. With a water temperature of 29oC little ones can be warm both in and out of the water. We salt dose the pool rather than using harsh chemicals so it's kind to delicate skin and beneficial to asthma sufferers. And when the weather is not so good it is a good way to amuse the kids when they cannot play outdoors.

3. Owners live on site:  Unlike many other holiday cottages, the owners Lynne and John Johnson live at Cranmer. We also have administration and maintenance cover during normal work hours on site. While we do regular weekly maintenance on the cottages, there is always the possibility that something will break or stop working and we can usually get it sorted quickly rather than having to wait for on outside contractor to get here. Lynne and John are on hand to dispense local knowledge and, if you are interested, John will give you a tour of the eco-systems they have installed at the cottage complex or even show you his collection of vintage cars!

4. Award winning: Cranmer holds two important awards; Visit England Gold Award and the Green Tourism Gold Award.  Both of these are testament to the quality, cleanliness and facilities available at the cottages. We all work hard to gain and maintain these standards and guests can be confident that their holiday will be top notch.

5.  Booking direct:  following comments from guests we now have an efficient online booking system. Guest can check availability and pricing on our website in real time at any time of the day or night. Perfect for booking last minute deals.

6.  Secure payments: our new booking system means that we no longer have access to your credit or debit card details. All payments are made online using a secure SagePay system, giving guests the reassurance that their payments are promptly made, securing their holiday and their details are secure.

7.  Local knowledge: Lynne, John and their daughter Emily have lived in North Norfolk for sixteen years and John knows Norfolk from his childhood. They are regular sailors and know a great deal about North Norfolk and what it has to offer visitors. If you want recommendations for restaurants or nearby amenities for children, they have test driven most of them. The whole team has an excellent knowledge of the best places to visit and the best food to buy or eat.

8.  Facilities: As well as our heated indoor swimming pool, Lynne has worked to make Cranmer very family friendly. The large fenced paddock area at the back of all the cottages (except Coot) is perfect for children to play safely, watch nature on their doorsteps and make friends. There are swings and a Wendy House and summer cricket matches are often organised by guests. We also have 2 all-weather tennis courts and a well-equipped Games Room for those wet days where families can play table tennis, pool or darts. There are books for children and the grown-up and lots of information about local attractions. We also have a lockable bike store.

9.  Location: Cranmer offers the best of countryside and coast. Close to the North Norfolk heritage coast and Holkham, it’s only 3 hours from London (on a good day!).The beaches are spectacular, there is shopping in Burnham Market and Holt and if you crave some city life, Norwich is only an hour away. There’s lots of healthy outdoor things to do with the children.

10. Green Tourism: While this might not be the most important thing you think about it when you are booking your holiday, we believe that it is important that our business is sustainable and eco-friendly. Our biomass boiler, solar panels and wind turbine mean that we are energy efficient. So it’s going on in the background during your stay, it’s good for the environment and it’s sustainable.



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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter breaks in North Norfolk

With Easter just a few weeks away, we are feeling rather excited that spring has arrived. We are certainly enjoying the daffodils that are scattered around the countryside, they glow like little rays of sunshine that offer promise that warmer weather and lighter evenings are on their way.
North Norfolk is definitely gearing up for the holiday season and with the Easter Holidays just around the corner we look forward to welcoming new and returning visitors to the area.
If you are still looking for a break over the Easter weekend, then look no further! Our family friendly cottages are situated in the tranquil countryside, but are only a short drive away from the coast. There are lots of Easter themed activities taking place in the area with plenty of other things to enjoy as a family during your stay too. We are even offering a 10% discount and a personalised, handmade chocolate Easter Egg if you book your stay over the Easter weekend... We promise not to nibble on the chocolate before you arrive, even though it is practically impossible to resist!
Below we've put together some suggested family friendly things to do over the Easter holidays and for some more ideas on what you can do during your stay, read our A to Z guide of things to do in Norfolk too.
Lamb Feeding
Cuddle and bottle feed a baby lamb at the Stow Bardolph Rare Breeds Farm. There is also the chance to hold fluffy Easter chicks and make friends with lots of farm animals including horses, pigs and rabbits.
Easter Trail
Take a special Easter Trail at one of the following locations and you may even be in with a chance of winning an Easter Egg!
You may even want to set up your own Easter Egg hunt within the grounds of our cottages.
Grab yourself a line, bucket and some bait (crabs seem to love bacon!) and see how many crabs you can catch from Well’s Harbour. 
If you’ve not heard of Geocaching, it’s a worldwide, real life treasure hunting game. All you need to play is a GPS device i.e. a smart phone. Geocache has it’s own app which is available to download and from there you can search for caches near to you which you can then track down. Other than purchasing the app, it is free to do and gives families the opportunity to spend time together enjoying the great outdoors. For full details visit http://www.geocaching.com/

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Treat mum to some luxury this Mother's Day

Fancy treating your mum this mother’s day? How about booking a last minute weekend break in one of our luxury cottages where she can be surrounded by her family and spoilt rotten. 
There’s no better way to say thanks than to give her a bit of time to relax and unwind on the North Norfolk coast and treat her to a scrumptious mother’s day lunch at one of these popular venues.
North Creake
If you’re a fan of a traditional pub atmosphere and good food then look no further than the Jolly Farmers. The menu offers a great variety of seasonal and locally sourced meals ranging from traditional pub grub to impressive daily specials.
The Victoria is a short stroll from the famous and very beautiful Holkham Beach. It’s a very welcoming place to stop and indulge in a delicious plate of food after an exhilarating walk on the beach. Serving fresh, local and seasonal is paramount for the chefs at the Victoria; you can enjoy beef and venison straight from the Holkham estate as well as delicious fresh fish that’s caught on the North Norfolk coast. Food is served from 8am so you can even pop in for a hearty breakfast if you don’t fancy cooking breakfast in your cottage.
The White Horse offers spectacular views over the Norfolk Coastal path and marsh making it a beautiful place to dine. The chefs pride themselves on cooking up fresh local produce including an abundance of locally caught fish and seafood, which is delivered by the local village fishermen. You can’t get fish any fresher than straight off the boat!
The Orange Tree is a contemporary styled pub situated in the beautiful village of Thornham. It has won many awards including the Dining Pub of the year for two consecutive years. Their award winning food is innovative and the executive chef, Philip Milner is well known for his seafood dishes including wild seabass and razor clams. There are a variety of dishes that will suit most tastes, ranging from the pub classics to contemporary cuisine.
Titchwell, Nr Brancaster
Titchwell Manor was the winner of the EDP best restaurant of the year 2013 and we can fully understand why. The two restaurants on site offer a truly gastronomic experience. The Eating Rooms offers a more informal and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a selection of dishes from their large brasserie menu or book a table at the conservatory where you can savour a 7 course evening meal. On Sundays both menus combine plus there’s the opportunity to tuck into a traditional Sunday roast too. Delicious!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Half Term Events and Activities in Norfolk

It only feels like yesterday when we were celebrating Christmas and welcoming the New Year in, the last 6 weeks seem to have flown by and now we are only a matter of a few days away from the February half term.

There are a few events and activities taking place throughout Norfolk that will keep the family entertained during the half term break, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites below.

Bee a Nature Explorer
Pensthorpe Natural Park
15th – 23rd February
Become a nature explorer and buzz around the nature reserve trail discovering bugs, beasts and wonderful creatures that make Pensthorpe their home. Finish the day with a marathon play in the new WildRootz adventure play area where there’s dens to build, zip wires to ride, slides to whiz down and much more to climb and explore too.
Family Nest Building Workshop
Creake Abbey
15th February
Join the Sculthorpe Moor Nature Team at Creake Abbey where you can build your very own nesting box which you can take home to put up in the garden. You will also have the opportunity to visit a barn owl roost, see their nest box and learn some very interesting facts about owls and birds of prey that live in the UK. 
Walsingham Abbey Snowdrop Walk
Throughout February 
Walsingham Abbey is home to the spectacular ruins of a medieval priory and pilgrimage and during February the grounds are more breathtaking than usual as they are covered in a blanket of snowdrops. Snowdrops are always a sure sign that spring is on the way as they are the first flowers to emerge from the ground after winter. The grounds are open every day throughout February and visitors can explore over 18 acres of woodland that’s covered in a blanket of snowdrops. 
The Mystery of the Missing Brooch: a Gressenhall Treasure Hunt!
Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse
17th – 21st February
Lady Hermione was visiting Gressenhall Workhouse to meet some of the deserving inmates when she realised that she had lost her favourite brooch! Come and follow the clues, crack the code and search the workhouse. Can you find the location of the missing brooch? Discover what other accessories a fashionable Victorian like Lady Hermione might wear and make your own badge to take home in Art Attack!
Norwich Dragon Festival
Various Locations in Norwich
10th – 23rd February
Did you know that Dragons have been a heraldic symbol that’s been closely connected to Norwich since the middle ages? As a result of this very special connection, the Norwich Dragon Festival showcases two weeks of family fun packed activities that celebrate the dragon and it’s ties with Norwich. There’s nearly 70 events planned in over 25 locations throughout the city, so come and see fire breathing dragons, get involved with dragon themed arts and crafts and take a quest to discover dragons throughout the city.
Boggle Wish Bonfire
15th – 23rd February
This curious treehouse adventure park is packed full of adventures and interesting characters. This half term the Boggles will be sprinkling their magic and lighting up the warming fires throughout the park. So head down to ride zipwires, clamber across jungle bridges, slide down slippery slopes and enjoy the party. There will also be storytelling and the opportunity to create your very own wish-making potion which you can take to the fire pit to make all your wishes come true.
Teddy Bear Express
Bure Valley Railway
15th - 23rd February
Enjoy a steam train journey in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. This half term we’re inviting your teddy bears to join in on the fun by offering free travel for every child who brings their own teddy. (Child has to be accompanied by a fee paying adult. Terms & conditions apply) There’s also a teddy competition, teddy themed colouring in and scrummy teddy bear children's meals are available at the whistlestop café too. 

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our A to Z of things to do in North Norfolk

Although it’s a little late we’d like to wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. We’ve had a busy start to 2014 as we’re currently connecting our brand new biomass boiler to our older cottages meaning we’ve made a huge step of reducing our carbon footprint and we will soon wave goodbye to fossil fuels for good (well, apart from a little gas we use for the cookers). Whilst this work happens, we’re also refurbishing a few rooms in the cottages and we look forward to all the final touches being completed in early February.

January is also a busy month as we receive lots of enquiries and bookings from people who are planning their annual holidays. The summer months are already looking very busy for us and we’re looking forward to welcoming new and returning guests throughout the year.
Last summer brought us beautiful, hot sunny days and we are hoping for the same this year. For us, there is no better place to be in the world on a hot summers day than enjoying the great outdoors in North Norfolk. From coast to countryside and everything in between, there’s something for everyone. It’s the perfect destination for a staycation.
But, summer isn’t the only time to visit North Norfolk as the area is always bustling with activity. As a result, we’ve put together our A to Z of things to do and see in North Norfolk and hope you get to enjoy some, or all of them, when you visit.
Attractions – There is something for everyone to visit in North Norfolk. Stroll around large stately homes, learn something new in the museums and view local artists work in the galleries. Nature lovers will enjoy the big choice of nature reserves nearby and families will be spoilt for choice with the family friendly attractions.
Beach Huts – If you fancy having a base by the sea then there’s not better way to do this than by hiring a traditional beach hut. Wells-next-the-Sea and Old Hunstanton both have beach huts that are available for daily and weekly hire.
Crabbing – This is a fun and cheap way of entertaining the children for a few hours and can become quite addictive! Pick yourself up a crabbing kit, which includes a crabbing line, bucket and some bait (bacon always works a treat!) and head to Wells Harbour Quay, Blakeney Quay or Burnham Overy Staithe to see how many crabs you can catch.
Dungeons – Norwich Castle is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and was built by the Normans as a palace over 900 years ago. It is full of interesting exhibitions and historic treasures that the whole family will enjoy discovering. For the fearless and sceptical people out there, how about a tour of the famously haunted dungeons... you may just find yourself covered in goosebumps whilst you’re down there!
Exercise – For those of you who enjoy an active life, there are plenty of ways to keep fit and get some exercise when you’re away without it feeling like it’s a chore. Our heated indoor swimming pool and tennis courts are available for all of our guests to use when staying in our cottages, we can also help organise cycle hire so you can pedal around the countryside and enjoy the beautiful views. The coast is a popular place to enjoy an invigorating walk or run and being by the water also means there are plenty of watersports to enjoy too.
Farmers Markets – Stock up on delicious seasonal produce at one of our many farmers markets. There are monthly markets in Fakenham, Holt, Blakeney and at Creake Abbey in North Creake. The area also has plenty of farm shops and other fantastic food outlets that sell locally produced food and drink, full details can be found here.
Grey and Common Seals – Blakeney point is famous for its huge seal colonies of both Grey and Common seals. During the winter months the Grey seals have their pups giving visitors the opportunity to see little white fluffy pups braving the elements whilst the common seals have their young between June – August. There are several boat trips available to book on a daily basis but we recommend you book to avoid disappointment. We think the seal trips are a fantastic opportunity to get up close to some of the UK’s favourite wildlife residents and an experience we highly recommend to all of our visitors.
Holkham – Holkham is a thriving 25,000-acre agricultural estate that has been in the same family since the 1750’s. Visitors can tour the house and enjoy vast parts of the land including the beach and nature reserve. There is also a deer park, museum, pub and shops to visit. Holkham beach has recently been voted the UK’s best beach and we are very proud to have such a wonderful place on our doorstep to enjoy.
Ice Cream – No seaside holiday is complete without enjoying an ice cream on the seafront. What’s your favourite? A 99 with a flake, chocolate, strawberry, rum and raisin, raspberry ripple, butterscotch… The list goes on and on!
Just Relax – You’re on holiday, so it’s time to relax and take it easy. For a few days, switch off that alarm clock, don’t worry about work, step away from daily routine and just enjoy yourself.
Kite – No childhood should go without the experience of flying a kite. Such a simple thing can create hours of fun. You can fly a kite on the beach all year round so long as you have a breeze! For the adrenaline junkies who want a bit more of an adventure, why not try a kite surfing lesson, which are available to book at Hunstanton beach.
Lavender – Heacham is home to the world famous Norfolk Lavender gardens. Here you can stroll through scented gardens, purchase lavender gifts and even try a few lavender cakes and other delicious treats in the onsite restaurant. There is also an animal farm and outdoor play area for children to enjoy too.
Market Towns – There are a number of market towns dotted around North Norfolk and they’re brimming with boutique shops, local delicatessens, bakeries, art galleries and teashops. Fakenham is our nearest market town, but nearby there’s Burnham Market, Wells-Next-The-Sea and Holt which are all very unique and definitely worth a visit. 
Nature Reserves – You are completely spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring our nature reserves and discovering the Great British wildlife. All year round there is something going on. During the colder months the reserves become home to several winter migrants, in spring we enjoy the spectacle of new life and summer brings plenty of visitors including terns and avocets to the area. Sculthorpe Moor is very close to our cottages, so you don’t need to travel far to enjoy the wildlife. Other reserves in the area are Pensthorpe, Titchwell Marsh, Cley Marshes, Blakeney National Nature Reserve & Scolt Head Island.
Orchard – Drove Orchards have over 40 acres of apple, pear and plum trees, and boast over 150 varieties of different apple. In addition to this, they also grow Strawberries, Raspberries, Gooseberries and much more. The beauty of Drove Orchards is that you can turn up and pick your own seasonal fruit to enjoy during your stay. The shop also stocks their own delicious award winning apple juice along with a great collection of pickles, chutneys, local cheeses and other delicious local produce too, perfect to stock up on and take home to enjoy.
Paddling – For a refreshing cool down on a hot summers day, take a paddle in the sea. Or for the hardy, dip your toes in the icy waters on a cold winter’s day to see how brave you are!
Queen – Sandringham House is the country retreat for the Queen and several members of the Royal Family, who famously spend their Christmas on the Sandringham estate. The house, grounds and museum are open to the public to visit from April to November and the visitor centre and shops are open throughout the year.
Racecourse – A day at the races is always fun and Fakenham Racecourse is a stones throw away from our cottages. Race meetings are on a monthly basis and unlike some other places it offers a casual atmosphere and is very family friendly - Children under 16 go free!
Seasons – Whatever time of the year, North Norfolk offers plenty for visitors. Winter brings lots of Christmas events, perfect for Christmas shopping, plus you can enjoy brisk, refreshing walks on empty beaches and warm up in cosy pubs that serve up hearty meals. In spring there’s lots of activity on the reserves with nesting birds eagerly awaiting the arrival of their chicks. During Easter there are lots of family events including eggciting egg hunts! In summer you can pack up picnics and spend your days at the beach or take day trips around the area visiting attractions and exploring nearby towns. As the nights begin to draw in during autumn, we look forward eating lots of local seasonal food and have fun celebrating Halloween and Bonfire night.
Trains – Take a vintage steam train ride along the coast with North Norfolk Railways. The Poppy Line is a scenic route that runs from Sheringham to Holt and is a memorable day out for all ages. Wells and Walsingham Light Railway also runs through the North Norfolk countryside and offers a great adventure for the whole family.
Umbrellas – The east is the renowned for being the driest region in the UK making it a great place to spend your holidays. But, it if rains during your stay don’t let it put you off exploring the area, just take an umbrella with you and remember, it never rains in a pub!
Victorian Cromer – Cromer is on the very edge of the North Norfolk coast and is famous for it’s crabs. The seafront is full of beautiful Victorian buildings and whilst you there you should treat yourself to a tasty portion of fish and chips and take a stroll along the pier.
Watersports – You can enjoy a wide range of watersports including windsurfing, sailing, kiting, canoeing and kayaking around our beautiful North Norfolk coastline. Courses and lessons are available for anyone who’s wishing to try something new. 
Xtreeme Adventure – Well, ok, so it’s called Extreeme Adventure so we had to cheat a little! This high ropes adventure course is situated in some of the tallest trees in the East of England. For families who like heights this is an adrenaline packed day out where you can conquer a course that’s situated 20ft up in the trees (or 40ft for the more adventurous!) Children under the age of 10 are not able to do the course, but there is a woodland walk and quiz plus an under 10’s play area available.  Extreeme Adventure is situated 8 miles south of Fakenham and offers an exciting day for those who have a taste for adventure.
Yachting – Our coastline is a great place to enjoy sailing whether you’re an experienced sailor or a novice wanting to give it a try. There are a number of places around where you can hire boats and take tuition. For an enjoyable day out a little further afield, there’s also the beautiful Norfolk Broads to discover either by boat or on foot.
Zzzzzzz – the lovely sound of exhausted children who are tucked up in bed after an adventurous day!

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Exciting plans for 2014

2013 has been a very busy and enjoyable year for us at Cranmer Cottages.
Snowfall  at Cranmer in early 2013
The early winter months brought plenty of snow, the whole area looked picture perfect and very tranquil.
When spring arrived, we enjoyed an abundance of snowdrops, crocus, bluebells and daffodils. The countryside was literally peppered with a good splash of colour. Guests enjoyed the spectacular snowdrop walks at Walsingham and there were plenty of Easter events planned locally for families to attend.
Then along came summer and for the first time since 2006, we enjoyed record high temperatures and long, sunny days. Our guests spent their days on nearby sandy beaches and evenings outside playing family games in our large paddock area where children also enjoyed our brand new play area.
The summer extended into the early Autumn months and now we’re in mid December we’re looking forward to the New Year ahead.
Late Summer Sunshine Near Holkham

We’ve got a few exciting things to look forward to in 2014 which we’ve been planning over the past few months.
Firstly, we are delighted to launch our one-hour, on-site farm/ nature walk. This walk is only available for our guests and gives an exclusive opportunity to view our fabulous countryside and get up close and personal to the local nature. We have even created a trail quiz to encourage our young visitors to learn more about the great outdoors and the amazing wildlife we have.
We’ve also teamed up with Pensthorpe Wildlife and Gardens who have kindly agreed to offer our guests a discounted family ticket. For those who haven’t heard of Pensthorpe before, it is an award winning wildlife and conservation reserve that offers something for all ages. The reserve is bustling with birds and wildlife throughout the year, so it’s perfect for birdwatchers and nature lovers. There are also a lot of exciting activities and things to see for families, including their brand new play area, Wild Rootz, which is definitely a winner with the children.
During January, we will be carrying out some refurbishing work on our cottages. We’ll be sharing details of the work we’re doing on our Facebook Page over the next few weeks, so remember to head over and ‘Like Us’ to receive our updates.
Being an eco friendly tourism business, we have worked very hard over the last few years to lower our carbon footprint. On site, we already have a wind turbine and solar panels, which heat and power some of our facilities, but we took a giant leap this year and installed a 100kw biomass boiler. This biomass boiler now means that, other than using a little gas for cooking, we can turn our backs to nasty fossil fuels that we’ve previously had to use. The biomass boiler is fuelled by recycled woodchip, which would otherwise go to landfill. We can now proudly say that our self catering cottages are now ‘powered by nature and nurtured by us’
Rescued Grey Seal Pup
Finally, we’d like to make you aware of a visitor payback scheme, which we’ve just introduced in the wake of the recent floods that affected the seal colonies at Blakeney. We are asking all visitors who book a break with us to make a voluntary donation of £1, which we will match fund, to go towards the RSPCA East Winch branch. This charity is specifically dedicated to rescuing seal pups in the area and rehabilitating them back into the wild. Blakeney is home to large colonies of Grey and Common seals, who breed and bring up their young throughout the year. It really is a magnificent sight to see and one that shouldn’t be missed when you visit the area.
If you book your break and would like to make a donation, simply tick the box on your booking form which says ‘Visitor Payback Scheme’ and our online system will do the rest for you. We will update our website with details on the progress of this scheme over the coming months.
North Norfolk really does offer something for everyone. From coast to countryside, it is brimming with quaint market towns, extraordinary wildlife, superb visitor attractions and an indulgent selection of places to eat. Once you visit you’ll be itching to come back. Our self-catering cottages are already booking up fast for next summer, so if you don’t want to miss out check our availability and book your holiday now. 
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support throughout 2013 and we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Best wishes,
The team at Cranmer Cottages.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Events in North Norfolk

The festive season is beginning to ramp up in North Norfolk. Lights are being strung up in local the towns, the shops are playing festive music and are stocked up with Christmas decorations, gifts and lots of delicious food.
We’re buzzing with the anticipation of a busy Christmas period and we have guests visiting so they can do their Christmas shopping. Our local towns are full of boutique shops with beautiful gifts to suit everyone.
We offer short breaks over during November and December, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a break away and stock up on gifts and seasonal goodies. And if shopping isn’t your thing, there are still a number of Christmas events planned that will definitely get you in the festive mood. From Christmas lights being switched, spectacular Christmas Shows to special Santa steam train rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
20th November 2013
Holt becomes a winter wonderland when thousands of white fairy lights glisten over the over Georgian buildings. Join in on the festivities where there will be street entertainment, food and shopping before the lights switch on with a firework display. The Christmas lights will sparkle in Holt until 5th January.
Lights Switched on 6.45pm, festivities start from 5.30pm
Burnham Market
23rd November
4pm – 8pm
This year’s Christmas lights will be switched on by the ex Norwich City Footballer and local celebrity, Darren Huckerby. In addition to this, Burnham Market will host a Traditional Christmas Market between 4pm – 8pm. 
There will be over 25 art, craft and gift stalls to peruse around with gifts including jewellery, soft furnishings, artisan chocolates, Christmas wreaths and much more available to buy. Whilst you wander around the stalls you’ll have the opportunity to listen to carol singing, a brass band, Nelson’s Shantymen and a local live cover band playing on the Fairstead Green.
Father Christmas will make a special appearance for the children and there will be lots of activities including ‘Pin the Nose on the Reindeer’ to keep the children occupied.
There will also be lots of tasty food stalls where you can enjoy an array of foods including a hog roast, mulled wine, mince pies, Crepes and much, much more.
Fakenham Parish Church
28th Nov – 5th Dec
10am – 8pm
Fakenham Church hosts a very special Charity fundraiser with 90 decorated trees all trimmed and lit for over 80 selected charities. This event is free, but we recommend you take a bag of coins so you can donate a few pennies to your favourite charity trees. Last year over £22,000 was raised for charities including local schools, nurseries and the British Heart Foundation. There is also a Christmas Market selling items such as Christmas cakes and cards. Food and refreshments including light lunches and homemade cakes will also be available to buy throughout the festival.
North Norfolk Railway
1st – 24th December
Enjoy a steam train ride to visit Santa in his magical wonderland. Special services will run between the 1st – 24th December where you can take scenic train ride from Sheringham Station through to Weybourne Station, to find Santa waiting by an open fire to give the children a warm welcome and to ask that all important question of what they would like this year for Christmas.
Adults get to enjoy sherry and mince pies during the train ride whilst children receive a biscuit and soft drink.
Booking is recommended for this unique and wonderful North Norfolk Christmas experience.
Holkham Hall
7th & 8th, 14th & 15th December
Christmas this year at Holkham Hall will be a wonderful sight! See the magnificent state rooms beautifully decorated in traditional Victorian style, complete with handmade decorations, real greenery from the park and candle light. A visit to see Father Christmas in our new grotto will be pure magic for the children.
Burnham Deepdale
7th & 8th December
The Deepdale Christmas Market has over 70 stalls, along with entertainment and activities. It’s the perfect place to stock up on Christmas presents, decorations and local food and drink. The weekend will be full of seasonal cheer and guarantees to set you in the festive mood for the big day itself.
Felbrigg Hall
15th December
11 – 3pm
A small number of select food and gift stalls will be at Felbrigg Hall on Sunday 15 December. Take the opportunity to do some last minute Christmas shopping and buy some gifts and goodies.
25th December
For all the brave people out there, how about taking a plunge in the sea on Christmas day?
The Hunstanton Christmas Swim has now been going for over 50 years and over recent years we’ve seen record crowds watching and participating. The event raises funds for the Round Table which help to support many local good causes.
If you fancy it, you may want to think about doing it in fancy dress as there’s the opportunity to win £25 for the best dressed individual or £100 for the best group. What bizarre outfits can you think to wear?!
King’s Lynn Corn Exchange
6th – 31st December
This year’s panto is the fairytale story Beauty and the Beast, and stars Darren Day as the Beast himself.
In good old fashioned panto style, there’s a baddie to boo, the goodies with their hilarious gags and a heroine in need of being rescued. This is a rip roaring adventure full of fun and live music. True Christmas entertainment at its best!
Theatre Royal Norwich
17th December – 19th January
This year’s festive extravaganza is the most popular panto of them all - Cinderella.
There will be magic, comedy, audience participation and fun along with music and dancing to enjoy. This traditional panto will be a delight for all the family.
The all-star cast includes Shelia Ferguson (The Three Degrees) as Fairy Godmother, Christopher Ryan (The Young Ones, Absolutely Fabulous) as Baron Hardup, Matt Milburn (Hollyoaks) as Prince Charming, and Richard Gauntlett as Buttons.
9th November - 23rd December 2013
The Thursford Christmas Spectacular is the largest Christmas Show in England and is a magical experience. The show starts on the 9th November and runs until the 23rd December. Booking is essential as it's a hugely popular event, people travel from all over the country to see it. It is well worth treating yourself and loved ones to a long weekend in Norfolk to attend this spectacular show...... and a great excuse to get into the festive spirit!

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