‘Staycation’ Drives – The Norfolk Coast
Whether you believe in the old definition of ‘staycation’ (staying at home) or the seemingly modern variant (‘not travelling abroad’), it seems likely that holidaying in our cars in the UK will be the most likely vacational relief from the strictures of pandemic lockdowns!
In this series of blogs we will highlight some parts of the UK that you deserve for a vacation and your car deserves for a good shake-down drive.
This time we’re looking at the Norfolk coast, East Anglia.
Norfolk is blessed with some glorious beaches, pretty villages, flat but enjoyable roads and usually a stiff breeze from the North Sea. It’s not always cold, indeed it’s often the hottest part of the country, but you often need to wrap up. So take your shades and your windjammer and enjoy a tour that can take half a day, if you don’t stop much, or a week if you want to take it all in properly.
There are castles, gardens, a Royal dwelling (Sandringham.. not open to visitors!), history and ice cream. The only thing you’ll not find here are mountains, but if you’re from a mountainous region, you’ll love the contrast that Norfolk has to offer.
We’re starting from the South West…
Depending upon how far you’ve travelled to get there, perhaps a good overnight stop/starting place is Quy Mill Hotel & Spa, due east of Cambridge at Stow cum Quy just off the A14.
Something of a blast up the A14 and A11 will take us towards Norwich and to our first Petrolhead stop, Snetterton Race Circuit where there’s usually something on every day (albeit you may require tickets beforehand).
From now on it’s A-roads, country lanes and on to the coast.
As the Lotus Cars HQ is only 18 miles from here, that would be another suitably Petrolhead location to make for. Classic Team Lotus and the Lotus Driving Academy are also located here. No doubt you will spot a few Lotuses on the roads around here, naturally. If you’re lucky, perhaps something on test.
The quickest route there is the A11, but a more fun route away from the traffic takes you through the villages of Old Buckenham, Flaxlands and Wattlefield. No clues there as to the heritage of this part of the world!
We now make for the southernmost Norfolk coast at Great Yarmouth. Its mix of tradition and attractions means it’ll be busy pretty much any time of year. The quickest route there is on the A47 east of Norwich. As our next stop is Cromer – a famous home of seafood – you can turn north to join the A149 with a multitude of right turn options to explore the coast. An example is the B1145 at North Walsham to Mundesley, a pretty seaside village with a maritime museum.
From Cromer we pick up the A149 coast road that will take us all the way to our final stop at Kings Lynn. The North Sea now becomes The Wash and we’re a short hop from the Lincolnshire border.
Driving due south from here on the A10 brings us back to our starting point near Cambridge.
The whole loop, if driven in one go, is around 180 miles and takes circa 4.5 hours. However, the real joy of this drive is the mixture of good overtaking opportunities on flat roads and then gentle detours towards the sea for a coffee and some cake, some fish’n’chips or a sundowner glass of wine. Of course, being on the east coast means ‘sun uppers’ are also a joy, although perhaps not usually with wine!