Saturday, 20 August 2011

SHERINGHAM

A couple of years ago, we spent a delightful long weekend staying in a beautiful little fisherman’s cottage in Sheringham. The only thing that marred our stay was a particularly zealous traffic warden who, on a Sunday morning when we were a bit slow in getting out to the car park behind the cottage to fetch a ticket from the machine, pounced on our car the minute the witching hour of 8 o’clock in the morning came round. I had just washed by hair, and I witnessed this cruel act from the back window of the cottage, so Sheringham was treated to the unedifying sight of me rushing out, wet-haired, to plead in vain with the traffic warden.

But uniformed jobsworths aside, we found Sheringham to be a quaint, bijou little resort. No pier, no sweeping promenade with regimented flower beds and cacophanous amusement arcades, just a small seafront overlooked by two of its excellent traditional pubs, and a shopping street leading up to the station. Sheringham prides itself on its relatively large proportion of independent shops, and when we were there a bitter war was being waged against Tesco, who for over a decade had been threatening to build a new store in the town. A quick check online reveals that Tesco has finally got its way and managed to get permission to open a branch in Sheringham. I do hope it will not have too detrimental an effect on Sheringham’s local shops.

Driving out of Sheringham away from the sea, one is confronted with an unexpected phenomenon: a quite substantial hill, almost unheard of in Norfolk. This road leads up to the magnificent Sheringham Park, a National Trust estate with gardens and landscaped parkland designed by Humphrey Repton, offering stunning views over the coast. Back in town, another major draw is the North Norfolk Railway, affectionately known as The Poppy Line, which has steam trains chugging between Sheringham and the attractive, upmarket town of Holt, a 10-and-a-half mile round trip. The trip makes for a very pleasant Sunday outing, taking the train from Sheringham, alighting at Holt for a leisurely Sunday lunch, then making the return trip back to Sheringham, as we did during our stay.

Map of the area.

'Sheringham beach huts' photo (c) 2009, Rev Stan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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