Dog-friendly escape away from the crowds
What to do on New Year’s Eve? Party, a quiet night in or pack your bags and escape? We decided on the latter, but where to go? One thing for sure, the dogs had to be part of it, so that narrowed down our options. In the past, we have been away for New Year’s Eve to European cities as we like the buzz here to celebrate the end of the year. Not the quite right place for dogs, though, so we decided on a break in the English countryside. We didn’t want to drive more than two hours, so we settled for Norfolk. The perfect destination for good food and long walks on the beach.
The North Norfolk coast is a stunning part of the world. I prefer it to the East coast for the sandy beaches instead of pebbled ones, and I love to meander through the salt marshes soaking up the dramatic views over the reeds. It reminds me of Friesland, where I grew up in the Netherlands. A few years ago we were in Norfolk for our New Year’s Eve break and stayed in Cley next the Sea. It’s a great place to stay from where you can follow the Norfolk coast path in both directions, but you don’t have direct access to the beach. On top of our list was long beach walks with the dogs, so we needed a different base this time.
Burnham Market was another option, but we wanted to stay away from the crowds. Titchwell sprang to mind as quite a few local Cambridge foodies rave about Titchwell Manor’s food. This ticked all our boxes, especially as it’s dog-friendly too, and the New Year’s evening arrangements included a tasting menu followed by a party.
It was a glorious day on the 30th of December, so many people had the same idea as we had and were heading down the coast. We finally arrived early afternoon, and after check-in, we headed down to the beach.
We decided to go to Brancaster beach by car. If we had taken the time to look at the map supplied byTitchwell Manor, we would have realised that it would have been much better to leave the car at the hotel. Brancaster beach is much quieter than Holkham beach, but it attracts many visitors, and many come by car. So if you are staying nearby, I recommend walking down to the beach to avoid traffic and the chance of not finding a space to park. There are two beautiful walks down to the beach from Titchwell village.
If you want to stay away from the crowds in North Norfolk but still want to be close to the beach, then Titchwell is a perfect location. Besides Titchwell Manor, there are some stunning apartments within walking distance of Titchwell Manor, so you don’t have to miss out on their excellent food!
The two fantastic walks to the beach at either end of the village.
On the walks below, you follow the Norfolk coast path. Once you get to the beach, you can walk for hours. However, the tidal stream on Brancaster beach does cut off your path on both walks so you will need to either go back on yourself or take the path through the Salt marshes on the Gypsy Lane walk.
Walk no. 1 – Bird reserve – Tichwell
From Titchwell Manor, turn left and walk to the end of the village. Take the path to the bird reserve and follow it down to the beach. It can get quite busy here with bird watchers on the salt marsh, but once you have left this behind, you’ll end up at a quieter part of Brancaster beach.
Walk no. 2 – Gypsy Lane walk – Tichwell
This is my favourite walk. We tend to do this one daily when we stay at Tichwell.
Turn right from Titchwell Manor and walk to the other end of the village and go left just after St. Mary’s church into the woodlands. From here, it’s a lovely walk through the woods and the salt marshes to Brancaster beach. It is pretty quiet most of the time, and you hardly bump into anybody. I was pretty amazed about this, especially as the North Norfolk coast is very popular. You turn left up to the tidal stream when you get to the beach. Look out for the seal colony here. It’s a lovely sight to watch them play in the water.
Keep going from here and make your way through to the Salt Marshes to the big house on the beach, which is the local golf club building. You either can carry on or turn right towards the parking area. Here you turn right towards the golf course and follow the raised path along the road to Brancaster if you fancy a spot of lunch at the Ship Hotel. Instead, you can turn right after 2 minutes. This route will take you back to Titchwell again.
Walk no. 3 and 4 – Thornham
For these 2 walks, it is best to get in the car to cut back on the walking time along the road. It is best the park your car at the Deli instead of the car park at Eric’s Fish and Chips, which is a must-have and Eric’s pizzas are just as good as his fish and chips!
From the deli in Thornham, cross the road and walk along the quiet lane towards the old harbour. If you only have 45 minutes, then this walk is perfect. For a longer walk, approx. 2 hours, I suggest turning left at the harbour and following the coastal path.
It takes in the lovely countryside, the salt marshes and one of Norfolk’s more remote sandy beaches, Holme Dunes. The route passes a Wildlife Trust and café in the pine trees by the beach, and at the old harbour, you can find the Lifeboat Inn, which has a huge covered outside seating area.
Walk no. 5 – Burnham Overy Stay
Every good walk has to end at the pub? That’s right, isn’t it? Well, this one definitely does and if you don’t feel like walking, take the bus or the car as the Hero is a pub that should be on your list to visit.
If you want to cut back on walking time, it is best to follow the path along the road to Brancaster. From here, make your way towards the beach and pick up the coastal path through the reeds. It is a lovely walk which takes approximate 3 hours without any stops. When you get to the marshes, you will have to take the path through the fields to Burnham Overy Stay, which takes you to the village. I recommend taking at least 3.5 hours so you can have a coffee or tea en route. Booking a table at the Hero is a must to avoid disappointment.
As mentioned earlier, Holkham beach is a stunning beach but can be very crowded. Instead, I can highly recommend taking the Norfolk coastal path at Burnham Deepdale, which is covered with samphire. Fancy a bit to eat here? Check out The Jolly Saylor in Brancaster Staithe. It is a traditional pub, which hasn’t changed since the last time I was here, around 2004. For Holkham beach, a popular and excellent place to eat and drink is the Victoria Inn at the Holkham Estate.
In Brancaster, the Ship Hotel is a popular place to stay, eat and drink. In Titchwell, the place to stay is Titchwell Manor. Head over to my blog to read about our New Year’s Eve stay at the Titchwell Manor.
Note: views are my own and this post is not sponsored