Remember I told you in my last life lately post that we took a last minute trip to Norfolk… Well, I’ve decided that I am going to mix our recent adventures into my rota rather than posting our adventures in chronological order. So I’m feeling like *a bit* of a badass. Haha. Pats self on back for not being boring and predictable.
Before I get started I have to tell you that we didn’t take many photos at all! But I will share the few that we took, and hope you will forgive me for the lack of photos.
When we got back home from our trip to SA I started watching the KP index again. It’s actually quite common for the Aurora to be seen from Northern England.
It’s even been seen as far South as Cornwall – you really just need perfect conditions and a clear view of the Northern horizon.
I noticed a weekend in May with particularly high KP forecasts so I chatted with Riaan, Werner and Sune about it, saying we should do a trip up North that weekend to try to see the Aurora, even though Riaan was only getting back from Portugal that Friday.
That week we decided the weather was going to be too crappy and it wouldn’t be worth the trip.
Riaan arrived back in London on Friday evening, we dropped off his luggage and off we went to M&S, got ourselves a lazy microwave dinner and snuggled up on the couch. Exactly the kinda Friday night my 21-year-old-self dreaded.
Just after 10PM Riaan went out onto the balcony. Seconds later he came rushing back in “I think I can see a glow, bring the camera! The sky looks like it did in Norway that one night”. So we set up the camera and tripod, took a long exposure shot and inspected it on the tiny camera screen. We were convinced that we could see a faint glow and if we drove out of the light pollution of the city we would see the Aurora.
“We should go!” And suddenly we were in a full on flat spin, grabbing the camping bag, shoving clothes, toiletries, cameras, and chargers into our backpacks. Not forgetting Phoebe’s adventure bag with bowls, food, toys, treats – all the things necessary for an adventure!
By 10:40 we were in the car headed North. In hindsight, this was probs a bit ridiculous but whatevs. Spontaneity is NOT overrated! After about an hours drive we couldn’t see anything, there was still too much light pollution and we couldn’t see the horizon. We decided to drive all the way to Norwich, not realising that when we got there we wouldn’t get a camp spot with a horizon view.
OMG, can I just say that driving through narrow country lanes in the early hours is pretty nerve wrecking! Bends and turns just pop up out of nowhere. I have no idea how Ed Sheeran does that at 90 (kmph I’m assuming!). LOL
I think Riaan was pretty relieved when I pulled into a campsite at around 2AM. We set up camp in the dark, as quietly as we could, being sure not to shine our lights into the other campers tents. Crawling into bed just before 3, properly tired but hopeful that we would see the lights on Saturday night.
We woke up after a couple of hours sleep which was frequently interrupted by us waking up from the cold, Riaan had even put on his jacket during the night. After a short stroll around the park to check out the facilities, we got ourselves a cosy spot in the outdoor seating area of the little cafe and enjoyed a delicious and *slightly* greasy breakfast in the warm sunshine.
Turns out the campsite we ended up at was basically the life of the little village we were in, the cafe was busy, there was an outdoor market selling at sorts of homemade stuff, a little supermarket and petrol station next door.
After breakfast we headed to the closest town, we needed to get some fleecy throws to line our sleeping bags coz we were not prepared to freeze our tushies off for two nights in a row! AND Riaan was in so much pain from his rib that we went to see a doctor to find out what was wrong. Turns out he tore his rib muscles while in Portugal and basically all you can do for that is rest the muscles.
After gallivanting around town and grabbing a quick lunch we took a leisurely drive through beautiful villages and countryside toward Holkham beach.
Phoebe was running up and down the beach chasing a ball through the water and rolling about in the wet sand paying no attention at all to the chilly wind whipping at our cheeks.
We made our way back to the car when the sky began to darken and the air grew even chillier. Phoebe was not impressed, she wanted to play some more. We drove toward the campsite, the plan was to get some supplies for a braai (bbq) but as we drove it started to rain. Big fat drops splattering across the windscreen. And so our plans changed.
After a couple minutes of driving, we found a nice little pet-friendly pub overlooking the bay called “The White Horse”. We dashed through the rain into the bustling pub where we devoured burgers and enjoyed a refreshing beer while Phoebe got treats and all the belly rubs and head scratches. This place would seriously be amazing with good weather!
Sadly, (as we had originally predicted) the weather was not ideal for Aurora watching and so we took shelter from the rain in our tent with a bottle of wine and some random games (would you rather…)before calling it a night.
Sunday arrived with beautiful clear blue skies, promising a good day at the beach. We got ready, packed up our campsite and grabbed some breakfast from the supermarket before heading toward Brancaster. There, we found a beautiful beach with a long stretch of soft white sand, and plenty of space for an energetic Phoebe to run around and play in the waves.
She had the best time! We strolled to one end of the beach and back, and after nearly 2 hours of jumping, and running and playing Phoebe was exhausted and ready to take a break. She napped in the car as we drove toward Sheringham on our way home, it was a bit of a detour but I had read about a steam train that runs from here while waiting for Riaan at the doctors the day before. I wanted to see it.
We were in luck, the train only ran a few trips a day and we managed to get there in time to hear it sound it’s whistle as it pulled out of the station and within seconds it passed us by leaving behind a trail of smoke.
A pretty picturesque ending to the weekend before the long drive back home.
Some tips for a weekend in Norfolk’s North Coast area.
Where to eat:
Deepdale cafe – They served up a pretty good breakfast, the food was fresh and tasty and the service was so friendly. Sit outside in the sunshine for a great start to the day.
The White Horse – This bar has your traditional pub food menu for the bar area as well as an A la Carte menu for the nice dining area overlooking the bay. It would be the perfect spot for lunch and drinks on a sunny afternoon. Or just drinks. Y’know, whatever floats your boat.
Tip: The villages are pretty small so if a place was busy, we assumed it meant the food was good and we would go inside. I mean all the locals can’t be wrong…and they weren’t.
What to do:
Explore the local villages. There are so many cute little villages in the area, my favorites of the ones we drove through were Burnham Market and Great Bircham.
Visit the beaches. You really are spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches in North Norfolk. I have read that you can
There are ton’s of excursions that you can do if you have the time. Castles, manors, woodlands, and wildlife centers wait to be explored. Boat trips go out to Blakeney Point to see seals and if you enjoy scenic train rides, there’s the North Norfolk Railway steam train which runs from Sheringham to Holt or vice versa.
Relax and enjoy the beauty of the countryside!
Until next time,