Short Family Breaks in North Norfolk

‘You either get Norfolk, with its wild roughness and uncultivated oddities, or you don’t. It’s not all soft and lovely. It doesn’t ask to be loved.’  Stephen Fry

Where to stay?

We were invited, along with our dog, to Forest Park Holidays in North Norfolk, near Cromer. It’s only 2.5 hours from London, if you get a clear run. We had the option of camping or staying in one of their holiday homes.  We’re intrepid campers but as it was the end of September and temperatures were likely to drop in the evening and in the mornings we plumped for a caravan.  The holiday homes are very well kitted out; double glazing, flat screen TVs, sleeping for 6, an en-suite, plenty of outdoor seating and sea-views from some parts of the park.

The site itself is rather vast you can walk for about 15 mins without leaving the site.  However, unlike other caravan parks, where you have 100s of static caravans lined up in a field, the site has gentle rolling hills and is surrounded by forest which results in much smaller more naturally attractive clusters of holiday homes.  There’s also an onsite bar/restaurant, games room for the kids, outdoor play equipment  and an indoor heated pool.  The camping facilities also looked impressive.

Things to see and do

We were absolutely blessed with the weather, we had booked into Pensthorpe Natural Park  and Hootz House, which is an indoor play centre that brings the outdoors inside, on Saturday morning, but as the sun was out and we were expecting temperatures in the region of 18 degrees, it would have been criminal not to go to the beach.  The Beach, in Overstrand, was only a 15 minute walk from the Holiday Park.  As the tide was out we decided to walk to the pier in Cromer which was only about a 30 minutes by foot.



Food and Drink

It was the best decision, after grabbing a quick ice-cream we meandered down the pier, luckily we’d thought ahead and had brought a crabbing net with us, but if you find yourself short, you can buy everything for a spot of Crabbing at the RNLI gift shop, including Mackerel,  at the end of the pier.  And to my great delight there was a bar on the pier and if you put your lager in a plastic glass you could go anywhere on the pier with it!  Beer, Sea and Sunshine! Result!




Catch and release!



As we were in Cromer it would have been rude not to have crab sandwiches, before grabbing a quick taxi back to Northrepps, which was less than a fiver and they were more than happy to accommodate our dog.

On Saturday Night we treated ourselves to a meal at the Sister Hotel to the Caravan Site,  Northrepps Cottage Country Hotel, it was less than a 10 minute walk through the woods, but make sure you take a torch, as the return journey after a few Gin and Tonics and possibly some red wine could prove difficult.



Edible Flowers! ‘Mummy they taste a bit off!’


On Sunday, we decided to make a small detour on the way home, to revisit Salthouse where we stayed at Christmas.  The staff at the Holiday Park were incredibly friendly and helpful, when we mentioned we’d be heading west along the coast, they suggested we stop at the newly opened Rocky Bottom Cafe, originally built in the 1800s as a brick kiln, which is situated between Cromer and Sheringham.



If you find yourself in the area, it’s a must, fresh local seafood with a stunning view.  It is owned and operated by husband and wife, Richard and Alison.  Richard has been a local fisherman for 35 years using a traditional double-ended crab boat, he goes out every other day and upon his return he boils the crabs and lobsters and Alison dresses them all.  You don’t get much fresher than that.

That was my third trip to North Norfolk and I have definitely fallen in love with it and will be returning as soon as we can for another family holiday.





Family Camping Checklist:  What should we take?

Just sitting here thinking of a couple of friends who have gone camping for the first time with their kids, the weather couldn’t be worse for them this week.  We’ve text a few times, the gazebo has collapsed in the wind, a tarpaulin has taken flight and they’re currently hiding in the Children’s Play Barn.  Bless them, but their spirits don’t seem to be ‘dampened’.  Hopefully it brightens up for them this afternoon.

Camping in the Uk when it's raining

This year we were incredibly lucky, we went camping for a total of 14 days in a row, taking in 4 camp-sites (Hurley Riverside, Wo Wo, Stubcroft Farm and Eweleaze Farm) and only had two days of rain which is a miracle in the UK.  We normally go to Canada every summer and this is the first time in 7 years we didn’t, the flight prices just got too much, hence the extended camping trip.  Personally, I love camping, I can sit by a fire drinking beer and my daughter gets a chance to be a ‘kid’ running feral with all the other children on the site.

We love Camping!


We are fairly well kitted out for camping and have most things.  Anyone who is in to camping knows it’s all about the gear.  In some ways, mostly financial, it’s a good thing we are limited on space in our car.  I’ve been quite skilled at ‘Car Boot Tetris’ which is similar to ‘Fridge Tetris’ which I play at Christmas.

However, if you’re thinking on embarking on a Family Camping Trip there are a few essential items you should put on your check-list, that will make it more enjoyable.

 10 Things You Need to Take Camping

Corkscrew Bottle Opener – it’s now acceptable to buy wine with a screw top but if you get caught out, it’s not impossible to get one with a cork open without a corkscrew, if you have a tree and a tea towel, but it does make it a lot easier.  You can also get a beer bottle open with a cigarette lighter or if you’re my Auntie she can do it with her teeth, but again, it’s easier with a small bottle opener and costs less at the dentist.

Camping Essential Corkscrew


Can Opener – I really wish I could find my Swiss Army Knife then getting into a tin would be a doddle.  However, if you think a bit ahead and try to buy tins with a ring pull you won’t face this conundrum.  I also try to buy pre-sliced buns etc.

Bungee Cords – I swear the people that manufacture tents and sleeping bags have seriously warped senses of humour.  Stuff sacks!  You are kidding me.  Apparently, we have an over-sized tent bag, if over-sized bag means it just fits without the zipper bursting open then they would be correct.  We carry a couple of spare bungee cords which allows us to cinch the tent a bit tighter so we can get it back in the bag with minimal arguments.  Plus, they are great for make shift clothes lines etc.

Bungee Cords for Camping


Insulated Coffee Mugs – Beer o’clock is a moveable feast when camping but until then it’s coffee for me.  Boiling a kettle on a camp stove can take ages, especially if you watch it, the Insulated Coffee Cups, first reduce the chance of spilling and lets you enjoy the coffee before it’s turns into an Iced Cappuccino.  These ones have a narrower base so they fit in the cups holder in the car.  And when you are all coffeed out you can sneak a beer into it, no one will be the wiser, and it stays cooler longer.

Insulated Coffee Mugs

Rock Pegs – when you first buy a new tent, check out the pegs if they are the thin ones with the hook at the top, throw them straight in the bin, they are completely useless and after a couple of whacks with a mallet (see below) they bend and are rendered completely useless.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Rock pegs can penetrate the hardest and rockiest terrains.  However, they can be a bit tricky to get out but you don’t have to worry about your tent or gazebo taking flight.

Tent Pegs for Hard Ground

Mallet  – we are now the proud owner of three mallets;  a wooden one, rubber one and a plastic one.  When I first opened the plastic one, I really thought it would shatter after trying to hammer in the first rock peg, but I was pleasantly surprised at how strong this Tent Peg Mallet was.  The best bit about it is the other end can be used to pull out the stubborn rock pegs with a bit of persuasion and on occasion levering.

Tent Peg Mallet

Bin Liners – take a whole roll if you can, they are great for dirty laundry, make shift rain ponchos, covering wet chairs, wrapping up wet boots and of course for rubbish/recycling.

Dry Shampoo – Face it!  Showers don’t tend to be brilliant at campsites and on occasion you may have to queue for one.  So, if you miss a day or three, a blast of dry shampoo can fool you into thinking you are slightly less filthy.

Walkie Talkies –  prior to this camping trip we bought a set of Walkie Talkies for our daughter, thinking we could keep one with us and track her down if need be.  However, I found another use for them…. scaring the h*ll out of other kids on the camp-site, you can scan for their frequency, then the fun begins.  No, I did not say things like ‘I’m watching you’.  Hours of fun!

Solar Powered Fairy Lights – there are no real reasons to cover your tent and gazebo in Twinkly Lights but they’re soooooo pretty and if you have a few too many beers, you can always find your way back from the loos in the dark.  Not bad for highlighting evil tripping Guy Wires (or is is Guide Wires?) in the dark.

Camping Fairy Lights

I’m sure there is a few things I have left off the list.  What are your must have camping essentials?



Card Games for the whole family – Giveaway

Dobble is Brilliant!

Family Card Games

As a family we really should play games more often.  We have a sideboard full of games from Kerplunk to Kerfuffle plus a few traditional ones like The Game of Life.  We do play cards on occasion and daughter a dab hand at Snap, Go Fish and War.

However, I had never played Dobble and had no idea how brilliant it is.  I would describe it as super-charged snap.  It’s both simplistic and challenging at the same time.  The first time we took it out we played 8 games back to back.  There are 55 card with 8 symbols on each card  and there is one identical symbol in common with each card.  I have no idea how they did this.  There 5 mini games to choose from; Towering Inferno. The Well, The Hot Potato, Gotta Catch ‘Em All and The Poisoned Gift.  We’ve only played two so far and are hooked.

It comes in its own storage tin and is very portable so we will definitely be taking it on car journeys, plane trips and camping.


Win Dobble for your Family

To enter simply use the Rafflecopter form below.  In short it’s open to UK residents 18+ years of age.  Full Terms and Conditions can be found at the bottom of the form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

If you don’t manage to win it, I’d suggest popping out and buying yourself one, Argos and WHSmith are currently offering 20% off.

This competition is listed on Loquax, Prize Finder and Competition Hunter.

Things to do with Kids Outdoors in Dorset

Go Ape, Moors Valley near Bournemouth

I don’t know who had more fun, the kids or the adults.  We were recently camping at Eweleaze Farm in Dorset and thought we’d take the opportunity to check out Go Ape, The UK’s #1 Forest Adventure.  One of my friends always wanted to take her daughter and as we were in the area, approx 30 miles away, we thought ‘why not?’.

I stayed on the ground and supervised the 3 girls aged 6 and 7 on the Tree Top Junior Adventure, while the two adults, I use the description ‘adult’ loosely as you will see by the photos, went on the main Tree Top Adventure.

Go Ape Forest Adventure near Bournemouth

The Junior Adventure is suitable for children aged 6 and up but they have to be over 1m.  They have an hour to clamber around the site, navigating wobbly crossings and zooming down the zip wires.  The nice thing about the Junior Adventure is that they are connected the entire time via a cable so incredibly safe.  The girls absolutely loved it and charged around like loons and got 5-6 ‘goes’ on the two routes, even though it was rather busy.

Go Ape Junior Tree Top Adventure near Bournemouth

Once the girls finished we tracked down their mums on the Main Tree Top Adventure  so we could watch/laugh at them from the Forest Floor.  There’s takes a bit longer 2.5-3 hours with 5 different circuits, is higher, scarier and more physically challenging (suitable for 10+) but by all accounts they loved it!

Go Ape Forest Adventure near Bournemouth


Go Ape Outdoor Adventure in Dorset

One of the mums said ‘she can’t remember the last time she had that much fun!’

Camel Racing for Herts Air Ambulance

Things to do near St Albans, Herts on May Bank Holiday Monday

“It’s not every day that you see camels in the Hertfordshire countryside!’

We were looking for something a bit different to do on the Bank Holiday as a family, when someone in my timeline mentioned Camel Racing.  I love stuff that is a bit unusual and this really grabbed my attention.  The weather forecast was poor but we decided to suit up in our rain gear and brave the elements as it was for a good cause.

Camel Racing for Herts Air Amb
What a great day out albeit surreal!

This is the 3rd year that the event has taken place and is the brainchild of the Herts Air Ambulance Service.  The Herts Air Ambulance Service receives no government funding and solely relies on public donations.  It costs £130,000 a month to run.

It’s approximately 25 minutes from St Albans, Herts at Northaw Point to Point Racecouse, near Cuffley Down the A1000 (Post Code EN6 4NT).  Entry was £10 per adult which we didn’t mind as it supports what I feel is an essential service.  Hopefully, we will never have to use it but glad to know it’s there in case we ever do.


  • Free Parking
  • Children under 14 Free
  • People encouraged to bring their dogs to have a go at the timed agility course
  • Ferret Racing
  • Other Pony races including, Shetland ponies.
  • Fairground Rides (Helter Skelter, Rope Swings, Big Wheel) , Food Stalls and a Beer and Wine Tent
  • Bookie so you can bet on the races


Next year we hope to get a group together and bring a Gazebo with a few disposable BBQs.  Fingers crossed they do it again next year as it’s a wonderfully bizarre day out.  Keep an eye out for it!