Beaches, Roman Forts and The Norfolk Broads – staycation adventures in Norfolk

Rose Farm Touring and Camping is a family friendly camping site located in the village of Belton. It is here we spent four relaxing nights in the last week of July, a perfect base to explore Norfolk.

Finding an available pitch anywhere in England was challenging, as many Brits have chosen a staycation UK Summer. So this family friendly site, suitable for both caravans and camping was perfect. The pitch was accommodating for our large tent, one car and two adults, with plenty of space for privacy and Covid-19 safety.

The site has a number of facilities including shower and toilet blocks, with washing up points adequately spread out throughout the campsite. These were immaculate in cleanliness and in better condition than your average hotel.

The showers were hot and never crowded. The site has a 2 person in, 2 out policy during Covid-19, but we never saw anyone else in toilet block two whenever we used it.

The “Jungle” end of the site was peaceful and quiet, and not very busy with other campers. You will wake up to the sound of seagulls and birds, and end the day with pretty sunset looking across the field.

There is so much to do in Norfolk, but with only three full days in the area, our decisions focused on the great outdoors and local coastal life.

Great Yarmouth is a seaside resort located 20 minutes drive away from Belton and our campsite. We managed to find free residential parking just off the main esplanade.

We walked towards Yarmouth Pier on the esplanade, spent some time in the games arcade on the Pier, then walked back along the beach. We spent just under three hours at Great Yarmouth, ending the time with an ice-cream on the esplanade. It was enough time for two adults, but it’s a fun day out for a family, with its many arcades, amusement rides and places to eat.

Cromer is a forty five minute drive north of Great Yarmouth, and we headed there in the afternoon. The drive takes you through the Norfolk Broads National Park and some very cute coastal villages.

Cromer is a coastal town located on a clifftop with superb views out to sea. Colourful beach huts can be found as you walk along its sandy beachfront where there are far less arcades and amusement rides in comparison to Great Yarmouth.

Cromer has a beautiful church, cute narrow roads, a busy high street and some great fish and chips. After a socially distanced drink at The Red Lion Pub, with its impeccably clean outdoor port a loos, and outdoor seating area adequately spaced apart, No. 1 in Cromer is the place to get your fish and chips. You can add a number of sides with your fish and chips including curry sauce and gherkins.

Burgh Castle Roman Fort was the highlight of our stay in Norfolk and only a few miles down the road from Rose Farm Touring Park in Belton. Parking is limited and busy, but this archaeological site is within walking distance from the campsite.

From the car park, if you follow the footpath, you find yourself at the Church of St Peter and St Paul and it’s round Saxo-Norman tower. Following the footpath past the modern cemetery next to the Church, you can either continue on the path or detour to the right through the gate, to walk through the meadow. On exiting the second gate, the Roman Fort stands grand across the open meadow.

The size of the fort with its preserved Eastern wall is incredibly impressive as you enter the fort through its Eastern gate. The defensive walls stand at their original height but the parapet that protected patrolling soldiers along the wall top has not survived. From the Burgh Castle Roman Fort you can walk down to the boardwalk amongst the reed beds that connects to the Anglers Way walking trail.

Norfolk Broads National Park consists of 125 miles of man-made Broads that can be explored by foot, bike or by water craft. So our final staycation event was a half day canoe rental from the town of Beccles along the River Waveney.

Although my preference is a kayak, our canoe gave us the freedom and time to explore the Broads. Next time I’d definitively want to rent a small boat. There are some great waterside pubs and towns to see, and a boat would cover more distance.

There is so much to do in Norfolk and our short time there just wasn’t enough! With Norwich to also visit and many other historical and heritage sites, another visit is definitely on the cards. And Rose Park Touring Farm is a great place to base yourself to explore Norfolk.


Kayaking on the River Nene, Oundle Wharf

As the United Kingdrom slowly comes out of Covid-19, I ventured out on Saturday July 18 to the first of many Summer staycation events, to kayak on the River Nene in Oundle, Northamptonshire.

Nene Extreme Adventures is an outdoors activity business centre based at Oundle Wharf, Oundle. It is here we rented one single, and one double kayak for a three hour self tour, at a cost of £10 per person, per hour. Provided with life jackets, the staff set up your kayak, and assist you with launching from their pontoon.

Our party of five adults (two had their own stand up paddle boards) followed the river East, past some pretty viaducts, then headed down the river in a South East direction towards Ashton Lock.

Our three hour self-tour ended with a few drinks at the Tap and Kitchen, a waterside Restaurant and Bar at Oundle Wharf. This was our first visit to a public eating place since Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted. The Tap and Kitchen have plentiful and well spaced outdoor seating where you can enjoy the local Nene Valley beers, and watch other kayakers and paddle boarders start and end their river adventures.

The kayak trip was scenic as we passed under viaducts, swans and their cygnets, and one lone sheep peering at us from under a bridge. We kayaked as far as the Ashton Lock where you cannot kayak any further unless you carry the kayaks over the bridge. This can easily be done, but we decided this was the perfect spot for lunch. Just be wary of the canal boats coming through the lock.

Renting kayaks from Nene Extreme Adventures is a fantastic staycation UK idea, and Oundle Wharf completes a great day out for both adults and children.