Saturday, 5 March 2016

2016 East Anglian amblings, Cambridge, Peterborough and Rutland Water

Day 1 Mill Cottage, Pretty Corner, Sheringham.

This little trip started with a visit to Wickenby Airfield. My Dad, a flight engineer on Lancasters, was based there during the war and it's worth a visit to see their little museum. There's a cafe and the museum staff are very knowledgeable about 626 Squadron. We donated some of Dad's books to the museum and , as usual, felt sad about all those who had lost their lives in the war.
This is a photo of 'Icarus' at Wickenby symbolising those who fell from the skies in the war. It was taken on Dad's 90th birthday- my sister scattered his ashes here too.
Onwards into Norfolk ... we didn't have any clear plans and as it was getting dark, we headed for Mill Cottage. It's outside of Sheringham and run by a motorhoming couple. There's parking, waste emptying, water and electric. The pitches are small with views over open fields but you have use of the lovely garden. We were made welcome but it was too dark to walk into Sheringham so we had a quiet night there.

Day 2  Old Hall Hotel Caister

We got advice from the couple running the site as to where is nice to go and off we went. First we went into Sheringham then we went along the coast, west. We parked up in Wells, parked in the only available spot on the road and had a walk along the estuary in the breeze. We had a wander around  the little town.As it was half term, everywhere seemed busy and we didn't find parking easy to find to stop at other places, however Pete achieved his goal of buying a dressed crab. We tootled in and out of lovely villages till we got back to Sheringham where we ate the crab and watched the sea.

We headed then to Caister where the Old Hall hotel had been recommended as a stopover. We were welcomed and got plugged in via a lead from the kitchen area. For fifteen pounds, you get to park and have electricity and then ten pounds is refunded from your food/bar bill and you are given a pass for the very nice pool and spa. We passed some time in the bar ( real ales) then went back to the van. We came back in to eat having been talked into cod loin in batter. Sadly, it didn't live up to the hype and my mussels were barely warm. We didn't sleep very well either as it is a very busy corner on a main road next to a Lidl........

and we woke to a dismal day.

Day 3 The Hollies, Kessingland
We headed for Waveney River Centre where we had booked for a few nights- it looked so good on the website and had good reviews. Driving up the very muddy narrow lane with passing places for what seemed an endless time, we did start to wonder what we'd done. We were given our 'level pitch' to quote the website and it was up a slight slope and even if we had gone up it, we would not have been level. We decided against even trying as it would have churned the mud up so I went to reception. They suggested other pitches that were sloping sideways but whether it was the weather and the fact it was dismal or the less than enthusiastic  staff, we decided to leave. I am sure that in summer it would be a lovely place but  not for us at this time of year. We drove for a while being unsure as to what to do next but I remembered reading about a site at Kessingland so off we went. We got there and went into reception- what a difference- the ladies there were so welcoming and the guy who showed us to our pitch was super, explaining where things were and generally being enthusiastic about the wild life. ( a flock of goldfinches, two kestrels for starters) 
It's a big site with an open space near the cliff tops and we had a super walk along the beach in the afternoon sun. The showers are pristine and hot and just what we needed after a good walk. There's no wifi here but as we watched the goldfinches settling in for the night, we didn't miss it.

 There's really significant coastal erosion here
A bit of beach sculpture...entitled 'Spring'

Day 4 Norwich

It was minus five in the night but we were snug. I confessed to reception that I had made the shower floor muddy ( the site is on clay ) and there wasn't a mop or anything to clean up with. The receptionist was really nice and so friendly- I wished we were staying longer as it was a welcoming place- and the big bonus, it was only ten pounds!  We were waved off by Mark, the guy who had greeted us yesterday and we both mused about what makes a site good for you......mostly, the first impression sets the tone and maybe if the ladies in reception at Waveney had looked remotely interested , it might have been different but I was so impressed by the Kessingland staff.  If we are down that way again, we will go back to that site. 
We moved on to Norwich after visiting the convenient Morrisons shop just down the road from the site.  The van clocked 10,00 miles just before we got to my sister's house.We spent the night with my family, after spending the afternoon putting together a Playmobil hospital .....hours of endless fun - or not..but we made a little girl very happy.

Day 5 Cherry Hinton Caravan Club site Cambridge
Pete's birthday and our wedding anniversary
We've never been to Cambridge  but we liked the site set in an old quarry as it wasn't rows of white blobs. The downside was the pitches were set off the road so you had to drive over grass to get to them. ( not all pitches) ...not the best idea for an open all year site.
We had a walk into Cherry Hinton calling at the nearby Robin Hood for a drink, buying flowers and a charity shop vase before going into the Red Lion for another drink. 

We returned to the Robin Hood for a lovely meal- the staff were super and the food was really good. We were glad we'd booked a table earlier as it was very busy. We had a great night.

Day 6 Cambridge

As it was Sunday, we decided to have a lazy day doing nothing much but we had a walk around the Cherry Hinton chalk pits which are of special scientific interest.  There are two pits and a nature reserve and we happily passed the afternoon and had a tv evening.

Day 6 Cambridge

We got the bus to town by the Robin Hood pub and went into Cambridge. ( £4.10 for a day rover ticket) We sat upstairs at the front like kids! We walked around the market and into the ( closed to the public!) colleges. We walked along the river and saw some of the sights...stopping frequently because Pete still is not walking very well. I'll let the photos do the 'talking.'...

 We got the bus home tired and happy after a look around this beautiful place.

Day 7 Cambridge

It was sunny and cold again so once more we got the bus and walked ( very slowly) to the Fitzwilliam Museum where a new Eygptian exhibition was just opening. There was so much to see that it was impossible to do justice to it- especially when I could have spent ages just looking at the ceilings! 

I loved seeing the model for 'The Angel of the North' . 

We had a late lunch in the 'Baron of Beef'- super food, lovely staff and good beer plus a discount for filling a form in- perfect! We had balked at paying £9 to go inside King's College Chapel but discovered that you can go in at 5.30pm free when there is a service. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the amazing choir and tears ran down my cheeks. The candlelit chapel was beautiful but the singing was spine tingling. Pete left after a while and I met him in the famous pub 'The Eagle' before getting the bus back...once more weary but so happy. 

Day 8 Ferry Meadows Caravan Club site Peterborough

It was a sunny frosty morning so we got off the pitch without churning up the grass. We had a short drive to the lovely site at Nene Park, so close to the lakes and parkland with an abundance of wildlife. There were so many rabbits and squirrels about. I had a super walk and sat in the sun then later walked again with Pete this time taking the binoculars for a close up of some of the amazing birds here. We sat on a bench and saw broken shellfish- left by otters! We didn't see one but it felt great to know they were around.

Day 9 Ferry Meadows

We went for a morning walk to where we had seen the shells the day before and we sat in the sun . We didn't see any otters but we saw lots of birds. We love the grebes who did their 'disappearing act' going under the water and bobbing up where you least expect them. We walked to Rutland Cycle shop ( opposite direction to lakes) and into the pub next door for a rest. We walked to the little village and local shops having to check out the 'Windmill' pub as well. The village is very pretty with more thatched houses than I expected. 

Day 9 Rutland Caravan site Greetham
 We drove to Rutland site through villages and called in for shopping in Stamford. It's about a year since we were last here but we were meeting up with friends for the weekend. We arrived just after Katie and Stewart, Tom and Lucille followed us in closely followed by Karen and Phil so coffees and hot cross buns and a chat were first on the agenda. We had a walk down to the Wheatsheaf- two pints in front of a lovely fire. We had to call in the Plough too...churlish not to....then went back to Katie's van where she and Lucille had made a lovely meal for all of us.

Day 10 Rutland

The adult field shower block is being extended so was closed .Tom,  Lucille , Katie and Stew went into Oakham, Karen and Phil went for a walk and we did nothing much at all! We went to the Plough for an evening meal which was  magnificent- everything about it was good. The staff were so friendly and helpful and after eating, we asked the chef to come out , which he did, and we thanked him, He passed on how he had cooked some of the food and was such a nice guy. The house Chilean Merlot was also good. We all agreed that it was the nicest meal we had eaten out in a long time.

Day 11 Rutland
The others all went off on different walks but once again we did very little except walk to the Wheatsheaf where we met up with Tom and Lucille then after they had gone, Karen and Phil. We had a quiet night. 
The next day we left for home after a really nice break. 

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