The county of Norfolk has long held an incredibly special place in my heart and soul, with its rolling countryside, wide open skies, beautiful sandy beaches, and plenty of arcades to keep my inner ten-year-old content.
The obsession began in the simpler days of my youth, way back in 1996. My grandfather had been visiting the coastal village of Hemsby since the 1940s when he was stationed nearby during his time in the British army. He would later make his way over from our hometown of St Albans several times a year to meet friends, and over the years began to take his children to enjoy the area throughout the 60s and 70s.
One such child grew up to be my mother, who after a few years of my birth vowed to continue the tradition. From June 1996 through to September 2007 we made our semi-annual pilgrimage to the NR29 area, each time staying in the simple yet homely accommodation on offer at the Hemsby Beach Holiday Park (now operated by Richardsons).
Lunch at the curved Bevan’s restaurant (now called Mrs. B’s) or Two Way Cafe, and dinner at The Lacon Arms, followed of course by several hours in the arcades. Not to mention the beach! For a young Daniel, this was as close to ecstasy as it got.
By the time we stopped visiting I had reached the rebellious age of 17, and family holidays in Norfolk were no longer “cool”, so I opted to spend my summers with friends in various parts of France and Spain.
This didn’t last long however, and by June 2012 I was feeling thoroughly nostalgic for East Anglia’s magic touch. I now jokingly refer to my early 20s as my “quarter life crisis”, and the cure was quite simple.
This time we switched it up a little, and decided to see what it would be like to spend a week in a caravan. California Cliffs was the destination of choice, and this time around we (in part due to the poor facilities on-site) spent the majority of our time exploring the surrounding area.
Potter Heigham became a favourite spot of mine, and in 2015 I was even inspired to take up photography by the beautiful views on offer.
From 2012 until 2016 we continued our Norfolk tradition as a family, with me “coming home” ready for our two-hour car journey every June. However, with my mother and her dad both getting older and less inclined to travel, last year was deemed to be our final visit as a family.
Whilst it certainly feels like the end of an era, I think we managed a pretty good 20 year run! My grandfather especially, who was able to call Hemsby his home-away-from-home for over 50 years.
Now approaching 30 myself, Norfolk’s charms are beginning to lure me eastward for a more permanent residence. Having taken my business fully remote six months ago, the opportunities are starting to fall into place.
Whilst it may take a good few years before anything is finalised, you can rest assured this fabulous county will capture me once again before too long; and this time, resistance is futile.