Next year I will be undertaking one massive road trip – a trip of a life time – riding through some of the most iconic places in America on a Harley Davidson motorbike. I can’t wait. Really. It is going to be such an amazing experience. But it is, of course, possible to have a fantastic road trip closer to home. To prove it, Moneysupermarket.com have challenged a number of bloggers to go on a road trip and day out costing under £50.
Everyone who knows me, even just a little bit, knows I love to be by the sea. I could I would live and work by the sea so I could see it, hear it and feel it every day. So when I heard about a bloggers road trip challenge there was no option for me than to use it as an opportunity to go and check the sea was still there. But which seaside should I visit? After reading Liberty London Girl’s post on her visit to Wells-next-the-Sea a couple of weeks ago or so, and vowing then that I would go and visit it again soon (it’s been years!), I saw this as my chance. Moneysupermarket gave me some money for fuel, so I planned my route to Wells via Hunstanton, booked a Friday off work, and charged up the camera batteries.
I did think I should do my road trip by motorbike. But as it happened the day turned out to be quite stormy and the previous evening I got a puncture in my bicycle on the way home from work so I bunged my slashed inner tube and all my other bits and bobs (bike tyre, waterproof, packed lunch, walking boots, camera, cash, sun hat and sun cream – always hopeful) in the boot and off I went… this was my transport, having a quick rest at Sutton Bridge on the way towards Kings Lynn.
I drove down from Lincoln on the A15 and then A17 to Kings Lynn, where I stopped to get a new inner tube. Next door to Halfords was a McDonalds, and I remembered about all our family road trips when we were kids – my sister and I would always be encouraged to get up early so we could leave for our holiday or our day out before the traffic built up, and as a reward we’d stop somewhere for breakfast on the way. I remember I would choose a Big Breakfast with the sausage meat and scrambled egg if we stopped at McDonalds, or an omelette if it was Little Chef. So for old time’s sake I stepped into the Golden Arches and ordered a breakfast bagel, which I enjoyed far too much while I reminisced (in my head!) about my childhood. Nine times out of ten our family road trips also involved the seaside – or a castle – or a castle followed by the seaside. I wondered if there was a castle I should add to my itinerary…
Anyway, I digress. From Kings Lynn I took the road up to Hunstanton, passed Sandringham, which I hoped to pop to on the way home. Hunstanton is an old Victorian seaside resort much like any other in England really. It as the sea, sand, amusements, holiday parks, promenade, beach huts, deck chairs – you know the sort of place. I decided to go there because I knew I’d get a nice walk along the seafront and there would be a decent tea shop should the weather turn nasty. As it happened I stayed dry, with lovely blue sky over the sea but angry dark clouds and much lightening over land. I spent an hour wandering along the sand, with my Nikon around my neck – which is why this post has turned into a bit of a photo post (the lighting in all of these photos is genuine, no filters – it changed from blue sky to thick black cloud, to bright sunshine, to grey; what an odd day!).
I got back in the car a few seconds before the heavens opened – excellent timing – and headed along the coast road towards Wells-next-the-Sea, which was the ultimate destination for my road trip. But just a little way after Thornham the car in front of me slowed down to turn into a small road signposted “RSPB Titchwell Marsh”. It was about lunch time and I had my cheese and tomato ketchup sandwiches in the boot, so I followed them in hoping to find a car park with a view. Oh my, am I glad I did! What an absolutely glorious place! I didn’t realise it to start with, but after I’d parked up in the tree-lined car park (no view there!), and having peeked in a couple of hides overlooking the wildlife filled marshland, I found a sign “the beach 1km”. Ah – the sea! Naturally I took the path, and ended up on an absolutely gorgeous and totally deserted sandy beach. Stunning. What a place! And to think that halfway down that path, when the sky got very very black and I spotted fork lightening in the distance (I hate storms!), I nearly went back to my car. I’m so glad I kept going (there’s a Sunday Soliloquy in there!). The sand was soft, there were dunes, the sea was calm, and there was a big pile of building rubble on the beach which interested me a lot. I am so grateful to the driver of the car in front who lead me there – this blogger is now a paid up member of the RSPB as a result, and I will be going back there as soon as I can.
With just about enough time to still get to my original destination I returned to my car (again missing a massive rain storm, with thunder this time, by just a minute or two), and drove the few miles of winding Norfolk countryside road to Wells-next-the-Sea. I’ve been to Wells a good few times, and love it. It’s a lovely little harbour town with all the quaint features you’d expect, plus many touristy ones too. The harbour and beach are around a mile apart, and the tide leaves the area between as sand for much of the day, marooning the boats where they are left without a hope of getting to open water – it’s a sad and beautiful sight all rolled into one; what good is a sailing boat without water? I also associate Wells with seafood, fresh doughnuts covered in sugar, and seaside rock. On this occasion I chose the doughnuts, naturally. I parked at the beach end of the town and walked along the path into the town, where I got my doughnuts before getting on the cute little 10¼ gauge railway train back to my car.
By the time I left Wells I only had time to drive straight home, so I missed Sandringham, but I had found Titchwell Marsh so I wasn’t too disappointed. The traffic on the single carriageway roads through Norfolk and Lincolnshire had built up a lot and it ended up to be quite a slow and therefore frustrating journey home; at least it was the way home and not the way there. My road trip ended up just shy of 300 miles, and I had a really lovely day mooching about with my camera, dodging the rain showers and admiring the views. I hope you enjoyed my little photographic tour – next time you’ll have to come with me!