90-81 Norfolk things to do
90 Appreciate the trading and fishing heritage of King's Lynn by taking the Maritime Trail from the Customs House. On the banks of the river Ouse, the town was once a hotbed of commerce and the third most important port in the Middle Ages through its association with the Hanse Society. Look out for the statue of local man George Vancouver, best known for his 1791-95 which explored and charted North America's northwestern Pacific Coast, Alaska and British Columbia before sensibly heading somewhere warmer… the Hawaiian islands and Australia.
89 Who needs Venice when you've taken a day boat out from Wroxham in the Norfolk Broads? Better still, take one out for a whole week - you'll get to appreciate the UK's Magical Waterland a whole lot more. Enjoy the tranquillity, the birdlife and beautiful countryside of Britain's largest protected wetland as you slip along. Listen out for a booming Bittern or catch sight of a rare swallowtail, Britain's largest butterfly, which is unique to the Broads.
88 Walked along Wells-next-the-Sea beach. No, it's not the same as Holkham beach. Holkham's the Hollywood beach… the lardy-dah, oh-get-me, Gywnnie's-been-here-in-a-blockbuster-film and the-All-Saints-have-trooped-along-in-a-video-to-their-song-Pure-Shores beach. Wells has the candyfloss, gingerbread huts. Take off your shoes and socks and wade in the shallow pools and pick among the razorshells. Wait until low tide and stride off along The Run, a mile out… but be careful if you cross it to the sandbank at the end, the flow speed is fiercesome!
87 Visited the Sainsbury Centre on the University of East Anglia campus, build by architect Norman Foster in 1973 to house the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. It was Foster's first public building and is an attraction in itself, along with the works of Picasso, Degas, Henry Moore and Francis Bacon. The Centre also hosts regular exhibitions, such as 2013’s world class Masterpieces: Art & East Anglia curated by Ian Collins.
86 Been beachcombing along Norfolk's very own version of the Jurassic Coast, walking in the footsteps of the first people to arrive in Britain. Yes, really! 800,000 year old footprints have been found in the silt at Happisburgh, the earliest evidence of man found in the UK, which means Norfolk is the cradle of British civilisation and home of the first tourists! (See the film top left). Flint tools have also been found at Happisburgh. Then, of course, there's Seahenge which was discovered at Holme-next-the-Sea (you can see it at King's Lynn Museum) and the 700,000 year old West Runton Elephant, the most complete specimen of the species to have been found in the world and the oldest mammoth skeleton to have been found in the UK (you can see some of in Cromer Museum).
85 Taken a look around the family-run Jarrold, Norwich's wonderful independent department store, with an award-winning book department that has over 40,000 titles. (It was Jarrold who published 30 million bestseller Black Beauty by Anna Sewell). Alongside all the big High Street names and the largest city centre Marks & Spencer outside London, over 40 per cent of Norwich's shops are independent, which means shoppers get the best of both worlds. Norwich is recognised as one of the top 10 places to shop in the UK.
84 See the Christmas Spectacular at Thursford – you'll be one of more than one hundred thousand! Its dancers and performers are recruited from London's West End each Spring and the show costs over a million pounds to put on – and it’s easy to see why. Coaches come from across the country to see this perfect antidote to the commercialism of Christmas.
83 Stood on a deserted United State Army Air Force runway in Norfolk and 'heard' the planes returning. During the second world war Norfolk was home to 17 USAAF bases (one of them commanded by Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart) with over 50,000 servicemen. Called the Friendly Invasion, the young Americans brought with them chewing gum, Coca Cola and peanut butter!
82 Walked some of the Peddar's Way and imagined what it would have been like when the Romans built it. The name comes from the Latin 'pedester' which means 'on foot'. The trail starts in the unique Brecks and heads 46 miles up to the north Norfolk coast where the Romans had a camp, and then joins the Norfolk Coastal Path.
81 Visited Sandringham, the royal datcha in north west Norfolk which also has an excellent museum. The hall was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1862 as a home for the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VII) and his new bride Princess Alexandra who found the surrounding countryside reminded her of her native Denmark. Two years after moving in, the prince razed the hall to create what we see today. Until 1969, the estate even had its own railway station, at nearby Wolferton, which is now a private residence. Also on the estate is Anmer Hall, said to be the new home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son George, which means Norfolk will be home to the second and third in line to the Throne!