On the way to Norwich we stopped at Lavenham, in Suffolk. This ancient woollen town still has its original Medieval timber framed buildings, dating from around 1500. Over time the timber frames of many buildings have warped to the extent that one can only look and marvel that they are still standing. We stopped there to look around, and to have lunch in one one or other of the buildings converted to cater for visitors. The interiors matched the exteriors for old world interest.
After lunch it was onward to our hotel, just South of Norwich. Dunston Hall Hotel is is a grade II listed building, set in its own golf course. It was built in 1859 in the Elizabethan style, restored and converted to a 4 star hotel in latter years.
Next day was a full day in Norwich. A guided walking tour of the town centre was followed by time to wander at will. The combination of old and new buildings, spanning 1000 years, offered a fascinating variety of places to visit, from the two historic cathedrals to the futuristic but graceful “Forum” building, the castle, and the country’s largest six day open air semi-permanent market. Many of our group went on to visit the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, whilst other opted to remain in Norwich. Then back to Dunston Hall for dinner.
Sandringham, the Queen’s Norfolk home was the destination for the next day. After looking round the small museum of old cars and other interesing items, we ware able to wander round the ground floor rooms of the house. These were of course impressive, but also had a truly homely, lived-in feel . The surrounding gardens made for a very pleasant afternoon wander, mixing the quite formal with the picturesque informal. Lunch was available in the on-site restaurant, where we also gathered for an afternoon cream tea.
Following this quite restfull day, next day was a trip to Holkham Hall, with impressive interiors, and on to Thursford with its collection of steam driven engines and organs.
Friday involved a lot of restfull sitting around ! We began with a 45 minute ride on the Bure Valley narrow guage railway, pulled by a steam locomotive. This conveyed us to Wroxham, where our coach was waiting to take us the short distance to Wroxham Bridge. Here we joined a tour boat for a one and a half hour trip round the Broads, with an informative running commentary, returning to Wroxham Bridge to refuel ourselves and have a look around. We interupted our return to Dunstan Hall at an interesting little out of town shopping centre with a rural emphasis.
Saturday was home time. On the return journey we stopped at Oxburgh Hall. This large, late 15th century fortified and moated house became an stronghold of the Roman Catholic church after the Reformation. Like any self respecting RC house following the Reformation there is a priest hole. Unlike in other houses, visitors are free to enter. Some of our group (one at a time!) lowered themselves down the narrow, angled entrance to find quite a roomy niche hidden in the walls of the house. Exiting did require a little forethought and agility!
Altogether another action packed Probus holiday, carefully crafted to be interesting, but never too tireing. Many thanks to the Outings team.
|Camberley & District Probus Club Annual Holiday 2017 – Norfolk|