Vacation Period: Twenty One days
Lodging: At my aunt’s place
“Not everyone gets a chance to live their childhood dreams, I guess I am amongst the few lucky ones” – is the first thought that crossed my mind when I set eyes on the enchanting ‘Sheringham’. I grew up reading ‘Enid Bltyon’s enchanted forest stories with all the goblins and pixies and fairies and country side adventures…… In my head I had created a place which I never thought I would actually get to see in reality and that too with my little munchkin. It was all what I had imagined and more. I knew instantly that we were up for a great summer adventure. Meaning of adventure however changes drastically when one becomes a mom. Before I had Hafsa, I was into all kind of extreme sports, roller coaster rides and crazy water activities. But now a more simple, relaxed, looking at small things, enjoying little pleasures of life and literally slowing down to smell the roses is what constitutes an amazing vacation.
For me this town had everything, from a breathtaking beach to a gorgeous country hill side and a small little market to satisfy my city girl spirit. Just the right mix J. This was my first trip after I had hafsa and I could not have asked for a better place to visit.
Sheringham — 3 Great Reasons to Visit
The calm and beautiful Country Side
May be its just me but living my whole life in a metropolitan city has increased my admiration towards country side life. So for me the first and foremost reason to visit a calm place like sheringham was the peace and quiet it had. The fact that its a cut off from the extremely busy life I lead back home, made this a perfect choice for this summer break. There is a sense of calmness to the sound that crashing water waves make. One afternoon, I and Hafsa just sat down on the beach listening to the waves and looking at the birds. Hafsa thoroughly enjoyed watching seagulls flying high up above the sea and then dipping all the way down to catch fishes. We would also take long walks on the beach, Hafsa was fascinated by the beach rocks and how the waves touched the shore line and back.
The Beeston Bump
One of my most favorite places in Sheringham is a small hill called the “Beeston Bump” alongside its majestic golf course. The hill has a walking course and a light house. Interesting thing about the top of the hill is the historic benches nestled in a very private way spread across the top. Each bench is made in a way that it is hidden from all other benches, so as to give privacy to the people who come here to watch sunsets, breath in the fresh air or simply to read a book on a sunny day. They are all engraved with names of couples from the eighties, who used to sit here and gaze at the sunset, hidden away from the world (how romantic!) Needless to say, I wished for Sarfaraz to be there by my side every time I went up there.
Walking for about 15mins up the hill, you could see the entire town, the sea, the sun and almost the entire golf course. The view is simply breathtaking. I jogged up the hill alone a few times just to recuperate and feast my eyes on Allah’s magnificence. I could never get enough of that scenery. I think its safe to say that the hill is one of my most favorite places in the world! I think what makes the place even more beautiful is the weather. Summer is just a perfect time to visit Sheringham. Although it rains quite a lot and its also pretty cold most of the time but if you have the right clothes on, you are good to go.
This is what Wikkipedia has to say about beeston bump, pretty neat huh?J
“Sheringham nestles under the nearby hill of Beeston Bump a geological site if special scientific interest which was the site of one of the World War II. The Bump can be climbed using the Norfolk Coast Path (The Norfolk Coast Path is a long distance footpath in Norfolk, running 45 miles (72 km) from Hunstanton to Cromer. It was opened in 1986 and covers the North Norfolk Coast AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) from either the east or west.)
The Bump began forming between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago at the end of the latest Ice Age. The huge mass of ice caused a depression in the land and, as the ice melted, the land mass began to 'spring' slowly back in a process called Isocratic readjustment. This process still occurs in the UK, as Northern England is slowly rising.”
The history and the tourist attractions
Sheringham is packed with historic events and stories. It is also a very busy and famous tourist’s spot. People all around the UK visit Sheringham for holidays during the summers, mainly because of the sea. At any sunny day you could see people paragliding, surfing, enjoying all types of sea food and sipping on English tea sitting on the seawall.
Historic places include the war memorial to the men and women of Sheringham who died in military service during the two World Wars. There is also a museum called ‘The Mo’ - The name Mo comes from a little girl who lived in Sheringham over 130 years ago and the museum tells her story and those of other Sheringham people. On 19 January 1915, Sheringham became the first place in Britain to have a bomb dropped on it. The story and part of the bomb is on display in the Museum. Sheringham was a front-line town during World War II. An exhibit called the 'Misfortunes of Peace and War' included the debris of planes, ships, and other items found on the beaches of North Norfolk.
Other tourist’s spots include ‘Sheringham Park’ which hosts a spring flower festival every year. They also have other festivals all through summers – during our stay there was a flower festival, a beer festival and the potty festival.
All forms of transportations are available to access all nearby towns and cities. Sheringham also has a steam train called the ‘Poppy Line’ – its another one of Sheringham’s tourist attractions. The historic looking British steam engine takes you on a 45 minute ride through some of Norfolk’s stunning coastal countryside.
Once we took a 20 minutes bus ride to Cromer – a coastal town in North Norfolk. Cromer is house to many historic buildings. Roads resemble somewhat to Italy, narrow and elevated. The whole city has an ancient theme to it. We enjoyed walking down the roads; and had lunch at a small street side cafe opposite to the Church of St Peter and St Paul.
Highlights of the Trip
The ‘Potty’ Festival
I swear that is what its called! No matter how absurd this word sounds to our ears, the word potty is also used as an adjective meaning ‘very drunk or acting silly or stupid’. Its apparently a common phrase around the UK; I on the other hand was a bit embarrassed to even say it out aloud!
The Sheringham ‘Lobster Potties’ were first formed in 1986 as a 'one off' to raise funds for Sheringham Health Centre. They got very famous and were asked to perform at several events and have gone from strength to strength. Using the Lobster Public House as their headquarters, and being considered by some as 'potty', the name Lobster Potties was obvious! They dance the traditional Norfolk Morris style and the group has performed in many parts of Europe as well as the U.K.
In 1994 they started the annual 'Potty' festival with just a few visiting groups, and this has grown over the years, and sides come from all over the U.K. and Europe to take part. This year’s festival featured some twenty teams of varying styles and danced all day in the town delighting hundreds of visitors and residents alike.
I and Hafsa watched wide eyed as the dancers spent the entire day singing and dancing. They were loud and enthusiastic and so full of energy – I even at this age couldn’t match their stamina!
Shopping, shopping and more shopping
Plus point of visiting and staying with family is that you save a lot on accommodation and food. Well in my case I didn’t save at all! I spent every bit on shopping for Hafsa - From clothes to shoes to toys to school gadgets – I bought it all. Being a baking enthusiast I went crazy with baking supplies and decorative ingredients. I shopped in Sheringham, I shopped at Cromer and I shopped at a short trip to Birmingham! As I said, my city girl shopaholic spirit needed a vacation too J
Favorite Holiday Moments
I loved every bit of my entire stay at Sheringham. For me it was a break much awaited and also with some really amazing people. My aunt and uncle, made sure that we had all the famous cuisines of the place and saw as many places as we could. They own a shop in Sheringham and one of my most favorite parts of the trip was hanging out at the shop, meeting many new people and eating ‘Fish n Chips’ almost every day for lunch! People over there are simply amazing; it’s a total shift in cultural paradigm. Almost every one owns a dog, everyone is happy and smiling and using phrases like ‘my darling’, ‘bless you’ and ‘thank you my love’. Amongst other foods I tried lobster, had prawns and crabs. I and Hafsa used to have our daily dose of Sheringham’s amazingly yummy and famous local ice creams. As you must have guessed by now I am very fond of eating and a good vacation is the one where the food is yummy and easily available J. My uncle also has a piece of small land allotted by the government for cultivation and farming. So all the vegetable we ate were home grown and purely organic! The potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, beans, fresh herbs, spinach and onions all were full of flavors and an absolute delight to have.
Memorable Moments for Hafsa
When I look back now, I feel that this trip was all about Hafsa. Children have this quality of making people want to entertain them and that’s exactly what happened. My aunt and uncle would plan small little trips for hafsa, small things which we all knew she would really appreciate and remember for a long time. She loved hanging out at the shop, walking with me on the beach, even climbing the hill but her fondest memories are the following:
- Feeding Ducks and a horse called ‘Magic’
- Trip to the ‘Banham Zoo’
- Strawberry picking at the allotment.