Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Postcard from...Wells-Next-The-Sea

Greetings from Wells-Next-The-Sea, an old traditional seaside town on the North Norfolk Coast. It wasn't just the facilities that attracted us to the town, but the quaint photos of the beautiful beach huts. I've got a thing about beach huts and Southwold is our usual destination for such a traditional seaside visit. I'd love to buy our own but I've heard that they go for the same amount of money as a house extension, if not more.

The beach huts at Wells-Next-The-Sea did not fail to disappoint. You can see from the photo that they are also on stilts, (which make them even cuter), to protect them from the high tide that comes in, as they are actually located on the beach and not on any promenade or form of sea defence.

When we arrived at the beach for the first time yesterday, we were surprised at how far the sea was from the beach. We'd arrived when there was a low tide and after trugging our swimwear, towels, wind-break, beach mats and buckets & spades across the beach for 15 minutes we ran out of steam. The sea still seemed miles away so we just set up camp on the small island of sand dunes, where the children could have a great play on the sand.

Then oh,oh...we'd realised we'd forgotten our lunch...so after about 45 minutes of making sand-castles, 21st C Dad, my knight in shining armour got on his imaginary white horse and headed back to the car park with the 21st C Kids, leaving me at the sand dune camp on my own. Ah bliss, it was time to relax on the beach, with no children to look out for. It was so relaxing I fell asleep.

Later that afternoon, we headed back to the car park through the nature reserve that was just behind the beach. We then took the mini-train to visit the harbour at Wells-Next-The-Sea. You see, the name of the town gives it away a little, as it is situated about a mile away from the beach.

Located next to the harbour are typically gift shops, ice-cream parlours, an amusement arcade and fish & chip shops. Just along on the left is the entrance to Staithe Street, the resort's main shopping street, with a fair mix of gift shops and clothes shops including a vintage clothing shop. What makes the street an unusual treat, is the way it seems to be trapped in a time warp, with a break from the usual high-street names and the over-merchandising that follows. The shoe shop was a fabulous example of how such establishments used to be, with the big wooden counter, behind which were the high shelves that stored boxes upon boxes of all the shoes in different shapes and sizes. It reminded me very much of Clarks in Pontypridd, circa 1975.

After enjoying some fish & chips overlooking the harbour and a return trip to the car-park by train, we ventured back to the car to return home, but not before making a quick return to the beach to witness the tide having returned and the sea now being within an acceptable distance for us to enjoy.

Wish you were...to enjoy the ice-creams...21st C Mummy xxx


picklesmum said...

You were lucky to see the sea. The last time we were in Wells the sea wasn't. Have you been to Holkham Beach, that is beautiful too.

Erica said...

I definitely wish I was there :)

Erica @ littlemummy.com

florries mum said...

We went to Wells a few weeks ago when we were in Norfolk for the week-end. We spent the whole day walking on the beach up to Holkham, lying in the dunes, and paddling in the very warm pools left by the out-going tide-sheer bliss. They were filming the next series of Kingdom with Stephen Fry while we were there, which is what inspired me to visit in the first place-all those vistas of deserted beaches. Luckily the filming was in the town so we could enjoy the peace. Florrie loved it.

Councillor Paul Farmer said...

I took my four daughters there and stayed in a house for a week about 15 years ago. Happy memories.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi picklesmum ~ I am glad that we went back to see the sea before we left because it really was a long way out, but at least we saw a little glimmer. Haven't been to Holkham yet but would love to.

Erica - thanks for visiting all the way from Edinburgh. It's funny, but I wish I could be in Edinburgh ;-D

Florries Mum ~ That sounds so idyllic. After what Picklesmum has also said, I think we need a visit to Holkham as well. I haven't yet seen Kingdom, but having now visited that area I think I'll watch the next series, even if it is just to annoy 21st C Dad with..."look...there's the Albatross boat", "look...that's the road to Burnham Market"...hee hee. BTW, did you know that the suits that Stephen Fry wears in the series were made by our very own Trotter & Dean.

Paul - lovely memories, what's really scary is that it won't be long until I'll be looking back 15 years and remembering our visits.
In fact, 21st C Dad and I were watching Coast last night, which covered East Anglia and featured Wells/Holkham, Southwold and Aldeburgh and although we've only lived here for 4 years, we've visited some of these places many times with the children. 21st C Dad may have to reconsider his work options in a couple of years time and we may end up moving out of the area. We were discussing last night how much we would miss the coast of East Anglia. Already it brings many happy memories.

IngeniousRose said...

It looks absolutely lovely, but bet those beach huts cost a fortune these days!

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Ingenious Rose ~ welcome back :-D Yes those beach huts...don't know how much they are in Well-Next-The-Sea, but yesterday I did a general search and in the nicer resorts they are fetching about £20,000 - that's half the value of my mum's house in South Wales...yikes!