With the prospect of summer around the corner, the kids were desperate for a trip to the beach. The problem was where to go – living slap-bang in the middle of the country, there is no obvious choice. In the end we chose Norfolk, as we have friends nearby who we can always drop in on if the weather lets us down.
Old Hunstanton Beach is one of the only villages on the British east coast that faces west, and thus offers the chance to see amazing sunsets over the Wash. For me, the broad sandy beach, lined on one side with the tidal sea and on the other with bristly sand dunes, immediately conjured up memories of childhood beach trips – of playing elaborate games of tag for hours and hours, of hiding between the sand dunes and making dramatic leaps between them on high-speed chases. My kids, 6 and 4, soon got into the spirit, running, jumping and sliding down the dunes with great delight.
'Except for the odd passing dog-walker and the kite-flyers further down the beach, it felt as though we had the huge expanse to ourselves. The kids were truly in their element.'
We're very fortunate in that our friends own one of the beach huts hidden behind the sand dunes, and picnic blankets and even cutlery were on hand for our elaborate lunch. It also meant that sand sandwiches were not on the menu – another gripe of my husband’s, although to me they are just another source of nostalgia about family holiday memories. For those who want to emulate us, I noticed that one or two of the private huts at Old Hunstanton can be hired, while further up the coast in the larger seaside resort of Hunstanton (or Sunny Hunny as it’s known), there are council-owned beach huts (or chalets) that can be hired out on a daily or weekly basis.
Except for the odd passing dog-walker and the kite-flyers further down the beach, it felt as though we had the huge expanse of Old Hunstanton Beach to ourselves. The kids were truly in their element, collecting seashells and playing with a boat in a patch of sandy water while I snapped away with the camera and made the most of the gorgeous sea air.
We left the beach that day planning another trip to Old Hunstanton, having had our ‘beach fix’ as well as a fantastic family break. It is the simple things that make family holidays great and a sandy beach is definitely high on my own tick list.
Read more about Norfolk family holidays, including our hand-picked family-friendly places to stay.