Before we started the journey home we decided to take the trip on the North Norfolk Railway (known as the Poppy Line as it winds through fields of poppies) that we hadn’t been able to a few days earlier. After we had packed up our car and said goodbye to Cate at Barnhouse Cottages, we set off to the western terminus of the railway at Holt. The station is a mile away from the town itself and is a good place to start out on your train adventure, as it has its own car park (£1 donation), a little museum, miniature railway (seasonal) and cafe to keep you busy whilst you wait for your train.
The day we travelled, the timetable alternated between steam and diesel trains. We were hoping to travel on the steam train and luckily the next train to leave Holt was the iconic Mayflower steam locomotive built in 1948.
Before we boarded the Mayflower, we popped into the museum which is run by enthusiastic volunteers and tells the story of both the railway and of William Marriott who built the railway in 1887 and ran it until 1924. There was a children’s quiz to do but Seren was a bit too young for that. I found the exhibits interesting though and enjoyed looking at the railway memorabilia.
The journey from Holt to the eastern terminus at Sheringham takes around 25 minutes and we stayed in our seats to do a return trip (well apart from the toddler needing a dash to the toilet at Sheringham). During the journey Seren enjoyed looking out of the window at the coastal countryside and seeing the sea appear as well as drawing trains and aeroplanes on her mini drawing board. Imogen enjoyed people watching and playing with a mini windmill. As well as the ticket inspector, a friendly railway volunteer comes around to chat to the passengers during the journey.
Back at Holt, we drove into the town to find somewhere for lunch. Byfords was much recommended by Barnhouse Cottages. We weren’t sure exactly where it was (you realise how reliant you are on 3G phone connection and Google maps when you don’t have it!) so when Andy sat on a wall to feed Imogen, Seren and I went off to look for Byfords. We were gone a while so Andy wandered off to find us, cue a comedy of missed meetings down the various alleyways of the Georgian town. When I told Seren we had lost daddy, she replied with “Oh but I liked daddy!”. We found him eventually and Byfords too.
Byfords is a cosy cafe, deli and hotel situated in the town’s oldest building. Apparently Kate and Camilla visit there when in this part of the world. Despite not being royalty, we were well looked after, the service was attentive and the food pretty good too. I opted for kedgeree (tasty, but I’d give the poached egg on top of it 5 out of 10), Andy had a pasty and salad and Seren choose a pizza from the kids’ menu. The pizza was huge, she ate about a quarter of it and we took the rest of it with us for the journey home. Seren was absolutely thrilled with the pizza box, “is this for me? I can take it home?” she said then carried it (somewhat precariously) all the way to the car.