Our party of 36 members and wives left Bournemouth early on Sunday 19th May for a 4 day tour of Cambridgeshire and North Norfolk. The hotel for the duration was the “Le Strange Arms” located in the village of Old Hunstanton with magnificent views over the dunes, beach and the Wash.
En route we stopped at Ely Cathedral which we believe is the 4th largest in England. It is a marvellous building and totally dominates the city.
Our programme gave us many sightseeing opportunities of buildings such as Sandringham, Holkham Hall, Oxburgh Hall ,Binham Priory also a steam train ride as well as a visit to Blakeney village and a lavender farm.
Top of the bill was Sandringham, the winter retreat of the Royal Family. We toured the main ground-floor rooms of the house which are regularly used by the Royal Family and the rooms definitely had that “lived in feeling” and were extremely bright and cheerful. The decor and contents remain very much as they were in Edwardian times. We also visited the car and carriage museum, the lovely gardens and of course the famous church including the path up to the church which we see every Christmas on our TVs where our group photograph was taken.
hat they lend out certain pictures to museums and galleries and cover up the space left with a fake! The museum was quite extensive and contained memorabilia of everyday items many of which, alas, we could recall.
In between these two attractions we went to the harbour town of Blakeney for coffee, travelled on the “Poppy” steam train from Sheringham to Holt and visited Denham Priory which was built 900 years ago. The church in still in use and we were given a tour of both the church and the extensive monastic ruins by well informed guides. The site was very exposed and it was extremely windy so those who completed the course deserved a medal.
On the final day we left the hotel for Oxburgh Hall, a NT property which was in fact closed for the day but Martin had used his charm to persuade them to open and we were given a guided private tour. The Hall is moated and over 500 years old and proved to be most interesting with bedrooms reached by spiral staircases, a priest’s hole and secret library doors. The rooms were well furnished.
We left the Hall for our final destination, Cambridge where we had lunch but unfortunately some of us were too late to look over Kings College chapel due to a service being held later in the day. The weather had turned for the worse so we set off for home at 4.30pm
In conclusion I would like to add that our hotel was very comfortable and the food extremely good. Martin and Carol had given us an excellent itinery and we thank them for their hard work in making the tour so enjoyable and memorable
Tim Nott May 2013