…well not necessarily if you want to make the most of the festivities, and plan a break to get into the Christmas spirit.
Oaktree Cottage is already booked for the week of Christmas, but there is plenty more going on through November and December to provide a good dose of seasonal cheer.
The Thursford Spectacular, now amazingly in its 34th year, still has a few dates available. More than 130,000 people make the trip every year (including a certain William and Kate last year) so if you would like to join them, time to buy your ticket is running out. The show opens on 9th November, and runs through until 23rd December.
Later in November (23rd), the switch-on of the Holt Christmas lights is another event not to be missed. If you have visited Holt, you will know how attractive the Georgian buildings are – but through December, the outline of the gables and windows is picked out in thousands of tiny white fairy lights. Last year the lights were turned on by Jake Humphries of BBC F1 fame.
To celebrate the switch-on, Holt is turned into something of a festive fair for the evening, with many of the shops serving festive nibbles and drinks, and with reindeer providing sleigh rides! I’ve seen the lights of Oxford Street and the West End of London many times now, but still think the lights of Holt have a charm that they just can’t compete with.
Also in late November (25th to 27th) you can beat the Royals to their Christmas at Sandringham by visiting the Sandringham Food, Craft and Country Gift fair at the Sandringham estate. It certainly beats the scrum on the high streets for a bit of quality shopping!
By early December things are in full swing – with the following being some of the highlights:
If you want some hands-on fun, then Sheringham Park is running a Twelve Days of Christmas event on 3rd December, where you can hear the origins of many of our Christmas traditions, and come away with a wreath or yule log that you have made.
At Blickling Hall (see Houses and Gardens) the hall is decorated for Christmas and open 3rd/4th, 10th/11th, and 17th/18th December. The gardens are lit with Christmas lights, and festive entertainment is laid on.
Felbrigg Hall also joins with the festivities for the weekend of 16th to 18th December, with characters from the past adding to the atmosphere. On 18th you can join in with carols in the courtyard.
The Christmas Seaside Special on Cromer Pier (Pier of the Year 2011, incidentally) starts on 3rd December, and runs through to New Year’s Eve.
Finally, for kids of all ages, there are Santa Specials running on the local steam railways (See Rail & Steam attractions).
The North Norfolk Railway is running services 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, and 20th-24th December
The Bure Valley service runs on 26th and 27th November, and 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, and 17th to 24th December.