Author Archives: Dave

More from the guestbook

One of my favourite parts of visting the cottage, is catching up with what our guests have been up to, by reading the guestbook.  You can find previous comments here – both to get another angle on things to do, and to see what others think of Oaktree Cottage.

Some especially heartening comments of late (unashamedly picking the ‘best bits’!)…

….We feel lucky to have found it from the many that are advertised…

…Couldn’t ask for more from a holiday cottage, and we’ve stayed in many…

…What a gem in North Norfolk…

Rainy Days…

We all hope for fine weather on our holidays, but even though Norfolk is one of the driest counties in Britain, the occasional wet day is unavoidable.  Or if you look at the last couple of weeks, inevitable!

So it’s good to know that there are plenty of rainy-day options if you’re staying in Oaktree Cottage.

If you just want to unwind, then you can light the stove, put on a CD or DVD, read a book from the bookshelves, or play one of the many board games from the cupboard.

Alternatively, if you want to get out and about whatever the weather, then Blickling, Felbrigg, or Holkham Halls have plenty to see inside, and if you catch a break in the showers, fantastic gardens too.

Norwich makes another good rainy-day choice, whether you want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy in the Royal Arcade (a Victorian take on indoor shopping malls) or Castle Mall (the modern counterpart), or enjoy a spot of culture and history in the Castle Museum.  The market towns of Aylsham and Fakenham are also worth a look – especially if you catch them on market day.

If you want to keep the kids busy, then you can bowl in Fakenham, or enjoy the tropical leisure pool (The Splash) in Sheringham.

If art is your thing, the galleries of Holt and Cromer could easily fill another wet day, and if you’re in Cromer, then the museum there is also an interesting way to pass a couple of hours, including some fascinating information on the Woolly Mammoth found not far away in the cliffs at West Runton.  Some of the fossilised bones are on display, and give a clue as to just how mammoth a mammoth was.

Or if you’re determined to get out and see wild Norfolk, Pensthorpe and Cley marshes both have hides which will let you stay dry, while looking out on the wildlife enjoying ‘good weather for ducks’!

So, although we hope you will have the weather to enjoy the summerhouse and garden furniture, at least if the weather does its worst, you’ll never struggle to find something to do.

How old is it?

When we were buying Oaktree Cottage, we tried to find out a bit about its history.  Unfortunately the historical deeds don’t seem to exist any more, and the oldest planning record refers to the cottage in 1820, so we know it was built before then.

The beams in the kitchen look to date from about this time – the parallel saw marks point to the use of a mechanical saw.  The beams in the lounge however look much older, and were hand sawn, probably in a saw-pit, as shown by the uneven saw marks.  These are more typical of 17th century construction, so it looks as though the cottage could be at anything up to 350 to 400 years old!

In doing my research I was surprised as to how late most of Britain was actually mapped.  While we were busy building an empire, and charting the oceans of the world, most of the UK remained unrecorded!  The earliest map that I can find is the Tithe map – dating form about 1830, which clearly shows Oaktree cottage as one of the earliest buildings in Briston.

Oaktree Cottage circa 1830

Oaktree Cottage circa 1830

Norfolk Easter Cottage Holiday

Update for 2013…

Due to a cancellation, we now have the second week of the Easter holidays (week commening 6th April) available.
Easter is when all the houses, gardens, and other attractions get into full-swing, so is a great time to enjoy Norfolk without the crowds.

Perfect 10/10

We always welcome feedback from our guests, as your feedback is what helps us to get better.  And we want you to want to come back!

We welcome all feedback -either pointing out any areas that we can make better, or as on our last form ‘perfect 10/10’!


So Much More to See and Do…

One of the most rewarding parts of running Oaktree Cottage is reading your comments in the Visitor’s Book.  One thing that crops up again and again though is that you just don’t have enough time to fit everything in, so when a recent ‘booker’ asked for some suggestions, I really had to think hard about what were the unmissable ‘best of the best’ attractions.

Of course some of this will depend on what you want out of a holiday, but it does come from an ex-local!

Houses and Gardens:
Blickling Hall – Fantastic Jacobean house (owned by the parents of Anne Boleyn), amazing formal gardens, and extensive parkland.  If you’re an NT member then this is probably the one for you.
Holkham Hall – Equally impressive, but in the starker Palladian style.  It is still owned and run by the Coke family who built it, and the deer park, lake, and bygone museum all add to a full day out.
Alternatives – Sandrinham, Felbrigg, Bressingham.

For expansive sandy beaches, with dunes and woods to explore, then Wells and Holkham are hard to beat.  Wells was used for the aerial shots at the start of Kingdom, and Holkham for the closing scene of Shakespare In Love.
If the wind is from the east, then Hunstanton is the place to go (as if faces west), or to escape the crowds then Weybourne, Salthouse, Cley, or Kelling fit the bill nicely.

Norfolk Broads
Three suggestions here:
i) Park at the Bure Valley Railway in Aylsham, and join a Boat Train trip.  You will be pulled by narrow-gauge steam train along the Bure river valley to Wroxham, where there is a 10 minute walk to your Broads Cruise boat.  Leave enough time to explore Wroxham before your return trip to experience Roys of Wroxham – the largest ‘village store’ in the world.
ii) Make you way to Wroxham by road or rail, and hire a self-drive boat for the day, and explore the Broads at your own pace.  Don’t forget your picnic!
iii) Explore some of the quieter and wilder parts of the broads, either on foot or by canoe.  Ranworth Broad nature reserve, the Barton Broad Boardwalk, or a guided canoe trip from The Canoe Man are all options.

Again, you could easily spend more than a day, but don’t miss the Cathedral, Tombland (the area around the cathedral gates), Elm Hill, Bridewell Alley musesum, the Castle museum, or the Royal Arcade (the Victorian’s take on the shopping mall)

Seal Trip & Coastal Villages
Plan you day around the tides, as the seal trips operate for a few hours around high-tide.  Before or after your seal trip from Morston, explore the villages from Wells to Weybourne.  Wells and Blakeney are the busiest towns with shops ranging from bucket & spade emporiums to studio/art galleries.  Frenches chippie in Wells is one of the best in the region, and the fresh fish stall in the harbour car park takes some beating too.  Other highlights along this stretch include the North Norfolk Wildlife Trust centre / café at Cley which has fantastic views out over the marshes.  There is also a remote controlled camera (in the old visitors centre behind) as well as telescopes, so you can see close-up what’s happening out on the marsh.
If you like antiques or interior décor, then stop off at the lamp shop in Stiffkey – you’ll not find a wider range of vintage or antique lighting anywhere.
Finally Weybourne is great for a stroll along the cliff top or beach.  If you set off along the cliffs heading away from the car park for about 20-30 minutes, the cliffs come back down to beach level, so you can return along the beach.

For the Family
While all of the above have interest for all ages, a day at Bewilderwood, the Dinosaur Adventure Park, Wroxham Barns, or Amazona Zoo would certainly make for a great day out for younger visitors.  Again you won’t get the all done in a day, so you’ll have to take your pick!

For the ‘Older Childen’
OK – maybe more for the boys (of all ages!).
The North Norfolk Railway is in my mind the best of the local heritage railways.  All stations are open to look around, with Sheringham and Weybourne providing the most interest.  The foot bridge over the track at Weybourne is a great spot for taking photos too.

The Muckleburgh Collection at Weybourne has one of the biggest collections of vintage military vehicles in the UK, and also runs tank demonstrations through the main holiday season.

Finally, the Thursford Collection has a good collection of steam engines, musical organs (with regular Wurlitzer demonstrations), and fairground rides.


You will find plenty of other suggestions on our website, but I think that once you start looking, your challenge (like mine) will be to prioritise your ‘best of the best’, rather than scratching round for things to do…

Tell us if we’ve missed your favourite!

Making the Grade – AA Four Star

We are delighted to announce that Oaktree Cottage has been awarded a Four Star rating by the AA.

four-star holiday accomodation in Norfolk
Oaktree Cottage has been Awarded an AA four star rating

The inspector, fresh from a two day job at one of London’s flagship hotels, commented on the wealth of extra facilities that we provide, and rated us as ‘a good four star cottage’.

If you have already stayed with us you will know that we have made Oaktree Cottage a cosy and welcoming home from home.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for somewhere that little bit special for your next holiday in Norfolk, you might just have found it!

Staying connected?

For some, holidays are all about getting away from it all, incuding the phone and the Internet.  But most of us like to be able to contact friends and family, and, perhaps more importantly, to be contactable in case of emergencies.

Since the mobile phone coverage in Norfolk can be quite patchy (especially in a building where the walls are 2 feet thick!), we have recently installed a landline telephone and Wi-Fi Internet access in Oaktree Cottage.

We will provide you with the telephone number when you book – it’s up to you who you pass it on to!

New Year Late Availabilty Cottage Break in Norfolk

If you are looking for somewhere cosy to celebrate New Year with freinds or family, we still have availability…

Take a short break (30th December to 2nd Jan) for cosy nights by the fire and the chance to enjoy Holt Christmas lights, or a full week if you’d like to check out the sales in Norwich and the local towns and villages…

Sorry – New Year now booked…  Book now for next year !!!

New Year Cottage Break

Oaktree Cottage Reflected in a Bauble

Holt Christmas Lights

The fourth Wednesday of November each year sees Holt transformed…

Thousands of white fairy lights draped over the Georgian buildings pick out the windows and roof lines, turning the town into a winter wonderland.

If you are able to make the switching on ceremony then you will be able to enjoy street entertainment, food, and late-night opening of the shops.  But even if you miss the first night, make sure that you pop into Holt as it’s going dark, and take in the lights.

Christmas Lights in Holt Norfolk

Holt Christmas Lights