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Oaktree Cottage – Your Perfect Norfolk Hideaway

Sitting on the edge of the village, Oaktree cottage has always been a classic Norfolk hideaway.

Originally it occupied a much larger plot, with its own well, and enough land to form a self-contained hideaway. We can see this from the earliest tithe maps, to aerial photographs taken in World War Two…

Some time after the end of WW2 the cottage fell into disrepair, and we’re told by previous owners that it was again rescued and restored as a Norfolk Hideaway by a couple who were doctors in a London hospital. They clearly loved North Norfolk, as they put a lot of love and effort into the restoration, and of course the roads from London were nothing like they are today.

We suspect that it was during this renovation that the kitchen and bathroom extension was added. There are no planning records from the time, but we believe that the original stairs would have been a ‘Norfolk Winder’ in one of the alcoves by the fireplace, and the footprint of the building would have basically been the lounge and the bedrooms.

The kitchen, bathrooms, and staircase were all added at this time, with the stairs now taking you outside of the original building, stepping back into the old house when you enter the bedrooms.

The cottage was then home to a builder who divided the plot, and built a much larger home on what would have been the smallholding. Sadly they also had to remove the ancient oak which gave the cottage its name to make room for the house, although the ‘small’ oak at the front of that house must be at least 120 years old.

Finally the cottage was a retirement home for the couple that we bought it from, before they moved to a flat by the coast.

Our story began in the late early 2000’s. I’d grown up near Holt, and still have family in the area. A degree in Electronics and Telecoms meant that I ended up working in London, and the Berkshire, and living in Surrey, but a love for North Norfolk led us to seek our own Norfolk Hideaway, which we’re now proud to share with you.

Our response to Covid-19

It has been, and continues to be a challenging time for all of us. Thankfully neither we or any of the cleaning team have been directly impacted, but of course it changes the way we do things.
Our cleaning company were on the ball, and invested in anti-viral foggers back in March 2020 which means that the cottage gets a good fogging on every changeover. Even so, we’d rather put safety ahead of profit, and so decided to keep a buffer week between bookings. The best advice we’ve found tells us that the virus can survive for up to 3 days on some surfaces (stainless steel being one), but much less on more absorbent surfaces. This means that our buffer week allows the cleaner to visit on Tuesday, 3 days after guests have left, and four days before the next guests arrive.

We’re also being as fair as we can with refunds and cancellations for bookings made since the start of the pandemic, as we appreciate that you can’t get insurance that will cover Covid related cancellations any more. If we are locked-down and can’t accept guests, then you will get a refund.

Booking for 2017

It’s been a long time since we posted – mostly because things have settled into a pleasant routine.

Just a quick note though, to say that we have now added prices and availability for 2017.  A few dates have already gone – so if you have a preferred date then please get in quick!


Hot on the heals of the Oscars, a bit of glitz has come to Cromer this week as Steve Coogan and crew film the final sequences of the upcoming “Alan Partridge” film.

Love him or hate him, Alan and his bufoonery have been livening up a distinctly chilly Cromer pier this week.

The crew are giving little away about the plot, but what is known is that after a police car chase from his adopted home town of Norwich, Alan takes refuge on the pier preparing for what looks like an armed stand-off with the police!

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!

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

Last Call for the Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2011!

If you are still hoping to experience the spectacle of this year’s Thursford Christmas show, then time is running out…
All of the December dates have now sold-out, and the remaining November dates with availability are selling out fast.
Similarly if you need accommodation, our November dates are booking-up, although we do still have mid-week availability (which coincide nicely with available show dates).  And remember, when you book mid-week, you get four nights for the price of three!

So if you would like to experience the very best of variety entertainment, and combine it with a short break in cosy surroundings, it’s time to spring into action!


Tags: Thusford Accommodation, Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2011

Come on in, and look around…

We’ve been booking self-catering holidays for years now, and the biggest put-off for any property, whether advertised in a brochure or a web site, was not being able to get a view of what it was like inside and out.  Call me paranoid, but I wonder what there is to hide!

Well with the Internet, there is no excuse not to show everthing, which is why we have added video tours of the main rooms (see Accommodation > Look Around).

At least you’ll know we have nothing to hide!