Norfolks’ great big skies – Get romantic – go star gazing

star-gazingStargazing in Norfolk
With its enormous skies and low levels of light pollution, it’s no surprise that Norfolk is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. The north of the county is an especially good place to explore the galaxy, with stargazing events regularly held across the area.
Around 90% of the UK population is unable to fully see the stars thanks to light pollution, so it’s no wonder that thousands flock to the Norfolk coast every year to see the constellations. Whether you’ve set up a telescope in our expansive countryside or you’ve found the perfect spot on an idyllic East Anglian beach, Norfolk is a fantastic place to lie back, relax and watch the universe go by.

Stargazing in Norfolk
Though stargazing has always been a popular activity in Norfolk, the BBC’s recent series Stargazing Live, has brought the pastime into the mainstream. One of the programme’s presenters, and the astronomer on The One Show, Mark Thompson is also the president of the Norwich Astronomical Society. The show has helped to inspire a whole new generation of stargazers, with many of Norfolk’s best locations now teaming with amateur astronomers.

The best places to see the stars in Norfolk
Whether you’ve been recently inspired to take up the telescope, or you’re an old hand when it comes to identifying Orion, The Plough and the Seven Sisters, you’ll find plenty of locations to explore across Norfolk. Regular events take place at Kelling Heath, one of the best known stargazing spots in the county. Other popular Norfolk locations include Salthouse and Cley, but great views can be enjoyed from pretty much any rural spot in the county.

Getting involved
If you’re just in the county for a holiday, check with the local tourist board to find out about events that are taking place during your stay. If you live nearby, or want to find out a little more about stargazing while you’re in the area, drop into the Norwich Astronomical Society for one of the group’s weekly meetings and get a taste of what stargazing is all about.

With countless beaches, country parks and protected areas to explore, there are more than enough excellent stargazing spots in Norfolk to keep you busy. If you are heading out to the beach to have a go – or even want to nip out into our back garden just see our constellation maps on the pinboard or ask a member of staff for a copy.

September at The King William

NNRW-Logo-with-dateAs the sun starts to set on summer, September is the perfect time to enjoy a drink in our beautiful garden or be wined and dined in our popular restaurant. Awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, The King William IV Country Inn and Restaurant will be taking part in North Norfolk Restaurant Week. From the 26th September to the 9th October we’ll be part of North Norfolk’s biggest dining event. So join us for a culinary celebration of the county’s favourite food spots and tuck into two courses for just £15 or 3 courses for £20. We’ve put together a special menu exclusively for the event, with 4 different dishes to choose from for each course. Booking is advised and the offer excludes Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sunday lunch.

SUMMER HIGHLIGHT: The King William Hosts Carris Trophy Golf Talent!
Golfers3The Carris Trophy (British Boys Championship) was held on the manicured golf links of hunstanton Golf Club from 19/7 to 22/7. With 160 of the best young golfers from the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium competing for the prestigious Carris Trophy over 4 days, the quality of golf produced by these young golfers was truly outstanding.

The King William was delighted to host 3 aspiring young golfers during their time at Hunstanton. Pleasingly, all three players made the ‘cut’ with the top 60 players progressing to the 3rd and 4th days. From Lille, France we welcomed Mathieu Caron and his father Christoph. With scores of 74, 76, 78 and 74 Mathieu finished a highly creditable 50th. In 15th position was a young Englishman from Swindon, Jake Bolton, with his father Mark. Jake shot 71, 77, 71, 70 and was delighted to hear that he had been selected for England’s forthcoming Under 18’s Tour to Canada. Congratulations Jake.

Topping the lot young Oscar Teiffel from Gothenberg, Sweden, started the final round in joint first position and ended the tournament in third place. On his bag was his younger brother whilst his father Peter walked all 4 rounds – sometimes in the presence of Nick and our elder Labrador, Max. A fantastic performance by Oscar with scores of 71, 69, 68 and 72 leaving him on 8 Under Par for the Tournament.

It was an absolute pleasure to hoste three such talented and modest young golfers (and their dad’s) . I hope that one day we can welcome them back to The King William and Hunstanton GC. Names to look out for !!

 

Norfolk’s Sunset coast – Get Romantic, Watch the Sunset

Sunset HunstantonThough the majority of Norfolk’s beautiful beaches face north and east, offering spectacular sun rises and expansive vistas, a few of the county’s stretches of sand actually face west, giving you the chance to enjoy truly breath-taking sunsets. With many of these beaches just a stone’s throw from the King William, a sunset stroll along Norfolk’s sands are a must during your stay. To help you pick the perfect spot to watch the sun go down, here’s our guide to Norfolk’s sunset coast.

Hunstanton & Old Hunstanton
Famous for its red and white striped cliffs, family friendly activities and Victorian charm, Hunstanton is one of the most popular destinations on the Norfolk Coast. Before you enjoy watching the sun sink below the waves, there are lots of activities to explore in Hunstanton. In the summer months, you can play on the expansive beach, explore the rock pools, have a go at crazy golf or catch a ride on the seasonal train that takes visitors along the waterfront.
If it’s a warm summer evening, you can watch the sun go down from the beach. Alternatively, if the weather’s not playing ball, a number of pubs and restaurants in Hunstanton offer fantastic views of the sunset, giving you a warm and dry spot to take in the spectacular scenery.

Heacham
A few miles south of Hunstanton, you’ll find the seaside resort of Heacham. The beach in this small but picturesque town was once almost deserted, used only by locals and fishermen.
Today however, the wide beach is popular with visitors from all corners of the country, offering a good choice of facilities for families, sunbathers and visitors looking for traditional seaside entertainment. The part of the beach directly in front of the town is the busiest, with a range of amenities within easy reach. Take the short walk to South Beach for more rugged scenery, less crowded sands and dog friendly areas. One of the closest beaches to the King William, Heacham is a fantastic place to watch the sun go down.

IMG_8342Snettisham
As Snettisham Beach is located around two and a half miles from the town itself, it’s the perfect choice for visitors who want to watch the sunset in peace and quiet. Surrounded by natural landscapes and offering expansive views of Norfolk’s famously big sky, Snettisham offers unforgettable sunset views throughout the year.

If you’re planning a trip to the King William any time soon, have a look at our website for more information on local sites and attractions and really make the most of your stay in Norfolk. Call 01485-571765 or visit www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk

sunset times

You’ll Just Love Norfolk Lavender

lavender field 2Fragrant, colourful and hardy, lavender has been popular in the UK since Roman times. Known as the herb of cleanliness and calm, lavender can be used to help people sleep, to add a touch of freshness to a wardrobe and to bring an interesting aroma and flavour to drinks, cakes and preserves.

Lavender growing in the UK
Did you know, Lavender is thought to have been introduced by the invading Roman army around 2000 years ago and grew to become an essential part of traditional remedies, lotions and potions. Known for its calming affect and insect repelling properties, the plant has been used to ward off infection, flavour preserves and add a fragrant scent to clothes, homes and meeting places for generations.

Norfolk Lavender
As well as being incredibly useful, lavender is also lovely to look at and a visit to a farm that grows the plant can make a great day trip for all the family. We’re lucky that Norfolk is home to one of the largest and most beautiful farms in the country. Just 1.7 miles away from The King William IV, Norfolk Lavender is overflowing with intoxicating aromas and stunning sights thanks to the purple produce.

Lavender was brought to the lavender farm in Heacham in 1932 by green-fingered entrepreneur Linn Chilvers. Originally planted as a nursery and florists, the farm grew from just six acres in 1932 to almost 100 acres today and now includes a gift shop filled with gorgeous gifts and sensational smelling souvenirs, a café and ornamental garden as well as the National Collection of Lavenders.

Things to do during your visit
If you’re staying in the local area, a visit to Norfolk Lavender is a must. Located in the pretty village of Heacham, on the stunning Norfolk Coast. Once there, visitors can explore the spectacular gardens, the lavender distillery, the herb garden and the landscaped grounds. Tours are available during the peak season, giving visitors the chance to learn all about lavender, its uses and its history in Norfolk.

norfolk lavender giftshopOutside of the summer season, visitors can pick up a selection of luxury lavender based products from the farm’s gift shop or enjoy a tasty meal of home-grown treats in the on-site café.

Relaxing, intoxicated and eye-opening, a trip to this colourful Norfolk attraction is guaranteed to be an unforgettable part of your trip to the area. The King William IV Country Inn and Restaurant is surrounded by spectacular sights and is the perfect base for an East Anglian adventure to discover the many treasures Norfolk has to offer.

RNLI Annual Sandcastle Competition

rnli lifeboatIf you live near the sea, or visit the British coast on holiday, you’ll know just how important the RNLI is. Since it was founded in 1824, the organisation has saved more than 140,000 lives, with an average of 23 people rescued every single day. For fishermen, sailors, surfers, swimmers and anyone else who enjoys spending time by the sea, the RNLI is vital. Providing information, training and rescue, the service is one of the most valued organisations in the country. With Norfolk’s beaches just a few miles from the King William, we’re very aware of the important role the RNLI plays in coastal life. That’s why The King Wiliam has chosen the RNLI as their charity and raised over £20.000 over the years to help support the service.

RNLI Annual Sandcastle Competition
Every summer the RNLI hosts a sandcastle building competition on one of our local beaches. A fantastic day out for all the family, a visit to the competition is a must if you’re visiting Norfolk in early August. Held on Old Hunstanton Beach – by the boat house, the sandcastle building competition is a chance for the RNLI to raise awareness and raise funds, two things that are crucial to its survival. Competitors can sign up on the day, with three different groups available to cater to creative builders of all ages.

Let your imagination run wild and create a sandcastle like no other, or opt for a traditional design and wow the judges with your classic architectural skills. If castles aren’t your thing, you can also create a sand sculpture, giving you the chance to flex your creative muscles and show the other competitors who’s boss. Prizes are awarded for the best sandcastle, so make sure you put all of your creative energies into building your entry.

Visit the RNLI Annual Sandcastle Competition

RNLI Sandcastle competitionThe RNLI Annual Sandcastle Competition 2016 will take place on Thursday 4th August. You’ll need to register by 1:30pm if you want to compete and building works begin at 2pm sharp. Alternatively, you can simply visit the beach on the day and enjoy watching visitors and locals working away on their sandy creations.

Just a short walk from the competition area, you’ll find a great range of amenities, with shops, cafes and restaurants all available nearby.

To find out more about local events and attractions, or to book your escape to Norfolk, have a look on our website http://www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk/or get in touch with one of the friendly members of our team today by calling 01485-571765.

Sandringham Gardens

Sandringham House

One of Norfolk’s most famous addresses, Sandringham House has been one of the Royal Family’s favourite homes for generations. Beautifully designed, peaceful and surrounded by Norfolk’s stunning countryside, the house is one of the most picturesque in the country. And though there’s plenty to see in the house itself, the gardens that surround the stately home are also well worth a visit during your stay in the area.

If you’re planning a country retreat at the King William this summer, a trip to Sandringham Gardens will make a wonderful addition to your trip. Just a 15-minute drive from our front door, the gardens are a great place to relax, unwind and take in Norfolk’s sensational countryside.

Sandringham Gardens
Opened to the public by King Edward the VII in 1908, Sandringham’s gardens cover 24 hectares of elegantly landscaped and painstakingly maintained lawns, woodlands and formal areas. Taking in some of the most beautiful views in the county, the gardens are surrounded by the 240-hectare Sandringham Estate which takes in woodland, wetland, arable land and farmland – a must see for anyone interested in the Royal Family, landscape design and nature.

The gardens themselves contain two lakes, an expansive rock garden, a woodland garden and a secluded enclosed garden which was designed for George VI in 1947 by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe. Various features have been added by each generation of the Royal Family over the years, and today visitors can explore Queen Alexandra’s summerhouse, the formal North Garden, the delightful Stream Walk and the avenues of rhododendrons, azaleas and lavenders. You’ll also see a number of commemorative trees as you explore the gardens, giving you a sense of the house’s history and the important role it’s played in royal life over the years.

sandringhamgardens2Visiting Sandringham
Though the country park is open to the public free of charge throughout the year, you’ll need to buy a ticket if you want to visit the gardens themselves. Opening times vary so make sure you check the current schedule before you plan your trip.
One of the best ways to see the gardens is with a guided tour. Tours are available on Wednesdays and Saturdays though it may be possible to have a tour on another day if you book in advance.
A wonderful way to learn more about Norfolk’s history, and to explore it’s beautiful landscapes, a trip to Sandringham Gardens will be a highlight of your stay at the King William.

East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden

East ruston old vicarage 1Here at the King William, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to attractions. You’ll find some of the country’s most beautiful stately homes, country parks and historic sites on our doorstep, with a number of pretty villages, characterful market towns and pristine beaches just a short drive from our front door.

One of the most remarkable attractions in the local area is the East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden. Just over an hour from the King William, this stunning garden showcases the best of British creativity, eccentricity and ambition.

The East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden
When owners Alan Gray and Graham Robeson arrived at the Old Vicarage in 1973, the garden was a blank canvas. Over the years, they’ve worked incredibly hard to create a spectacular garden, filled with rare and beautiful plants and offering a variety of landscapes, themes and settings.

Covering 32 acres of arable land, just a few miles from Norfolk’s North Sea Coast, the garden is sheltered from the worst of the British weather by a belt of Monterey Pine trees that help to create a unique micro-climate in which the garden can flourish.

In the East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden, you’ll find an enchanting array of different areas to explore. Visit the Californian ‘Desert Wash’, the Exotic Garden or the large cornfield sown with poppies, marigold and cornflowers or stroll through the formal gardens and admire the collection of sculptures and artworks on display from local artists.

A selection of lovingly cultivated plants is available for purchase at the garden’s shop, giving you the chance to recreate an authentic slice of East Ruston in your own home.

east ruston old vicarage 2Visiting East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden
The East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays throughout the summer months. There’s a charming tearoom on site to keep you going as you explore the lawns, paths and wooded areas, and guided tours are also available from the garden’s designers.
Special events take place at the garden throughout the summer, so make sure you check what’s going on before you plan your trip. Check out the website on http://www.e-ruston-oldvicaragegardens.co.uk/

Combine your visit to the East Ruston Old Vicarage Garden with a trip to the characterful town of Cromer or the stunning beaches of Norfolk’s coast for an unforgettable day out.

 

Unearthing Norfolk’s past with SHARP

SharpThere are a few things that Norfolk has in abundance: stunning countryside, picturesque towns, great food and history. Having been inhabited since pre-Roman times, the county has seen Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, plagues, wars and natural disasters. On top of these dramatic happenings, Norfolk has also played an important part in Royal life over the years and castles, palaces and forts can still be seen across the county.

As you can imagine unearthing and investigating this rich history is no easy task. Different periods of the county’s past are layered up in fields, residential areas and historic sites across Norfolk, giving archaeologists plenty to get their teeth into. From the 10th July to 12th August 2016 the exciting archaeological ‘Sedgeford dig’ is coming again to the field just behind us, giving all of our guests, the chance to see real history in action.

SHARP, or the Sedgeford Historical and Archaeological Research Project, is a long term venture tasked with investigating and uncovering the “entire range of human settlement and land use in the Norfolk parish of Sedgeford”. This titanic task began back in 1996. This July and August the team will be excavating for their 21st season. There are various projects planned for summer 2016; from large-scale projects like excavating an Anglo-Saxon village to uncovering a medieval manor and identifying the exact location of a First World War aerodrome, the hard working team at SHARP do it all.

sharpGetting involved, visiting the site & lectures
If you’re interested in local history, there are lots of ways to get involved with SHARP’s upcoming projects. The team run a range of courses to teach people about archaeology, giving you the chance to gain first hand experience uncovering the treasures of Norfolk’s past. Schools and other groups who want to find out more about the work that the team do can arrange visits to the dig site. This gives pupils and enthusiasts a unique opportunity to look into Norfolk’s past and learn all about how the archaeologists interpret the objects and structures they discover. The site is open 10am-4pm each day except Saturday. Guided site tours are every Friday 3pm. A series of archaeologically themed lectures are given every Tuesday 7.30pm at St. Mary Church, Sedgeford,  through the season.

Updates
If you’d like to find out more about local history and the work that SHARP do, follow the team on Facebook or check their website http://www.sharp.org.uk for regular news and updates.

Better yet, why not book yourself a break at the King William and see what the team are up to in person? Call 01485-571765 or visit http://www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk

Norfolk’s unique galleries and antique shops

antique shopIf you’re the sort of person who likes to lose themselves in antique shops, discover local artists and pick up unique souvenirs, Norfolk is the perfect destination for your next getaway. To help you discover the very best that the county has to offer, we’ve put together our pick of the most interesting and unique galleries and shops just a stone’s throw from our doorstep.

Shirley Carnt. As many of Norfolk’s artists live and work in the local area, there are lots of opportunities to visit working studios and see where the artists produce their pieces. One such studio is that of Shirley Carnt. Located in Coastguard House in Thornham, just a few miles from the King William, this unique little gallery gives visitors the chance to meet the artist, discuss her works and even purchase original pieces.

Hector’s Barn. Specialising in quirky and original pieces, Hector’s Barn sells a mixture of antiques, retro items and specially selected contemporary works. Located in Ravens Yard, Nethergate Street in the village of Harpley on the edge of the spectacular Houghton Hall Estate, the shop makes a charming addition to a day out at the stately home. With many of the pieces in the shop customised and restored, it’s easy to find furnishings and accessories that are truly one of a kind. A second Hector’s Barn can be found at 2 Chapel Yard in Holt.

Ringstead Village Stores
On entering the shop you will discover Hidden Treasures, 9 rooms and 2 courtyards creating a Labyrinth for you to explore. Within you will find an eclectic collection of old and new items, including jewellery, books, glass, pottery, small silver items, pictures, prints, coal scuttles and companion sets, vintage tools, garden furniture including statues, obelisks, plant pots, bird tables, feeders, baths and much, much more.

Le Strange Old Barns. If you want to combine your love for art and antiques, a trip to Le Strange Old Barns in Old Hunstanton is a must. Located just 200 yards from the beach, in a rambling converted barn, this extensive art and antiques centre boasts a fantastic collection of local and historic pieces. The gallery at Le Strange Old Barns is the perfect place to pick up a unique and original piece for your walls. Alternatively, if you’re on the lookout for some original crockery, you can visit the resident potter at the site and watch as your plates, bowls and mugs magically appear out of a block of clay. As well as a fantastic selection of art and antiques, Le Strange Old Barns also run regular workshops and demonstrations.

If pottery is your passion we also recommend a visit to Dersingham Pottery on 48 Chapel Road, and Philippa Lee’s shop in Dalegate Market, Main Rd, Burnham Deepdale

antique collectionIf you like a full day antique shopping the country Town of Holt is your perfect place with numerous antique shops tucked away in every street and around every corner.

Exploring the art and antique shops around Norfolk is a fantastic way to get to know the county, its artists and its history. To find out more about attractions in the local area, or to book your stay, get in touch with the King William today http://www.thekingwilliamsedgeford.co.uk

The History of Wolferton Station

Wolferton StationLocated on the historic King’s Lynn to Hunstanton line, the picturesque Wolferton Station opened to the public in 1862. By chance, this was the same year that the nearby Sandringham Estate was purchased as a private residence for the young Prince of Wales. As Wolferton was just 21/4 miles from the house, it quickly earned itself a reputation as the most upmarket station in the country. Within easy reach of The King William, Wolferton Station offers a unique glimpse into the glamorous past of rail travel and the unique role the Royal Family have played in shaping Norfolk’s landscape. A must see for all railway enthusiasts, Wolferton is an important part of our local history and heritage.

Early years – Thanks to its Royal patronage, Wolferton Station was completely renovated in 1898, transforming it from an everyday stop into a station fit for a king. The refit saw Wolferton kitted out with Tudor-style platform buildings including a specially designed Royal waiting room complete with oak panelling couches and easy chairs. Also a clock tower and ornate lamps topped with crowns were fitted. Between 1884 and 1911, almost 650 royal trains called at Wolferton. The station played host to numerous luncheon parties and was a focal point for many Royal occasions including the funerals of Queen Alexandra in 1925, King George V in 1936 and King George VI in 1952. In 1886, for the 21st birthday of the then Prince George, the station saw a special Royal service bring a circus to Wolferton. At the end of the performance, one elephant refused to be loaded back onto the train, ripping up a lamppost and demolishing the station’s gates before finally being coaxed back on board.

Closure – Wolferton_Railway_Station 2By the end of the 1960s, many of the country’s regional train lines were being cut and Wolferton saw its last Royal service in 1966. In 1970, railwayman Eric Walker, who had purchased the station following its closure, reopened the waiting room as a museum. Over 6,000 pieces of memorabilia were on display, most of which Walker had collected himself. When Eric Walker died in 1985, his son was sadly unable to support the up keep of the station. In 2001, the station was sold to railway enthusiast Richard Brown who has undertaken significant restorations and returned much of Wolferton to its former glory.

Today –Though some parts of the station are private, visitors can still explore the platforms and other selected areas. Souvenirs are available on site and the owner is generally very happy to talk to visitors and to share his extensive knowledge about the history of the station and its Royal connections.