So we’ve managed to complete thirty-five days of continuous travel, as we drove from Cardiff to Ipswich. Yay! That’s the first and main leg of our coastal road trip completed, and what a great day to spend this milestone, as we travel the beautiful Suffolk coastline….
Photo of the day
Calm reflective waters as the sunset at Felixtowe Ferry.
Bam! Our first stop of the day and it’s a lighthouse. The bright white Lowestoft Lighthouse looking great against the fresh blue morning sky.
On this trip we have traveled to the most westerly point of Britain at Ardnamurchan (day 17), the most northerly point at Dunnet Head (day 24), and now we have reached the most easterly point at Ness Point! Not the most exciting view, to be honest…
Julian sitting on the Euroscope at Ness Point, designed by John Wylson.
A handsome row of houses along Lowestoft’s South Beach Promenade.
The Lowestoft South Beach lifeguard keeping an eye on a lone swimmer (that just swam out of the photo).
Driving past glorious meadows as we meandered along the small country lanes near Benachre.
Such rich colours in the mid morning sunshine.
The grade II listed Southwold Lighthouse towering over Southwold’s seafront houses.
Southwold Pier, extending 190m in to the North Sea.
The small ferry being rowed from Southwold across the fast moving River Blyth to Walberswick. He was doing a busy trade this sunny Saturday lunchtime.
A short detour inland to view the Holy Trinity Church in the small village of Blythburgh. Also know as The Cathedral of the Marshes, it was surprisingly light inside.
Children playing in the waves at Dunwich Beach, silhouetted against the sea. Sizewell nuclear power station lurking in the distance.
The remains of the Augustinian Leiston Abbey, originally home to the strict Premonstratensian order, who favoured remote locations.
A farmhouse had been built into the remains of the nave after the suppression.
The Thorpeness village sign with its iconic House in the Clouds and windmill.
The large meare that had been dug out by hand in the early 20th century, with the bright red House in the Clouds living up to its name.
The House in the Clouds, originally built as a water tower, and now a pretty cool holiday house.
In the 1920s and 30s Thorpeness Windmill had been used to pump water into the tank at the top of the House in the Clouds.
The Scallop sculpture at RSPB North Warren, designed by Maggi Hambling as a tribute to Benjamin Britten, the Aldeburgh born composer.
Boats on the beach behind the upmarket Aldeburgh high street.
One of the many sculptures at our next stop at Snape Maltings. A fascinating place, with an amazing music venue, shops, artist workshops, sculptures and nature walks. Quite a curious mix, but done so well, we were really impressed.
A rainbow forming over Barbara Hepworth’s Family of Man sculpture.
Anther dovecote, we haven’t seen one of these since leaving Scotland. But this one had a modern take, and had been converted into a studio.
Orford Castle, Henry II’s splendid keep.
Just down the road from Orford Castle, views from the quay across the River Alde to the Nature Reserve and Orfordness Lighthouse.
The view of Felixtowe’s busy container port from the John Bradfield Viewing Area.
Fishing in the UK’s largest container port.
A beautiful golden sunset across the water to Harwich.
Beach huts along the coast to Felixtowe Ferry.
A final stop on our way to Ipswich for the night. We looped a short way back north east to Felixtowe Ferry, and had stunning views over the calm River Deben, reflecting the yachts in the dusk light.
Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight…. let’s see in the morning.
On day thirty-four, after a walk around King’s Lynn, we got back on the road and headed for The Queen’s home at Sandringham (our third royal location on our trip). We then continued along the Norfolk coastline to Lowestoft, with plenty of windmills and lighthouses along our journey. We packed a lot into today.
Photo of the day
Amazing street art at Sheringham.
Popping in for tea with the Queen at her Sandringham Estate. We were the first to finish the house tour that morning… speedy! Mind you, we halved the average visitor age 😉
Some of The Queens’s favorite things, starting with racing horses. Estimate, who won the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
A whole series of stones set in the garden walls, remembering The Queen’s dogs, with lovely little messages.
The stunning ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ adorning one of the Rolls Royce bonnets.
Jarno giving a royal wave in the Lychgate of St Mary Magdalene’s Church, where The Royal Family normally attend the Christmas Day service.
The beautiful ceiling of the 16th century church.
It was the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana.
Many tributes had been left at the Sandringham gates.
Driving through the tranquil Sandringham Country Park.
We made a quick stop at Norfolk Lavender set among 100 acres of lavender fields (yes, we know this isn’t lavender). However, we’d just missed the lavender blooming season (June to August), so made do with a quick walk around their cottage garden.
Hunstanton Beach, the only holiday town beach in Norfolk that faces west, so great for viewing the sunset (if we’d been later in the day).
The Old Hunstanton Lighthouse built in 1840. Its predecessor had the world’s first parabolic reflector in 1776.
Burnham Overy Staithe
Windmills became a common sight as we drove along the Norfolk coastline. The Tower Windmill at Burnham Overy Staithe, a pretty cool National Trust holiday let.
We decided not to visit Holkham Hall, as we’d already spent quite some time in the morning at the Sandringham Estate. So we made do with just viewing Holkham Hall’s North Gate instead.
The very busy (with tourists) and picturesque Wells-next-the-Sea, with its impressive granary malting building and huge canter-levered gantry.
More picturesque villages as we drove along the coast to Blakeney, where we stopped for a coffee at the National Trust run Blakeney National Nature Reserve. The largest seal colony in England, and a very important breeding ground for grey seal pups in the winter months.
Cley next the Sea
We almost gate-crashed a wedding party staying in Cley Windmill.
As we stopped to take photos in Sheringham several locals asked if they could help us. Very friendly, or we just looked lost.
Amazing street art murals on the walls outside the local Mo Museum.
Fishermen posing for street art.
In memory of the local town crier.
The Victorian Cromer Pier, famous for its end of the pier variety show, the last remaining one in the UK.
The radar station at Trimingham (AKA Trimingham Golf Ball). This location was established in the early 1940s to detect low flying German aircraft and E-boats.
More colorful beach huts along Mundesley Beach.
Stow Mill, the local corn windmill, just outside of Mundesley village, now another holiday let.
After driving through yet another lovely Norfolk village, we arrived at the very handsome Happisburgh Lighthouse across the fields. It’s the only independent lighthouse (run by local volunteers) in Great Britain, and the oldest working one in East Anglia.
Eerie lighting as the dark rain clouds passed over us at the National Trust’s Horsey Windpump.
As we drove past Winterton-on-Sea, we noticed this lighthouse protruding above the coastal houses. As we got close we realised it was also now a private home (holiday rental), so just took a quick photo from a neighbour’s drive and continued on our way.
Whilst hunting down a fish & chip shop for our dinner, we came across brightly painted fishermen’s tractors behind the beach at Caister-on-Sea.
Great Yarmouth pirates on the lookout for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
No, we are not in Las Vegas. It’s the other Caesars Palace, the one in Great Yarmouth.
Finally, as the night closed in, we drove south along Great Yarmouth’s promenade reaching Peel Ports. Giant wind turbine blades were sitting ready to be shipped to an off-shore wind farm. Next stop, down the road at Lowestoft for the night.