Everybody mentions ‘The Reviews’ be it B&B guests or self-catering holiday guests; the topic always arises “oh, I read your Reviews”. On departure every single guest also, at some point will say “I’ll write you lovely Reviews”!

TripAdvisor, Trip Advisor, Reviews

Of course I smile politely and nod sagely, you see I’m of the belief that only 1% yes one percent who have visited Barn & Beach have ever written us reviews.

With this in mind I set out tonight to try and establish just where we can find our reviews;

Late Rooms for the B&B at Meadowside barn, well there are fifteen on this site, and they’re excellent.

TripAdvisor Barn & Beach well there are ninety eight on this listing, again excellent.

Then there is Trip Advisor, set up by who knows? for each individual property e.g. Beach View there are nine for this little gem!

So potentially we have 9×8 (properties) = 72 more reviews on the independent pages of TripAdvisor?

I think there are some reviews on Google the three I found on that link are unusual, in that one person has never visited, one is known and one is a genuine guest, hhhhmmmm….

We are trialing the seafront cabins with the chaps over at AirBnB the Little Blue Shepherd hut sees the most activity on that site and in total there we have seven reviews.

So, a quick five minute search of the web has unraveled 195 (one hundred and ninety five) reviews of Barn & Beach  activity. Excellent, and surprisingly pass the predicted account for about one percent of people who have visited “Barn & Beach Since 2010″ The actual is probably nearer to 9% (nine percent).

#VisitNorfolk  Barn & Beach holidays, come and enjoy the seasons on the ‘Norfolk Coast’

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter; relaxing places to stay…

No Booking Fees!



Z – Zinnia

Zinnia, this I have decided as being my cut flower of choice, the form looks good.

If you wish to direct sow your Zinnia in the soil, which is often the recommended method, I should wait until towards the end of April. Soil should be rich in organic matter and the bed should get full sun. I sow plants to about a foot apart.

Zinnias are very productive beasties, so keep harvesting the flowers and they will keep coming for yonks. The wise words from Higgledy Gareden.

I have searched tomes at the library followed up the authors on the internet and then decided on one or two flowers for what is going to be my ‘cut flower’ patch down the Allotment.

allotment, Norfolk, England
The Plot

The plot is way to big for me to fill with vegetable crops so I have decide one third will be cut flowers, I have a random selection of about twenty packets of seed, Cornflowers and the like…

Higgledy Garden Seeds, Higgledy, garden, flowers
Higgledy Garden seeds

Zinnias and Thursday’s choice Xeranthemum are going to be my two challenges (having never grown cut flowers before) and needing a new challenge, well this ones over for another year…Hope you have all enjoyed popping by the Allotment for some Plants, Produce & Pondering’s and have picked up one or two little things you can take on your own journey, but remember make it a Slow Journey enjoy the ride!

Allotment, Norfolk, england
welcome to the Allotment, do drop in.


Y – Yushania Anceps

Ye olde Penultimate blog;  Y is for yes, but, and this is a big but, when it comes to this ‘Y’ I’m saying NO, No, no Yushania Anceps or Bamboo on the Lotty!

Yucca, Plants, Gardens, Barn & Beach
Yushania Anceps

I lived in Hackney, East London before I came out to the coast to set-up my independent holidays with Barn & Beach. The enlightened neighbours planted a row of Yushania Anceps on their side of the fence to create a green screen, Bamboo doesn’t like to be told where to stand and wanders off like an errant child all over the bloody place! for that very reason I would never have it anywhere near my gardens or allotment. It took us all forever to dig out shoots n roots, those neighbours are probably still digging it now…

Yushania Anceps probably would stand up to the salt laden winds we have here on the North East Norfolk coast ( must check at the Vicarage on my next visit) but I’m just saying NO.

Look forward to getting back to ‘cut flowers’ wher I’m going to pick my favourite tomorrow and, of course, the end of the A to Z Challenge for 2016.

Plants, Produce & Ponderings from Norfolk (without too many producers, sadly) ’til tomorrow folks!

Beach, Life , Norfolk
Life’s a Beach


X – Xeranthemum or Xerophyllum

Xeranthemum or Xerophyllum? I think I mentioned earlier in the month that I’m giving over a third of my allotment to cut flowers or just flowers this year. Reason? I use a lot of cut flowers in the Holiday Homes.

B&B , Norfolk, Flowers
Sunflowers at Meadowside Barn B&B

In these times where our lives are blended, work, rest and play all in together, so my Allotment reflects this; a place for work (flowers) rest (outdoor living) play (trying to produce crops) big emphasis on the trying on my behalf.

I was going to attempt a typology for genus of cut flowers but am mostly following the advice of some rather good seed producer I follow on twitter @higgledygarden creative and amusing author of the associated blogs ‘Benjamin Ranyard’

Now X, Y & Z I have left over to cut flower types that I can use, to be honest the other aspect ‘Produce’ never got off the ground I had two takers for a ‘Guest Blog’ this year! Hopless.

Xeranthemum and Xerophyllum are two flowers I’ve not seen advertised anywhere so I thought lets try and be unique at Barn & Beach.

Xeranthemum – Xeranthemum ‘Lumina’ is a hardy annual, one of the prettiest of everlasting flowers; they are simply charming in borders with an abundance of 1 to 2 inch wide, dainty blossoms in four distinct colours of white, rose, crimson and purple. (from


The attractive double crested paper-like blooms stand gracefully aloft strong stems of silver-green foliage and have a papery feel. They are excellent for cutting, and if dried are useful for winter decoration. (from

Xerophyllum – Is probably not going to fit the bill, as lovely as it looks it takes to much space and is probably to slow for the cut flower garden (comments?) It has a charming common name of ‘ Beargrass’ and is easy on the eye, bit not native or practical.

My challenge for X will be Xeranthemum, must ask Ben if he can supply some..





W – Walled Garden

The walled Garden at Felbrigg Hall National Trust site is my piece of heaven, since moving to Norfolk in 2010 I have visited this garden throughout the seasons each year.

The early spring heralds the opening, whilst there is only the skeleton to admire it is a very fine skeleton indeed, especially the espaliered fruit trees that cling to those red brick walls.

Garden Open, Felbrigg walled Garden, Norfolk
Garden Open

The depth of the loam, the frameworks, the free-ranging chickens and a brown rat stealing their food all easy to identify before the growth begins.

Mid-spring the verdant young shoots begin to appear: enclosed and hence warmer the nature of these walled gardens has allowed blossom to form on fruit trees, out on the coast we are still have bare branches despite May knocking at the door.

I really look forward to a late May or early June visit when things will have developed further before the plants being at full-tilt in July.

Walled Garden, Norfolk, Gardens, National Trust.
A view through the Walled Garden

Harvest is well used here at Felbrigg with much of the produce heading 500 meters over the lawns to the tea rooms.

I will plan a September visit then again in Late Autumn before the trust close the garden for winter.


It is a special place and to see it in different forms of dress throughout the seasons really help focus ones mind on seasonality and what it means in England to planting, planning and the produce.

Join me throughout the year at Felbrigg Walled Garden, North Norfolk?

Pagoda at Felbrigg

V – East Ruston Old Vicarage

East Ruston Old Vicarage, if you have ever visited this corner of North East Norfolk you will probably be aware of East Ruston Old Vicarage the garden and it’s owners are legendary in these parts. The Old Vicarage garden has been converted, extended and defended by layer upon layer of hedging, fencing and trees and shrubs.

Internally the Vicarage is a joy to all who visit, even if you just wish to idle in the tearoom and enjoy the fine fare.

East ruston Old Vicarage, North Norfolk, Gardens, Vicarage
Gardens open

Opening is a short week and half  days, however, if you plan well, book your accommodation Wednesday to Sunday and keep an afternoon free you will enjoy one of the countries garden masterpieces.

DeerViewEntranceThe gardens are set on a flat plain, a mile and a half from the North Sea you would think that the quality and quantity of plants grown within wouldn’t be possible. The layering of the hedgerows create a micro climate where it would appear Mr Gray can grow anything.

There are also some natty little touches a hedgerow with a porthole cut into it to frame the iconic Happisburgh Lighthouse  is a real crowd pleaser.

I popped by at the weekend but was a little later than I had hoped, the sky was black and we had already had hail the size of peas…I gave it a miss but will definitely be popping by throughout late Spring and Summer for some garden inspiration.

The Vicarage gardens open from Easter until October, do drop in when in North Norfolk



National trust in Norfolk (Blickling Hall)

The best known of the National Trust properties in the Norfolk region there are plenty of opportunities for visitors and guests of Barn & Beach to visit Blickling Hall this September;

Why are you here?
Blickling Estate
Dates: Wednesday- Mondays in September 12-4pm
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
In honour of this, we’ll be making a radical change to our visitor route.This summer you’ll be able to read former owner Lord Lothian’s
letters, see his clothes, look at his photos, study his dinner party menus, smell cigar smoke, cooking and perfumes, and hear – as if in
the next room — the conversations of the host and his house party guests.It will feel as if Lothian has just stepped out of his country
house. Event launches Saturday 6 June.

Blickling parkrun
Blickling Estate
Dates: 5, 12, 19, 26 September, 9-10am
Price: No Additional charges
They are open to everyone and are safe and easy to take part in. People of all abilities can join in; from those taking their first steps in
running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience.Parking is available in the main estate car park £2.50 (NT members
free)Muddy Boots cafe will be open for post-run drinks and snacks.

Blickling in the 1930s
Blickling Estate
Dates: 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 September, 12-5pm
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
Our costumed interpretation group will be bringing history to life every Wednesday throughout the season.

The birds and beasts of Tudor Blickling
Blickling Estate
Dates: Wednesday- Monday in September, 12-5pm
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
A series of paintings by Kate Leiper tell the story of the Michaelmas pageant at Blickling in 1514. Letters hidden in the paintings will
lead to an intriguing twist and the discovery of a jewelled and golden treasure.

RAF day
Blickling Estate
Dates: 5 September 2015 10:15am
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
Step back in time to when air crew were billeted to Blickling Hall and explore this important part of our story with special tours,
memorabilia and costumed interpretation.

Heritage open day at Itteringham Manor
Blickling Estate
Dates: 12 September 2015 11:00am
Price: No Additional charges
This year we’ll be opening the doors of the quirky 16th-century farmhouse at Itteringham which has just become part of National Trust
holidays.You’ll have the chance to look around before popping next door to Barn Owl Loft – the romantic hideaway for two, which
occupies the east wing upper floors.

Summer nights film festival
Blickling Estate
Dates: 18 September 2015 8:00pm and 19 September 2015 8:00pm
Price: All Tickets £10.50
Bring a blanket, a picnic and your friends and enjoy the great outdoors in a cinematic experience that you will never forget.On 18
September join us in the garden of ‘Bono’s house’ to watch Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa and on 19 September come and watch Dirty
Dancing in our gorgeous garden
Booking Essential

A great variety of events and fun for all #VisitNorfolk

National Trust in Norfolk (September)

a great variety of National Trust properties close to Barn & Beach holiday cottages means there are always events for visitors and our guests.

over at Sheringham Park
International Garden Photographer of the Year Exhibition
Dates: 1 – 5 September 2015, 10:00am to 5:00pm
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
Enjoy images from all over the world celebrating the world of plants – their beauty, astonishing variety and the vital role they play in
sustaining all life on earth.

Sheringham Park parkrun

Dates: 5, 12, 19, 26 September, 9-10.30am
Price: No Additional charges
A timed fun run offering an opportunity for all the local community, male or female, young or old, to come together on a regular basis
to enjoy this beautiful park and get physically active into the bargain. For full details go to

Rockpool Ranger
Dates: 1 September 2015 2:30pm
Price: Adult £2.50 (Accompanying), Child £4.50
Starting at Sheringham seafront we will explore the tidal pools and beach to find some amazing marine life. We will be digging for
worms, netting for shrimps and catching crabs!
Booking Essential

History comes to Life
Sheringham Park
Dates: 12 September 2015 11:00am and 13 September 2015 11:00am
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
Other features show the way the Park has been worked through the ages. Come along and see the historic remains that you may not
realise existed.. Sites are spread around the estate so a long walk is involved to see them all.No need to book just come along and
enjoy. Ask at the visitor centre for a trail map.

Owl Prowl
Sheringham Park
Dates: 18 September 2015 6:30pm
Price: Adult £1, Child £2
Dissect an owl pellet to see what owls eat and learn to call like an owl. We’ll then venture out as dusk falls to listen for Tawny Owls,
which are particularly active at this time of year. Should be a hoot!
Booking Essential

a full and entertaining month for young and old alike.

Down in Great Yarmouth

House in a House Museum Trail- Heritage Open Day
Elizabethan House Museum
Dates: 10 – 13 September, 10am-4pm
Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)
Become a house detective and uncover the history of the Elizabethan House by finding the rooms with the clues!

Whilst a short hop to Horsey Mill you can find

Discover Horsey Windpump
Horsey Windpump
Dates: 9 September 2015 10:30am and 9 September 2015 11:30am
Price: Adult £2.50 (members – please bring your membership cards), Adult £5.50 (Non-members. Inc admission fee)
Join a ranger and discover the fascinating history and workings of Horsey Windpump, its importance as a Broads drainage mill and the
current conservation project to restore the mill to its former working glory. Climb to the top to enjoy panoramic views of Horsey Mere
and the coast.
Booking Essential

A rich and diverse calendar at some of our lesser known attractions Sheringham Park, Elizabethan House & Horsey Mill, tomorrow we will look at whats on at Blickling Hall with Barn & Beach