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!



Reflections or Ponderings?

Reflections or Ponderings? At the end of my third challenge (2016) my ‘Plants, Produce & Ponderings’ from Norfolk or the allotment I feel rather pleased with how it all went.

I now see my AtoZ challenges as a trilogy of the county I live in and now call Home. It began in 2014 via a twitter conversation, I thought I could use the challenge to highlight tourism and promote the county on the whole

2014 – Places to Visit

2015 – The people, their business and what Norfolk means to them

2016 – Ponderings, was meant to be a reflection of the produce/producers.

What have I learned?  Don’t rely on guest blogs! I did well for guests in the middle year but this time round I found the Artisans general response was ‘too busy’ or the new wave in communication ‘Silence’.

Anyhow. I wandered off piste a little and found I was really enjoying my daily posts even if they weren’t what I had planned… It was sometimes tough to sit and write 300ish words each night, however, the challenge really gets you up and out during the day, helping me visit some old favourites...Felbrigg and East ruston to name two gardens of great note in Norfolk.

I’m not sure I will be bringing Barn & Beach to the party next time round but I have on the whole really enjoyed being a challenger and my Norfolk trilogy.

Beach, Life , Norfolk
Lifes a Beach
eggs, norfolk, pekin bantams
Pekin Bantams


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

U – Umami

Umami, sounds a bit like a football chant ‘who’s army’?… I really don’t know much about this ‘Umami’ but was intrigued by the fact that they now bottle it and pop it on the shelf in the local supermarket…You can buy taste, apparently.

Umami 5
Umami 5

I chose the topic to open some debate today, for the last few weeks my ‘Ponderings’ have largely not required response or comment, this ‘Umami’ I’m hoping will open debate and tomorrow I will wake to an inbox full of A to Z Challengers comments!

I believe it’s all about taste or the sense of, Salt, Sweet, Sour and Bitter have long been the four recognisable tastes, Western Science has recognised ‘Umami’ (from the Japanese yummy, deliciousness). The Japanese have documented ‘Umami’ as far back as 1908.

What has it to do with the Allotment, food artisans and smallholders? Well, with a bit of thought we could all discover that we are providing the ‘yummy deliciousness’ that the supermarkets have long since lost? The local Farmers Market might be another avenue of discovery?

Take a fresh tomato from the garden or greenhouse and one from the store shelf and the start of the experiment is instantly recognisable. Apparently Tomatoes, the ones homegrown are ‘Umami’.

I’m intrigued…The Beach Place, Ostend Beach, Walcott

Market stalls, vegetables, produce, Northwalsham, farmers amrket

Cromer crab, crabs, norfolk, zoo
Cromer Crab

T – Time

Time, a precious commodity, we have to take stock, follow the seasons and the signs.

At the Allotment; I always feel I’m chasing time when it comes to sowing, planting, harvesting and tidying; I’m behind time, catching up or thinking about it but seldom on it…but what is it? Time.

Is there an exact time to sow, grow and reap or is a state of mind, the chap who always has to be first, surely that is a state of mind and has nothing to do with time?

Allotment, Norfolk, Barn & Beach
The Lotty

Today, despite a dreadful weather forecast I spent two hours planting out the last of the ‘spuds’ and tidying an adjacent strip to a neighbouring allotment (so the owner will think I’m a reasonable chap), and my weeds don’t embarrass his onions, or even embrace them.

The Allotment is largely turned now and its time to get the seedlings ready for the beginning of May. We have terrible forecasts for the last week of April “Gardeners Beware” announces the  weatherman each evening after the Channel 4 news…Frost.

Time to take stock, walk down to the beach and admire this flock –

Walcott; seabirds; Norfolk; Holidays
Seagull on Seawall at Walcott, Norfolk

It’s not a bad place to kill time, throw a few stones, dodge a few waves, but you must wrap up warm or be incredibly brave, Norfolk in Spring Time with Barn & Beach.

We are nearly there on this old A to Z Challenge (click if you want to see some others taking part), not much time left now, eh?




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

The Museum of the Broads

A guest blog offered at the eleventh hour by the twitter campaign for The Museum of the Broads @MuseumBroads

The Museum of the Broads

In our region we have some of the finest waterways in the country – our museum is dedicated to the history of these beautiful wetlands.  We cover the people, the wildlife, industry, how the broads were formed and of course we also have plenty of boats. The museum even has a fully working Victorian Steam launch!

steam launch, broads, norfolk
Steam Launch

Visitors will find a boat bar next to an exhibition of boat loos, wildlife exhibition, a copyu hat and exhibits coming from the holiday trade as well as much much more!

Each year we have a special exhibition and this year its all Broadland Breweries past and present. Its a fascinating exhibition showing how this industry has evolved, We even have details of the science behind brewing.

Brewing, Broads, Stalham

Keep an eye on our website – for news of our regular one off events! Why not follow use on either Twitter @Museum Broads and Facebook.

May sees our ever popular Boat Jumble on the 10th May and A Wild Night at the Museum on 15th May with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust – both events are part of the Broads Festival during May.

To complement our beer exhibition we are also having a Jazz and Beer tasting evening on July 11th in our beautiful riverside setting.

Why not pop along to our beautiful riverside setting and  “Make it Stalham

Broads museum. stalham. norfolk
Sail entrance to the Museum

Stalham is a short four mile hop from the coastal area base of Barn & Beach, easily accessible for our many guests, the museum of the broads is a gateway to ‘Britain’s Magical waterland’

My Norfolk

The theme for this years AtoZ challenge ‘My Norfolk’ I wanted to share with many of the people I follow on twitter. People who have their own ‘My Norfolk’. I wanted as many view points as was possible…. even up to the maximum twenty six letters, hopeful, I know!

I have been lucky as we’ve already had views from Kathy Simms proprietor of Coastal Life, then we had the Fairy Fair with Abbie Panks; next up Dani Cameron told us about The Little wooden House Bacton.

I have provided the other nine topics on top of twenty five in the 2014 challenge, please visit my blog to see some of the delights of ‘My Norfolk’?

We are half way in this years challenge and if you are a visiting challenger I wish you a great second half…

I’m certainly looking forward to more discoveries on the journey with My Norfolk.

Here is hoping we can all meet at the end of the journey, pat ourselves on the back and leave with a sense of fulfillment having learned lots from each other in this years challenge

Here are some of this years competitors do pop by and wish them well?




Nice village,

Iteringham, North Norfolk, Broadland, Anglia

I had never really walked around its boundaries or taken time to stop and admire the architecture

Manor House, Pevenser, Iteringham, Norfolk
Manor House

The Manor House gets a mention in Pevenser – An unusual perfect example of the late c17 house. Red brick seven bays and two storeys, or rather six bays and the big doorway. Rather handsome don’t you think?

I also took time to stroll around St Mary the early c14 dated church with peaceful graveyard and cool, no chilled interior, I didn’t hang around to long before strolling back down the lanes admiring cottage gardens an crossing the bridge over the River Bure, crystal clear and moving swiftly, one can imagine there must be some sport to be had from its banks.

Onto the main event; The Walpole Arms a locally renowned gastropub, like so many tagged with that badge has a lot to live up to, its cosy bar with roaring fire were certainly a nice introduction, now to check the menus……

Walpole Arms, Blickling hall, Norfolk
Walpole arms, Itteringham, Near Blickling Hall, Norfolk.