Home Farm Blog

Friday, September 30, 2016

The best UK Holiday at Cranmer Country Cottages

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming guest Martin Smith and his family, including dog Tilly, to stay at our dog friendly, End Cottage. They had a fantastic two weeks with us making the most of our facilities and exploring all the many things to do around us in beautiful North Norfolk.

Tilly felt very at home
Martin says:
Staying at End Cottage. Just excellent. Welcomed with homemade cake and milk in the fridge for that well-earned cuppa from travelling. Both front and back gardens were dog proof, and large! All the beds were comfortable and we especially enjoyed the master bedroom with its double aspect. I will really miss looking out at the birds in the hedgerow each morning with my cup of coffee!
The “freshen up” service after the first week was a very nice touch, with the bedding being replaced and the house cleaned through.
The indoor swimming pool was such a bonus – a swim before dinner for the whole family after a day out was greatly appreciated. We also had a lot of fun playing tennis.
Around the cottages there was plenty of wildlife to watch. Rabbits made the kids smile, and the birdlife included kestrels, wrens, chaffinches and goldfinches, pied wagtails nesting and a pair of Tawny owls at night calling each other.”

Martin has also kindly recommended his top picks of things to do in North Norfolk:

  • ·         Visit Fakenham Fairways for Pitch and Putt.
  • ·         Enjoy a boat trip to see the seals.
  • ·         Have a walk around Holkham Estate to see the house and the deer.
  • ·         Visit Langham glass to blow your own souvenirs.
  • ·         Take in the beach at Brancaster
Martin is a keen bird watcher and also adds:
“I really enjoyed a couple (or 3) trips to RSPB Titchwell and was particularly pleased to be able to tick a few more rare species off the list, especially the Bearded tit and the Spoonbill. We also walked around SculthorpeNature Reserve and although not as much wildlife, we were entertained by the Nuthatches at very close quarters.
We ate out at the Mill house, Sculthorpe which wasn’t bad, the Plume of Feathers at South Creake (actually very good, and much larger servings) and the Bowling Green. Another favourite was the Café at Creake Abbey. The food, a little pricey, was very good, as was the coffee. The surrounding shops were also very tempting!
Partly due to the weather, but also the accommodation and North Norfolk coast has made the last two weeks probably the best UK holiday we can remember!”

Autumn and winter are great times of year to visit Norfolk, there tend to be less people about but an abundance of wildlife!

Call us on 01328 823135 or visit our website to check availability and book your best UK holiday!

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Big Holiday Beach Clean 2016

Cranmer Country Cottages are big on being green. We believe in the need to develop sustainable lifestyles and green tourism to address climate change and are committed to providing good quality and environmentally friendly holiday accommodation.

To that end, we wholeheartedly support Make Holidays Greener month and their Big Holiday Beach Clean campaign - with holidaymakers, travel companies and hotels encouraged to take part in the Big Holiday Beach Clean 2016 this July. This year, the campaign to raise awareness of more sustainable holidays will step up a gear and will be led by ABTA, with support from Travelife and the Travel Foundation.

Big Holiday Beach Clean 2016

The campaign is calling for more travel businesses to promote how people can take action to protect the local environment while on holiday, and for hotels to sign up for a beach clean as part of Make Holidays Greener month. Throughout the summer, holidaymakers will be encouraged to take care of the local environment and support local communities in holiday destinations.

We think that initiatives like this and the 2 Minute Beach Clean are fantastic campaigns that not only highlight the need for us all to be more environmentally aware when we are visiting often protected areas of our coast but give simple, practical ideas to how anyone can help.

To find out more about the Big Holiday Beach Clean 2016 and get involved visit: http://www.thetravelfoundation.org.uk/news/the_big_holiday_beach_clean_is_back_for_2016

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

MFMC at Cranmer Country Cottages

As well as our luxury holiday cottages being open year round for individual families and couples to enjoy we do, from time-to-time, rent out our whole site to large parties for get-togethers and celebrations.

We were recently joined by one such group who were celebrating 30 years as a club – MFMC.

MFMC at Cranmer Country Cottages

MFMC are a group of 50 motorcyclists and one of their members flew in all the way from Canada to celebrate their anniversary!  They shared the cottages and a few members also stayed in classic camper vans in our grounds. They also hired The Green Room venue and courtyard areas and they dined on bespoke wood fired oven pizzas, salads and a few sherbets J - which we sourced locally and provided.

The group stayed with us on the Saturday night and took a ride out along our beautiful coast on the Sunday, before heading back to London.

MFMC at Cranmer Country Cottages

Group member, Yasmin, said: “It was lovely to meet you both again and thank you so very much for hosting the party. We all had an absolutely fantastic time. The cottages and your location are stunning... you really do live in paradise, thanks for inviting us into your world.”

To enquire about booking Cranmer Country Cottages for your special event please call 01328 823135 or email bookings@norfolk-luxury-cottages.co.uk

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Things to Do (Whatever The Weather)

We would all cherish the fiction of long, hot sunny days lasting all summer long but (and don’t get me wrong, it’s an absolutely fabulous summer day as I write this) but we all suffer the vagaries of the English weather.

We have designed Cranmer Country Cottages to offer facilities even in less than great weather. We have a lovely heated indoor swimming pool – salt dosed for comfort and a well stock games room with table tennis, darts, pool, books and DVDs.

However the kids will want to go out and there are lots of things you can do, even if it’s raining. Here are a few of our favourites:


This is our guests' number one favourite destination. Pensthorpe Natural park is an "award-winning mix of meandering nature trails, beguiling woodland walks and a showcase for British Wildlife and nature conservation." It works for both adults and children and this year opened Hootz House, a truly amazing indoor nature adventure playground. It fits seamlessly with all the natural ethos of Pensthope. Guests at Cranmer get special discount vouchers.

The North Norfolk Steam Railway

My particular favourite. Travel the Poppy Line between Sheringham and Holt through North Norfolk’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – lovely whatever the weather. Enjoy the nostalgia of the Sheringham buffet, where you can eat in or have a picnic and watch the activity on the station platform. Sheringham is the quintessential east coast seaside town, so is well worth a visit.

Farmer Freds

For more traditional adventure playground fun with a country twist Farmer Freds Playbarn at Norfolk Lavender is great fun for children aged 0-12 years. There is fun filled maze of slides, tunnels, rope swings, drop slides, walkways and bridges. Toddlers can play safely in a separate area. There is also an Animal Farm, the Walsingham Farm Shop for tasty treats and a lovely café for after fun sustenance.

Sandringham Museum

Ok, I admit younger children might not like the idea of trailing around a stately home but the Sandringham Museum is full of the most amazing finds. We all have stuff we never get to through out but with this house the ‘stuff’ is really interesting. Vintage cars and fire engines (they had their own), costumes, vintage household equipment and not too much stuffy history. Oh and there’s a fabulous café and restaurant with freshly prepared local food by Royal Warrant holders, Debbie Steward Catering.


Many of the artists and artisan producers in North Norfolk offer workshops aimed at children and grown ups.
Dale at the Chocolate Deli in Walsingham offers chocolate making courses, Langham Glass in Fakenham for glassmaking, Salt Glass Studio in Burnham Thorpe for creative glass and print making.
You can learn to paint and decorate pots at Doodle Pots in Holt.

Information on all the above and more can be found in our Games Room. Have a wonderful stay at Cranmer and enjoy all the delights of Norfolk.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Fun things to do at Easter

Easter is upon us and we have a full house for the holidays. We are keeping our fingers crossed with the weather – we've had sunshine, wind and showers in the past few days so it's anyone's guess.

North Norfolk has a lot to offer all year round but I thought I would just offer up some special Easter events taking place locally.

Holkham Hall

Good Friday to Easter Monday has four fun-filled ‘egg-citing’ things to do from storytelling in a magic yurt, an interactive tile painting workshop, Kiddy Cook in the Old Kitchen or various puzzles and face painting – all with an Easter theme. Check out opening times and details at www.holkham.co.uk


One of our guests’ favourite venues, Pensthorpe is putting on an Easter Eggstravagansa with a special self-guided trail around the site. Learn about the species that share our natural world and finish off at WildRootz. Cranmer guests enjoy a special two for one offer on entry – just check your welcome tray. www.pensthorpe.com.

Fakenham Racecourse

It may not be the home of the Grand National but Fakenham Racecourse is much more family friendly with its casual atmosphere and no formal dress code. Children under 17 are admitted free (must be accompanied by an adult).  Racing on Easter Monday. www.fakenhamracecourse.co.uk.

Sheringham Park

Take part in their Easter trail and win a chocolate egg. Daily March 28 – April 12.

Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse

‘Spring has sprung down on Gressenhall but poor Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep. Help her to find them and discover more about the life of a shepherd and his tools. Get creative in Art Attack! And make your own fluffy sheep to take home.


Easter Bunnies, Bonnet and Bounce Day – fun day out for all the family.


Not so local but well worth the drive, BeWILDerwood is one of the most amazing fantasy experiences for the family. Take part in their ‘Bouncing Boggle Bunny Egg Hunt’ from Saturday 28 March – Sunday 12 April. ‘Follow a bunny themed trail, bound down the bunny tunnel and meet Cedric in the Big Egg. Bounce your way through the hippity hop with a little Easter gift and settle down to hear the tales of Cedric and his friends at the story-telling stage. Visit the Big Hat and make your own ever-so-bonny Boggle bunny outfit. Get your face decorated with a pink or black nose and some wonderfully wiggly whiskers’.

Our own Herdwick sheep are fed at 9.30 am every morning (times may vary).

Personally I will be enjoying the weather, visiting my favourite beach at Overstrand and munching my way through one of Dale’s (The Chocolate Deli, Walsingham) scrummy handmade Easter eggs.

Have a great holiday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Channelling your inner Wolf Hall

We are kicking off February half term this year by 'chanelling our inner Wolf Hall'. Despite all things Tudor having been explored again and again by dramatists and historians, this BBC series has shone a fresh light on this fascinating period of our history.

Cranmer is a great place to explore Norfolk's Tudor history and links with Wolf Hall. First of all we have Blickling Hall, Anne Boleyn's birthplace. Although the original Tudor manor house no longer exists, Anne Boleyn's ghost is said to the haunt the Jacobean hall on the anniversary of her execution. Oxburgh Hall once welcomed Henry V11 and his wife and Henry V111 and his wife, Catherine of Aragon were frequent visitors to the Augustinian Priory at Walsingham, just 5 miles from Cranmer. In her will, Catherine asked for someone to go on pigrimage to Walsingham and distribute money on her behalf on the way and records show that Anne Boleyn announced her intention of visiting Walsingham on pilgrimage during the heady period of her history with Henry.

Henry V111 is reported to have stayed at East Barsham Hall where he broke his journey before walking barefoot to the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham. Although the house is in private hands, you are able to see this magnificent Tudor house from the road from Fakenham to Walsingham.

In 1538 Thomas Cromwell ordered the dissolution of the Priory and what you can see today is the ruins including the magnificent East window arch. In the crypt you will find a timeline of the history of Walsingham but what makes the Abbey so special at this time of year is the magnificent carpet of snowdrops in the 20 acres of grounds. It's well worth a visit.

Walsingham Priory before the Dissolution

The connection with Wolf Hall gets even stronger - some of the books used in the series were created by Allan Barton, who runs the Martlet Gallery in Walsingham High Street - well worth a visit for his handmade paper and notebooks.

If Game of Thrones is more your thing, there is plenty of violence and bloodshed in Walsingham's history. During the period leading up to the dissolution, reports were made to Cromwell of the dissipation and corruption of the Priory and there were even rumours of 'dark arts and the philosopher's stone'. In 1537 several 'conspirators' were condemned to be 'hung, drawn and quartered' including the Sub-prior who was executed in Walsingham. The village itself is also very interesting with shops, places to eat and drink. Lose yourself in its history.

If history doesn't appeal there plenty of other things to do at half-term. The North Norfolk Railway is running its steam trains from Holt to Sheringham and for wildlife lovers Pensthorpe has special events planned for the holiday.Further afield is the magic kingdom of Bewilderwood.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 Reasons to book at Cranmer



We always listen to our guests - both by reading our Customer Service Satisfaction and talking to them during their visit.  We know what our guests like about staying at Cranmer so we thought we would share our top 10 reasons why people book with us.

1.  Family friendly: You might think that this is obvious but we are really family-friendly. All our cottages are stylish, comfortable and spacious. Open plan living/dining areas means that families can all be together while preparing food. Everything is on one level which means no running up and down stairs and parents can easily keep an eye on the children.

Each cottage has large patio doors which open onto a terrace. From the terrace parents can enjoy a glass of wine while watching their children play in the large paddock at the back of the cottages. This paddock is completely fenced in, making it a safe environment.

2. Heated indoor swimming pool: The pool is designed to be perfect for children. With a water temperature of 29oC little ones can be warm both in and out of the water. We salt dose the pool rather than using harsh chemicals so it's kind to delicate skin and beneficial to asthma sufferers. And when the weather is not so good it is a good way to amuse the kids when they cannot play outdoors.

3. Owners live on site:  Unlike many other holiday cottages, the owners Lynne and John Johnson live at Cranmer. We also have administration and maintenance cover during normal work hours on site. While we do regular weekly maintenance on the cottages, there is always the possibility that something will break or stop working and we can usually get it sorted quickly rather than having to wait for on outside contractor to get here. Lynne and John are on hand to dispense local knowledge and, if you are interested, John will give you a tour of the eco-systems they have installed at the cottage complex or even show you his collection of vintage cars!

4. Award winning: Cranmer holds two important awards; Visit England Gold Award and the Green Tourism Gold Award.  Both of these are testament to the quality, cleanliness and facilities available at the cottages. We all work hard to gain and maintain these standards and guests can be confident that their holiday will be top notch.

5.  Booking direct:  following comments from guests we now have an efficient online booking system. Guest can check availability and pricing on our website in real time at any time of the day or night. Perfect for booking last minute deals.

6.  Secure payments: our new booking system means that we no longer have access to your credit or debit card details. All payments are made online using a secure SagePay system, giving guests the reassurance that their payments are promptly made, securing their holiday and their details are secure.

7.  Local knowledge: Lynne, John and their daughter Emily have lived in North Norfolk for sixteen years and John knows Norfolk from his childhood. They are regular sailors and know a great deal about North Norfolk and what it has to offer visitors. If you want recommendations for restaurants or nearby amenities for children, they have test driven most of them. The whole team has an excellent knowledge of the best places to visit and the best food to buy or eat.

8.  Facilities: As well as our heated indoor swimming pool, Lynne has worked to make Cranmer very family friendly. The large fenced paddock area at the back of all the cottages (except Coot) is perfect for children to play safely, watch nature on their doorsteps and make friends. There are swings and a Wendy House and summer cricket matches are often organised by guests. We also have 2 all-weather tennis courts and a well-equipped Games Room for those wet days where families can play table tennis, pool or darts. There are books for children and the grown-up and lots of information about local attractions. We also have a lockable bike store.

9.  Location: Cranmer offers the best of countryside and coast. Close to the North Norfolk heritage coast and Holkham, it’s only 3 hours from London (on a good day!).The beaches are spectacular, there is shopping in Burnham Market and Holt and if you crave some city life, Norwich is only an hour away. There’s lots of healthy outdoor things to do with the children.

10. Green Tourism: While this might not be the most important thing you think about it when you are booking your holiday, we believe that it is important that our business is sustainable and eco-friendly. Our biomass boiler, solar panels and wind turbine mean that we are energy efficient. So it’s going on in the background during your stay, it’s good for the environment and it’s sustainable.



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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Easter breaks in North Norfolk

With Easter just a few weeks away, we are feeling rather excited that spring has arrived. We are certainly enjoying the daffodils that are scattered around the countryside, they glow like little rays of sunshine that offer promise that warmer weather and lighter evenings are on their way.
North Norfolk is definitely gearing up for the holiday season and with the Easter Holidays just around the corner we look forward to welcoming new and returning visitors to the area.
If you are still looking for a break over the Easter weekend, then look no further! Our family friendly cottages are situated in the tranquil countryside, but are only a short drive away from the coast. There are lots of Easter themed activities taking place in the area with plenty of other things to enjoy as a family during your stay too. We are even offering a 10% discount and a personalised, handmade chocolate Easter Egg if you book your stay over the Easter weekend... We promise not to nibble on the chocolate before you arrive, even though it is practically impossible to resist!
Below we've put together some suggested family friendly things to do over the Easter holidays and for some more ideas on what you can do during your stay, read our A to Z guide of things to do in Norfolk too.
Lamb Feeding
Cuddle and bottle feed a baby lamb at the Stow Bardolph Rare Breeds Farm. There is also the chance to hold fluffy Easter chicks and make friends with lots of farm animals including horses, pigs and rabbits.
Easter Trail
Take a special Easter Trail at one of the following locations and you may even be in with a chance of winning an Easter Egg!
You may even want to set up your own Easter Egg hunt within the grounds of our cottages.
Grab yourself a line, bucket and some bait (crabs seem to love bacon!) and see how many crabs you can catch from Well’s Harbour. 
If you’ve not heard of Geocaching, it’s a worldwide, real life treasure hunting game. All you need to play is a GPS device i.e. a smart phone. Geocache has it’s own app which is available to download and from there you can search for caches near to you which you can then track down. Other than purchasing the app, it is free to do and gives families the opportunity to spend time together enjoying the great outdoors. For full details visit http://www.geocaching.com/

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Treat mum to some luxury this Mother's Day

Fancy treating your mum this mother’s day? How about booking a last minute weekend break in one of our luxury cottages where she can be surrounded by her family and spoilt rotten. 
There’s no better way to say thanks than to give her a bit of time to relax and unwind on the North Norfolk coast and treat her to a scrumptious mother’s day lunch at one of these popular venues.
North Creake
If you’re a fan of a traditional pub atmosphere and good food then look no further than the Jolly Farmers. The menu offers a great variety of seasonal and locally sourced meals ranging from traditional pub grub to impressive daily specials.
The Victoria is a short stroll from the famous and very beautiful Holkham Beach. It’s a very welcoming place to stop and indulge in a delicious plate of food after an exhilarating walk on the beach. Serving fresh, local and seasonal is paramount for the chefs at the Victoria; you can enjoy beef and venison straight from the Holkham estate as well as delicious fresh fish that’s caught on the North Norfolk coast. Food is served from 8am so you can even pop in for a hearty breakfast if you don’t fancy cooking breakfast in your cottage.
The White Horse offers spectacular views over the Norfolk Coastal path and marsh making it a beautiful place to dine. The chefs pride themselves on cooking up fresh local produce including an abundance of locally caught fish and seafood, which is delivered by the local village fishermen. You can’t get fish any fresher than straight off the boat!
The Orange Tree is a contemporary styled pub situated in the beautiful village of Thornham. It has won many awards including the Dining Pub of the year for two consecutive years. Their award winning food is innovative and the executive chef, Philip Milner is well known for his seafood dishes including wild seabass and razor clams. There are a variety of dishes that will suit most tastes, ranging from the pub classics to contemporary cuisine.
Titchwell, Nr Brancaster
Titchwell Manor was the winner of the EDP best restaurant of the year 2013 and we can fully understand why. The two restaurants on site offer a truly gastronomic experience. The Eating Rooms offers a more informal and relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy a selection of dishes from their large brasserie menu or book a table at the conservatory where you can savour a 7 course evening meal. On Sundays both menus combine plus there’s the opportunity to tuck into a traditional Sunday roast too. Delicious!

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Half Term Events and Activities in Norfolk

It only feels like yesterday when we were celebrating Christmas and welcoming the New Year in, the last 6 weeks seem to have flown by and now we are only a matter of a few days away from the February half term.

There are a few events and activities taking place throughout Norfolk that will keep the family entertained during the half term break, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites below.

Bee a Nature Explorer
Pensthorpe Natural Park
15th – 23rd February
Become a nature explorer and buzz around the nature reserve trail discovering bugs, beasts and wonderful creatures that make Pensthorpe their home. Finish the day with a marathon play in the new WildRootz adventure play area where there’s dens to build, zip wires to ride, slides to whiz down and much more to climb and explore too.
Family Nest Building Workshop
Creake Abbey
15th February
Join the Sculthorpe Moor Nature Team at Creake Abbey where you can build your very own nesting box which you can take home to put up in the garden. You will also have the opportunity to visit a barn owl roost, see their nest box and learn some very interesting facts about owls and birds of prey that live in the UK. 
Walsingham Abbey Snowdrop Walk
Throughout February 
Walsingham Abbey is home to the spectacular ruins of a medieval priory and pilgrimage and during February the grounds are more breathtaking than usual as they are covered in a blanket of snowdrops. Snowdrops are always a sure sign that spring is on the way as they are the first flowers to emerge from the ground after winter. The grounds are open every day throughout February and visitors can explore over 18 acres of woodland that’s covered in a blanket of snowdrops. 
The Mystery of the Missing Brooch: a Gressenhall Treasure Hunt!
Gressenhall Farm & Workhouse
17th – 21st February
Lady Hermione was visiting Gressenhall Workhouse to meet some of the deserving inmates when she realised that she had lost her favourite brooch! Come and follow the clues, crack the code and search the workhouse. Can you find the location of the missing brooch? Discover what other accessories a fashionable Victorian like Lady Hermione might wear and make your own badge to take home in Art Attack!
Norwich Dragon Festival
Various Locations in Norwich
10th – 23rd February
Did you know that Dragons have been a heraldic symbol that’s been closely connected to Norwich since the middle ages? As a result of this very special connection, the Norwich Dragon Festival showcases two weeks of family fun packed activities that celebrate the dragon and it’s ties with Norwich. There’s nearly 70 events planned in over 25 locations throughout the city, so come and see fire breathing dragons, get involved with dragon themed arts and crafts and take a quest to discover dragons throughout the city.
Boggle Wish Bonfire
15th – 23rd February
This curious treehouse adventure park is packed full of adventures and interesting characters. This half term the Boggles will be sprinkling their magic and lighting up the warming fires throughout the park. So head down to ride zipwires, clamber across jungle bridges, slide down slippery slopes and enjoy the party. There will also be storytelling and the opportunity to create your very own wish-making potion which you can take to the fire pit to make all your wishes come true.
Teddy Bear Express
Bure Valley Railway
15th - 23rd February
Enjoy a steam train journey in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. This half term we’re inviting your teddy bears to join in on the fun by offering free travel for every child who brings their own teddy. (Child has to be accompanied by a fee paying adult. Terms & conditions apply) There’s also a teddy competition, teddy themed colouring in and scrummy teddy bear children's meals are available at the whistlestop café too. 

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Tel: (+44) 01328 823135