Today the sky is slightly overcast with a pale sun breaking through intermittently. It is warm, though, and perhaps a little humid.
We are using the second of our train days and heading north. Hoping for the best, we went down to breakfast early and and then rushed off to the station and surprised ourselves by being just in time for the 9:17 Norwich train.
At Norwich we had nearly an hour to wait for our connection so we crossed the bridge to the Premier Inn which has a Costa coffee bar within it. You can choose the window seats overlooking the river or the ultra-soft difficult-to-get-out-of settees. Tigger calls these “Nemi couches” and if you have been following the Nemi strip in the Metro, you will know why.
In due course, we returned to the station and boarded the 10:45 for Sheringham, our target. The sky has cleared somewhat and the sunshine is more continuous. The temperature has risen in consequence and it promises to be a very warm day.
Sheringham station is a one-platform terminus. There is only one way out of the station but this fortunately places you within sight of the Poppyline Railway, a steam service run, as these usually are, by enthusiasts. We didn’t ride on the train but we had coffee in the station buffet and explored the station, including a signal box that no longer functions but can be visited.
After this agreeable interlude, we went into the town and at this point I nearly wrote off Sheringham completely. I expect that Sheringham was once a pleasant seaside town whose main street curved gently down to the sea, whereas today… Well, imagine collecting all the worst bits of Brighton or Southend – the “gift shops” selling rubbish, amusement arcades, chip shops exuding the stink of rancid oil – and you have some idea of this section of Sheringham.
We had lunch at the Crown Inn and then took a turn around the town away from the horrid main street. Here I was agreeably surprised. These streets are quieter, the houses pretty, many with well-kept gardens or decorated with flowers.
Then there is also the sea. Fortunately, the beach seems relatively untouched and the gentle sigh of the waves under a blue sky was reassuring. Perhaps if we had stayed longer we might have gained a more complete and more positive impression of Sheringham.
On the other hand. plenty of people enjoy what the stinking high street has to offer. though I will be in no hurry to return.
We took the 14:46 train out of Sheringham. It was 10 minutes late but this did not worry us too much as we intended to travel only two stops, that is, to Cromer, billed as “The Gem of the Norfolk Coast”.
So how gemlike was Cromer? I preferred it to Sheringham though that may be a little unfair as it is a bigger town and therefore has a greater range of interest.
The highlight of our short visit was perhaps our visit to the Hotel de Paris. This must once have been a splendid hotel, a place of elegance and luxury. It has come down-market somewhat from its heyday but the decor is still beautful.
We went into the lobby and asked if we could have coffee and while we drank it, we photographed our surroundings.
After this we continued our tour and sat for a while overlooking the sea and trying to photograph black-headed gulls swooping overhead.
Then it was time to make for the station and the 17:00 train. It was no surprise that this one too was late.
This train took us to North Walsham, where we had a little walk around the town centre. We spent too little time there to get a more than a cursory view of it but it seems a pleasant little town.
We returned to the station for the 18:17 train to Norwich and thence back to Great Yarmouth. There, we made our way to the Jaipur Indian restaurant (do you notice a pattern here?) as we had not yet tried it. I think it was about average and that Akaash in Dereham is still the best of those we have sampled so far.
Tigger tried a new way back to the hotel. I will admit to being lost but I just left it to Tigger and her inner pigeon. She led us unerringly to our destination and en route we visited the Fisherman’s Hospital, a beautiful old building, built in 1710, originally conceived on the pattern of almshouses for poor fishermen.
We were soon back at the hotel where we made tea and rested from the day’s wanderings.