Norwich 2010 – Day 6

It’s a sunny day today and one of our train days. For breakfast, we tried AMT on the station concourse as they at least have tables and chairs.

Looking out from AMT
Looking out from AMT

Norwich station is light and airy and the AMT cafe is glass fronted, giving a good view of the comings and goings of travellers. Our train is not until 9:45 so we have time to sit and watch the world go by.


Our train left on time, so let’s hope that today transport will run according to plan. The train goes to Sheringham but we will be getting out at Cromer. We have previously visited both places and while I disliked Sheringham, I was impressed by Cromer with its magnificent and historically interesting Hotel de Paris, and I hope a return visit will not disappoint.


There were no trees on the line today and no other untoward incidents. Our train reached Cromer as advertised, and we set out to explore.

Church Street, Cromer
Church Street, Cromer

We paid a visit to the museum which occupies a row of old cottages altered to accommodate the displays.

Victorian fisherman's cottage, Cromer Museum
Victorian fisherman’s cottage, Cromer Museum

The exhibits are mainly about Cromer and its history, with a section on the early autochrome colour photographer, Olive Edis, who I think should be better known for her work which is artistically excellent and throws valuable light on the life of her day.

Part of the Olive Edis exhibition
Part of the Olive Edis exhibition

As you can see, photography is allowed in Cromer Museum, for which the management deserves due credit.

The Jarrold name pops up all over Norfolk. They're quite good shops, too.
The Jarrold name pops up all over Norfolk. They’re quite good shops, too.

From there we progressed to the seafront and had lunch in the Lifeboat Cafe overlooking the beach and pier.

A view of the seafront, the pier and the Lifeboat Cafe
A view of the seafront, the pier and the Lifeboat Cafe

An autumn sun shone strongly from a blue sky merely streaked with white and we enjoyed it for a while, sitting on the pier.

On Cromer Pier
On Cromer Pier

Sited at the end of Cromer pier, is the very important Cromer lifeboat station which you can visit. As well as the hi-tech modern lifeboat itself, the station contains memorabilia, historical items and films about the service.

Lifeboat station: stained glass window depicting a rescue
Lifeboat station: stained glass window depicting a rescue

One of the notable features of Cromer is the Hotel de Paris. There have been several guesthouses and hotels on the site and the present building, a quirky individual design by George Skipper, was built in 1895-6. Last time we came to Cromer, we visited this hotel and took coffee in the lobby. We thought we would do so again.

The Hotel de Paris
The Hotel de Paris

The hotel now belongs to a chain but although it has been modernized, something of its original elegance and charm remains. Maybe we will manage to stay here for a few days or a weekend.

Lobby and main staircase, Hotel de Paris
Lobby and main staircase, Hotel de Paris

A bit later we dropped into the Buttercup Tearooms next door for an excellent cream tea, one of the best I’ve had in recent times.

Buttercup Tearooms
Buttercup Tearooms

Casting around for somewhere to go to finish the day, we took a bus to Sheringham. I was not keen on the idea because when I went there before I hated it. I went along with the idea, however, thinking that this time I might receive a better impression of the place. I did not.

Sheringham, a general feeling of tackiness
Sheringham, a general feeling of tackiness

Sheringham is a victim of its own success and as so often happens, the influx of tourists to a popular resort destroys the very qualities that made it attractive to start with and reduces it to the lowest common denominator – pointless "gift shops", garish games arcades, fast food outlets infecting the atmosphere with the stink of rancid cooking oil and a general feeling of tackiness.

The 1862 water tower
The 1862 water tower

One feels that under the scabs, a pretty seaside town is struggling to get out. Will it ever reappear? No, I don’t think so either. If I were a citizen of Sheringham, I would feel badly let down by the town planners who allow this degradation to occur.

Sheringham steam railway station
Sheringham steam railway station

There is one feature that slightly redeems the place and that is the steam railway with its period station, lovingly restored by enthusiasts, and vintage trains that run on its track. For railway fans, amateurs of British history or simply those who love to spice their holidays with a tingle of nostalgia, this is somewhere to visit and sample the delights on offer.

The two stations at Sheringham
The two stations at Sheringham

There are two railway stations at Sheringham, the old steam railway station and the modern nondescript one. As you can see from the photo, they are separated only by a narrow road. We noticed that the tracks in the old and modern stations have been joined, raising the possibility that one day steam trains could again run on the main line.

Our train arrives (on time!)
Our train arrives (on time!)

We took the (modern) train out of Sheringham and returned to Norwich. For supper we took a light repast at Frankie and Bennie’s and then retired to the hotel.

Frankie & Bennie's
Frankie & Bennie’s

In any other part of the UK, I wouldn’t bother to mention that both the trains and the buses turned up as advertised and ran on time, but as that is by no mean usual in Norfolk, I have made a point of it. For the first time since arriving here, we enjoyed a day without frustrations caused by shortcomings of public transport.

Swan on a darkling river
Swan on a darkling river

I don’t claim that the above photo is a good one. It was taken on the river bank beside the hotel, in darkness, without flash, and with only incidental lights. In the circumstances, it was surely a good try!

Cromer Pier (note the lifeboat slipway at the end)
Cromer Pier (note the lifeboat slipway at the end)

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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2 Responses to Norwich 2010 – Day 6

  1. WOL says:

    Re The Hotel de Paris — there are ways to modernize and ways not to modernize. The best way is to bring in modern conveniences without destroying the historic flavor.

    I’m embarassed to say I don’t know the difference between a “cream tea” and a “regular” tea.

    • SilverTiger says:

      A cream tea normally consists of tea (the drink) together with scones, jam and clotted cream.

      Both Cornwall and Devonshire often claim the invention of the cream tea (both being big producers of cream) but these days cream teas are available all over the country.

      Variants are also becoming more common. For example, you may be offered cream teas that include cake (and in Wales, bara brith) in addition to scones.

      Such is the popularity of cream teas that Pumpkin, a chain of small cafes often found at railway stations, is currently offering a cream tea for £1.99, consisting of a cup of tea, one scone and a small pot each of jam and clotted cream.

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