Autumn is here…by Carol Bacon
It crept up on us rather suddenly, with most of Spring and some of Summer lost to the dreaded doom and gloom of a national Lockdown. This year has to be one of, if not the most unpredictable in relation to the Self-Catering business, that in my 30 years in the hospitality industry, I have ever experienced.
When the brakes were finally released on 4th July Norfolk Holiday Homes could have done with at least double the amount of properties to rent out and another 10 pairs of hands to help process the business we did have. The season, which normally starts to ease up middle of September once the kids return to school, just kept going. Calls and emails have started to slow down, but on some of the busiest days Sandra counted up 108 emails of enquiry when we actually had nothing to sell. Demand certainly outweighed supply.
Our owners lost over three months of revenue from 23rd March to 4th July. When the lockdown was lifted most people decided to boost the English economy and enjoy a staycation (let’s face it, this was greatly needed with the economy grinding to a halt in Lockdown and Rishi Sunak using every pound he had squirrelled away under the mattress to keep those affected from sleeping on the streets), which has since helped to keep most of our holiday homes going. We have lost a few properties along the way, but new ones are springing up all the time so keep an eye on our “New Arrivals” page on the website.
We have enjoyed some delightful guests, the majority really understanding about the “new normal” which we have had to put into place following lockdown. Most just thankful and happy to be out and about after being locked in for three months. We moved our guest arrival time from 3 pm to 4 pm just to give our housekeeping teams and owners a little more time to prepare for their new arrivals. Owners, following advice from the government, removed many items from their holiday homes to help provide a more manageable, hygienic environment. This meant the extra touches which our owners had added to create a more homely environment, like cushions, throws and personalised information folders had to be removed. Other casualties included welcome packs and tourist information leaflets, for fear that these would be touched by too many people before the end user.
A positive element to come out of all this is that our properties are filling up already for 2021. So, we are encouraging everyone to book for next year as soon as they can to avoid disappointment. Many of our properties especially those with sea views, are already booked for the six weeks of the summer holiday in 2021.
Instead of the uncertainty of airport closures, flight delays or having to race to book alternative, very expensive flights home because the “air bridge” is closing in 24 hours, choose a staycation. You know it makes sense.
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied here on the Royal Norfolk Coast (including your four-legged friends), so don’t delay, book your 2021 holiday today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties, call and have a chat; we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor and many accept pets too. If you are on a day trip visiting Hunstanton pop in and see us, we love to natter and we will find you the property that’s right for you.
June Blog by Carol Bacon
The 4th of July has been celebrated in United States of America since the eighteenth century, marking the settlement colonies voting for, and becoming independent from Great Britain. So who would have thought that almost two and a half centuries on we are all holding our breath for our own independence and freedom day to celebrate, not quite such an historical event but oh my won’t it feel good?
Our fingers are crossed and we are hoping the wind is blowing in the right direction so that the government will lift the lockdown further. Rumour has it that this will be the date (Saturday 4th July 2020) that domestic travel, without the caveat of any travel undertaken having to be “essential” and distance can be further than the bottom of our drives, might be allowed once more.
Roll on the 4th of July, something to finally look forward to. Whilst we are all still very cautious about making plans until the current situation resolves, it’s not going to hurt to take a peak at what’s available and to start chatting to friends and family about getting together (yes, more than one household) and enjoy a break away.
Why Stay in the UK? Well it will certainly be easier to plan, avoiding the international regulations and restrictions which at the moment no one appears to be certain of. You won’t have to self quarantine when you get home either. That’s the reason why you and your family should vote “staycation”.
Why book with Norfolk Holiday Homes? Well I could waffle on about why all day, but simply and succinctly put...
We’re local, we offer holiday homes to suit all and a human, in Norfolk, will pick up the phone and offer practical, informed advice on whether a holiday home you have chosen is right for you.
After three months of isolation and lockdown it’s important you get it right, so let us help you to make your getaway the best thing that’s happened this year so far.
With amazing beaches, coast and country walks and beautiful open skies with spectacular sunsets what’s not to look forward to?
We look forward to seeing you all here in Norfolk soon.
MID MAY BLOG by Carol Bacon
Wonderful holidays of past and future...............
As the wheels of normality start to gradually roll forward in a positive direction, we shift our imaginations into overdrive and start planning a break or holiday once the UK lifts its travel bans.
I have been very fortunate to have travelled to many countries on most continents around the world over the last thirty years. There are still a few places on my “to do” list before I hang up my wanderlust boots, but for now I shall be content to become a domestic traveller and enjoy what the UK has to offer. My parents are both in their mid-eighties and have never left the UK to holiday. To this day they still can’t understand the appeal of foreign travel when, in their own words “the UK has so much to see and do still”.
Growing up as a family of five we enjoyed three or four weeks away each year. Of course we were spoilt living only a short 15 minute drive from the Norfolk coast, we enjoyed many a day trip throughout the year to Sunny Hunny. We still do, these days joined by children, grand-children and great grand-children. We will never tire of the good old English bucket and spade resorts.
In the 70’s a VW camper van served as both our transport and accommodation. In the 80’s our holiday accommodation came in the form of static caravans, but only the best for us, my father would book the holiday via a telephone to a booking call centre (I know, by telephone! Yes, because in those days the world wide ‘interwebby’ thingy was not around) and as an extra little treat dad would upgrade to the highest spec caravan that was available. As my older brother, sister and I drifted away from home to do our own things my parents, until a few years ago, continued to do the static caravan holiday throughout the UK.
Now those family holidays were crammed full of visitor attractions, pleasant countryside hikes, picnics, sight-seeing on an epic proportion during the day; at night, if we still had any energy left (which wasn’t that often), we would check out the resorts entertainment, spend a few pence in the penny slot arcades and enjoy sharing a couple of portions of chips on our walk back to the caravan after dark.
I am a little bias having carved my career within the British Tourism Industry over the last 30 years and these days my role within the Norfolk Holiday Homes agency is wholly dependent on domestic travellers visiting Norfolk.
So let’s forget about travelling abroad for the remainder of 2020 and even 2021. Get over the fact that if we want a holiday now it will be less hassle to stay on one of the greatest islands in the world (for those who didn’t get that, yes I’m talking about the UK). So, let’s kick start and grow our economy now by spending our holidays and cash in the UK.
You can start by giving Norfolk Holiday Homes a call. Once the brakes are off the travel ban, let us find you somewhere to stay and enjoy with you family, friends and loved ones. If you live locally and want your family to visit you but can’t quite squeeze them in, give us a call. We can find you somewhere that suits your needs.
We look forward to seeing both regulars and new guests soon. Come and enjoy the amazing coastline, big blue skies and spectacular sunsets here on the Royal Norfolk Coast.
Bring Back Brexit...
Three words which I thought would never be uttered from my lips but at least we knew what the Brexit endgame was. Coronavirus remains the unknown which is terrifying.
Bring back normality, stop filling our heads with daily nuggets of advice which are then refuted or disproved the next day by a government “following the science”. It’s scary and has the opposite intended affect. Rather than calming the nation it stirs up panic. The evidence of this panic are empty supermarket shelves days before, and weeks after the initial lockdown.
I have never been so disappointed and disgusted by human nature as I have been in the last couple of months.
Panic buying leaving little or no supplies, including basic food items, on the shelves in supermarkets up and down the UK. Frontline NHS staff unable to buy food to keep them going after what must be, some of the longest, gruelling shifts of their careers.
Food piled high in bins, wasted after it has not been used because idiots panic buying didn’t plan the long term storage of perishable food.
With the warmest weather of the year so far hitting in April people started stretching the parameters of the lock down to extremes by continuing to gather in public parks and national parks for BBQs and parties. The government being blamed and vilified for not providing strict guidelines for the public to follow. Well I guess if we act like children pushing the rules we have to be treated like children.
Frontline staff lack PPE to carry out critical care for those in need. Day by day new information emerges on why this has been allowed to happen. Will we ever know the truth? I doubt it, so how can we comment on it without the full facts? It surely doesn’t help when the public are told to use face masks to protect themselves and limit the spread of the virus. Overnight, following this guidance (provided by someone the BBC were interviewing who represented no government or NHS department), every outlet selling face masks had sold out. Ohhhh more panic buying. How predictable.
British farmers have been forced to literally destroy their produce as their supply chain to market have been disrupted and broken down. Millions of gallons of milk poured away and livestock destroyed as they have no buyers for them. Supermarket shelves are empty, am I missing something here? A couple of supermarket chains even resorted to buying and selling Polish beef. Nothing wrong with Polish beef I’m sure, but British livestock are being destroyed because the farmers can’t sell it. What’s wrong with this picture!?
Flickering lights at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel...
The recognition of the real heroes at this awful time. The NHS staff who have continued to provide us with the best care possible. The police force who endeavour to keep our streets safe, the fire brigade who keep putting out the fires, the teachers and teaching assistants who continue to keep frontline workers children safe so that they may continue to work and care for us. Let’s not forget each and every supermarket worker and delivery driver who are keeping us fed, refuse workers who continue to collect our bins so we don’t live in squalor. Let’s not forget Boris and his cabinet. They might not always say what we want them to say but they carry on regardless and will hopefully see us through to the other side. Congratulations to Carrie and Boris on their new arrival. Even more reason to keep our country safe and ensure it’s future. It is hoped with a new broom in the Labour camp that all the political parties might come together, support the government and lead us through to better times. Good leadership is made by opposition, but at such unsettling times one hopes they keep focused on the real issues.
Finally to those amongst us who continue to raise funds to enable the heroes to continue. You know who you are, too many to mention. I cannot forget Captain Tom Moore who wanted to raise £1000 before his 100th birthday on 30th April 2020. Well didn’t he smash it out of the park! A bright light and true ambassador for bringing this nation together. £30 Million and counting. Thank you all, GREAT BRITAIN remains alive and kicking because of you.
Let’s make sure we celebrate together once it’s all over. So many celebrations which we will have missed, The Queens birthday, VE Day to name a couple. So start thinking about that street party now (and by thinking about it I don’t mean start panic party buying!).
Hopefully with a break or holiday on the Norfolk Coast. With over 60 very different properties offered we are sure to find the one to help with your celebration plans once the lockdown is lifted.
MID APRIL BLOG by Carol Bacon
Spare a thought for the vulnerable older generation at this unprecedented time…….
I ventured out to the supermarket before everyone went panic buying mad due to the closure of all supermarkets on Easter Sunday. It was not busy, the staff appeared organised and were quite cheery overall. Whilst standing in the queue to pay (observing the social distancing of 2m) the mature lady ahead of me offered the cashier a £20 note to pay for her shopping. The young male cashier was very polite but refused the cash, stating that it was now the supermarket’s policy to not take cash on their staffed tills. The lady (aged 75/80) became a little flustered and said she would have to leave her groceries as she did not use a credit or debit card as she could never remember her security pin number. The cashier, remaining very courteous, suggested he call a supervisor who would be able to help.
Another young man appeared and I can only say that what I then observed was tantamount to disrespectful, rude and must have felt rather intimidating for the elderly customer. The lady was told to “come with me” and was then frogmarched to the self-service tills. The young man did not adapt his walking pace, so the older lady had to quicken her step, whilst no offer was made to help her carry her groceries from one end of the store to the other. Upon reaching the till she was left in front of the self-check-out computer touch screen to fend for herself. The lady called to the retreating young man and politely asked for assistance. After turning around, tutting and starting the process with a big, impatient sigh, he did assist in processing the groceries and feeding the cash into the self-checkout slot. So after all that, whilst I can appreciate that supermarkets do not wish to put their teams in harm’s way, this could have been managed so much more compassionately. The young man returned directly to the shop floor, no urgency to wash his hands after handling cash on this occasion or maybe on any other occasion perhaps!!
The older generation do not want to be any trouble - many too proud to ask or accept help. Some not having anyone to help them, you may be the only person they see or interact with for days. So show a little compassion. BE KIND. It’s not what has to be said, but how the message is conveyed. I popped over to this lady, yes, still maintaining my social distancing and asked if she was ok. She thanked me for enquiring and said she really did not want to inconvenience anyone but paying by cash was what she always did and it did not seem to be an issue at any other supermarket in King’s Lynn. I wished her good day, “stay safe” being my parting statement. I don’t think this supermarket will have to worry about taking her cash again anytime soon.
I am very fortunate to have two parents still kicking about, both mid 80’s and whilst they might not be on pace with how they were ten to twenty years ago, they are as proud as ever and still have feelings. They do make me chuckle when they relive a conversation after cold calls saying their Microsoft Windows needs updating, mum responding by telling the caller that they have very nice sash windows which they are happy with for now. I dread to think how my mother would have felt if she had been treated like the lady above. I think the groceries would have been left and a trip to another supermarket would have ensued.
So remember, Apple is something they eat and their TV is smart when they are watching The Chase. My iPad ran out of charge the other day and my mum asked what sort of battery it needed! Many of us have been brought up with this fast moving tech, only to blink and it’s been updated again. Patience is a virtue, it takes all of us, every age to make the world go round.
When we are all through this horrible time and we can get every generation of our families back together again, give us a call. We have holiday homes to suit everyone. Ground floor and walk in showers for the less agile, Wi-fi for the tech savvy and most with fully enclosed gardens so children can play safe and not forgetting that pets can come too. Short breaks, weekends and seven days plus.
We will be waiting for your call, looking forward to seeing you all soon.
APRIL BLOG - by Carol Bacon
It seems a long while ago when I posted my last blog encouraging everyone to come to Norfolk to enjoy the open countryside, fresh air, big Norfolk sunsets and beautiful beaches. Especially considering that Sandra, Julie and I have spent the last two weeks contacting guests telling them that in light of the current government directive (no non-essential travel), their holidays booked for April and May, due to reasons beyond our control, must be postponed.
Whilst most of our guests, many of whom have been Norfolk Holiday Home regulars for many years, have been exceptionally kind, understanding and have appreciated the fact that we have no choice. We don’t want to cancel or postpone your holidays, but in fact we have to. To these guests we all send a big virtual hug ???? to thank you for your wishes of well-being to our little team, and to these lovely people we all look forward to seeing you in the Autumn or next year.
I would now like to tell you about the flip side of this...
Shakespeare wrote about the ‘milk of human kindness,’ Lady Macbeth talking of her husband, that due to his compassion and kindness he was unable to kill his rivals. I use this Shakespeare prose more to highlight the lack of understanding, compassion and understanding in some of our guests during this very harrowing time. Where has the milk of human kindness gone??
Norfolk Holiday Homes has been a business (subsidiary and standalone) for more than 60 years. The current worldwide pandemic and knock on effect of this, is new to us all. Of which, apart from world wars (although I’m almost certain hugs were allowed even then), most of us, until now have been fortunate to have never seen anything, or been amidst anything quite like it. It’s scary, lonely, mind and mental state altering. So perhaps that is why, here at Norfolk Holiday Homes, we have seen guests react to their holidays being postponed, at each end of the spectrum. Thankfully many are demonstrating ‘the milk of human kindness.’ However, some (thank goodness in the minority) have most certainly been to their local supermarkets and found the panic buyers have raided the shelves of all the milk, including that of kindness.
So my message to you all is BE KIND, it doesn’t cost you anything, and quite often you will get more with honey than with vinegar (sorry the old sayings are just pouring out today!!). We did not culture and release Coronavirus, if we could magic up a do over we would. However, we can’t, and it’s happening, affecting all of us personally and in business.
By asking you to postpone your trips to Norfolk we are helping to keep us all a little safer. The catastrophic consequences to our business and that of our holiday home owners businesses is yet unknown. We all hope to come out the other side, healthy, still in business and still in control of our sanity.
So I say again BE KIND to one another, smile ???? ???? as much as you can without making people wonder what you have been up to, and if you can, help each other come through this dreadful time.
Hopefully we will look back at this later in the year and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s all over. Once your sigh of relief is expelled, who knows, it might be time to think about a holiday.
Stay safe and keep giving everyone a virtual hug until you can squeeze them for real.
MARCH BLOG - by Carol Bacon
Time to make the right decision for your 2020 holidays
What a difference a month makes, the pound had strengthened against all world currencies when the UK finally left the EU on 31st January. Everyone who had forecast the end of the world with the collapse of the British economy were starting to look like their predictions would not come true. Finally, some good news for British holiday makers when exchanging their pound for their holiday currency. Our annual family holidays are so important to all of us. Most of us do get five to six weeks annual paid leave but many of us only choose to pack up and go away for two or three weeks of this, the remainder used to complete DIY or enjoy our gardens. So, picking the right destination and holiday accommodation is so important.
So, when the news headlines reported a flu like virus hitting residents in the city of Wuhan in China it made the world sit up and listen. The impact of a drop in the worldwide tourism markets rocked the global financial markets. Suddenly our pound was back to its all-time low, making a holiday to warmer foreign climates a threat to our health and to our pockets.
I am waiting in anticipation for the UK domestic tourism market to decide not to chance booking their 2020 holidays in some far-flung part of the world. Italy has closed its doors , new confirmed cases of the virus are hitting the headlines every day around the world. Is there an insurance policy robust enough to take care of you and your loved ones should the unfortunate need arise when you are on foreign soil? Why chance long delays at airports, potential travel restrictions or even lock down once out in other continents (if it can happen to Tom Cruise on the set of the new Mission Impossible film, then it can happen to anyone!).
Amongst other helpful tips and handy hints on how to avoid contracting the virus the World Health Organisation have listed as their top tips –
Just because the news may quieten down for a few days it does not mean it is over. The sudden surge in new cases around the globe has potentially been caused by peoples’ “out of sight out of mind” attitude. It’s not in the news so it must have gone away. A very dangerous and often grave mistake we all make.
As well as this growing concern for holiday makers leaving the UK on their travels this year, those who prefer to stay in the UK will also have to consider the damage done to the domestic tourism market by Storm Ciara, Dennis and Jorge. With continuous rainfall in biblical proportion, causing rivers to burst their banks so homes, holiday cottages and businesses have to cope in the aftermath of catastrophic flood damage, choosing somewhere in the UK has also become much harder than it has ever been.
I think here in Norfolk, apart from minor storm and flood damage and some areas minus power for a brief period of time, we have been one of the fortunate counties in England so far, not affected too badly by the storms. So, without wishing to capitalise on the rest of the country and worlds woes, why not consider staying in the UK and giving Norfolk a try for your 2020 holidays.
With over sixty properties to choose from, all individual in their style and quality, there is sure to be one which will suit you and your family needs this year. So, spring into action, take a look at all the amazing properties we have to offer to make your visit a very comfortable one on the Royal Norfolk Coast. For things to see and do check out what’s on at www.visitnorfolk.co.uk/ to make the most of every one of your precious holiday moments having fun and making memories.
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied, with no airport delays to think of, so don’t delay, book your 2020 holiday today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties, call and have a chat; we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor and the majority accept pets too. If you are on a day trip visiting Hunstanton pop in and grab a brochure. We are a small but very experienced team here at Norfolk Holiday Homes. We know each and every one of our properties which puts us in a perfect position to find the property that’s right for you and your family.
Four-legged guest blog – by Peanut
When I asked my four-legged chum to give us his thoughts on his recent half term holiday here in Hunstanton he was absolutely cock-a-hoop excited and agreed immediately. So below is the guest experience of Peanut (a Parson Russell Terrier aged 3 and a bit), suffice to say I think he might be back soon…
It all started way back in 2019 when my two-legged auntie sent my owner a copy of The Barking Bugle, it had so much information in it and from that a family holiday in Norfolk started to build. Norfolk Holiday Homes agency had so many holiday homes which allowed me to go too, it took us ages to decide (well I didn’t have much say, but I trusted my owners to make the right choice for all of us). Now I like to sit in front of a fire and fall to sleep so this was a must have in our holiday cottage. Close to the beach, near a place to eat and space to park the car (I think this is so my cage in the boot doesn’t get stolen!). With all this in mind our accommodation was booked, February half term, Hunstanton here we come.
My family and I live in Hertfordshire so the trip to Norfolk is easy and we only had to stop for a wee once. Not for me this time but I am usually the excuse and as we stopped, I forced myself just in case. I got a treat too; I think it’s that holiday feeling everyone had that made my owners generous with the treats. I’m not complaining. We got to Hunstanton early and some idiot called “Dennis The Menace” was apparently causing havoc with the wind and rain. A good start to the holiday but I love the wind blowing through my fur, put my waterproofs on too and the rain doesn’t bother me either. Ok I do get tired sometimes on my walks, but I just sit down and refuse to move and one of my owners picks me up and carries me home. They are such an easy touch.
We could not get into our cottage until 3pm so we parked up and had a walk along the sea front and beach. Beaches are such fun. I met a French Bulldog who I couldn’t really understand as he had a funny accent, but he was digging in the sand (to France I think) so I had a go too. My owners dragged me away but I think I will have another go at that later in the week. Our cottage had a lovely wood burner and hard tiled flooring so I was allowed a little freedom with my sandy paws. Although, like at home, I was not allowed upstairs in the bedrooms and my blankety throw things were laid out all over the place so I could have a snuggle and nap. Made me feel quite at home.
I won’t bore you too much more because the photos say it all, but the information we got from the Barking Bugle made our holiday simple and special. The beaches are so different as you go up and down the coast, some sandy, some stony, the dunes in some are perfect for giving the humans a scare when I hid out a couple of times. Nearly all the beaches are dog friendly but when we come back in the main summer holidays, I did hear that some of them restrict doggy access. Cool, there are plenty of others which don’t. The pubs are great. Most of these, as well as many cafes, hotels and restaurants were very happy to see me. I do get a little excited around all those delightful food smells so we only went out a couple of times, but I think the humans enjoyed it. We got discounts too with Norfolk Holiday Homes Bonus Card. More money for treats, and doggy ice cream…yes, really, I kid you not. There was this place on the green in Hunstanton which had doggy ice cream. They close in the winter (November to February) but it’s worth the wait, deeeeelush (think that’s a word, if not maybe it should be)!
Most days we walked for hours, we even had a ride up and down the coast on a bus (bestest behaviour or my owners threatened to leave me at the bus stop!). It stopped lots so we got off and on and saw lots of interesting places on the way to and from a place called Cromer. We even had a ride on a train and a boat. I just could not believe how friendly everyone was to me and my very well-behaved owners. Check out the snaps of my holiday, most have caught my good side, some caught me unawares so I am not looking my best. Humans and their camera phones these days seem to be snapping all the time without warning.
Norfolk is the best; I hope we will be back. I love the beaches, the long walks and the lovely warm fire when we got back to our cottage. We will be back, I hope.
Visit www.thebarkingbugle.co.uk for all things doggy to explore during your stay in Norfolk. The new 2020 Barking Bugle is due out in April.
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied here on the Royal Norfolk Coast (including your four-legged friends), so don’t delay, book your 2020 holiday today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties, call and have a chat; we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor and many accept pets too. If you are on a day trip visiting Hunstanton pop in and see us, we love to natter and we will find you the property that’s right for you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! from Carol Bacon
Another Christmas and New Year over, I am ready to get back to work and very happy to hit the ground running.
2019 was a very good year, lots of bookings, many returning guests and some very good new properties which have proven popular with our guests. We also have lots of new properties about to go live on our website for 2020 so if you are looking for somewhere a bit different check out the new arrivals tab on our website.
Norfolk Holiday Homes is owned by local ladies and all our letting properties are on or near the Royal Norfolk Coast, we are able to boast that all three of us in the office know each and every single one of our properties and will be able to chat you through any queries or questions you may have about each one. However, one thing which we have had to change and improve upon was our online coverage. A case of diversify or expire like the dinosaurs. So, over the last few years we have embraced the use of national and international online travel agencies (OTAs). These tend to be used by those whom are time sensitive or perhaps more accurately those whom cannot bear the thought of chatting needlessly to a human when they can book their holiday with a few clicks of a mouse.
Personally, I prefer to chat to a human, especially one who might save me a few quid if I dare to ask. I know from being on both sides of the fence, that the OTAs add a generous premium to our prices so they can benefit from our business. However, this does then make you pay more for your short break or weeks holiday (normally 10 - 20% more). Booking direct does have its advantages, including a guarantee of best price available. I am an online shopper; I do however, get very annoyed when a pop-up box asks me to prove I am not a robot! I’m not terribly tech minded but I am sure even the robots have put their circuit boards together and come up with a way to bypass this system.
I used to be an hotel inspector. Travelling up and down the country visiting an array of hotels. To book I would always shop online first and then use the best price offered to me online to barter for further discounts when calling the hotel direct. It amazed me that there were still receptionists who would not budge on their rack rate, even telling me to go ahead and book online. That is what I would do so I paid the best rate and cost the hotel commission on top. Remember this, check out our offers page and ask if you can have a discount. We can always say no, but we might not - you could save yourselves the cost of a meal out during your stay. So, it is always worth talking to a human to get the best deals out there.
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied here on the Royal Norfolk Coast, so don’t delay, book your 2020 holiday today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties call and have a chat, we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor and many accept pets too. If you are on a day trip visiting Hunstanton pop in and see us, we love to natter and we will find you the property that’s right for you.
DECEMBER BLOG - by Carol Bacon
All the indicators which tell me the countdown has begun. Christmas is so close I can almost smell the turkey cooking and the Prosecco corks a popping. I know I am getting old when I hear my mother’s words coming out of my lips “another year nearly over, where did those twelve months go?”
Having worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for the last 30+ years I have to confess that the mere thought of turkey does still give me night sweats. Party nights which started mid-November and ended mid-January resulted in staff dinner being…yep you guessed it roast turkey and all the trimmings every night. Being a carnivore all my life I even resorted to becoming a temporary vegetarian for the weeks surrounding Christmas so I could partake in a vegetarian dinner each night. I’m reminiscing back to the days when vegetarians got such a raw deal. Being a vegetarian was not the healthy, trendy lifestyle choice it is today, the dishes offered were either a nut roast or a stuffed pepper. In restaurants everywhere diners did not even read as far as the vegetarian dishes because they were boring and unimaginative. Now I actually take a peek at the vegetarian choices on a menu when dining out because these are often the dishes which chef has really been able to make good use of fresh, seasonal produce.
Anyway, I digress, my Christmas blog is starting to turn into an advert for an early Veganuary which is not my intension. So back to Christmas. There are Christmas lights being switched-on all-over Norfolk this week and the Christmas craft fairs and markets are perfect for visiting and finding that unusual gift for the person in your life who needs nothing because they already have everything.
The royal family are no doubt making their final preparations for their journey up to Sandringham. Prince Philip has spent more time here this year since his retirement from formal duties, so no doubt he has been getting Sandringham House decorated with all the Christmas Trimmings. One less job for The Queen to do when she gets here. One of the Queens traditions is to weigh all her guests when they arrive at Sandringham, continuing an age-old tradition and to ensure the house guests are well fed during their stay. Perhaps this is whey Meghan and Harry have decided not to grace Norfolk with their presence this year…
I have finished all my Christmas shopping, all that is left to do now is wrap it up. I don’t wrap until the very last minute because I then have a senior moment and forget what I have bought for everyone and then go into a panic mode frenzy thinking have I bought enough!!
The countdown is on, the lists are being made for the big food shop (I could never understand the thought process behind over shopping for food, the supermarkets are only closed for ONE day!) and the final preparations for the imminent arrival of all those lovely family guests in your home are being made. So, you will all be together for long periods of time, why not chat about taking a well-earned break in 2020.
Synchronise your diaries and check out all the great properties we have available here in Norfolk. Book your week before the end of January for next Spring or Autumn and receive an early booking discount. If you are a regular returning to the same property again in 2020 you will receive a loyalty discount and if you book a larger property (2+ bedrooms) but will only use one bedroom you might be entitled to our low occupancy discount (all our Ts & Cs can be found on our website).
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied here on the Royal Norfolk Coast, so don’t delay, book your 2020 holiday today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties call and have a chat, we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor and many accept pets too.
NOVEMBER BLOG by Carol Bacon
Why chance the uncertainty of travelling out of England…
I am smiling from ear to ear this week, which really does not make any sense given I have just returned back to work after a ten-day break. So, what has me giddy? The recent announcement that England has been voted the world’s second-best tourism destination for 2020 (behind Bhutan) by Lonely Planet due to its ‘timeless treasures and wow factor’. I am also reliably informed that our little part of the “second-best” tourism destination in the world, The Norfolk Coast, has been an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for over 50 years.
I am a little bias; I was born in Norfolk and despite working away for the best part of 30 years there was no place like home when visiting my parents on weekends and holidays during this time. One thing I have become more familiar with since joining the team at Norfolk Holiday Homes is the vast array of things to see and do throughout the year along the Royal Norfolk Coast. The old adage “you never appreciate what’s on your own doorstep” was certainly true for me. However now I have more time because I am not flying around the country for work, I am finally taking the time to enjoy the spectacular countryside, panoramic coastal vistas and amazing sunsets in the big Norfolk skies. All of which are free, which makes it even more enjoyable for some reason…
So, if you would prefer to enjoy your holiday from start to finish instead of waiting at an airport on your way to and from your holiday destination, why not consider Norfolk? You don’t have to gamble on the best time to buy your holiday currency, we have been dealing in the good old Pound Sterling for many years. We have some of the best chefs in some of the best eateries in the country. At certain times of the year we can even boast of similar weather temperatures to that enjoyed in Bhutan (temperature in Bhutan today is 13, in Hunstanton it is 11).
Many of our properties have out of season discounts for low occupancy (use only one bedroom of a two or three bedroom property), we reward our loyal guests for booking the same property more than one week a year and if you book your 2020 holiday before the end of January 2020 you will receive an additional discount.
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied so don’t delay, book your 2020 holiday in Norfolk today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties call and have a chat, we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor one level and most accept pets too.
SEPTEMBER BLOG (by Carol Bacon)
Time for the grown-ups to come out and play…
The schools are open, children all back at their desks at the start of a new academic year. That means the resorts are a little quieter but here in Hunstanton and surrounding areas it is still quite sunny. So, it’s the perfect time to take a break away and come and recharge your batteries here in Norfolk. If you can’t manage a week away most of our properties do short breaks over the weekends (Friday – Monday) or mid-week breaks (Monday to Friday).
Local attractions remain at full speed until after the October half term (I know they have only just gone back but all that learning they need a break after 6 weeks back!) there is still plenty to do around here. The weather is still reasonably warm (would be astute to pack your waterproofs in anticipation of the odd shower) so if you like to walk why not come and enjoy the Norfolk Trails. The local authorities have worked super hard over the last few years to recreate, manage and maintain a vast range of walking and cycling trails. Even those of you who are a little less agile or wheelchair dependant can still enjoy some of the trails as they have quite literally been tried and tested by local volunteers. This website link https://www.norfolk.gov.uk/out-and-about-in-norfolk/norfolk-trails provides some great information and lots of routes for you to download.
For those of you who are a little more interested in less energetic pursuits why not take an Afternoon Tea in style at Holkham Hall 11th & 25th September; Elgoods Beer Festival in Wisbech 19th – 21st September; Classic Car Day in King’s Lynn on 15th September; Soapbox Derby at Searles on 22nd September. For those of you who like to go that extra mile when it comes to the environment perhaps joining in with the beach clean ups at Blakeney Point and Cley during the month of September appeals. With Sandringham Royal Estate on our doorstep it’s definitely worth a day out to see the house and gardens too.
Plenty to see, do and keep you all occupied so don’t delay, book your break today. Take a look at our holiday homes www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties call and have a chat, we are here to help as much as we can. Many properties are ground floor one level and most accept pets too.
AUGUST BLOG (by Carol Bacon)
Keeping it local, safe and simple…
Local has always worked for us. Three local girls (ok, “girls” might be pushing it but it sounded better than middle aged ladies), with a vast knowledge of the local area, local events, information to help you build your holiday itinerary and of course an excellent, in depth knowledge of all the properties we let.
How many times have you called a holiday letting company and the call centre is the other side of the country, or sometimes the other side of the world? A simple question about the number of showers in the property, or if the beaches allow dogs in the summer cannot be answered as the telephone operative doesn’t know anything about the accommodation you want to book, truth is they probably don’t even know where Norfolk is!!
Here at Norfolk Holiday Homes you will speak to Sandra, Julie or Carol. We have all visited each and everyone of our properties and should be able to answer all of your queries and questions. If one of us doesn’t know then another will.
We don’t know everything and we are not too proud to say we still learn from our owners and guests every single day. If someone has had a great day out, we try to pass this onto the next wave of guests so that they too might visit and enjoy. We also take it upon ourselves to dine out whenever possible so that we can offer advice to our guests on where might best suit their budget, palates, dietary requirements etc. It’s a tough job but someone has got to do it!
All our properties are checked annually to ensure the physical quality standards are maintained (physical checks completed in line with national quality assurance standards). All property owners have to demonstrate due diligence by meeting all the legal requirements, and have the necessary certification to back this up (I understand that some agencies do this by asking their holiday home owners to confirm they have met legal requirements by checking a box online. Not sure I would want my family safety to be confirmed by a tick in a box without any follow up checks).
So that’s the local and the safe, now to the simple, we are at the end of a phone, we are happy to chat and help you make the right decision for you and your family regarding location, property and facilities. Each of our properties are individual and what suits someone else might not suit you. In a time of 24/7 demands and service, we have had to evolve to include OTAs (on line travel agencies) as part of our marketing strategy. You will find our holiday homes on many other sites online, but if you come to us direct, we can always guarantee the best prices when you book.
If you want to get away check out our holiday homes on www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties call and have a chat, we are here to help as much as we can.
You too could be enjoying one of our unbeatable Norfolk Sunsets with an ice cold Gin & Tonic in your hand (even that could be distilled here in Norfolk).
July Blog (by Carol Bacon)
What a difference the sun makes......
Imagine if you can (I am sure it won’t be a stretch as we have all had one) the journey from hell, through torrential rain, nowhere pleasant to stop for lunch on the way, selfish drivers passing you driving like they don’t even see you there. You eventually get to your holiday destination and you are in such a foul mood as your spouse and children are blaming you for everything, even the sun not shining. Sound familiar?
I have been in the hospitality industry for almost 35 years and I have seen and heard pretty much everything when guests arrive to collect their keys. I have been blamed for not telling guests about an accident which has closed the road they were taking; the weather is always top of the list in the blame game and of course arguments in the car on route will always overflow into the exchange for keys at the start of a holiday.
I remember in my younger days, when first starting in the hospitality industry, I took all these rude, unexplained interactions personally. Had I forgotten to smile as I made eye contact? Did I not stand up quick enough from behind my desk to greet the incoming guests? Did my hair, clothing or general appearance offend? As I started to mature and settle into my chosen career, I realised there really was no pleasing some people and providing that I continued to smile and bend over backwards to please, my mission to ensure guests left with a smile was often accomplished. You really do get more of a response with honey than with vinegar.
So back to my original statement, what a difference the sun makes. Here in Hunstanton the weather is definitely the hero. The temperatures have soared to the dizzy heights in the high 20s, everyone walking past the office are in tee shirts and shorts and they are all smiling. A sight to see and it makes for a very pleasant season. So, with the weather hot and here to stay we are looking forward to a season full of happy, smiley guests. Yippee…
Remember if your journey has been plagued with challenges, it really is not our fault, but with a smile we are here to help and will endeavour to make your holiday most memorable. Enjoy your stay!
If you want to get away check out our holiday homes on www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. If you need to know anything further about one of our properties call and have a chat, we have visited all our properties so can provide more detailed information if you require.
MAY BLOG (by Carol Bacon)
5 Reasons why you need a holiday..…
Are you constantly tired, bored, your enthusiasm for life has got up and gone, then maybe it is time you booked a holiday. Getting away, even for a short break, can do wonders for your health and rejuvenate your zest for life.
Not convinced yet? Well here are 5 reasons why you need to call us and book a holiday now…
Now do you need that holiday? If you want to get away check out our holiday homes on www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency or give us a call on 01485 534267. One of our properties is sure to be just what the doctor ordered.
Food glorious food…
In our little corner of the UK temperatures have been hitting dizzy heights of 15 - 19 degrees this month so far. Not quite bikini (or mankini I don’t wish to sound sexist) weather but most certainly the need for a few cold beers or an ice cream to be consumed. Bookings have been streaming in very last minute, I keep telling myself that it will all settle down once Brexit is done and dusted. Although at this rate it might not be settling down this year, or possibly even next year…
The change in temperature and weather has brought on crops early which will see us eating well in Norfolk, that won’t change even if the government settle on their proposed EU trade deals.
I have just seen some early crop Norfolk Asparagus for sale at the roadside, beautiful, tasty and tender. My favourite way to cook is to lightly char grill the asparagus, served with a poached duck egg on the top. The yolk oozes when cut providing a creamy rich sauce for the asparagus. A shaving of parmesan helps to season or a crumbling of a spiced black pudding (Fruit Pig Black Pudding is perfect for this) adds a subtle heat to the back of your throat. Ohhh I know what I shall be having for supper tonight.
I spent most of the last 15 years travelling around the UK on business and I have personally concluded that Norfolk is one of the richest natural larders for amateur and professional chefs in England. With some of the best restaurants along the coast and inland we are lucky that many of our Norfolk chefs have embraced their foraging side and in doing so bless our palates with all manner of flavours, aromatics and produce.
In April locally there is a Gin Society Festival 19- 20 at the Kings Lynn Corn Exchange, an Easter Food Fair in Wells-Next-the-Sea and The East Anglian Game and Country Fair which takes place 27 – 28 April at Euston Hall, Euston, Thetford.
An inaugural sausage festival event takes place in the centre of Aylsham on Sunday, May 12 from 10am to 4pm. 1 & 2 June Congham Food Fayre will showcase a plethora of Norfolk food produce, with 50+ Norfolk producers showcasing their wares at the fair.
So all you need now is some good accommodation to stay in to enjoy the fine produce on offer at the many events throughout the year (keep an eye on our What’s On Page which is due to go live at the end of April) here in Norfolk. So give us a call on 01485 534267 or peruse our website www.norfolkholidayhomes.agency where you can view our whole property portfolio and check availability for your required dates.
Spring has sprung early in Norfolk
Although I am told that Spring officially starts on 20th March 2019, I just want to shout from the highest point in Norfolk that its already well on its way here.
The early switch to very mild temperatures here in North West Norfolk on the Royal Coast has completely confused the winter and spring flowers and foliage, with late winter yellow aconites crossing over and reluctantly giving way to the vibrant blue of the grape hyacinth in my garden already. Although the snowdrops are still hanging on so we can make the most of the beautiful snowdrop walks in Norfolk, to find the nearest one check out the National Garden Scheme, this is still one of the most breath-taking sights which I enjoy every year. Of course Mother Nature doesn’t stop there, once the snowdrops have faded up pop the beautiful rich blues of the bluebells, again a favourite which makes taking a breath of fresh air on a Sunday stroll very pleasant (find a bluebell walk near you).
Norfolk is beautiful this time of the year, the beaches are almost empty, many of which welcome four-legged friends out of the main season too. Norfolk’s top 10 dog friendly beaches start at Snettisham and continue right along the North Norfolk coastline.
If walking is your thing Norfolk has its own walking and cycling festival in October this year. However, if you fancy taking in the beautiful sights on one of the mapped out walking or cycling routes before then Norfolk Trails have created a plethora of walking and cycling routes which are created to suit all levels of fitness, accessibility and distances. They are dog friendly too. Where possible the circular walks and coastal trails have been created and developed to showcase Norfolk’s beautiful countryside, history and heritage. Even better, the many routes have also taken into consideration that you might get hungry or thirsty, so you can be sure the Norfolk Trails team have tried and tested to ensure there is a good Norfolk Pub on route.
So, don’t leave your visit until the summer, come and enjoy the many things Norfolk has to offer now, low season so best prices guaranteed if you book with us direct. Call Carol, Sandra or Julie now 01485 534267 to check out what accommodation are on offer with Norfolk Holiday Homes or use the search facility on the home page and check availability and prices for all our holiday homes.
How to beat those January Blues
So, its cold outside, dark when you wake and dark before you return home from work. You have followed the media and have removed alcohol for a dry January. Or have you taken to a meat and dairy free diet to follow the hoards during the month of Veganuary? Really…
I am totally enjoying Ginuary, taking full advantage of the deals and offers in the many top-quality eateries here on the Royal Coast of Norfolk, and very naughtily not homing in on the vegetarian dishes of the menu.
The world seems to have gone totally mad over a mature gentleman taking a drive out on his estate nearby (leave him alone, he is someone’s grandpa and great grandpa remember), but hey, at least it got everyone talking about something else other than Brexit. The spotlight deflected for a very short while from the wonderful job our fine politicians are doing to give Noel Edmunds a run for his money on Deal or No Deal!
Brexit, who really knows what the future will hold? The media try to scare us with ‘what ifs’. It all has a doom and gloom feel to me like the “Millennium Bug” when we stepped from the 20th into the 21st Century, and those of us who were old enough to remember or young enough not to have forgotten remembering how that all ended…EXACTLY. Whispers of a second referendum are circulating, seems to me that if that goes ahead will they then call a third, fourth and fifth one until they get the outcome they want. Democracy at its finest.
So, why not shrug off the winter blues and start thinking about a holiday in this fine part of the UK. The range of holiday homes is varied, there is sure to be one which suits your requirements. So, use the search facility, click through here to our home page and start planning your 2019 Brexit Free Zone break now. We love to chat about our properties so why not call Carol, Sandra or Julie on 01485 534267 and let us help you plan your stay here in Norfolk.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Where did this year go? With Christmas just, a week away I can hardly believe that 2018 is almost over. The time is upon us to make sure we have bought gifts for all those people we haven’t spoken to for a year, buying them something they neither need nor want. We then must feign surprise and glee when we open the pressie to ensure we don’t upset anyone and to guarantee we get a pressie again next year so the whole vicious circle starts again.
So, let all your friends and family know now, break the chain, knock the gift buying on the head. Trust me they will be relieved that you are releasing them from an unwanted financial burden at this time of the year. When you see each other this Christmas for a warm mince pie and Christmas drink you can tell them all that you are going to use the money in 2019 to help pay for a well-earned holiday on the Norfolk Coast.
Once you have gotten over the surprise that no one is upset at not receiving a present you can sit down and choose where you want to go and which property from our vast portfolio of holiday homes is going to suit you and your family best.
If you book before the end of January 2019 you could receive an early booking discount on many of our properties. If there are just two of you planning to get away some of our larger properties offer a couple’s discount if you will only be using one bedroom during your stay too. The discounts offered only apply to full weeks booked and are not valid for the main summer season. Click on the “offers” tab on the above menu bar and view the dates which are applicable to these offers.
Once you decide where you want to stay either call us direct (we all know the properties well and will be able to answer any questions you might have about them on the telephone) or book using the online booking engine on this website.
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New year to you all, we look forward to hearing from your soon when you call to book your well-earned 2019 break.
Don’t forget to bring your best friend too…
Having recently acquired a dog for the first-time last year, my sister and her family had a dilemma this summer, holiday in the UK and take the dog or fly abroad as they always do and leave him behind in Kennels. Imagine my surprise when I asked how much it cost to kennel him for the week and was told £250! When I let out a sharp squeal my sister quickly retorted “he was in a VIP suite”. The images that then rapidly flashed through my mind of Peanut sitting on his throne being pampered within an inch of his life made me chuckle. Peanut did enjoy his holiday too, but not quite as much as the holidays they have since enjoyed in the UK in one of the many holiday homes which now welcome pets as standard.
Here at Norfolk Holiday Homes we have 60 holiday properties of which more than half now accept pets throughout the year. We do charge a small fee (minuscule in comparison to the VIP suite Peanut enjoyed) of £25-£30 per week, which allows the housekeepers to spend more time making sure the properties are deep cleaned thoroughly in between each let, with all traces of pet hair, muddy nose prints and footprints removed ready for the next guests. Many of our owners are dog lovers themselves so you might even find a doggy treat on arrival. We also appreciate that you may have more than one or two dogs in your family, so some of our owners are more than happy to welcome more than two dogs. All we ask is that you call us direct and ask first, don’t just assume that your pack of huskies will be welcome in all our dog friendly properties.
In our very splendid part of the UK (North West Norfolk), an extremely high percentage of businesses, attractions, pubs and eateries welcome dogs with open arms. The beaches, whilst having access restrictions at the height of the Summer, have no access restrictions for dogs in the Autumn, Winter or Spring so you can let them run for miles along the coast www.explorenorfolkuk.co.uk/dog-friendly-beaches.html . All we ask is that you be considerate when returning to your holiday home, I don’t think our owners would appreciate a doggy “Jackson Pollock” refresh to the décor in their beloved holiday homes.
A few things we ask you to think about before you leave home, please don’t forget to pack your dog’s bedding, throws etc and remember the beaches lead to the wet stuff so a doggy towel would not go amiss to help remove the sea and sand from your dog’s coat. Water and food bowls will be missed if you don’t pack them and of most essential those poopy, scoopy bags will most certainly be required. Most of our dog friendly properties have secure, pet friendly enclosed gardens. All we ask is that you leave it as you find it with no extra presents left for the next guests whose over inquisitive children will no doubt enjoy making mud pies with what you have left behind!
Pets welcome’ does not always mean throughout the house, owners are encouraged to add a stair gate if pets are not allowed upstairs. Hopefully it goes without saying that pets are not encouraged on furniture especially beds. You have included your dog as part of the family on your holiday, so leaving them in the property or garden alone is not permitted.
Finally, not chestnuts roasting by an open fire, but Peanut enjoying the prime spot by the wood burner…
With so many properties to choose from, if you can’t make up your mind or need more information give Sandra, Julie or Carol a call on 01485 534267 so you and your four-legged friends get the property which suits you best.
British Summer Time Ends…
As an exceptionally busy season closes we are now taking a breath which finds us able to post our very first blog.
There goes another summer, blistering hot weather which most of us appreciated by having a “staycation”. Most would agree that an hour or two driving to our beautiful Norfolk Coastline is one well spent given the alternative of wasting most of the first and last day of any vacation abroad spent at an airport. Once you arrive at your exotic destination and send a bragging text to your nearest and dearest at home telling them the temperature you receive one back confirming it is hotter here in the UK!!
So, with hopes of many hot Summers to come in the UK why not get the best deals and the best properties now by booking one of our unique holiday homes. The team at Norfolk Holiday Homes has over 100 years combined experience in the tourism and leisure industry and all three of us (Sandra, Julie and Carol) are able to discuss in finer detail each of our individually owned properties (yes, we have visited each one of them). So, leave nothing to chance, call and discuss your requirements we can help you to select the right accommodation for your personal needs.
View across the Beach from our popular 'Sunset Beach Retreat' which sits right on the sand at Heacham with magnificent panoramic views of the 'Wash'. A perfect seaside retreat for families or couples.
NORFOLK IS A GREAT PLACE TO EXPLORE
Mrs A G and family, 11 - 18 August 2018 -We would like to thank the owner of Seascape. We were all thrilled with the accommodation provided and the quality of furnishings etc was excellent. We also appreciated the lovely garden. Thanks also to you all at Norfolk Holiday Homes for your friendly and helpful service. We had a wonderful holiday!Seascape in Hunstanton