A heavenly self-catering Norfolk break with friends
Product: 7 nights in July from £455 at www.sykescottages.co.uk Price: £455.00 Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
What they say...
This lovely mid-terrace cottage is located in the heart of the delightful Norfolk market town of Aylsham. This cottage in Aylsham is centrally located and makes an ideal base for a couple or a small family to discover the vast array of activities close by.
What our reviewer thought...
I arranged to stay at Valentine Cottage over a Bank Holiday weekend with some friends. We were attracted to the property because of its proximity to Cromer and Blickling Hall, as well as the lovely photos on the Sykes Cottages website.
My friends arrived on the Friday, while I opted to travel the following day, but they assured me the cottage's owner had been most helpful with the handover. You'll find it tucked down a quaint one-way lane, which is clearly popular with strolling families thanks to its pretty cottages and wild flowers.
After its location, the best thing about the cottage were the numerous thoughtful touches that had been added - from milk in the fridge, to fresh flowers in the window, and all the cleaning products and utensils we could possibly need. Also, as befits its name, there were hearts everywhere - on paintings and ornaments.
It wasn't cold enough for us to use the cosy log-burning stove, but it was sunny enough to enjoy a pre-dinner drink in the long, well-maintained garden.
We then set out to explore Aylsham with its numerous tearooms, pubs and pretty shops. We spent ages browsing in a vintage and secondhand clothing shop, as well as stopping for tea repeatedly before enjoying dinner at the bustling Black Boys Inn, where booking is essential.
Take a drive out to nearby Cromer to wander the pier, eat delicious local ice cream and try your hand at crab fishing - bacon is known to be the best bait.
Blickling Hall is worth a visit too. We spent a rainy Sunday exploring its enormous rooms, aided by knowledgeable guides, before spending far too much money in the giftshop. The gardens are supposed to be gorgeous too, but the weather wasn't kind enough, so we headed back to the cottage for a home-cooked dinner, DVD and general cosiness.
Prices vary throughout the year, but during July it's £455 for seven nights, and being as the cottage would sleep a family of four, this seems very good value. Book it here