Last month my family and I embarked on a little adventure on the North Norfolk Railway. I was looking for an activity that didn’t involve a lot of walking which could be done if the weather turned bad. That was when I stumbled across The Poppy Line. William Marriott built the line in 1887 and it continued to run until 1924. Now the Sheringham to Holt line is back up and running and popular with tourists and locals alike.
The North Norfolk Railway offers five-mile long steam trains rides across some of the most beautiful spots in Nelson’s County. The vintage engines take you though wooded hills and beautiful countryside towards the sea. There’s more to it than just a train ride though. The stations have been restored to their former Victorian glory, there are museums, buffet carriages and activities for children. You’re able to hop on and off the train at any time, so you can make the journey as long as you like!
We decided to board at Holt, an affluent Georgian market town in North Norfolk. In peak season, if you’re coming from Norwich I’d highly recommend getting on here as it quicker, closer and you don’t have to deal with the seaside traffic! The station is a mile of so outside of Holt but in peak season busses are on hand to ferry passengers to this delightful town.
Holt Station is beautiful! It’s surrounded by gorgeous flowers and has so many vintage touches, including old advertorials and cute little fire buckets. It’s also home to a cafe, a model railway and a miniature railway. (The latter two are only open at certain times of the year.) Every single detail of the station is so well thought out, right down to the tickets themselves. It’s like stepping back in time.
We boarded a steam train to take us to Sheringham. The interior was plush and infinitely nicer than modern-day equivalents. The dark wood seats with their blue velvet covered cushions were so comfortable. The tiny windows at the top were open and the fresh country air flooded the carriage. The vintage carriage doors were kind you could lean out of and wave a scarf, if you happened to have one!
As the train pulled out of the station we could see other carriages and various sheds, before heading deep into the glorious countryside. Our first stop was Keeling Heath Park, which was literally a tiny platform in the middle of the woods. The trains stop here on request as it’s close to a popular holiday park. We then carried on towards Weybourne station and passed through golden fields, with sea views.
Weybourne is the main restoration centre for the train and carriages. It has a large cafe and we saw many families having picnics watching the trains go by. We didn’t get off here but it looked like a good place to stop, if you wanted to make a day of it. If you’re a keen rambler, you can get off here and head on a Woodland Walk, wander to Sheringham Park or head down the coastal path.
Next stop Sheringham! This charming seaside town was a buzz with activity. The station itself was really busy, but not unbearable so. Here there’s a gift shop, children activity coach, a ladies waiting area, a vintage ticket office and a cafe.
We spent an hour wandering around Sheringham, but could have spent much longer. We wandered down towards the sea, stopping at Grey Seal Coffee and admiring many shop windows along the way. On our walk back we found a small arcade and decided to pick up some local ales. I also made the obligatory stop at a vintage sweet shop to stock up for the return journey. Sheringham was incredibly busy when we visited, but nonetheless delightful. There was bunting hanging above the roads and a general buzz and retro feeling in the air. It’s a traditional British seaside town at its finest.
We then hopped back on the train, this time a vintage diesel engine, and made the beautiful journey back to Holt. I was honestly surprised at how much fun our adventure was. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a day out, no matter how old or young you are! Throughout the year the North Norfolk Railway run special events, so keep your eye out on the website. They have special dining journeys and take part in the Sheringham 40’s weekend, which is coming up soon. So if you fancy a trip to the seaside, why not travel in style!
Discover more of my Norfolk adventures here.