Travel: Play and stay in beautiful Norfolk
“Oh wow!” were the opening words uttered by my friend as she opened the door into our Dream lodge – our choice of residence for a girls’ golfing break at Norfolk Park as an alternative to the traditional hotel stay and play vacation.
Ours was a Casa Di Lusso – literal translation, ‘House of Luxury’ – but all the lodges I viewed were the embodiment of luxury.
Designed to equate to four-star and five-star accommodation, the finishes are exemplary.
Plus, they come equipped with everything you could possibly want for a self catering holiday – and more if you consider barbecues, Xboxes and hot tubs to be an essential part of your stay.
Most come with two or three bedrooms, and two luxurious bathrooms, but the sitting areas are extremely spacious and conducive to socialising.
And if you really want to take partying to the nth degree, push the boat out and go for a Summit lodge which even has an outdoor bar and sink as part of the enormous decking area.
Sitting out on the decking in the sunshine for breakfast on the beautiful rattan furniture is the perfect way to set you up for a day’s golf – or not if some of your party would prefer to lounge by the beautifully appointed heated outdoor pool instead.
Long-term readers will be familiar with my spa phobic quips, but for spa devotees, there is a wide range of exfoliating, massage and facial treatments available, including various anti-ageing and wrinkle resist ones which almost (but not quite) tempted me, a mind boggling array of nails, lashes and brow treatments, and more waxing options than I wished to know about!
However, I went to play golf, and Norfolk Park is ideally situated for even the keenest enthusiast, as there are nine courses within a fifteen mile radius of the site.
Royal Cromer, the 125 year old, Tom Morris designed course, is only fifteen minutes away, and is certainly worth putting on your list.
We couldn’t have played it in more perfect and benign conditions, but as the course is perched high on the cliffs of the North Norfolk coast, it would be quite challenging when the wind really blows!
However, you would always be rewarded with some spectacular views.
It was enchanting looking at panoramic views across the course with the backdrop of the sea time and time again.
And if you like elevated tees, you will be in your element here. Launching out across the numerous cavernous drops will flatter all ability levels.
The only trade off is there are some steep uphill approaches, which require 2 clubs more than the distance dictates.
Watching the ball return to the feet of the man in front who didn’t heed this advice on three occasions was quite entertaining!
Despite the omnipresent ocean views – and the alluring sight of the long sandy beach if you stray onto the coastal hugging path – it almost feels like an inland heath land course at times with the proliferation of gorze bushes, bracken and spruce trees.
And that feeling doesn’t diminish as you play towards the enchanting working lighthouse.
My abiding memory of Royal Cromer was of a delightful golfing experience.
[course view=”list” id=26419]
Sheringham Golf Club
Next day took us to Sheringham GC.
As we entered the locker room, I regaled my friend with the tale that I seemed to remember playing there something like 30 years ago in the English Intermediates Championship, and then promptly found a photo of myself on the wall from 1987!
There are no designated ladies tees at Sheringham, so some may find playing from the yellow tees quite long, but the card depicts ladies’ white, yellow or blue tee options, and higher handicappers would enjoy the course from the blue tees at around 800 yards shorter.
True links purists will be in their element here, as after a gentle opening hole, the hidden bumps, hollows and pot bunkers very much begin to come into their own.
Any frustrations will soon be forgotten though as you reach the 5th tee and are confronted with a spectacular panoramic view of the coastline to the right, and the whole course laid out in front of you.
[course view=”list” id=26514]
There are many attractive holes, and I loved the quaintness of the old steam trains running alongside the last few holes.
As I putted out within a few feet of one of the engines, I was reminded of the story of Joyce Wethered winning the English Championship in 1920.
Afterwards she had been asked if the train had put her off as she lined up her final putt on the 17th green, to which she famously replied, “What train?”
Adventure Island Golf
I cannot finish without mentioning a must visit to Adventure Island Golf at Mundesley.
This was so much fun, and yet required far more skill than traditional crazy golf courses.
Beautifully laid out and fun for all the family – and for true competitors.
We were the only two marking balls and measuring whose turn it was to go first!
Eating out in Norfolk
Having eaten at the award winning Olive Tree restaurant at Norfolk Park on the first night – where eventually I managed to narrow down my short list of main courses from fifteen to five – we had intended to try the pub opposite the entrance as an alternative on the second night.
But as we’d had such a wonderful meal in beautiful surroundings, we couldn’t resist returning to the Olive Tree to try more of the options on offer again – and it was well worth it.
There can be few better ways to unwind after a round of golf than sitting under the stars in your own personal hot tub, thoughtfully provided plastic glass of complimentary Prosecco in hand, wishing the rest of the girls could join you – and they easily could as our hot tub seated eight!
Watch out Norfolk Park, the girls from Trentham will be coming back in the summer as the first choice to celebrate my birthday.
And this time, they will be coming en masse!
- Low deposit of only £50
- Breaks from as little as £343 for a fantastic break and when you reference ‘LadyGolfer’ then book online you will receive 10 percent discount
- Exclusive savings on late availability across all holiday parks
Visit the Dream Lodge website or call 01279 905 881 (8am-9pm Monday-Friday, 9am-7pm Saturday-Sunday)