WE’RE standing in a field in the middle of nowhere soaking up the silence – my wife and I, our three-year-old boy . . . and the kids.
Well, we were staying on a goat farm, after all.
The magnificent Fielding Cottage, in the heart of Norfolk, was the perfect place for the three of us to unwind on a much-needed getaway. It truly was a breath of fresh air to swap bleedin’ Paw Patrol for bleating goats.
The field-good factor was quick to rub off on our little lad, who spent most of his time running around the garden at the back of the cottage. The little ball of energy would only stop now and then so he could chat with the goats, who looked on in bemusement.
We were staying in one of three cute cottages in a beautifully converted barn just 20 minutes’ drive from Norwich. Each boasts a spacious kitchen, dining area and lounge plus two bedrooms with modern en suites. The patio doors open to a glorious countryside view.
Next door is a games room with a treasure trove of fun including a ping pong table. At the end of the drive is the little Goat Shed which is home to fabulous Fielding Cottage produce — ridiculously tasty goats’ cheese, oils, eggs, ice cream — and, not so tasty, hand cream.
There is also a brilliant cheese-making course for £80 per person. Walks take you to idyllic villages such as Honingham where a pint at its Buck Inn is a must — not to mention their scotch egg and astounding food.
Although he took his bike everywhere, our boy still had far too much energy. So to tire him out we dropped him, literally, in the pool at the Barnham Broom golf and country club just down the road — guests at Fielding Cottage get free leisure passes for the day.
Despite being in the middle of nowhere, we were still surrounded by a host of options for fantastic family days out. Half an hour’s drive away are the Norfolk Broads. At the Barnes Brinkcraft boatyard, you can hire a Sunrise boat, which takes up to seven people, for £175 a day (see [email protected] or call 01603 782625).
After a quick lesson in how not to smash into incredibly expensive boats moored nearby, we were away — and gently chugging up the River Bure was yet another great way to relax. You can hop off at various spots along the scenic route, be it to explore a nature trail or enjoy a couple of pints at the New Inn.
Dad’s excitement at swigging a refreshing ale was matched only by the lad’s squeals of joy at seeing the Ice Cream Man’s boat. Needless to say, a cheeky ’99 was enjoyed alongside our little picnic on board as we headed back to the boatyard.
Other highlights within driving distance of Fielding Cottage include the beautiful Cromer beach and nearby Amazona Zoo. But for our little monster, a trip to Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure was a must. The park offers all sorts of prehistoric adventures including high ropes, countless playgrounds, fossil-digging and a splash park.
Climbing up the innards of a giant diplodocus then shooting down its tale on a slide didn’t seem to faze the boy. Nor did stroking a real-life snake, which Dad watched with pride — from the back of the room. Tickets start at £13.95, with children under 90cm admitted free of charge (roarrdinosauradventure.co.uk).
The magic continued for our little adventurer on a fun day out to BeWILDerwood. Nestled among a sprawling forest in Hoveton, it is an epic adventure playground which inspired a series of kids’ books by its owner, Tom Blofeld.
Whether you scale the Sky Maze, tackle the Towering Treetop Tangles or win at the Wobbly Wire, there’s plenty to exhaust the entire family — and be sure to keep an eye out for the tiny homes of the Boggles and Twiggles during the gentle boat ride out of the park.
Day passes at BeWILDerwood start at £16.95 (children under 92cm go free) (bewilderwood.co.uk). Back at the cottage, the boy was fast asleep before he could even utter the dreaded words Paw Patrol.
With that, my wife and I sat in the garden to once again soak up the silence — and a bottle of red with some tasty cheese made with help from our bleating buddies.
STAYING THERE: Fielding Cottage has The Nest for £90 per night (minimum of three to six nights) or £85 (minimum of sevent to ten nights).
The Kingfisher and Nightingale cottages are from £125 (minimum three to six nights) and £110 per night for a week.
To hire the entire barn (three cottages) is £320 per night (minimum three to six nights) or £285 per night (7 nights +).
To book, see fieldingcottagenorfolkholidays.co.uk or call 01603 880 685.
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