Think of Norfolk, think of lavender; the two are intrinsically linked, therefore a trip to Norfolk Lavender has to be done at some point! Located in Heacham, some 50 miles away, it may not be on our doorstep, but the trip across the county takes in some beautiful scenery and is worth it just for the drive alone. Half a day allows enough time and so you can explore more of the west of Norfolk or the beautiful North Norfolk coastline as you journey home.
The best time to visit is mid June until the end of August, so our visit was a little early in the season, but some of the lavenders were starting to show their faces. I was expecting to pay an entrance fee, but the gardens are free, and you can spend hours looking through the copious amounts of gifts and goodies to buy in the interlinked shops! In the summer months there are guided tours of Caley Mill and the grounds, where you can learn more about the history and use of lavender. Check times and prices on the Norfolk Lavender website.
We started off by purchasing a delicious Norfolk Ice Cream and wandered off round the gardens. There’s a herb garden first where you can try spotting all the different herb varieties. Walk past the distillery, operational during the harvesting season and on to the field full of many different varieties of lavender. It must be spectacular during the season. Then a wander around the plant sales area with a great choice of more than just lavenders, before turning right into the meadow garden. A really peaceful and enjoyable stroll with the surprise of a noisy peacock who it seemed had lost his mate. We saw her later at the Animal Farm, so he had clearly lost his bearings!
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For the younger members of the family there is Farmer Fred’s Adventure Play Barn, a great soft play centre, a lovely Animal Farm & outdoor play area. These are all paid attractions, but well worth it to keep the littlies amused.
Walsingham Farm Shops are on site here too. Read my previous blog about all the lovely edibles you can buy here. This time I purchased a Cupcake and Cookies Lavender Shortbread kit, that I’m really looking forward to making and eating. 🙂
A visit would not be complete unless you eat at The Lavender Kitchen Restaurant on site. Recently refurbished and now being run by the Walsingham Farms Shop Partnership, it had an extensive menu and very pleasant decor. We chose to eat outside as the day was sunny and the surrounding gardens very pleasant. Our favourite meal is an afternoon tea so for us it had to be a cream tea with Lavender Scones. A house speciality, we were fortunate enough to have the last two available. Perhaps worth going early just in case they run out! Really delicious accompanied by clotted cream, strawberry jam and a cup of Earl Grey tea. We were going to partake of some cake as well, but after eating the very large scone, we couldn’t fit more cake in.
We continued our day with a drive up to Hunstanton and then along the coast road home. Read more about that in my next blog.