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Every year we try to find somewhere close to home to explore. Somewhere we hadn’t been very much was Sheringham and we were supposed to stay during the Easter holidays earlier in the year. Unfortunately COVID-19 got in the way but we were able to reschedule for the middle of August, which was perfect for John’s birthday.
Our stay was booked over a weekend, from Friday to Sunday, at YHA Sheringham. We stayed at YHA Cambridge last year and found it such a fun place to say as a family so we wanted to try out a different location. As expected, things are slightly different at the moment which meant that we couldn’t check in until 5pm but we decided to use the time before to spend some time at the beach.
Somehow, we have only been to Sheringham beach once but the tide was high so we didn’t really get to make the most of it. This time though, I planned things better and I was so glad that I did. Sheringham beach is a mix of huge rocks, lots of big stones and the smoothest beach I think I’ve ever seen.
While slightly uncomfortable if you sit on the stones (which most people did) it stopped you from getting a wet bum, even if you did sit on a towel. We got ourselves set up in a good spot with a little picnic and spent a good while playing and building sandcastles. One of the great things about the beach is that there is lots of space to spread out and we weren’t too close to anyone else.
As 5pm got closer we left the beach and headed for some ice cream. To me, a whippy ice cream is a must have during a beach trip and both Erin and I were really looking forward to this. There are lots of places to sit with food along the sea front so there’s no need to be uncomfortable standing somewhere with a melting ice cream.
On the walk back through town to YHA Sheringham there are lots of little shops, cafes and arcades. The street is quite narrow but Sheringham have really tried to help social distancing by having lots of signs for people to follow one way systems. Sadly, not everyone did but it was nice to see that something was being tried.
At 5pm we took the short walk from town to YHA Sheringham. As a family who don’t drive, the location was fantastic for us as it’s only 5 minutes from the train station. At the moment you can only check in between 5pm and 10pm and while this wasn’t ideal for us, we made it work. It did mean we had to carry our luggage around the beach, having nowhere to leave it earlier like we might be able to normally.
Check in was really simple and easy and it only took a few minutes. We were given room keys and told about social distancing measures put in place. This did sadly mean that communal facilities such as the kitchen and sitting areas were not open. As a family with a young child we used these areas a lot at YHA Cambridge so we were wondering how we would cope without them.
We had a room with 5 beds for our stay which was perfect for us. This was made up of two bunk beds, one with a single underneath and one with a double. Erin quickly chose the top bunk on the smaller bed and me and John had a bottom bunk each. The room was quite warm, even with the window open so we wanted to make sure we were comfortable at night time.
Our room was more than enough for what we needed for the weekend. We had quite a lot of space around the beds and an area to store some of our things and clothes. The room had plugs behind both bottom bunks and underneath the space for clothes (I missed this one as we ended up covering it up for a while). This definitely isn’t a fancy hotel room but if you need somewhere clean, comfortable and safe for your stay then this is what you get.
Our room was booked with a shared bathroom however, we did have our own toilet in our room. Due to COVID-19 the showers are allocated per room so we actually had one just for us, just next to our room. We felt really safe using this as every other room had their own shower too.
While we didn’t stay in our room for too long, it was a really decent place to stay. We did struggle a little bit however due to communal areas being closed. Breakfast wasn’t easy as we had nowhere to store and keep milk cold, we weren’t able to make hot drinks and on the Sunday, nowhere was open especially early for us to get anything to eat. YHA Sheringham did offer a couple of limited breakfast options but they didn’t really suit us as a family. I would be really interested to go back when all of the facilities are open again to see how our stay would differ.
If you’re thinking about booking a stay with YHA you can find out more on their website.
North Norfolk Railway
On the Saturday morning we had made plans to use the North Norfolk Railway, a steam train running between Sheringham and Holt. Erin and I had never been on a steam train before so we were quite excited. A return trip must be booked online at the moment, with no singles available. For £35 (£1 booking fee) you actually book a whole compartment on the train for yourself. While I did find this expensive, it was a bit of a treat for us all.
The station and the trains are beautiful and there’s a real ‘old’ vibe about it all, from the ticket office to the staff uniforms. I’d never seen trains like this before so I couldn’t wait to experience them with Erin and John. Heading down the train, we looked for our own compartment ready for the journey.
The compartments are really comfortable with lovely seats and lots of space. There are little bits of information around about how many people used to travel, where the trains went etc. John was really interested in these things while Erin and I looked out of the window ready for the scenery.
The journey from Sheringham to Holt takes roughly 20 minutes. We decided to stay in Holt for a while and had booked a return on the train later in the day. Holt is about a 20 minute walk from the station, something we wish we had known before so we could plan a little better.
Unfortunately we didn’t have as long as we would have liked to explore Holt. But, if you find yourself with a few hours there are plenty of beautiful shops to look in and also Holt Country Park if you fancy a longer stay in the area. Although we didn’t have too long, we did have time to go to Eric’s Fish and Chips, something we’d booked the night before.
Eric’s does the nicest fish and chips I think I have ever eaten and it was well worth the trip. We treat ourselves to haddock and chips, something we don’t have often at all and I also got to have my favourite; a battered Mars Bar.
You can order online for Eric’s at the moment or you can turn up during the day (evening is book online only).
The Robin Hood
After the return journey from Holt we had a bit of a break at YHA Sheringham before going to the arcades before dinner. We chose The Robin Hood pub to eat at because it was roughly in the middle of the beach and YHA Sheringham. Dinner started at 6pm so we knew that Erin would be tired and we wanted to make sure we could get back quickly afterwards.
Social distancing measures were really great at The Robin Hood. Screens have been placed between a lot of the tables and only one person can go up to the bar to order food or drinks. Both of these are then brought out to you to save waiting around.
There was plenty to choose from on the menu and there was a separate menu for children. Erin very quickly chose a burger in a bun and chips for her dinner and I have to say, she demolished it. Erin definitely gave the food a big thumbs up.
For the adult meals we could have picked anything from burgers to pizza to steaks if we had wanted them. I’m quite a fussy eater but there was quite a few things that I could have picked. John really had the choice of the whole menu but he decided to go with salmon, something he always enjoys.
For £31, our meals were really reasonable and The Robin Hood was a really good choice for us as a family.
Time to go home
Sunday was our last day in Sheringham and we had to check out of YHA Sheringham by 10am. Keys can be left in a box at reception and we were asked to text or email to let them know when we’d done this. As on our first day, we were unable to leave our luggage so had to take this back out to the beach with us. I think this was the thing that we could have done with the most. As a non-driving family we usually rely on being able to leave luggage places to make the most of our stay. The late check in and check out time could mean a short stay if you don’t have a car for your luggage. Bags in tow, we headed to the beach for one last quick visit and we also managed to squeeze in some time at the arcades before our train home.
By using YHA Sheringham as our base for the weekend, it allowed us to have some really great adventures and loads of fun, while being a safe place to stay as a family. We’ll definitely consider YHA again for future trips.