NORFOLK? Where’s that? What are we going to do there for five days?

This was the instant reaction of my 12-year-old daughter Ruby when I told her we would spend the best part of a week on the outskirts of Norwich in the Easter Holidays.

I admit I did not know exactly how we would occupy ourselves for the duration of our stay – it maybe isn’t the first place that comes into your mind when planning a trip away.

But after a hectic and enjoyable time, we both confessed our initial concerns were wide of the mark.

With cheese, goats, boats, an open-top bus, castle and plenty of food on the menu, as well as a host of leisure activities, we were never short of something to do.

We had to start early mind you after being booked to join in with a

cheese-making course which was to take place at Fielding Cottage – the farm where we would be staying – at 11am on a Sunday morning.

Our base was Nightingale, one of the three cottages, all only completed at the end of last year.

With a spacious kitchen, dining room and lounge, as well as two large bedrooms – both en suite – there was plenty of room.

Owned by Sam Steggles and his family, this complex is sure to prove a big hit, just like his cheese.

Starting when a family holiday saw them return with a number of goats (I didn’t go into too much in-depth questioning over this), the business has grown and grown.

So much so, the animals that provide the milk for the cheese are no longer kept on site due the scale of the production.

What started as a small venture has quickly turned into a big operation. And a successful one too.

A breakthrough came when Waitrose and Morrisons agreed to stock their cheese in 30 stores each, and this is about to become 100. And Emirates airline are also aboard.

The demand for premium goats cheese is clearly there. Even though it is not my favourite, the chance to go behind the scenes and make your own was too good to turn down.

Their courses usually last for the best part of a day, but with time at a premium, ours was over in a couple of hours.

However, that was still enough time to make goats curd, which looks and tastes like cottage cheese.

As well as this, we sampled their three products, Ellingham, Wensum White – a brie-type goats cheese – and the delicious Norfolk Mardler, an eight-week mature waxed variety, which was our favourite.

It is easy to see why these are all flying off the shelves – and with an ongoing battle to meet demand, bigger machinery is coming soon to help take this business to the next level. It is sure to be a success.

We were joined by friends for the remainder of the trip.

And the undoubted highlight of was half a day cruising down the River Bure, taking in the beautiful Norfolk Broads.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. The rookie captain – that would be me – did his best to cause carnage as we pulled away from the harbour, veering towards a vast array of rather nice-looking boats, causing the owner of the Barnes Brinkcraft yard a major panic.

Apparently (this information was later relayed to me by hysterical crewmates as I was concentrating on trying to avert a disaster at the time) the speed and direction of our vessel saw him put his hands on his head and bark ‘reverse’ at the top of his voice as our four-hour booking was inches away from becoming a very expensive 30-second one.

Thankfully a forceful pull on the throttle saw us reverse, allowing me to eventually pull away skilfully (!) and out onto the river proper.

Travelling at between four and five knots, taking in some picturesque scenery, we made our way towards Horning – about an hour-and-a-quarter away – for a pub lunch which was certainly needed.

With the sun out, we decided to interrupt our journey back with the ‘ice cream man’ – a gentleman moored by the river for the boating fraternity to stop off for well-earned refreshment.

The only down side of this was it required me to perform a parallel parking manoeuvre, which filled my crewmates with fear, but was pulled off superbly.

When staying at Fielding Cottages, you are entitled to passes at the nearby Barnham Broom leisure complex which we utilised with swimming, tennis, squash and a gym among the activities on offer.

Our other day out saw us take in the sights of Norwich, some 20 minutes away.

Parking in the centre cost about £4 for four hours – I hope the Oxford councils read this – and saw us do the ‘tourist thing’ and jump on an open-top City Sightseeing bus.

These are always informative, and when in the next pub quiz I am asked ‘after Salisbury, what is the tallest Cathedral in England’, I will know the answer.

The 45-minute, nine-stop trip saw us weave our way around the city, before we departed to experience Norwich Castle.

Founded by William the Conqueror, this historic building houses a museum and art gallery, where a large number of its first exhibits are still displayed.

Although the dungeon tours were fully booked, various other activities for the children meant time flew by.

One place in Norwich we did eat was Namaste – a vegetarian Indian Restaurant tucked away in one of many city centre side streets.

With no meat or alcohol served at this family-run establishment, we were not sure whether it would be our cup of tea, but were pleasantly surprised at what was on offer.

We were given a variety of dishes to try, with the kalva (a fenugreek leaf and banana bhajis) and Dahi Puri (a yoghurt-based dish with fillings aplenty) among those to certainly hit the right spot.

Would we return to Norfolk to explore further? Absolutely. But hopefully next time it will be without any any boating drama.


  • Fielding Cottages can be found in Honingham, Norwich, NR9 5DJ, where there are three cottages to rent plus room for up to five caravans on site.

Prices start from £80 a night with more information available at or by calling 01603 880685.

Twitter @FieldingCottage | Instagram @FieldingCottage | Facebook: Fielding Cottage Norfolk Holidays

  • Cheese-making courses are run at regular intervals and are available for up to 16 people. Tickets are £80 each. Dates can be found on their website

Boats are available from Barnes Brinkcraft, Wroxham, Norwich, NR12 8UD. A half-day hire is £91 with more information at or on 01603 782625.

  • To plan a trip to Norwich head to

Entry prices for the castle and museum are £9.90 for an adult with children £8.50.

Prices for the City Sightseeing open-top bus start from £12 for an adult.

The Namaste India Restaurant is located on Queens Road, Norwich, NR1 3PN.

More information at or on 01603 466466.