This bank holiday week husb and I are both off work, woop woop! So what better way to kick things off than to head to the coast on the train. Greater Anglia have started a new campaign #LetTheAdventureBegin and by hopping onto a train at our local station we did have an adventure!
Here’s what Greater Anglia have to say about #LetTheAdventureBegin
The adventure starts the minute you board a Greater Anglia train with the space to move around, comfortable seats and no sitting in queues of traffic, travelling by trains allows you to sit back and enjoy the adventure.
I have to say I agree, on all but one point, I think the adventure starts from the second you arrive at the station. There is a joy to watching the other trains arrive. A certain level of excitement waiting for your train, well at least if you are 3 years old (or coughs 33). Then when you get to your seat and have the ability to get up, walk around, read a book, play with toys, go to the toilet without making your parents drive to a suitable location, it just gets even better!
Every night at bed time I make up a ridiculous adventure for L, starring him and his stuffed giraffe Gerry. So Sunday night I told him we were all going on a real life adventure in the morning and he was so excited. I like to get him excited about a day out before we go. It can be very helpful.
Monday morning saw us with bags packed ready for the beach. We hopped onto the train at Wymondham. Changed at Norwich. Then we arrived at Cromer, ready to start our day.
The journey was on time, uneventful and smooth. L charmed a neighbouring passenger with his love of tractors and spent most the journey looking at pictures of trucks and tractors on this lads phone. The train was busy but we were seated and I only saw a few people standing. Most the stations we passed through were decorated with bunting and there was a very happy feeling about the journey.
When we got to Cromer we made the pleasant walk from the train station to Amazona Zoo. It takes 15-20 minutes and you get to pass by Cromer Hall, a lovely playground and Cromer Campsite before getting to the zoo. It’s a gentle stroll with footpaths the whole way. Oh and the train station is handily situated by a Morrisons Supermarket. Perfect for a toilet stop and drinks.
I love a good zoo. So does L. We have season passes for our local, Banham Zoo. I have a serious soft spot for Amazona though. It is small and compact. Filled with trees and making full use of the natural landscape. There are bridges and boardwalks. Ponds and streams. It’s the prettiest of walks with the bonus of seeing some marvellous animals.
We wandered down by the Flamingo pond. Watched the Marus wander freely by us. Then it was off to see the cats, the Pumas are stunning and then the Jaguar came out to say hello, with his gruff territorial call making L and I jump.
We stopped for lunch on the terrace overlooking the duck ponds and had a nice break. L had a ham sandwich, husb had ham, eggs and chips whilst I enjoyed scampi, chips and peas all for around £15. It was all delicious.
After our break there was more to see. Monkeys and birds. The fabulous indoor hot house with a toucan, caimans, a trail of ants and snakes. L loved it so much we had to go round twice.
After trying to spot the otters and think of a cunning way to take the burrowing owl home for myself it was time to head off. We stopped in the gift shop and I picked myself the most adorable set of miniature ceramic elephants with different scented candles and L, with some guidance from husb, got a stick that makes a whistling type noise. Oh joy.
We spent about 2 1/2 hours at the zoo and got to see everything. You could spend a bit longer, especially if you go into the epic soft play area, but for us it’s not a full day zoo. This is reflected in the entrance price though, which is half that of the other local zoos.
After we had finished at the zoo we grabbed a taxi back to the seafront. We could have walked it but L was tiring and I wanted to have a walk along the pier and seafront, so I had a choice to make. The choice that came with ice cream, dipping my toes in the water and playing stupid arcade games with my son before going to see the lifeboat at the end of the pier won.
I love a day at the beach and Cromer offers a lot. It is one of my favourite coastal resorts, we visit regularly. After we were all thoroughly exhausted it was time to head back to the station. It was such a relaxing way for us to end the day. Just getting to sit back and relax as the train whisked us back to Norwich. Both husb and I actually got to relax and L was happy just watching the world go by or playing with his toys on the table.
We got to see the Narrow Gauge Steam train at the Bure Valley railway which was lovely. Then as we were pulling into Norwich Station there was a full size steam engine on one of the sidings, which was unexpected and very impressive!
We had a bit of a wait in Norwich before our train home to Wymondham. We were going to have a little walk by the river but L just wanted to stay in the station and watch the trains. so that’s what we did. Our train home was delayed by around 8 minutes and very, very full! I thought that the updates on the boards and through the app were great and to be fair I don’t really count anything less than 10 minutes as an actual delay so hadn’t thought anything of it.
When we arrived back in Wymondham we only had a short drive home and because he was so tired literally fed the child and put him to bed.
We have had a brilliant day out and it really was an adventure. Travelling by train is never our cheapest option, but for us it is worth spending the money. I actually think it’s great value.
L is free until he is 5 years old and then kids fares start at £2 return. Adult fares can be booked at a great price if you can sort everything out in advance. Not to mention the fact we don’t have to worry about parking cars or driving. It means as adults we get a few extra minutes to put our feet up (priceless). L gets a bit of freedom and instead of spending an hour strapped in a car seat he gets to talk to us and play, get a different view of the world going by.
Travelling by train also forms a big part of the day out. I truly believe L would have a fabulous day had we just sat on random trains all day long! He loves travelling by train.
Disclosure – our travel and attraction entrance was provided by Greater Anglia as part of the #LetTheAdventureBegin campaign. All opinions are my own.