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We’re off to Norfolk this weekend and I can’t wait. Not only because we’re going to see someone special, but also because I find it a lovely place to chill out and relax.  For some reason the vibe there is cool, dude, and I return from time spent there refreshed and feeling zen.

Quite apart from family, and the beautiful countryside, fantastic food and friendly people, there’s another reason I love Norfolk. And that’s the beautiful Georgian market town of Holt, containing the wonder which is Bakers and Larners: a traditional department store which straggles down the High Street, scattering departments on either side of the road with gay abandon, and a positive disregard for logic.  I sure hope that if you live within striking distance of Bakers and Larners you appreciate just how fortunate you are.  The rest of us have to go to at least 5 shops to get the same range of tempting goodies mixed with the essentials of life.

You can find almost anything in there. From cutlery to sweaters, bedding to trowels, woodstain to range cookers, at any minute you expect Mrs Slowcombe and Captain Peacock to pop out from behind a display of new panware.   It really is a relic of a bygone age, but has set sail resolutely towards the future.  It even smells different, a combination of hopes and dreams mixed with practicality and hard-wearing tweed.  It’s winning awards for promoting local produce and suppliers, and after 240 years is still a family business which prides itself on exceptional service.

The rest of Holt is pretty darn lovely too, by the way. You can tell it’s a nice area because of the boutique shops, delis and restaurants nestled under striped awnings and with wicker baskets aplenty upon the pavements.  There’s treasures to be found, old and new, along with fabulous art and creative jewelry. 

This post wasn’t sponsored by the Norfolk tourist board or anything. Just in case you were wondering.

Go to Norfolk. Buy things. Visit Bakers and Larners, a celebration to me of all things great about Britain.   

PS There are other things to see in Norfolk – you can find some of them here