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Why I’m going on holiday to Cromer – and God help anyone who calls it a staycation!

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 September 2018

The oldest locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway, the Y14 built before the First World War. Picture: PAUL GEATER

The oldest locomotive on the North Norfolk Railway, the Y14 built before the First World War. Picture: PAUL GEATER

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By the time you read this I should be well away from Ipswich on a delayed family holiday in the far north.

Paul Geater during an earlier visit to the North Norfolk Railway - will he find a trilby in time for the 1940s weekend? Selfie: PAUL GEATERPaul Geater during an earlier visit to the North Norfolk Railway - will he find a trilby in time for the 1940s weekend? Selfie: PAUL GEATER

We had considered having a staycation this year, but eventually decided on a proper UK family holiday in sunny Cromer!

Now, I’m not going to get into another rant about the mis-use of the word staycation but to me it will never mean a UK holiday – it means staying at home and going on days out.

It’s a real shame that the UK holiday industry doesn’t have confidence in the product it sells and has started to use such a pejorative description for its wares – but I like holidaying in the UK anyway!

On the day this is published we’ll be going back in time to the 1940s on the North Norfolk Railway just down the line from our holiday flat. I hope there won’t be any strange people dressed up as Nazis there (so far as I’m aware there never was a German invasion of the coast between Sheringham and Weybourne) but I’ll try to enter the spirit of the event some appropriate clothes – if I can find a secondhand trilby!

Cromer Pier and the rockpools await. Picture: PAUL GEATERCromer Pier and the rockpools await. Picture: PAUL GEATER

I suspect our holiday will be dominated by history and heritage – we’re planning to wave our National Trust membership cards at several of its Norfolk properties and also want to visit Sandringham.

Because like millions of people I love heritage and finding out more about history – it’s a subject I studied at A level and the love of it is something I’ve never lost.

But while I love visiting historical places – from castles that are hundreds of years old to steam railways that re-create live of a generation or two ago – it is absolutely vital that as a society, as a species, humanity looks more to the future than the past.

There are one heck of a lot of lessons to learn from the past. Henry Ford was so wrong when he said “History is bunk.” But we cannot allow a slavish love of the “olden days” prevent us from moving ahead in the future.

Cromer clifftop gardens. There is nowhere better to eat fish and chips out of a paper! Picture: PAUL GEATERCromer clifftop gardens. There is nowhere better to eat fish and chips out of a paper! Picture: PAUL GEATER

I’m going to be pulled by steam engines dating back up to 100 years just days after seeing Greater Anglia’s new Aventra electric trains being built.

They’re both fantastically exciting – and on Sunday I will be wallowing in the prospect at being pulled by the Y14 (and even more so by the younger and larger Black Prince) – but deep down I know that it is the Aventra that represents the future and that is the way society has to travel.

Holidaying in Cromer will provide a real nostalgia-trip to me. It’s where we went on holiday when I was a small child and it’s by far my favourite resort anywhere.

I’m sorry Southwold, Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Walberswick. I love you all – but deep in my heart you cannot compete with Cromer and in particular the gardens at the top of the cliffs in Cromer (there is nowhere better to eat fish and chips out of paper!).

And what makes Cromer so special? In a word rockpools! As I five-year-old I spent hours looking for tiny crabs, starfish, and sea anaemonies in them. When my children were the same age I did the same with them about 20 years ago.

If my friends at Weatherquest are right about the weather for the next week I may not be able to resist the temptation to don my shorts and flip-flops and get down in the pools once again. Cromer: you have been warned!

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