Leiston Abbey

September Daycation

Out & About

Autumn days dedicated to you, sounds good to me…   

says Melanie Cook of www.VisitNorwich.co.uk  


I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this myself. Staycations are domestic breaks in our home nation, the alternative to jumping on a plane. It’s a word we hear all the time. But daycation? 

The daycation is a day away from home, but close to home. Time where nothing else exists except for the next 8, 12 or 24 hours. Time spent away from the stresses of everyday life to heal, slow down and do whatever you fancy. A daycation on your own in a hotel in a room with a view and room service, with friends visiting an exhibition or as a couple enjoying a long walk, afternoon tea and the theatre. Whichever way you want it.   

With everyone affected by the rising cost of living, and crazy petrol prices at the pumps, it makes complete sense that people are looking much closer to home to get away. I’ve always been an advocate of taking a break in my home city or county.  I do it regularly, and it hits the spot. 

“We’re hearing about a lot of locals booking one night stays taking advantage of the tea-fizz-room-breakfast £199 deal at The Assembly House,” Explains Izzy Cutler, marketing executive at VisitNorwich. “A one night stay is a great break and with all that Norwich has to offer, it’s also a good reason to stay over-especially if you’ve booked a show at the Theatre Royal. It’s a lot cheaper than doing similar in London.”

And she’s not wrong. The Theatre Royal has West-End shows all year round and with top ticket prices hovering around £60, that’s nothing compared to London shows where you might pay around £200 or more for the best seat in the house.  

The Norfolk Mead in Coltishall is a small, country house hotel on the edge of the Broads which delivers big. All the rooms and cottages are beautifully decorated and sizeable too. Add with the hotel’s picture-perfect location close to the water, in a pretty village with plentiful countryside walks, you have an escape-from-it-all just eight miles from Norwich.

In 24 hours, you can eat here very well. Food and drink on a break are two of the most important elements of a successful trip. Treat yourself to afternoon tea, and dinner in their 2 AA Rosettes restaurant with cocktails in the bar or, if it’s warm outdoors on the terrace. On a nippy day the open fires will be lit, adding that cosy woody smell that’s so familiar. An indulgent breakfast is included in the room rate.

“Our guests fall for our quaint village location,” James Holiday, Owner of Norfolk Mead shared with me. “They love our private broad where they can hire our boat to take out onto the water, into the Broads National Park. Then a pre-dinner drink in the walled garden followed by a delicious meal in our restaurant ends the day perfectly”.  

You can also relax with spa treatments as the hotel has two stylish treatment rooms. Using Natural Spa Factory products which are crafted using the best that nature provides such as caviar, rice bran and a fusion of natural British plants, all free from parabens, SLS, MCI and MI, and not tested on animals. 

I’ve my eye on their Melting Candle Massage (£46 – 30 minutes; £62 – 60 minutes) which entails a scented candle melted and poured onto the skin for a nourishing yet serene massage. There are plenty of treatments to choose from. You are spoilt for choice.

Egypt conjures up a romanticism around discovery, ancient artefacts, mystery and Agatha Christie. Who didn’t love Peter Ustinov in Death on the Nile? The Egyptians invented the 365-days a year calendar and this month sees the opening of a much-anticipated exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts. 

Visions of Ancient Egypt, supported by Viking (3 September – 1 January), coincides with two important anniversaries – the bicentenary of Jean-François Champollion’s deciphering of hieroglyphs and the centenary of Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb (4 November 1922). Those in the know will be aware Howard Carter spent much of his youth living with relatives in Swaffham. A far cry from the adventures he was to have as a young archaeologist and finding fame as an Egyptologist.

This ground-breaking exhibition will be the first to explore Western fascination with ancient Egypt, side-by-side with Egypt’s own engagement with its ancient past, inviting audiences to debate and discuss who these visions serve both then and now.

“It was a sight surpassing all precedent, and one we never dreamt of seeing.” Carter famously said. Now without us having to travel as far as Egypt we can see in this exhibition nearly 200 works drawn from collections in the UK and internationally. 

Painting, sculpture, photography and design will be shown alongside rare books, film, fashion and jewellery, with objects spanning two millennia from antiquity to the present day. Exploring the enduring appeal of ancient Egypt in art, design and the cultural imagination.

On Cleopatra, the exhibition will explore the ways in which her identity has been reinterpreted throughout history from scholars to Hollywood. The exhibition will show how Egypt became embedded in the Western artistic imagination in the 18th century, despite most artists and designers not having visited Egypt themselves. And the exhibition will highlight how world fairs contributed to the spread of ancient Egyptian imagery, notably the Great Exhibition in 1851.

‘Tutmania’ spread across the world following the extraordinary discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. The archaeological excavation was heavily photographed and helped shape the Art Deco style, influencing fashion, architecture and design, all of which is explored in the exhibition. Jewellery by Van Cleef and Arpels, 1920s and ’30s eveningwear and a book cover design for Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, will show how a fascination for Egypt seeped into every part of cultural life in the West.

The conclusion of the exhibition will bring together, for the first time, international contemporary artists who offer a powerful critique of constructed visions of ancient Egypt.

It’s going to be the cultural event of the season. 

Full details of everything mentioned here and loads more ideas can be found at www.visitnorwich.co.uk