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  • Writer's pictureGabriella Walker

Heydon - A village so perfect it needs a postcard

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Growing up in the Yorkshire Dales, I've been surrounded by beautiful country villages since being a child and I've always loved them. Our adventures as kids were never to play parks, they were out in nature. Long walks with the dogs on the moors or playing in the water on weekend breaks to The Lake District. I've always had a love for "picture postcard" type places. Beautiful architecture, flourishing gardens with rainbows of colour, backdrops of rolling hills and air so clean you can feel the oxygen energising your body as it fills your lungs. Thinking back, it makes so much sense that I fell in love with Norfolk from the first moment I first visited. It has all of this in spades (apart from the rolling hills obviously) and was exactly the tonic we needed from a hectic and fast paced life in London. From the first visit I was hooked. Should've really seen it coming that we'd end up moving here permanently long before retirement. I guess once a country girl, always a country girl.

Blakeney was the first village I ever visited in Norfolk and I've always said since, that it stole my heart. I wasn't sure I'd find somewhere quite as perfect; as filled with joy, as soul nourishing and as beautifully picture perfect.....and then I visited Heydon.

One of the many things I love about running Norfolk Uncovered is the amazing community it's created. Our Instagram is full of like minded people who all love Norfolk and love sharing the amazing places they find. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when I get DMs from people who've found somewhere amazing and know I'll love it just as much as them. This week, that's exactly what happened. Georgie (who has the most amazing business, Tide & Earth), sent me a DM to tell me that I absolutely had to visit Heydon. That it was the most incredible Norfolk village, was beyond picture perfect and that she knew I'd fall head over heels in love with it.....she clearly knows me well, as she was so, so right!

Heydon isn't just idyllic, it's completely unspoilt. Everything here is artisan and independent. It's small but beautifully formed. It has everything you could possibly want and need from a day trip all in one place, is stunningly beautiful architecturally (think Midsummer Murders type vibes) and the best's completely off the beaten track. Quite literally off the beaten track; Heydon village is at the bottom of a dead end. It's literally impossible to 'pass through' it. You're either purposely going there or you're not going there at all.

For such a small village, the car park is HUGE and something you really don't normally get in beautiful places like this. It's lined by fields to two side which are currently filled with stunning poppies that sway and dance in the wind. If you've ever wondered why parts of Norfolk are referred to as "Poppyland", you'll immediately understand as soon as you park your car in Heydon.

The walk into the village is linked from the car park (I mean your trip here literally couldn't be any easier) and as you wander the small lane down to the village itself, you're greeted with the most stunning independent shops. Everything about these places is perfect. Imagine the most Instagrammable boutique shops you've ever seen, then times by 1,000. Not only that though, the products they stock are not just mainly made by local makers but they're things you'll actually want and need for you and your homes and are so unique and beautiful that you'll be left wanting to buy the whole shop (well, I certainly did when I went in The Wallflower & Wallace).

As you leave the parade of artisan shops, the beauty of the village green hits you. Lined with stunning red brick cottages and houses, all dawned with wisteria and roses. We pre-booked an outside table at Heydon Village Tea Room so we could drink in the view of the village green and it's picturesque architecture the whole afternoon. If you're visiting Heydon, my number one tip is to do this. You absolutely won't regret it. Not just because of the amazing location and view but because of how absolutely incredible Heydon Village Tea Room is.

They've got a small menu (cream teas and light lunches) but honestly, it took me ages to decide. Normally with small menus it's a quick and easy decision as there's not much choice, but literally everything on the menu sounded amazing. It was a baking hot day so we both got ourselves an iced coffee (which is a must by the way - they're topped with ice cream and whipped cream and my goodness they're good) and then Smoked Salmon Pate (served with a lovely fresh salad and toasted sourdough) and the Hummus (topped with a selection of seeds and served with pitta). Hands down the best lunch we've had in ages. They've got a huge selection of vegan, dairy free and gluten free options (even the cream teas) and I haven't even told you about the cakes yet. The cakes are out of this world. Honestly I'd visit Heydon just for this tea room. It's incredible and I'd drive hours for it. Literally hours. Especially now I know they do a pre-booked traditional afternoon tea for only £30pp 🤯

Unlike most villages, you don't have to leave the centre of the village for a stunning walk either. At the bottom of the 'dead end' of the village (2 minute walk from the tea room - Heydon is beautifully small) is Heydon Park which is home to Heydon Hall. Although the stunning Elizabethan style Hall is a family home, the owners voluntarily allow walkers to enjoy the incredible parkland for free. If you love walking the grounds of National Trust properties like us, this is 100% the place for you. It has everything those places do but it's secluded and quiet and even more dreamy.

Heydon is incredibly dog friendly too (we couldn't take our dog Luna when we went as it was far too hot) but the park allows dogs on leads, Heydon Team Room is completely dog friendly, most (if not all) of the shops are, and dogs are allowed in the pub too.

Talking of the pub, The Earle Arms looks like the perfect place to kick back and relax after a wander round Heydon Park. Also set on the village green but this time overlooking Heydon's spectacular church. The fact that The Earle Arms was voted runner up in BBC Countryfile Magazine's gives you an idea of just how amazing this village is.

Sometimes I find places in Norfolk and the little devil on my shoulder tells me I shouldn't share it and keep it all to myself. Heydon is without doubt one of those places. Please tag us in your pictures if you visit; @norfolkuncovered on instagram. We love to know you've visited places we recommend and love that as much as we do.

....oh and follow the amazing Tide & Earth on Instagram. I wouldn't have visited Heydon if it wasn't for Georgie or been able to share this blog. Her sea glass jewellery is spectacular - all hand sourced from the beaches of the North Norfolk Coast and lovingly made by hand by her personally in her workshop. I wish I could afford to buy everything on her website; it's a dream.


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