Author JACQUELINE WILSON reveals how reading Coast inspired her to visit Holkham Beach in North Norfolk – now her favourite seaside place. Interview: Alex Reece
About three or four years ago, I thought it would be lovely to have an old-fashioned seaside week somewhere. And so, in my local newsagent’s, I saw this magazine, Coast, and that year, in the Coast Awards, the Best British Beach was Holkham. I looked at this fantastic beach in the pictures and I thought: this is the beach of my dreams.
Unusually, it lived up to all my expectations. Holkham is just beautiful – because it’s so big, even on one of the hottest days of the year, after you’ve parked your car and you’ve walked for ten minutes, you can get a bit of beach all to yourself, which is just wonderful. And, if it gets too hot, there’s the nature reserve at the back to walk in under the trees.
An ideal day in North Norfolk might lead up to Holkham. I like to visit a village called Stiffkey, where you can get to the saltmarsh, which has its own strange, eerie beauty. One of my favourite places for lunch is the Wiveton Hall Café in Holt, where they do immense and healthy salads. After that, I’d go and have a really long walk along Holkham Beach. I don’t go swimming in the sea, because it’s too cold for an old lady, but I do go paddling. Then I’d just have a flop in the sand dunes and read my book.
The beach is generally a place to getaway from writing, but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a workaholic. I do find it hard to switch off. It's quite extraordinary to have published more than 100 books. I know I’d be hard pushed to remember even 20!
I’ve booked another holiday in North Norfolk, and as I now have a rescue puppy called Jackson, a Patterdale terrier who loves digging, I cannot wait for him to discover sand dunes and the joy of leaping around or being in the cool forest. Puppies are like babies – the entire back seat of the car will be taken up by him and his belongings – but it will be worth it.
"I’ve booked another holiday in North Norfolk this autumn, and as I now have a rescue puppy called Jackson, a Patterdale terrier who loves digging, I cannot wait for him to discover sand dunes and the joy of leaping around or being in the cool forest."