I’ve got two children who have long since flown the coop. The eldest Alice has just completed her degree in nursing and graduated on Tuesday from the University of East Anglia, Norwich. Alice notified me a while ago so I was able to block time off from my Practice, also in healthcare.
We decided to book a caravan at Broadlands Naturist Holiday Club. Broadlands is a short distance from Norwich and ideal for exploring the local area. Set in 25 acres, it’s a peaceful haven from the outside world, with the usual amenities naturists expect in a club setting; heated pool, boules pistes, volleyball court, club house, camping areas etc.
The warden Stephen was very friendly from the outset and that’s one of Broadland’s notable merits, the members and guests are very welcoming and friendly. Sadly the same can’t be said for all clubs, although I won’t single the ones out which I’ve found to be frosty and inward looking.
We’re in the middle of a heatwave by British standards at the moment. Just my luck that I happen to be on a motorway on one such day and again the previous weekend on the way up to Hull to take part in Spencer Tunick’s art installation, the Sea of Hull.
It was a relief to get to Broadlands. I arrived first, having dropped Alice and her partner off to collect their bicycles. Paperwork duly completed, ID produced and money handed over, I was shown to our caravan. We opted for a 6 berth beast.
Honestly, this had everything you could possibly want. A little home-from-home and remarkably good value, especially after recent trips away when I’ve been hotel bound.
Typically I’d brought enough to set up camp for about a month. Alice and Adam meanwhile arrived and checked the pool out.
The following day, up at dawn typically, I wandered around barefoot and took pictures before Broadlands stirred. I’d already secured confirmation I could take pictures from Stephen. As ever, it’s scenery only unless someone is happy to appear in the frame.
This is a vibrant club with about 300 members and a constant stream of families camping and caravanning. Particularly gratifying was how welcoming people were towards Alice and her friends, four of whom visited over the three days we were there, three females and one male. Since none of Alice’s friends had ever tried naturism before, it was heartening to see how well a relaxed, clothing optional approach works which is the policy we also employ at Diogenes Sun Club. One group of campers, welcomed Alice and her boyfriend and invited them to join them in a bbq which I thought marvellous. Her girlfriends who may have been wary initially, all enjoyed the experience and there was talk of going back to Broadlands and even looking in to joining as members.
There’s the usual collection of whimsical gnomes peppering the site and a well established petanque league who play at 2:30pm daily. According to Stephen, you can set your clock by them.
On the third and final day when we had chance to relax, soak up the sun and use the amenities, we saw the 2:30 crowd in action for ourselves. At 2:32 precisely, about ten naturists filed past the caravan, boules in hand to the pistes near the club entrance.
For those of you who’d like to stay and not take the kitchen sink with them (I enjoy cooking and won’t travel without my spices and condiments), the cafe is open twice daily and certainly appeared to be popular, judging from the number of people sitting outside on the balmy evenings when we were there.
And just look at how beautiful the little trails are wending around the club
The final day was tinged with regret, our visit was too rushed. We’ll definitely be back. I’d certainly recommend you try Broadland’s hospitality for yourself.
The impressive dawn on Wednesday gave rise to this picture. It wasn’t a fire but the sun rising over the camp. This picture taken at about 5am.
Chance for a final walk around naked and barefoot
And it was time to pack up and make our way back to Buckinghamshire, via Norwich to drop off the millenials.
For more information, there’s this You tube video of Broadlands, uploaded on 18 July 2014, an interesting article from the Guardian ‘A stitch in time,’ Thursday 31 May 2007 and a Gallery on the Broadlands website.
Please allow 48 hours notice for day visitors and address any enquiries to Broadlands, as per the website.