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Michael Palin

Norfolk inspired my wanderlust

Sheringham, on the north Norfolk coast. Getty Images

People complain about staycations, but Michael Palin doesn’t mind them. My first summer holiday was in 1949, to Sheringham, Norfolk, the Monty Python star tells Radio 4’s Today. He had grown up in the suburbs of Sheffield; the trip to the East Anglian coast was the first time he saw the sea. “It was grey and flat”, and “it broadened my horizons wonderfully”.

Days there were slow: walking to the sea in the morning, playing cricket on the hard sandy beaches and crabbing in rock pools. “There was something very, very settled, but in an unspectacular way, about Norfolk.” Unlike Sheffield, it was calm. “Sheffield is quite a restless big city. Noisy and dirty and fiery and smoky. Norfolk seemed so utterly peaceful.” The family went back every year for a decade. “To this day I still enjoy going to Norfolk because of that quality it has – spread out under a big sky and it lets you breathe.”

Listen to Palin’s recollections here; skip to 2:21:13.