After Stiffkey, you peel off left, through Warham and Little Walsingham, to Walsingham proper. Pilgrimages began here in the 11th century and Walsingham quickly became “England’s Nazareth”, and one of Europe’s top four pilgrimage destinations in the Middle Ages, with another revival in the 20th century. The village is stuffed with shrines, chapels, churches, a priory, a friary, and countless 14th- and 15th-century houses. It’s a rich chocolate box of religion and history, and, no matter your faith (or lack thereof), it’s a weird and wonderful way to spend an hour or so. We’ll admit the bright red Maserati did seem a little bit agg-capitalist here, but as it’s as close to motoring heaven as it’s possible to get, we felt forgiven.
From Walsingham, we wandered back up to rejoin the coastal roads at Holkham. Known primarily for the striking beach, with its pine forest-lined sand that goes on for miles, many people ignore Holkham Hall, inland, on the other side of the road. This stately home, the seat of the Earl of Leicester, is one of England’s most graceful, with a river wandering through the parkland towards the sea, and the 18th-century Palladian house welcoming visitors. The Marble Hall leads to rooms containing works by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough. The Levante felt quite fitting here, with its massive proportions in tune with its surroundings for the first time on the trip.
If you’re feeling peckish, the Victoria Inn between the estate and the beach is a lovely place for a cup of Earl Grey in the afternoon Norfolk sun (it’s also a great place to stay overnight, as it’s within a stone’s throw of the beach but also Wells-next-the-Sea).
We threw our beach stuff in the large boot, and headed for a quick kick-about and paddle on the beach before driving on to beautiful Burnham Market. As the afternoon drifted into evening, and the day trippers headed back, we sped along the country roads, the children slumbering in the back on massive leather seats, the engine clicking, growling and purring through the exhausts, the lovely thin steering wheel piloting us on towards dinner and bed in yet another picture-perfect Norfolk village. Tough life, this.
Maserati Levante Trofeo
- Price: from £123,070
- Engine: V8 petrol
- Features: Smartphone integration, Bowers and Wilkins audio, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, roof rails, illuminated door sills.
- Design yours here: Maserati.com.