Going on a short break at the start of spring is becoming a bit of a tradition for my wife and I.

It's a chance to recharge batteries after the first blast of work after Christmas, a time which seems to get more intense each passing year.

And for two years in a row now we have headed to the same village on the Norfolk coast - Winterton-on-Sea - although the nature of our trip this time was rather different than last year (more on that in a bit).

Winterton is a small village near Great Yarmouth, where you can walk to the beach in less than five minutes.

It boasts a tea room, fish and chip shop and a Premier Stores where you can pick up essentials.

Romford Recorder: The picturesque Winterton-on-SeaThe picturesque Winterton-on-Sea (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

There is also the Winterton Dunes, a National Nature Reserve, which along with the sandy beaches make the village a dog walker's paradise, especially at this time of the year when it is more or less deserted.

Indeed dogs seem to be worshipped like gods here. So much so that at the local pub they event sell snacks and 'beer' for your fluffy friends. 

The Fisherman's Return is a good spot to enjoy a hearty meal after a day in the sea air (I would highly recommend the fish pie). 

Alas, my wife and I do not have a dog. However unlike our trip last year, when we sampled what the area has to offer despite some pretty disappointing weather, we now have a different kind of dependent who, like his dad, needs regular feeding and naps throughout the day.

After six months with our little one this was our first getaway as a family of three.

Romford Recorder: The beach at Winterton-on-SeaThe beach at Winterton-on-Sea (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

In fact there were five of us, including my in-laws, who we brought along for some extra parenting help (and great company obviously). 

Winterton provided the perfect destination for some much-needed relaxation. 

The drive, at around two-and-a-half hours from London, is manageable with a six-month-old on board, and there are lots of things to do within a short journey from the village. 

But we were also keen to chill out and do not very much at all, and our cottage was ideal for that. 

We stayed in The Old Village shop, managed by Winterton Cottages. It's a charming, cosy house which even has the old shop frontage made up where it used to be on the side of the building. 

Romford Recorder: The side of The Old Village Shop, complete with the old shop frontThe side of The Old Village Shop, complete with the old shop front (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

Having stayed in two Winterton Cottages now, I can say they are in great condition -  warm, comfortable and boasting all the amenities you could need for a family holiday.

These included laundry facilities, a well-equipped kitchen, two high chairs and a travel cot - and of course plenty of dog-owning paraphernalia such as a stair gate etc. 

The three-bed house, with two bathrooms, gave us plenty of space, while the open plan living room made for a good space to eat together, watch TV and roll around on the floor (the latter mostly just the baby).

Romford Recorder: The lounge at The Old Village ShopThe lounge at The Old Village Shop (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

Everything in the village is within a five-minute walk, and there is plenty to do for when you want to venture further out. 

You can read what we got up to on last year's trip here, while these were our excursions this time around.

Thrigby Hall Wildlife Gardens

A cute little zoo at an old country estate. We visited on a week day and it was nice and quiet and easy to navigate.

We enjoyed seeing a red panda, leopards and a tiger, among many other treats. Our son's favourite was the otters, but he found the gibbons a bit loud.

Romford Recorder: Feeding time at Thrigby HallFeeding time at Thrigby Hall (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

Sea Life Great Yarmouth

Like many seaside towns, Yarmouth can feel a little rundown, especially in the off-season, but I would still recommend the Sea Life centre.

We were lucky enough to catch penguin feeding time, and take in all manner of creatures from the depths of the ocean.

No-one is too grown up for some seaside fish and chips and a go on the arcades afterwards too.

Romford Recorder: Penguin feeding time at Sea Life Great YarmouthPenguin feeding time at Sea Life Great Yarmouth (Image: Simon Murfitt, Newsquest)

Seals at Horsey Gap

Having spotted hundreds of seals on the beach at Horsey Gap last year, we were privileged to do the same again. 

It's straightforward enough to park and walk round to the beach and when you see all the seals you'll agree it was worth the £3.50 to park.