What makes Norfolk such a great place to visit is its fantastic diversity! There are so many awesome things to do, whatever your family’s interests, age or size. Here we reveal the 10 best family days out in Norfolk, as chosen by the families who have visited over the last twelve months.
1. A day out at Wroxham Barns
Wroxham Barns has something for everyone. From a garden centre and shops selling souvenirs made by local craftspeople, to a mini fun-fair and Wroxham Barns’ famous Junior farm. During summer months there is even a resident circus.
And when you all get hungry there are plenty of eateries, including a restaurant serving homemade and locally sourced food and a cafeteria for those who prefer a quick bite to eat. There are also shops selling local produce to take away and an ice cream stall for immediate refreshment.
Great fun for both children and adults.
For more information visit: www.wroxhambarns.co.uk
2. Birdwatching in Norfolk
With some of the best bird-watching in the UK – just ask Chris Packham – Norfolk has so much to offer those with an interest in the natural world. With 24 RSPB reserves and 31 Norfolk Wildlife Trust reserves, there are plenty of great places for twitchers and wildlife photographers alike. From meadows and rivers, to marshlands, mud flats and estuaries, Norfolk’s unique and diverse habitats make it the ideal home for birds of all shapes and sizes, through all seasons.
Reserves include Buckingham Marshes, Hickling Broad, Snettisham, Cley-next-the-sea, Titchwell, Ranworth Broad and Strumpshaw Fen, to name just a few.
3. Get closer to Norfolk wildlife and nature
Since playing host to the BBC nature programme Springwatch some years ago, Pensthorpe Natural Park has never looked back. Having won many visitor attraction awards, Pensthorpe caters well for families of all sizes. Learn about the British wildlife conservation projects that they have going on, find out about how they are helping towards crane conservation, see a wealth of wild waterfowl and even Red Squirrels… to name just a few. You can also browse through their large gift shop that offers a range of souvenirs and gifts.
Or if your kids have plenty of energy to expend, then Pensthorpe’s Wildrootz children’s play area will certainly keep your younger folk busy.
Then why not pay a visit to the Courtyard Cafe where the whole family can refresh and recharge!
For more information visit: www.pensthorpe.com
4. A day of motorsport
Approximately 20 minutes south of Norwich on the A11 is Snetterton race track. The track plays host to a number of regular events, including Touring cars, Super bikes, GT cars, trucks, classic cars and much more.
Alternatively, you can book yourself onto a track day. With a range of courses for beginners, to the more experienced, you can take your own car and really put it through its paces. New drivers can also book themselves on to driver initiation courses.
To find out more, or to check out their events programme, visit www.snetterton.co.uk.
5. Explore Norwich
Norwich, Norfolk’s county town, is a shopper’s and culture vulture’s paradise. With two large shopping malls (Castle Mall and Chapelfield Mall), the old market, the Norwich lanes, the Royal Arcade and the Riverside complex, those seeking retail therapy are very well catered for. Shops include just about all of the main high-end retailers, as well as a large number of local independent shops.
For those wanting to learn more about Norwich’s history, Norwich Castle is a must-see, as are many of the other museums which include Stranger’s Hall and the Bridewell Museum. The city is also host to two impressive cathedrals – the Norwich Cathedral and the St John the Baptist’s Roman Catholic Cathedral.
For more information about what to see in Norwich visit our Norwich listings page.
6. A day out on a heritage railway line
Norfolk has four fascinating heritage railways, the majority of which are restored to their former glory by their enthusiastic volunteers. Many of these can be found right here in Places to visit in Norfolk.
Most also offer driver experiences, enabling you to truly immerse yourself in the nostalgia of the railway as it was years ago.
Norfolk’s heritage railways include The North Norfolk Railway, The Mid Norfolk Railway, The Bure Valley Railway, and the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway. Also, why not check out our post and videos on County School Railway Station – an attractively restored station currently isolated in the Norfolk countryside.
7. Fun in the woods
If you go down to the woods today, you sure of a big surprise! But seriously, there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy in Norfolk’s many woodland parks. One such attraction is BeWILDerwood between Hoveton and Horning. A popular ‘interactive’ adventure park, BeWILDerwood is a great day out for all the family where the kids can play and get back to nature.
With trees to climb, tree-houses to explore, zip wires to whizz down and mysterious boat trips through the park, you’ll get into the story of BeWILDerwood and get introduced to some of Norfolk’s most loved characters.
View our BeWILDerwood listing for more information.
8. A day at the Norfolk seaside
With approximately 90 miles of pristine coastline, Norfolk is a great choice for a day at the seaside! From the expansive sandy beaches of Holkham, Hunstanton and Wells-next-the-sea, to the shingled and pebbled beaches of Cley and Cromer, Norfolk has something for everyone.
Families can enjoy a fun day out in Great Yarmouth, with its Golden Mile beachside walk leading to the famous Pleasure Beach amusement park. And when you’ve exhausted the rides and arcades there, you can travel north around the coast to Hembsy and Sea Palling to take a dip in the sea.
If you prefer something a little quieter, then Blakeney, Brancaster, Thornham, Holme-next-the-sea and Horsey offer a tranquil escape from it all. Why not take a walk or a boat trip to see Norfolk’s Grey and Common Seals? Walks to the beach at Horsey and Waxham provide great views of the seals both in and out of the sea. If you want to experience the seals close-up, then we highly recommend a boat trip from Morston Quay to Blakeney Point; more details of these trips can be found in our blog post about Blakeney.
9. Hire a boat on the Norfolk Broads
Scheduled Broads cruises are available from Wroxham, Horning and Norwich.
For more information, read our blog post: Norfolk Broads Boating Holidays – are you missing out?.
10. Some animal magic
As a country of animal lovers, we all love a good zoo or animal park! And Norfolk certainly doesn’t disappoint here. With several great zoos that are both fun-packed and educational, you’ll see a wealth of animals from every continent – from both land and sea.