Norfolk 

Details taken from www.visitnorthnorfolk.com & www.visitnorfolk.co.uk 

The Coast

norfolk beachesAs one of the hottest and driest counties in the UK, Norfolk is an ideal location to enjoy a family seaside holiday. Come to the bustling Norfolk seaside resort of Cromer, with a wonderful pier, great seaside shows and entertainment for all the family. Don't forget to try one of the famous Cromer crabs ! And take in nearby Sheringham - hop on board the North Norfolk Poppy Line for a steam train ride through the coastal countryside and drink in the scenic seaside views of Norfolk. Visit Victorian Hunstanton and walk along its famous candy striped cliff-face for views out across the Wash. Hunstanton is the only eastern resort that faces west so you'll see some spectacular sunsets. If you're after somewhere jam-packed with family fun, you won't do better than Great Yarmouth. With fabulous piers, top seaside entertainment and the famous golden mile with amusement arcades, rides and attractions, you'll be busy from morning to night.

Cromer

CromerBeachHuts200x150The pretty seaside town of Cromer is situated on the beautiful North Norfolk coast. With gorgeous stretches of soft sandy beach, little streets filled with interesting shops and plenty of places to enjoy the excellent food including the famous Cromer crab, Cromer is excellent for day visits, weekend breaks or family holidays. With its roots in the Victorian era, Cromer is a lovely combination of old and new. The seafront is a wonderful array of pretty bed and breakfasts dating back to the late 1800s giving the town a historic air. Beautiful landscaped cliff gardens, which bloom with colour during the summer months, overlook vast stretches of unspoilt beach. A small funfair positioned near the town is great for younger children while all ages will enjoy crabbing, a pastime that you will see along the spectacular pier.

Many of the landmarks familiar to Victorian visitors are still part of the attraction Cromer holds for modern-day tourists. The magnificent medieval church is a legacy of the time when Cromer - then known as Shipden - was a small town of fishermen and merchants. The current Cromer Pier, which is home to the UK's only remaining traditional end of the pier variety show, dates from 1901. 

The town has two museums. The Cromer Museum, displaying local history, geology and archaeology, is housed in a row of fishermen's cottages adjacent to the church. The Lifeboat Museum can be found inside the old lifeboat house at the foot of The Gangway, and the present lifeboat can be visited and is launched from the new Cromer Lifeboat Station at the end of the pier. In the summer months the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer pier is host to the renowned Seaside Special.

Sheringham

Sheringham GerryBaldingFlickrThe quaint seaside town of Sheringham has a lovely traditional feel and a relaxing atmosphere. With glorious seascapes, little streets filled with interesting shops and plenty of places to enjoy excellent food including locally caught crab and lobster, Sheringham is excellent for day visits, weekend breaks or family holidays. The town focuses around the main high street where you will find some wonderful shops and some excellent fish and chip restaurants and ice cream parlours selling just about every flavour imaginable!  At one end of the town you will find a small train station where you can board heritage trains on the North Norfolk Railway offering steam train trips through some of the best scenery in East Anglia. The station arrived in Sheringham in 1887 and, as with Cromer (with which Sheringham enjoys a good-natured rivalry) the town found prosperity as holidaymakers came en masse.

At the other end, take a stroll along the cliff tops and from here you will get great views down to the beach, made up of a ridge of pebbles and beautiful clean washed sands.

Sheringham has two separate communities, Lower and Upper Sheringham. The village of Lower Sheringham is the village by the cliffs, with a mixture of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Yet at is heart, Sheringham's fishing, and crab fishing heritage is very much in evidence. The village of Upper Sheringham lies a few miles inland amongst the undulating countryside. Miles of well-signed footpaths and by-roads around these two villages make Sheringham an ideal base for walking, cycling and horse riding. Other attractions include the Little Theatre, the National Trust-owned Sheringham Park nearby, Beeston Common (preserved as a site of Special Scientific Interest) and the Splash leisure complex.

It is also host to the Potty Festival each year, attended by Morris dancers from across the country who fill the town's alleys and yards with different types of folk dance. Sheringham is twinned with Otterndorf, in northern Germany.

Wells-next-the-Sea

WellsBeachPositioned on the beautiful North Norfolk coast, a harbour town, and once a haven for smugglers, Wells-next-the-Sea is a wonderful location for a break with a difference. With its timeless quality, a holiday to Wells is like stepping into another world where you will soon feel completely relaxed and at ease. There is space for everyone on this sweeping Norfolk beach, lined by colourful beach huts, a truly picture postcard setting. Enjoy a wander along the sand and through the dunes, find a spot for a quiet picnic or maybe practice your kite flying. Just a short distance from the beach you will find the attractive harbour and main town, with its distinctive individual shops and fine restaurants. For those who love water sports, Wells is great for sailing, windsurfing and kayaking while there are boat trips departing from the harbour to see the many seals that live on the Norfolk coast. The town is also home to the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, the longest 10¼" narrow gauge steam railway in the world! A great experience for the whole family the train winds through the picturesque countryside to the quaint village of Walsingham, which has been a place of pilgrimage for many centuries.

Mundesley


mundesleyl 200x140Mundesley is one of North Norfolk's best kept secrets; a small but busy seaside village that offers the holiday maker a more traditional holiday. The wide stretches of sandy beach and shallow pools are an ideal playground for children of all ages, whilst the sea fishing provides good sport whichever part of the year you choose to visit. Mundesley's small village charm is very much in evidence. Flowers and hanging baskets are always a feature amongst the wide variety of shops that can be found in the village centre. A fine nine-hole golf course offers unrivalled views over the coast. If you enjoy country walks, Mundesley has plenty of footpaths and circular walks. AT nearby Southrepps Common is an important area for wildlife. Covering some 12 hectares it is a mixture of woodland, reed grass and wild flowers.

Sea Palling and Waxham

SeaPallingSea Palling and Waxham are small villages along the North Norfolk Coast, both with beautiful beaches and only 10 minutes from the market rown of Stalham. The area offers the ideal holiday for all, with miles of award winning beaches and unique areas of unspoilt natural beauty. Once known simply as Pawling or Pauling, renamed with its prefix after Edwardian holiday makers discovered the delights of the village as a beach resort. Sea Palling has a rich history dominated by sea flooding, ship wrecks and heroism on the waves. Sandy bays, formed by a reclamation scheme, have encouraged tourists to the area. Water sports ranging from swimming to jet skiing are a part of Palling life. The village boasts two public houses with restaurants, a post office/general store, a beachside amusement arcade, cafes, caravan parks, launching facilities for pleasure craft, duty lifeguard in high season and car parks to accommodate more than 1000 vehicles. Waxham has a rural beach, where seals can be seen close in-shore and later in the season with their pups on the beach. Waxham village is also home to one of the largest tithe barns in the country, built in the sixteenth century providing refreshments in a historical setting.

Holkham

HolkhamBeach200x130Imagine strolling through rich pine woodlands, breathing in the aromatic smell of the forest before stepping onto a wide open expanse of beach. This is Holkham Bay, one of the most dramatic beaches in the area and very popular with visitors in the summer season. It is also a wonderful place to visit on cold, crisp days and during the winter a trip to Holkham will certainly blow away the cobwebs as the North Sea wind blows onto the beach making it a bleak but beautiful place to be. These glorious uninterrupted views have made this beach popular with the film industry and it was the setting for the final scene in Shakespeare in Love. This part of the coastline is particularly special and forms part of a national nature reserve. The diverse but fragile mix of habitats from sand spits to marshes, saltings to pinewoods, make it a haven for wildlife, numerous bird species and, of course, nature lovers throughout the year! Holkham also has a naturist beach, so make sure you're on the right one! During your holiday take some time to visit the stunning Holkham Hall and Bygones Museum. Home to the Coke family and Earls of Leicester, it is a magnificent Palladian hall set in acres of gentle rolling parkland. The vast interior will take your breath away - with its marble hall and extensive library - while outside you may glimpse the shy fallow deer that live in the grounds. There are also walking trails round the grounds and lakes, a restaurant serving refreshments and a lovely gift shop and gallery.  

The Burnhams

BurnhamOveryStaithe200x130The Norfolk coastline has surprises around every corner and during your stay make time to visit one of The Burnhams, a collection of five small towns and villages dotted around the North Norfolk area. Each place has its own character and appeal, from the busy hive of activity at Burnham Overy to the tranquil remoteness of Burnham Deepdale. Burnham Overy is the most popular place with holidaymakers, and since it is designated an area of outstanding natural beauty it is easy to see why. The coastal village attracts walkers, sailors and birdwatchers, who appreciate the uniqueness of the area and the exceptional landscape. From the staithe, take a boat trip to Scolt Head Island, a nature reserved owned jointly by the National Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, to see common, Arctic, Sandwich and Little Terns in an undisturbed habitat. For a bit of retail therapy head inland for about three miles to Burnham Market, a pretty town with attractive 17th and 18th century houses and cottages, where you can browse an exceptional variety of interesting shops and grab a bite to eat at one of the excellent eateries. The quiet unassuming village of Burnham Thorpe was the birthplace of Admiral Lord Nelson and the local pub, the Lord Nelson, makes the perfect venue for a toast to him!

Outdoor North Norfolk

outdoorNorth Norfolk forms part of the largest coastal nature reserve in England and Wales. Bitterns and Terns, Oyster Catchers, Avocets and Marsh Harriers are among the species which make North Norfolk a prime site for birdwatching. The Peddars Way is probably one of the most famous paths in the UK. It starts from Thetford and as it approaches the coast at Holme-next-the-Sea it becomes the Norfolk Coast Path. The route runs all the way to Cromer but there are several optional detours on the way. Walking along the path is a wonderful way to see the North Norfolk countryside from a different perspective. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust's reserve at Holme Dunes is one of the north Norfolk coasts most attractive landscapes and the combination of mudflats, sand dunes, saltmarsh and reedbeds have an air of mysticism. It is an important birdwatching site where you can look for a huge variety of species including Avocets, Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Curlews and Lapwings. Holme Dunes is another key site for winter wildfowl. At Salthouse Marshes, further along the coast, a shingle bank protects the coastal grazing marshes and salt water lagoons from the voracious appetite of the North Sea. Bird watchers can look out for Black-tailed Godwits, Ruffs, Redshanks and Snow Buntings as well as several thousand Brent geese in the winter months. Make sure you also take a trip out to see the seals off the North Norfolk coast. Popular seal boat trips embark from Morston Quay or Blakeney, or you can often see them on beaches near Horsey or Sea Palling - but please make sure you keep your dog on a lead if walking nearby.

Waveney Valley

Running through the border between Norfolk and Suffolk, the Waveney Valley is an unspoilt haven linking the Brecks to The Broads - offering the chance to relax in tranquil surroundings, walk through rolling countryside, and explore the market towns and idyllic villages, whilst sampling a wide range of local produce.

The beautiful natural landscape, awash with nature reserves and acres of wildlife habitat, make it a haven for birdwatchers and others wishing to get a little closer to nature. This, along with the historic market towns and villages, provides a wonderful opportunity for sightseeing, walking, cycling, canoeing and many other leisure activities.

Each of the market towns (Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Harleston, Diss, Eye and Loddon) within the Valley offer their own unique experience of shopping, heritage, culture, art and above all, a community spirit to rival any town. There is also a wide selection of places to sample the very best locally produced food and drink that the area has to offer.

Throughout the Valley there are many auction houses, weekly town markets, farmers markets, farm shops or even the local producers themselves, that allow the visitor to take a piece of the Valley home with them.

Easily accessed by road or rail, the Valley is then serviced by well signposted cycling and walking routes, as well as accessible and regular buses travelling the length of the Valley.

Diss

DissMereSurrounded by the beautiful countryside of the Waveney Valley, Diss in South Norfolk is a real little gem. Famous for its mere and with lush green parkland, ideal for relaxing with a picnic or for a game of Frisbee, Diss is a haven away from the fast pace of everyday life and is part of the Cittaslow or ‘slow city' project. This historic market town of Diss is certainly pleasing to the eye. The heart of the town, the Market Place, is overlooked by the stunning Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. Sitting slightly above the town, the Church can be seen for miles around and has stood on its current site since 1290. While going through numerous structural changes throughout the years, visitors can still see fine examples of gothic architecture and if visiting in the summer months you may be lucky enough to catch one of the lunchtime music concerts. For an insightful view into the town's history, visit Diss Museum, packed with local photographs and artefacts that tell the stories of year's gone by and the lives of local people.

For time to simply relax and enjoy the pace of life, take a leisurely walk around the gorgeous parkland and enjoy views of the mere, once believed to have been formed from the crater of an extinct volcano! A lovely gentle walk can be enjoyed around Diss Park taking in views of the 6 acre mere or quietly stroll around Frenze Beck Nature Reserve, a wetland paradise for many species of bird and other wildlife. For those who really want to stretch their legs, Boudica's Way runs for 40 miles from Diss to the medieval city of Norwich, the capital of Norfolk. There are also two bike routes to be explored starting from the town and taking in the countryside and quaint villages and towns.

Nearby to Diss, there are plenty of attractions for everyone to enjoy. Banham Zoo is a great day out for all the family, or try a day out with a difference at Bressingham Steam Experience and Gardens - enjoy narrow-gauge steam rides through beautiful woodland and gardens, ride the Victorian 'Gallopers' or explore the official "Dad's Army" exhibition. For the history buffs amongst you, visit the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum, which honours the USAAF's famous 'Bloody Hundredth' Bomb Group of WWII. If you want to stay active, take a dip at Diss Swim and Fitness Centre or enjoy a round of golf in glorious countryside at Diss Golf Club, whilst children will love to play at Monsters, an indoor play and party centre.

Norwich

NorwichNorwich is thriving with nightlife, buzzing with shoppers, packed with heritage, and alive with street entertainers, arts and music. The atmosphere is contagious and you'll find there's so much to see and so many things to do in Norwich, you may need to stay an extra few days. Pack your credit card and hit the shops - Norwich has been voted one of the top ten shopping destinations in Britain! Norwich was shortlisted to be the first UK City of Culture in 2013. Although not the winner for 2013, Norwich is still a 'city of culture' in its own right and has plenty to offer. This vibrant city is host to many arts organisations which not only nuture local talent but bring the best international arts to the fine city. From high profile organisations such as the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Norwich Theatre Royal, Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Playhouse and Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, through to innovative DIY culture and galleries, Norwich is bursting with creativity.

Norwich will be celebrating the year of UK City of Culture and showcasing it's vibrant and exciting arts scene during 2013. Planned events include a 'Festival of Britten' - celebrating Benjamin Britten's centenary; the launch of 2,013 paper lanterns by the Norfolk & Norwich Festival; a mass creative writing project from the Writer's Centre Norwich, and choir of 1000 people at Carrow Road. 

It’s not just all the big names and High Street chains, it’s got upmarket boutiques, quirky individual stores and a permanent open air market. Independent shoe shops, clothes shops, jewellers, chocolatiers, gift shops, perfumeries, department stores ... the list is endless. Collapse with your shopping bags at a welcome pub or coffee shop and recharge your batteries. By night the city is humming with lively bars, clubs and restaurants. 

Norwich is the most complete Medieval city in Britain with fascinating museums, a magnificent Norman cathedral and Roman Catholic cathedral, a Norman castle, ancient pubs, cobbled streets, half-timbered houses, a jumble of Medieval lanes and a delightful old Watergate down by the riverside. Take a boat from Norwich railway station along the river to pretty Elm Hill, our most famous Medieval street with galleries and the lovely little Bear Shop. Admire our attractive buildings such as Dragon Hall, the Guildhall and 17th century Pulls Ferry with its 15th century arch over the former canal where the ferries used to run. Or wander through historic streets such as Pottergate and Timber Hill with their old buildings and unusual shops.

Norwich could once boast a pub for every day of the year and a church for every week. Now there are still over 30 Medieval churches within the old city walls alone and, as for pubs, well, let's just say you won't go thirsty!

The Countryside

 

Countryside norfolkYou can literally gaze out over miles and miles of countryside in Norfolk. The gentle landscape rolls out as far as the eye can see with rolling farmland punctuated by the odd church spire or windmill. Rows of twisted Scots pines are silhouetted across acres of ancient heathland. Vast waterways and meandering rivers glisten in the afternoon sun. From historic heathland and ancient grassland, to wetland, farmland, marshland, mudflats and reedbeds. If you are expecting Norfolk to be flat and dull then you are definitely in for a surprise. The Norfolk landscape is amazingly diverse with an enthralling combination of beaches, forests, rivers, crumbling cliffs, salt-marshes and sand dunes. Norfolk is simply a place to get out and explore. Pull on your walking boots and tramp along our ancient paths and long distance trails, or hop onto a horse and enjoy trekking along miles of bridleways through unspoilt countryside.

The Brecks

the breksCovering such a vast area, The Brecks encompasses some interesting market towns where you can sample delicious local produce and meet members of the community.There are also many great attractions including stunning stately homes, fascinating museums and Norfolk's own whisky distillery! The Brecks is one of the great natural areas of Britain and is the home of a wonderful and distinctive landscape spanning the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside. Covering an area of around 370 square miles, it has the UK's largest lowland pine forest with a patchwork of twisted pines, colourful heathlands, wetland habitats and dry lands of sand and flint. Great for a short or longer stay, The Brecks is perfect for those who love the great outdoors and are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. Within the boundaries of The Brecks are several distinctive market towns, each with their own character and appeal.

At the heart of The Brecks lies Thetford, a town steeped in history with connections to many historical figures and legends such as the Queen of the Iceni Tribe, Boudicca and the influential Thomas Paine who championed the rights of the common man. Explore Thetford on foot following one of the town trails, including The Dad's Army Trail (the series was filmed here!) browse the shops or visit one of the museums such as the Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life or the Charles Burrell Museum, perfect for steam fans of all ages.

The pretty market town of Swaffham is on the edge of The Brecks. The historic market place is home to a bustling weekly market (Saturdays) while there is also plenty of interesting shops to browse and tearooms for delicious refreshments. Visit Swaffham Museum and learn how Howard Carter discovered The Valley of the Kings.

The market towns of Watton, Brandon and Mildenhall all fall into The Brecks and each holds a weekly market where you can buy just about anything - from household goods to second hand books. There are also monthly farmers markets where local farmers and producers showcase the fantastic range of tasty local foods including jams, cheese, organic seasonal fruit and vegetables and juices. 

All sorts of attractions are to be found in The Brecks, making great days out for all the family. From whisky to real ale, there are places to discover the secrets of making the perfect tipple such as the Iceni Brewery, Brandon Brewery and the English Whisky Company at St. George's Distillery, and for locally sourced produce along with great gift ideas visit Elveden Shops and Café Restaurant.

For a historic day out there is plenty on offer. Step back in time with a trip to Mildenhall Museum to see the famous Mildenhall Treasure or find out how Neolithic man lived at the Brandon Heritage Centre and flint mines at Grimes Graves (English Heritage). There are also some wonderful historic houses including the Tudor manor house, Oxburgh Hall (National Trust) and the home of a Duke and Duchess, Euston Hall. 

Thetford

ThetfordForest660Thetford Forest Park is a magnificent woodland in the heart of East Anglia and a wonderful place for all the family to visit. Spanning the Norfolk and Suffolk border, it is a beautiful mixture of pines, heath land and broad leafs. The various habitats provide the perfect environment for numerous wildlife and bird species along with many of nature's plants and flowers, and also provide a fantastic backdrop to activity holidays. Thetford Forest is perfect for cycling, walking, horse riding, and orienteering.

To really discover what's on offer and the exciting events taking place in Thetford Forest your first stop has to be High Lodge Forest Centre. Here you can pick up useful information on the best places to explore, what wildlife to look out for, where you can have your picnic and purchase guides to make the most of your visit. There is also a play area for children, a shop and restaurant.

Within Thetford Forest, there are plenty of activities and attractions for all the family. For the energetic visit Go Ape! - an assault course of ropes swings and zip slides set in the glorious Norfolk woodland, or hire bikes to discover the woodland at your own pace. Or take a trip out to Grimes Graves, a fascinating Neolithic flint mine and displays, and for the brave visitor, descend 9 metres into an excavated mine for an incredible experience.

At the heart of The Brecks lies Thetford, a town steeped in history with connections to many historical figures and legends such as the Queen of the Iceni Tribe, Boudicca and the influential Thomas Paine who championed the rights of the common man. Explore Thetford on foot following one of the town trails, including The Dad's Army Trail (the series was filmed here!) browse the shops or visit one of the museums such as the Ancient House Museum of Thetford Life or the Charles Burrell Museum, perfect for steam fans of all ages.

Find more places to visit in the Thetford Forest area

Fakenham

fakenhamAt the western edge of North Norfolk District, Fakenham is an important market town and a vital crossroads for visitors from the Midlands, Breckland and Suffolk. It is also a major industrial centre for the District, well-placed on the main A148 road from North Norfolk to the rest of the UK. The Corn Hall and flea market have been important local trading centres for 140 years, and Fakenham's livestock market, in its 1920s heyday when rail links were excellent, was one of the most important in Britain. As the rail links died, so did the livestock trading - but Fakenham found new income from auctions and markets, which are just as important to the town's livelihood now as they were then. Sitting on the National Cycle Network in a gently rolling landscape, and 10 miles south of the pretty coast around Wells-next-the-Sea, Fakenham's attractions are man-made as well as natural. It is the home of Fakenham Racecourse, one of the finest rural National Hunt courses in the country. Frequent meetings are held from February to December. Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park, home to one of Europe's finest collection of endangered and exotic waterbirds is located in the beautiful Wensum Valley on the edge of town. This and many other attractions, and accommodation of all types to be found in and around Fakenham, make this market town a good base for exploring North Norfolk whatever time of the year.

Holt

HoltByfordsThe historic Georgian town of Holt, with a superb collection of fine buildings at its heart, is surrounded by woodland and parkland areas. It is a haven for artists, photographers, walkers and riders. Holt is a town for all seasons, from the annual Christmas Festival early in December to the Summer Fair in July. The town has won the Anglia in Bloom Small Country Town category many times, and the Best Kept Village competition on several occasions.

In May 1708 there was a disastrous fire which transformed the face of the town. It was said that the fire spread with such rapidity that the butcher did not even have time to rescue the meat from their stall. The town was rebuilt, replacing the large number of properties destroyed, leaving a legacy of many fine Georgian buildings.

Today, bookshops, galleries, antique and bric-a-brac shops, along with restaurants and eating-places, abound in the many alleyways and courtyards that give the town a character of its own.

On the edge of town lies Holt Country Park, an area of more than 100 acres of woodland. With free car parking, picnic areas, nature trails and an adventure playground for the children, it's an ideal spot for families.

Sandringham  


(Taken from www.southeastofengland.co.uk)

sandringhamStill maintained in the style of Edward and Alexandra, Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), all the main ground floor rooms used by The Royal Family, full of their treasured ornaments, portraits and furniture, are open to the public.
The Ballroom of the house displays a different exhibition each year, each time showing part of the collections in the private rooms of the house not normally accessible to visitors. More family possessions are displayed in the Museum housed in the old stables and coach houses including vehicles ranging in date from the first car owned by a British monarch, a 1900 Daimler, to a half-scale Aston Martin used by Princes William and Harry. A display tells the mysterious tale of the Sandringham Company who fought and died at Gallipolli in 1915, whilst a photographic exhibition shows the history of Sandringham House from 1870 to the present day, and there is also a fascinating collection of gifts given to Her Majesty The Queen by people from all over the world.
The sixty-acre gardens include the formal North Garden, the Stream Walk and Queen Alexandra’s Summerhouse, perched above the lake. The formal planting of the Edwardian age has given way to great sweeping glades, bordered by splendid specimen trees and shrubs, to create an informal garden full of colour and interest throughout the year. A free shuttle from within the entrance will carry passengers less able to walk through the gardens to the house and back. Guided garden tours take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Sandringham Church is also well worth a visit, and there are six hundred acres of the Country Park open to all, with tractor tours running daily. There are restaurants, a gift shop and a plant centre, all at the Visitor Centre, close to the coach and car parks. Sandringham’s welcoming country house atmosphere is commented on by almost every visitor, and the most common complaint is that people have not allowed enough time to see everything there is - at least 3 hours is necessary, and there is enough to fill a full day’s visit.

The Norfolk Broads

broadsThe Broads is Britain's magical waterland, a uniquely beautiful environment shaped by people working hand in hand with nature over thousands of years. The Broads offers visitors an experience unlike any other, both on its rivers and lakes - "The Broads" - and alongside them, on peaceful paths and cycleways and in the unspoiled villages and market towns that make up the tapestry of this fantastic area. The area boasts over 125 miles of navigable lock-free waterways. The big skies and sparkling landscape are a perfect canvas for adventure and relaxation - time to reflect, space to explore, a magical opportunity to enjoy a real family break. You'll also find pretty villages and towns such as Aylsham and Reepham, nestling amongst some of the most beautiful countryside in Norfolk.

Walking in the Broads

Walking4 200x130Walking is a great way of exploring the many wonders of The Norfolk Broads. With miles and miles of walks available and no need for any special footwear (although wellies may come in handy!), the whole family can enjoy the fresh air. Short nature trails or circular walks, many staying round the towns and villages, are perfect for just a morning or afternoon. The nature trail at How Hill is great for children or enjoy a leisurely stroll round Whitlingham Country Park where you can watch people learning to windsurf! For the more experienced walker there are some much longer routes to tempt you. Wherryman's Way follows the route of the River Yare from Norwich with unique waymarkers to look out for including sculptures or try Angles Way, which meanders along the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Whatever path you take the scenery will be outstanding - so don't forget your camera!

Cycling in the Broads

Cycling2 200x150A very popular and environmentally friendly way of discovering The Broads is on two wheels! Bikes can be hired from centres around the area for short periods or your entire holiday. With all sorts of bikes available including mountain bikes, tandems, children's cycles, baby seats and tag-alongs the whole family can get cycling. There are short and long routes starting from hire points throughout The Broads. Starting from the pretty village of Hoveton you can cycle to charming Coltishall where you can watch the world pass by from the riverbank or to Barton Broad. There are also longer routes for the more enthusiastic cyclist such as the Weavers' Way and the Bure Valley Cycle Path. There is a series of Bike Trail leaflets available showing the on-road cycle routes (available at tourist information centres).

Aylsham

AylshamSet in the heart of beautiful rolling countryside, Aylsham is a charming market town that is truly unique. Endorsed by Cittaslow UK, this ‘slow town' has rich historical roots, with its fascinating parish church and Georgian market place that still acts as a central hub for local people today, particularly on market days. The Norfolk Broads are within easy reach and with some lovely walks to be enjoyed, Aylsham is a great location for a short break to explore the Norfolk countryside. Aylsham has much to see and do both from the past and present. The town predates Norman times and its layout is of national historic importance with its narrow alleys or ‘lokes' and over 200 listed buildings. The Parish Church of St Michaels and All Angels is a stunning example of gothic architecture and is Aylsham's oldest building.

For a memorable journey the whole family will adore, hop on board the Bure Valley Railway to experience the magic of steam. Starting from Aylsham, the train takes an 18 mile round trip through the picturesque Bure Valley stopping off at some of Norfolk's quaint villages before arriving at Wroxham, the capital of The Norfolk Broads. A place not to be missed has to be the spectacular National Trust property, Blickling Hall. Just over a mile away from Aylsham, this National Trust Jacobean house and gardens is a very special place, loved by both locals and visitors. Every August Bank Holiday Monday it becomes the home of the Aylsham Show, an agricultural show with some incredible events including a display from the Black Knight's parachute team, Roman chariot racing and much more. Alysham Fun Barns offers an all weather play centre with indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages.

 

Walkers will be spoilt for choice with both the Bure Valley Path and Weavers Way routes to choose from. The Bure Valley Path follows the route of the Bure Valley Railway and is 9 miles in total, while Weavers Way starts from Cromer on the stunning North Norfolk coast running through Aylsham before continuing on to the buzzing resort of Great Yarmouth. If you prefer to use two wheels bikes can be hired to tackle the Bure Valley Path while visitors to Blickling Hall can also explore the parkland by bicycle (weekends and school holidays only). Marriots Way is another popular route linking Alysham and Norwich with 21 miles of off road track - great for cycling, walking and horse riding.

Other attractions nearby include the working studios, gallery, shops, gardens and tea room of Alby Crafts, as well as the historic 18th century house and parkland at Wolterton Hall and Mannington Gardens' country walks and beautiful gardens.

Wroxham and Wroxham Barns

Considered by many to be the capital of The Broads, Wroxham is a lively town and very popular with visitors to the area. During the summer months it is bustling with activity with many heading for Roys - the largest village store in the country - selling just about everything, including picnic baskets should you have forgotten to pack yours! Wroxham is the perfect place for boat hire, whether just for an hour or the whole day. From the river, you can see so much more and a leisurely cruise downstream will reveal picture postcard thatched cottages and lodges lining the banks.

Wroxham Barns really has something for everyone and is a must visit during your holiday. For the children, the first stop has to be Junior Farm, where they can experience hands-on fun in a real farmyard. For adults and children, take time to visit the skilled craftspeople in the converted barns who you will see making beautiful and unique gifts including pottery, jewellery and even real Norfolk Cider! The shopping is also excellent with clothes, health and beauty products, toys and much more.

Woodbastwick

A village of thatched cottages and a church round a village green, but there's also a forge and a Broads Quality Charter pub - with its own brewery attached - where their own beers include Nelson's Revenge and Wherry. You can also walk to Cockshoot Broad, one of the Broads Authority's original sites of broads restoration - working to restore clear water and abundant wildlife.

Potter Heigham

potter highamA busy centre for boat hire and shopping, with a fantastic medieval stone bridge, which features in Arthur Ransome's Coot Club. Potter Heigham is the gateway to the wildest, quietest part of the Broads, but you might find it hard to imagine from the busy, traditional holiday atmosphere at the bridge and the staithe where boats moor.

Stalham

stallamA gateway to the northern reaches of the famed Norfolk Broads, Stalham also lies just 10 minutes away from the beaches at Waxham and Sea Palling. It is also a short drive from the major resort of Great Yarmouth. The town dates back to the Middle Ages, when, like other nearby communities, it was involved in the hand weaving industry. Stalham was also, at one time, a centre for basket-making - these products being used by fishermen at Great Yarmouth. The Staithe, or riverside wharf, is as important to the town today as it was when wherries (those ancient Norfolk cargo vessels) used to ship goods from here to Yarmouth. Now the Staithe is busy with pleasure boats and Broads cruisers.

 

Reedham

reedhamA village beside the River Yare, spread along a main street which is also the quay. Reed-beds extend across the river and the village has it own chain ferry, taking passengers and vehicles on this historic crossing between the northern and southern Broads.

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