Norfolk is a fantastic place to spend the summer holidays. The county has everything you need, from beaches and forests, to historic houses and exciting attractions. Here is our guide to the best things to do this summer in Norfolk.
Foxley Wood is a great place if you want to head outdoors. Stretching across 300 acres, this nature reserve is the largest remaining area of ancient woodland in Norfolk, with some parts of the woods over 6,000 years old! As well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Nature Conservation Review site, Foxley Wood is also a National Nature Reserve – so wherever you look, there’s plenty of nature to see. The woods are home to over 350 flowering plant species including lily of the valley and early purple orchids. There are also plenty of woodland birds who call Foxley Wood their home, such as garden warblers, turtle doves, chiffchaffs and great spotted woodpeckers. Take one of the many tracks that wind through the woods and enjoy the summer displays of meadowsweet and butterflies.
One of the must-do summer holiday activities in Norfolk is water sports. Norfolk’s magnificent coastline is a fantastic place to enjoy a variety of activities, including sailing, jet skiing, surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, canoeing and kayaking. For surfing and windsurfing, Hunstanton is a great place to go as the waters are shallow and the beaches are wide and open. For kitesurfing, head to the scenic spots of Heacham and Brancaster. Don’t worry if you’ve never tried water sports before – there are many clubs and schools along the coast that cater to all levels. You’re not limited to just the sea – the Norfolk Broads are a great place to try more relaxing sports like canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding. With over 125 miles of navigable lock-free waterways, you can paddle through peaceful countryside and picturesque villages. The Broads are also full of wildlife like otters and great crested grebes.
If you prefer relaxing on the sand, Norfolk’s beaches are some of the best in the country. There’s plenty of variety too – you’ll find traditional seaside destinations, unspoilt golden sands and quiet, secluded beaches. If you’re after attractions and amusements, Great Yarmouth has it all. You’ll find fun and games along the Pleasure Beach, as well as sandy beaches like Great Yarmouth North, Great Yarmouth Central, Hemsby Beach, Gorleston Beach and Caister-on-Sea Beach. For a less flashy seaside town, Cromer is a great family destination. It’s also the perfect place to go crabbing, a must-do at the seaside. If you want to escape the crowds and discover unspoilt beaches, some of the best destinations are Eccles, Holme-next-the-Sea, Waxham, Cart Gap and Weybourne Beach.
If you’re into birdwatching, then Norfolk is the place to be. Often referred to as the birdwatching capital of Britain, the numerous nature reserves make it an ideal area for wildlife. You’ll spot favourites like kingfishers and barn owls, as well as special species like marsh harriers, bitterns and stone curlews. Ranging from RSPB and Norfolk Wildlife Trust spots, to more general areas, some of the most popular birdwatching destinations are Cley next the Sea, Blakeney, Salthouse, Snettisham Nature Reserve and Titchwell Marsh Nature Reserve.
Wroxham Miniature Worlds
Wroxham Miniature Worlds is a place where the whole family is guaranteed to have fun. It’s the largest indoor modelling attraction in the UK, with some of the world’s largest model railways including the European Railway Layout, Japanese Railway Layout and the Great British Layout. If cars are more of your thing, there is the Slot Car Layout where you can see cars whizzing around the 400 sqft model. There are also interactive flight and train simulators if you want to have a go at driving! One of the most popular attractions is Little Brick World, a whole city made up of over 130,000 Lego bricks. Other attractions include the Doll’s World, Vintage Toy World and vintage arcade machines and penny arcades.
Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden
If it’s a warm, sunny day, head to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden in the heart of the Broads. This award-winning organic garden is spread out over 130 acres and is filled with ancient woodland, water gardens and a private Broad. There are over 3.5 miles of paths that meander through the gardens. Summer is a fantastic time to visit as you’ll see hydrangeas, philadelphus and many wildflowers in full bloom. After exploring, enjoy a cream tea or a light lunch at the eco-tearoom. The gardens have various events running throughout the summer months, so keep an eye out on their website!
This 17th century country house is a fine example of impressive Jacobean architecture. This summer, you can take a tour of the interior. Admire the various bedrooms, the kitchen and the gothic style library with 5,000 original books. Outside, the Walled Garden is a lovely place for a relaxing stroll, with vibrant herbaceous borders, fruit trees, a brick dovecot and a henhouse. Find herbs and veggies in the Kitchen Garden, or take a peaceful stroll through the West Garden and visit the Orangery, home to a beautiful collection of camellias. The estate at Felbrigg comprises 520 acres of woods and rolling parkland. Take one the many paths and stop by the lake for a picnic.