Norfolk’s position at the top of East Anglia affords in access to some of the most striking coastline found anywhere in Britain. North Sea waves crash against the county’s coastal towns that back onto golden sand and the distant horizon.
Norfolk is a magnet for staycations, offering those living in bustling towns and cities a real escape away from trials and tribulations of everyday life. Home to a large city of its own in the form of Norwich, the rest of its territory is fairly rural, and some would say this is the first area you hit from the likes of London and Birmingham that provides an authentic alternative atmosphere from the busier counties of the UK. Take a peek at our favourite things to do in Norfolk and start planning your next visit.
Africa Alive! Wildlife Park, Kessingland
Africa Alive brings the glorious continent to this corner of Norfolk. Located just outside Kessingland, the park is easily accessible from the likes of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth. A fantastic day out awaits, with species such as giraffes, lions and rhinos all being looked after by a heroic zookeeper team. You’ll get up close to these striking species, learning even more about them along the way.
The ‘Meet the Meerkat Mob’ walkthrough area is a particular favourite of ours, seeing the animals that have been made so famous by their frequent appearances on our TV screens. The Mighty Zulu Nation Theatre Troupe put on a great show on each of their visits, and you can check the dates they appear in advance on the park’s website.
Bure Valley Railway
Riding the Bure Valley Railway has always been one of our favourite things to do in Norfolk. Running from Wroxham to Aylsham, the line runs through some of the county’s prettiest countryside, making stops in the villages of Brampton, Buxton and Coltishall. The line came into existence all the way back in 1864 as part of the East Norfolk Railway Act.
The last passenger train ran in 1952, but it wasn’t until 30 years later that the line was closed after a period of being a freight-only link. In 1986, it reopened as the narrow-gauge miniature railway it is today. Steam locomotives take you from place to place, and we love the view from the bridge of the River Bure, which is of course what the railway takes its widely known name from.
Cromer Beach, Norfolk
Cromer Beach is a real gem that has been welcoming visitors from across the country for decades. The town is home to ‘Britain’s Great Barrier Reef’, attracting snorkellers and swimmers that come for the view beneath the depths of the water. Quaint Victorian buildings overlook the beach itself, providing one of the nicest human-made backdrops to any beach in Britain. Located within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it’s made up of sand and shingle.
You’re never far from what is a great pier, hosting everything needed for a great day out at the seaside. Shops, seafood stands, and amusements are all just a stone’s throw away. A taste of some local produce makes you realise why the area has such a prestigious history when it comes to fishing.
Great Yarmouth is synonymous with the seaside. Simply one of the great resorts over the years, it’s still a magnet for visitors far and wide looking for the quintessential coastal experience. Fantastic memories for all the family are to be had here, with activities, amusements and attractions all within a hair’s breadth of each other.
The fantastic beach is the highlight for us. The soothing sand affords a fantastic view of the North Sea and the pier is the place to be to add to your day here. Head for the rides, play a spot of adventure golf and absorb the atmosphere in what’s widely known as the Golden Mile. You’re spoilt for things to do in this historic town.
We had to give a special mention to the Hippodrome Circus, set within Britain’s only building dedicated to circuses. It’s just steps from Great Yarmouth’s seafront in the heart of the town. Built in 1903 by showman George Gilbert, world-class shows were born and have continued to entertain audiences ever since.
The arena is versatile, with a purpose-built floor switching around to tailor to each show. A hard floor sinks into a pool, bringing water performances truly to life. A show or two shows you why the Daily Telegraph named this venue as one of the seven wonders of the British seaside. Great for all-year round, head here and you’re guaranteed a thrilling time.
You’re hard pushed to find more beautiful surroundings in the country, let alone the county. Recognised amongst the prestigious list of National Parks in 2015, the waterways are in fact artificial inventions. Over 125 miles of waterways can be sailed along without the need to travel through a lock. There isn’t a better way in the UK to explore wildlife in their natural habitat than on a boat ride here.
You’ll be met by beautiful countryside and quaint towns and villages along the way. In terms of the route, you’re spoilt for choice. We’re big fans of the ride from Wroxham along the River Ware taking you to Salhouse Broad and Horning Reach in a picturesque two-hour experience. Wherever you head to, take in the fresh air and admire the surroundings.