6 best things to do with kids in Norfolk
With stunning countryside, gorgeous beaches and miles and miles of unspoilt coastline, Norfolk is a great place for a holiday with a baby, toddler or older kids. The Norfolk Broads holds a unique charm, as do the county’s charming villages and cities, all of which hold the potential for adventure.
Then there are the countless attractions and historical sites, wildlife parks, nature reserves, seals and dinosaurs that are sure to be a hit, not only with kids of all ages, but also with parents and grandparents too. We know that with so many options it can be difficult and time-consuming to choose your ideal destination and that’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best things to do with kids in Norfolk. These locations are all found within range of some of the best Haven holiday parks, so there’s no need to go out of your way to visit.
1. Sea Life Great Yarmouth
Sea Life is found right on the seafront in Great Yarmouth and features family-friendly exhibits with a variety of fabulous sea creatures in its aquariums. The ocean tunnel winds through a huge tank holding a whopping quarter of a million litres of seawater, where the inhabitants swim around the lost city of Atlantis. Sealife Great Yarmouth is also home to African dwarf crocodiles, blacktip reef sharks, and clownfish of Finding Nemo fame. Your kids can discover more of the world of jellyfish in the Jelly Invaders display, as well as watch the aquarium’s regal Humboldt penguins.
Opening times vary throughout the year (though typically the aquarium is open seven days a week) and pre-booking tickets online is essential, so please visit the website before your trip to this aqua arena.
2. BeWILDerwood Norfolk
BeWILDerwood is a huge, award-winning forest-based theme park filled with family fun and outdoor adventure located on the edge of Bure Marshes National Nature Reserve. Based on the magical children's books written by local author Tom Blofeld, the park is a wonderland of treehouses, enchanted boat rides and intriguing characters, bringing a magical atmosphere to the Norfolk Broads.
The park is friendly to both little and big people with adults being encouraged to join the kids on the treehouses, zip wires and jungle bridges. This means that everyone who comes to play, including the grown-ups, needs a ticket, though admission is free for those under 92cm. There is value for money at BeWILDerwood however, as parking, entry to the park, boat rides, storytelling, crafts and den building is all included in the ticket price. The park is only open on selected dates from February to October and there can be queues for some attractions such as the boats, so it's worth planning ahead and arriving early to make the most of this wild and imaginative day out!
3. Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure
Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure based in Lenwade just outside of Norwich, is undeniably one of the best things to do with kids in Norfolk. With numerous attractions such as Predator! High Ropes, Dippy’s Theatre, animal enclosures, an indoor adventure playground, a deer park and East Anglia’s biggest outdoor waterpark, Dippy’s Splash Zone, your kids are sure to be entertained. Young dinosaur enthusiasts will also love the Dinosaur Trail which houses 110 life-sized dinos.
Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure also released a park app in 2021 to help guests get around and find the best special offers and discounts. Be sure not to miss out on the park’s excellent range of dining options either including Jurassic Snacks, Dinomite Café, The Explorers Restaurant, Dippy’s Snack Shack and Nautilus Fish and Chips. The best prices are usually available online so be sure to book before you go and check for the Gift Cards and Season Pass options.
4. Pettitts Animal Adventure Park
Tucked into the Norfolk Broads near Reedham, Pettitts Animal Adventure Park is a family friendly wildlife park home to domestic and exotic animals, kids' rides, live entertainment and a cafe. The park is an animal-lovers heaven with opportunities to see a number of different species of snakes, ferrets, reptiles and birds of prey, and meet animals from around the world such as wallabies, raccoons, macaws, lemurs and alpacas. Older kids can enjoy the park’s super fun Adventure Rides including the Crazy Caterpillar Rollercoaster and Bouncing Kangaroo Ride, Alice in Wonderland train, Safari Adventure, Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups, and a pirate ship, while tots can venture in to three of the large play areas.
The park is open from late March until late October and there is free parking for your convenience. It’s worth checking online before you go as prices are always cheaper if purchased in advance with discounts also available at certain times.
5. The Norwich Mystery Treasure Trail
This whodunnit self-guided treasure trail is a wonderful activity that starts in the historic Cathedral District and will take you and your kids through the town looking for answers on local landmarks, signs and buildings, all the while edging closer to the answers. If you think you’ve got what it takes to solve the case, then begin by downloading your trail PDF which has an easy-to-follow route and hard to crack clues.
The journey is approximately 1.5 miles long and should take around 1.5 hours to complete, however, you can complete it in your own time and at your own pace, any day of the year. The organisers recommend the trail for kids aged 6+ so this mission would be perfect for a weekend away with the family. Discover Norwich in a novel way and be baffled by the mysteries which are sure to have young and old scratching their heads and smiling from ear to ear!
6. 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.