What to see and do on your Norfolk Short Break…..
Norfolk is a diverse county with historic market towns, quaint coastal villages, the Broads, the coast and lots in between. There are clean, sandy beaches around half an hour’s drive to the east, and about an hour to the north the coastline is more rugged with charming villages where you can buy fresh, locally caught shellfish. During the summer months you can take a ferry from Thorpe River Green, a few minutes walk away, into Norwich – the journey takes about 1/2 an hour and runs Thursday to Sunday inclusive.
Norwich is the most complete medieval city in England with a stunning Norman Castle, two Cathedrals, the largest open-air market in the country and many historic buildings. It is England’s first and only UNESCO ‘City of Literature’. The city is an excellent shopping destination with an eclectic blend of independent and multiple retailers in two shopping malls and in the ‘Norwich Lanes’ – Great British High Street of the Year winner in 2015. There is a choice of theatres, museums and galleries, cafés and restaurants and sports and leisure facilities, including Whitlingham Outdoor Centre for walking, sailing and water sports and Sportspark at the UEA.
Within a short distance are many RSPB and NWT nature reserves (NWT Thorpe Marshes is just across the road); woodland, heathland, Broadland, coasts and marshes provide habitat for some of the country’s rarest species. RSPB Minsmere (home of BBC Springwatch) is about a 45 minute drive. At RSPB Strumpshaw Fen you can ‘Rent-a-Warden’ who will guide you around the reserve pointing out all the wildlife you see and hear and talk about the management of the reserve – email the reserve email@example.com or call 01603 715191 to book or click here for more information about Strumpshaw Fen. Local naturalist, wildlife holiday guide and NWT volunteer Chris Durdin also offers personal guided walks around NWT Thorpe Marshes for our guests in return for a donation to NWT (we suggest £25 – £30 per couple). Walks last approx. 2 hours. Contact Chris via his website www.honeyguide.co.uk to arrange.
There are walking routes a plenty including the Wherryman’s Way, a 35 mile route along the River Yare, the ancient 93 mile Peddars Way, and the Weaver’s Way, a 61 mile route from Cromer to Great Yarmouth. For something a little less challenging you can take a gentle amble around some of our pretty Norfolk villages. We have lots of information, routes and maps in the hotel and we can pack you up a picnic to take out for the day.
There are too many heritage sites to mention with the ‘Norwich 12’, ‘the UK’s finest collection of individually outstanding heritage buildings’, NT and English Heritage properties, medieval churches, museums and gardens galore but whatever your taste, you will certainly find something of interest.
Norfolk is great for cycling but it’s not as flat as you may think! There are quiet lanes, marked trails around the Broads, and Thetford Forest for a bit of off-road adventure. You can take your bicycle on Bittern Line trains (advance booking recommended) and follow a number of routes from Bittern Line stations. A network of bike hire points around the county also offer tandems, child seats and trailers, safety equipment and more. If you bring your own bikes you can store them securely overnight in our garage.
For sailors and boaters, the Norfolk Broads offers a network of peaceful waterways on which you can slow down the pace of life and see an array of wildlife including iconic species such as Swallowtail butterflies, Norfolk Hawker dragonflies, Marsh Harrier and Bittern, maybe even an otter. You can hire sail, electric or motorised day boats or paddle your way along some of the more shallow channels in a canoe. The ‘CanoeMan’ offers guided canoe trails in spring and summer – see his website for details.
Whenever you visit us, there’ll be something to see and do:
- Courting Marsh Harriers and ‘booming’ Bitterns, breeding waders at Berney Marshes
- Rhododendrons & Azaleas at Sheringham Park (mid-May to June)
- Norfolk and Norwich Arts Festival (May)
- Royal Norfolk Show (end of June)
- Swallowtail butterflies at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen
- National Parks Week – events around the Broads
- Norwich Beer Festival (end October)
- Sandringham Game and Country Show
- Norfolk & Norwich Food Festival
- Christmas Markets / Christmas Shopping.
- Spectacular wintering wildfowl and waders at RSPB Minsmere (home of BBC Springwatch), Buckenham Marshes and Holme.