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March 2016 Edition

Family Fun

17/02/2016

Top 10 Things to See and Do in North Norfolk

For fun, family-friendly holidays, the UK takes some beating! And with a caravan or motorhome you can afford to be spontaneous, making the most of every weekend and holiday.

One of our recommended places for a caravan holiday is North Norfolk - and it's a perennial favourite with our Customers, too.

With an abundance of activities for the kids, endless beaches, woodland and wildlife - plus some of the UK's best campsites - North Norfolk is an unbeatable holiday destination at any time of year!

Here's a round-up of our favourite things to do and see:

 

1. Beaches. Whether you're into building sandcastles, flying kites, birdwatching, fishing or even horseriding, there's a beautiful beach in Norfolk to fit the bill. And you're more than likely to find a secluded spot to call your own. Holkham beach (shown here) is just a short walk through the pines, opposite the Palladian Holkham Hall, with its 3000-acre deerpark.

 

 

 

2. Bewilderwood. If there's one thing children like to do, it's climb trees! Bewilderwood offers a delightful tangle of tree houses, bridges, zipwires and slides to appeal to kids of all ages ... and adults too. The woodland area follows the legendary Bewilderwood story and is accessed via Bewilderboat. Beware of the Crocklebog!

 

 

 

3. Blakeney. The harbour village and estuary offers kids the chance to wade, squelch and slide down the mudbanks. Need we say more?! Adults will enjoy a scenic stroll at any time of day, with pubs, cafes and shops to peruse.

Seal-watching is a popular excursion for all ages, with regular boat trips departing (dependant on tides) from The National Trust's Morston Quay, next village up the coast.

 

 

 

4. Blickling Estate. "Nobody ever forgets their first sight of Blickling.  The breath-taking red-brick mansion and ancient yew hedges sit at the heart of a magnificent garden and historic park in the beautiful Bure meadows," says The National Trust

Discover over 1000 years of history at Blickling, where the landscape has changed little over the centuries.

Philip Kerr, 11th Marquis of Lothian, left this estate to The National Trust in 1940, and visitors can see what it would have been like to live here in the run-up to the Second World War -and how the property served the Country during the War.

The formal gardens and historic parkland is great for exploring and wildlife watching, with a good network of cycle trails, too.

 

 

 

5. Cley Windmill is a beautiful example of one of the many windmills in the area. Cley village itself is worth a visit, with its gallery, bookshop, Made in Cley pottery workshop, well-stocked Deli and the famous Smokehouse. Once you've savoured the Cley Smokies, take a walk out to Cley Marshes for some of the best birdwatching in the UK. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Visitor Centre can advise on the best nature trails and opportunities for 'Twitchers'!

 

 

 

6. Cromer. Oh we do like to be beside the Seaside!... But did you know that centuries ago Cromer was actually a long way inland.

By the 1880s the town was on the coast and with the advent of railways, it became a fashionable attraction for the Victorians and then Edwardians, who built a string of grand hotels on the seafront and a magnificent pier.

Cromer is famous for the eponymous and world-famous Cromer Crab – a fresh brown crab which you can find in various guises at eateries throughout the town.

The town doesn't have a harbour, so the fishing boats are hauled up on to the shingle by the cobblestoned Gangway. There are several museums, including the Henry Blogg Museum, named after the town's most distinguished lifeboatman, and the Cromer Museum where you can learn about the town's fishing, trading and seaside history.

If you have enough room after all that Cromer Crab, then make sure you sample Cromer's fish and chips. No1, owned by the famous Norfolk chef Galton Blackiston, gets our vote!

 

 

 

7. Happisburgh Lighthouse is the oldest working light in East Anglia, and the only independently run lighthouse in Great Britain.

Built in 1790, originally one of a pair - the tower is 85ft tall and the lantern is 134ft above sea level. The 'low light' which was discontinued in 1883 was 20ft lower and the pair formed leading lights marking safe passage around the southern end of the treacherous Haisborogh Sands.

Saved as a working light by the local community, it is maintained and operated entirely by voluntary contributions.

 

 

 

8. Pensthorpe. Set in the heart of the Norfolk countryside, in the beautiful and tranquil Wensum Valley, Pensthorpe Natural Park is an award-winning mix of meandering nature trails, beguiling woodland walks, and a showcase for British wildlife and nature conservation. 

Famous for having hosted BBC's Springwatch for 3 consecutive years, Pensthorpe Natural Park boasts beautiful gardens and spectacular wildlife. Kids will love WildRootz outdoor adventure play and the indoor adventure, Hootz House!

 

 

 

9. The 'Poppy Line'. The North Norfolk Railway offers a 10.5 mile round trip by steam train (vintage diesel trains on some journeys) from the Georgian market town of Holt to the seaside town of Sheringham, through a delightful area of North Norfolk designated as being of outstanding natural beauty. To the south are wooded hills and the Norfolk beauty spots of Kelling Heath and Sheringham Park. To the north, the sea. All within easy walking distance from the various stations.

The flowers are a sight to see throughout the year. In spring and early summer there are primroses, bluebells and yellow gorse. Later in the year poppies abound and are set off by the mauve heathers.

Everyone will enjoy a ride on an historic steam train and the stations provide a taste of a bygone age.

 

 

 

10. Wells-next-the-Sea. Between the epic expanse of Holkham Beach (see 1.) and the precious bird sanctuary of Blakeney Point, lies the harbour town of Wells-next-the-Sea.

Named (and recognised in the Domesday Book) for the fresh springs that once percolated up through the glacial chalk of this stretch of coast, the town is actually a mile inland. A narrow-gauge railway runs from the town to the beach, with its lively array of stilted beach huts.

The harbour at Wells is overlooked by an imposing granary (dating from 1904), with its gantry stretching across the street to the quay. From the harbour, narrow lanes with chic shops, eateries and art galleries lead towards the Buttlands, a large town green surrounded by majestic lime trees and elegant Georgian houses.

Another narrow-gauge railway, the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway, uses part of the old Norwich line track bed on its way to the picturesque shrine village of Walsingham.

A popular pastime in Wells - and throughout the area - is crabbing. Try your luck, either with a line or a net (available at the Quayside stores) to catch the Gillies. Raw bacon as bait works a treat, but make sure you return the little blighters to their seabed-home!

 

 

 

Where to Stay?

Whether you prefer to stay by the seaside or prefer a more secluded woodland spot, you really will be spoiled for choice in North Norfolk.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has sites at Sandringham, West Runton (near Cromer) and further afield at Thetford Forest (All Year) and Norwich City Centre.

The Caravan Club has sites at Fakenham Racecourse (All Year, near Pensthorpe - see 8.), Incleboro Field and Seacroft (both near Cromer), Sandringham (All Year) and Wroxham (near Bewilderwood - see 2.). The Club also has a site at Great Yarmouth, further down the coast.

Another very popular, privately owned site is Kelling Heath.

 

 

 

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