Autumn breaks for pre-school families

16 July 2020

Autumn breaks for pre-school families

Keeping the little ones entertained can be hard at the best of times, but throw a 12-week lockdown into the mix and that challenge gets a whole lot harder. After twelve weeks of CBeebies and Peppa Pig on repeat, we think its fair to say that you’re owed a holiday!

And we know organising a last-minute family Summer holiday isn’t always the easiest thing to do. So, why not start planning a break for Autumn? With so many child-friendly attractions and experiences on offer in Norfolk, and with great deals available from accommodation providers later in the year, a family holiday in Autumn is a no-brainer! So, to help you with your planning, here’s our rundown of the best holiday stays and things to do for pre-school families this Autumn.

Assembly House

The Assembly House, Norwich

Stays in Norwich

The Assembly House

A stunning city centre location, ideal for any family holiday. This Grade I listed house offers beautiful Georgian architecture and gorgeously styled rooms some with their own private gardens or outdoors space. Enjoy a great night’s sleep in rooms that boast views of Norwich and wake up to breakfast made from locally-sourced, seasonally-inspired ingredients. The perfect way to kickstart a day of exploring Norwich and Norfolk. Note: selected rooms are large enough for families.

The Maids Head Hotel

The perfect base for families looking to enjoy city life and the Norfolk countryside. At The Maids Head Hotel you’re only a quick walk away from some of Norwich’s most famous landmarks, or a short drive from amazing attractions and experiences in Norfolk. Enjoy a 2-night stay in one of their stunning executive suites, at £390 for a family of four. Stays include breakfast for all guests, a picnic hamper, an allowance of £80 towards supper, and a 2-hour outdoor Magic Portal escape game. Interconnecting rooms are also available, and several rooms are dog-friendly, so the family pooch can enjoy your city break too!

Maids Head Hotel

The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich

Escape to the country

The Norfolk Mead Hotel

For those of you looking to escape the noise of city life, the Norfolk countryside offers up some wonderful stays. Enjoy a peaceful break at The Norfolk Mead (8 miles from Norwich), a spacious country house located in eight acres of lovingly kept private grounds on the edge of the unspoilt Broads National Park. As well as a 2AA Rosettes restaurant and stunning grounds for you to explore, Norfolk Mead also offers a range of summer lodges and cottages to choose from with stays including breakfast. Just a few meters from the hotel itself, Blackberry cottage sleeps up to six guests (from £360 a night, that works out at £60pp per night) and has its own private terrace with outdoor seating, a large spacious lounge and modern bath and shower facilities, making this the perfect family break. Check out their rooms, summer lodges and cottages here. All rooms, suites and cottages include a fabulous hearty breakfast.

Poolside Lodges

While we’re talking of summer lodges, it’s hard not to mention Poolside Lodges. Located just 10 miles outside of Norwich and a 10 minute drive away from the Norfolk Broads, this family-run site consists of three private lodges for you to choose from. Lodges sleep between 2 – 4 people and prices start at a very reasonable £385 for 7 nights, making this a brilliant base for a holiday with friends or family. And for added luxury, two of the lodges come with their own private hot tub.

Norfolk Mead Hotel

Norfolk Mead Hotel

Fielding Cottage

If you’re looking to experience a touch of Norfolk farm life, Fielding Cottage might just be the stay for you. Located on a working farm, just 9 miles from Norwich City Centre, Fielding Cottage offers a real home from home stay, with three beautifully decorated, open plan cottages set in the Norfolk countryside. Each cottage sleeps 2-4 people and prices start at £125 per night (minimum 3 night stay) for a family of 4. All three cottages can be booked together to accommodate up to ten people, making this a great spot for a quiet family holiday. And if you’re looking to escape to the coast, Fielding Cottage now have a newly-refurbished North Norfolk beach house for guests to enjoy. Just ten steps from the sandy beaches of Bacton, this holiday home is a real hidden treasure with stunning views of the North Sea.

Fielding Cottage Norfolk Holidays

Fielding Cottage


What to do this Autumn

Pensthorpe Natural Park

If you’re looking to stretch your legs (and wear out the kids!) then head to Pensthorpe Natural Park. Over 700 acres of woodland walks, nature trails, lakes, and habitats teeming with wildlife. Enjoy tranquil gardens, bird watching spots and Pensthorpe’s very own Flamingo flock.

Prices: Adults – £12.95, Children (3-16) – £11.95

Where to stay: Barnham Broom (20 miles away). Rooms from £190 per night in Sept for a family of 4.


Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure

A truly unique family day out, perfect for children of all ages. Explore dinosaur trails, adventure play areas, secret animal gardens and more. Dig for dinosaur fossils, brave the high ropes, or just relax in the picnic gardens.

Prices: Adults & Children – £14. Children under 90cm tall go free

Where to stay

Fielding Cottages (9 miles away). Rooms from £125 per night in September for a family of 4.

Park Farm Hotel (20 miles away). Rooms from £160 per night in September for a family of 4.

Photo: The dedicated Flamingo area of Pensthorpe Narural Park. By Steve Adams


Africa Alive!

The sites and sounds of Africa. Discover lions, giraffes, white rhinos and twenty species of bird. With over 80 species of animal to enjoy, Africa Alive! is a fun, educational day out for the family. The park is set in 100 acres of beautiful countryside, with outdoor adventure play areas, cafes, and opportunities to meet your favourite animals.

Prices: Adults – £20, Children – £15

Where to stay: Check out and Kett Country Cottages for deals on Norfolk cottages and holiday homes


Houghton Hall

Once home to Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall is a stunning stately home that boasts award-winning gardens and interactive artwork from internationally-renowned artists and sculptures. The Hall currently remains closed, but you can still explore the outdoor sculptures and exhibitions dotted across the 5-acre gardens. Running until 1 November, you can now enjoy the largest UK exhibition of outdoor sculptures from celebrated British sculptor, Anish Kapoor.

Prices: Adults – £16 for entry to Gardens & Anish Kapoor exhibition. Children under 18 go free.

Where to stay:

Fielding Cottage (30 miles away). Park Farm Hotel (35 miles away).

Check out and Kett Country Cottages for deals on Norfolk cottages and holiday homes

Houghton Hall

Holkham Hall

Situated on the North Norfolk Coast, this 18th Century hall is steeped in history and surrounded by parkland and wildlife. Enjoy woodlands with play areas, high ropes, and tree houses, or hire row boats and canoes to explore the lake. Holkham Park is also home to a large herd of Fallow Deer, so make sure to keep an eye out for them.

Prices: Woodland Play Area – free. Holkham Stories Experience & Walled Garden – £8 adult, £4 child

Where to stay: Visit and Kett Country Cottages

Exterior of Holkham Hall from the south in September 2011.


Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden

Set on 130 acres of ancient woodland with its own private Broad (part of The South Walsham Broads), Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden is a unique garden experience. Brimming with wildlife and wild plants, you can enjoy hours of walking trails alongside the stunning Broads.

Prices: Adults – £7.50, Children (4-16) – £3.95

Where to stay: Best Western Annesley House Hotel, Norwich (13 miles). Double rooms from £80 per night.


Looking for places to eat?

Norwich really is a city of foodies. Being in the centre of a large farming county, we enjoy the spoils of the finest local produce. We’re famed for our incredible street food scene and for having some of the finest chefs in the country, who have trained in internationally-renowned kitchens and come back to set up shop here. Nisbets also voted us Britain’s most vegan and veggie-friendly city, so there really is something for everyone!

Check out what’s open here.