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There’s something very special about this time of year. A crisp Autumn breeze, falling leaves, hot soups and stews that warm your soul, and Halloween just around the corner – it’s arguably the most picturesque season of all! And with an abundance of stunning countryside and outdoor space, Norwich and Norfolk are both full of enchanting spots. Forest walks, lakeside views and strolls along windy beaches. Here’s our pick of amazing walks in Norwich and Norfolk, for you to enjoy this year.
Holkham Beach & National Nature Reserve
Enjoy long walks along the breezy beach front, and immersive nature trails at Holkham Beach and National Nature Reserve this Autumn. Discover 3,706 hectares of sand dunes, saltmarsh, forests, and foreshore that alter with the seasons. Throughout Autumn and Winter you can enjoy thousands of Pink-footed Geese leaving their roost on Bob Halls Sand at Wells, as well as hordes of wildfowl in the nearby fields. After a walk along the shores, a peaceful walk through the pinewoods and scrub is a must. Three types of pines grow within the woods, each with unique autumnal colours and leaves for you to enjoy – don’t forget your camera! After a long walk around the beach and nature reserve, why not unwind with a drink and a hot meal at the beautiful Victoria Inn? This classic English Inn, just a stones throw from the nature reserve, is owned by the Coke family, and boasts 10 elegant rooms, a bar and a stunning restaurant offering up amazing seasonal produce. Enjoy magnificent autumnal foods and colours on your plate to rival the outdoor landscape. Or why not make a night of it and book a room at The Victoria Inn after your day of exploration around the reserve?
The Sainsbury Centre & Sculpture Park
Situated within the open grounds of the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Sainsbury Centre is a world-class museum of art which houses some of the most ground-breaking displays and exhibitions in the UK. Visitors can explore works from Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Edgar Degas, and art spanning 5,000 years of human creativity from across the globe. As well as stunning art collections at the Sainsbury Centre, the UEA campus boasts an outdoor sculpture park and an open lake with walkways and nature reserves for you to explore for free – incredible sculptures and artwork set against a backdrop of waterways and woodland. Enjoy four wildlife trails that span across campus and boast amazing habits and autumnal colours. Make sure to download the Sculpture Park map before your visit, there’s over 20 installations to explore. For those looking to really immerse themselves in nature, we’d recommend the Yare Valley Trail, a waterside walk that takes you out of the UEA campus and towards Cringleford. Explore the autumnal woodlands and keep an eye out for the blue flash of a Kingfisher zipping down the river! A truly picturesque, tranquil trek.
Riverside walks in Norwich
Nothing really beats a walk along the river in Norwich. Looping around much of the city centre, you can enjoy plenty of historic spots, peaceful green spaces, and picture-perfect pathways. We’d recommend taking a walk through Norwich Cathedral Close and down towards Pulls Ferry, a former ferry house that was once a 15th-century Watergate. Head on past Pulls Ferry and you’ll quickly find Cow Tower, one of the earliest purpose-built artillery blockhouses in England (built around 1398!). This little gem is ideal for those looking to escape the rush of city life; bring a hot flask of tea and take a seat on the riverbank.
A great choice for the hikers in your group. Marriott’s Way is a 26 mile-long trek (don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all!) that follows two disused railway lines between Norwich and the historic market town of Aylsham. Immerse yourself in nature and Autumnal colours as you explore wildlife, woodland, and wild meadows. Keep an eye out for the sculptures and artwork dotted across the route. For those looking to really stretch their legs, this ones for you!
Whitlingham Country Park
Situated just outside of the city centre, Whitlingham Country Park is Norwich’s very own gateway to the Norfolk Broads. Enjoy over 280-acres of fantastic circular walks surrounded by nature, wildlife, and great Autumnal colours. There’s plenty of great spaces to take a seat and watch the swans and rowers out on the water. Don’t forget to check out the remains of the old Chalk works too!
Houghton Hall Gardens & Park
Winner of the Christie’s Historic Houses Association ‘Garden of the Year Award’, the stunning Walled Garden at Houghton Hall is a fantastic Autumnal day out. This 5-acre site is brimming with nature and stunning floral installations just waiting to be explored. Take a walk through the Italian garden, the Glasshouse, and the fruit & vegetable gardens. Make sure to bring your camera to photograph the incredible seasonal flowers, the antique statues, water fountains, and even a rustic temple!
Pensthorpe Natural Park
700-acres of woodlands, wetlands, and wildlife for you to explore this Autumn. Former home of BBC’s Springwatch, Pensthorpe Natural Park is a haven of outdoor adventure of wildlife exploration. With over five stunning gardens, lakes, and even a flock of Flamingo, Pensthorpe is the perfect day out for all ages. This year the Millennium Garden, designed by renowned landscape gardener Piet Oudolf, celebrates its twentieth anniversary so be sure to go and check it out.