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Norwich, and Norfolk, is perfect to explore on foot! With so much beautiful landscape—and not too many hills—the county and city are wonderful places to explore. Last year was all about rediscovering the great outdoors, finding new ways to see friends, and get those steps in, and we’re hoping for lot’s more of the same in 2021! So here’s our rundown of the best walks in Norwich & Norfolk – from following former railway routes, to rambling along sandy beaches and more.
This picturesque nature reserve can be found just on the outskirts of Norwich, off the Ipswich Road. Walk through peaceful Danby Woods to reach the wetland nature reserve, and then choose your route! Marston Marsh has over 26 hectares to explore, so you can choose between a long, medium, or short winter walk. The River Yare curves through the land – keep an eye out for otters and voles! You may see some long-horned cattle too: they graze the land in summer.
University of East Anglia Lake
The University is set in an area of extraordinary natural beauty. The brutalist architecture is softened by the green surroundings of the woods, and the manmade broad. The lake walk is just 1.5miles: perfect for little legs, or relaxed strolls. You can even stop at the Sainsbury Centre to admire the art, or grab a hot drink of tea or coffee, or choose to visit the ponies (don’t forget carrots!) that live just off Bluebell Rd, opposite Eaton Park. If you fancy stretching your legs, turn off from the lake down the small turning, and follow the River Yare all the way to Cringleford!
Deep History Coast: Cromer to Sheringham Walk
Fancy something a little longer? Head to the coast! The walk from Cromer to Sheringham is just over 10 miles there and back, or you can just travel one way and hop on the train to get back. You can reach both Cromer and Sheringham by public transport, so if you don’t have a car, no problem! This seaside walk will take you through West Runton Cliffs, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, where the famous West Runton Elephant was found, following a storm that revealed a huge bone! If you want to know more about the history of the area, you can download an amazing interactive app, which creates an augmented reality experience. You can use your phone to learn more about fossil hunting, and what life would have been like thousands of years ago. After all that, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. No matter which way you travel, there are plenty of great pubs, cafes and restaurants, so you can treat yourself to some well-deserved chips!
Outdoor adventure walks at Holkham
Norwich and Norfolk are packed full of unique walks with immersive activities for all ages. If you’re looking for beautifully-kept gardens, adventure playgrounds, and riverside walks then you’ll love Holkham Estate. There’s hours of fun to be had at this 25,000 acre estate. Enjoy pinewood forests, marshland, lakes, deer parks, and even a stunning nature reserve and beach! And, of course, no visit is complete without a trip to Holkham Hall itself.
Walking tours with Paul Dickson
Explore Norwich and Norfolk on foot and dive into the county’s rich history on a Paul Dickson Walking tour. Local historian, Paul Dickson has been entertaining residents and visitors for years, with his range of walking tours and experiences. Enjoy tours of Fairhaven and the South Walsham Marshes, Shardlake’s Norwich, and even an exploration of the darker side of the city’s history.
The Norwich Lanes to Cathedral Quarter
Why not take the time to explore the city by foot? Wander Norwich without an obvious aim – there’s so much to admire that we often miss in the hustle and bustle of city life. Start from Upper St Giles (where you can grab a cake and a coffee from Cupcake & Co, Bread Source, or Kofra), then walk down Cow Hill to Pottergate. On your way you’ll see the much-photographed pink house, but keep an eye out for blue plaques too: they’re filled with interesting facts! Cut down past St Gregory’s Green to St Benedicts, then head to Duke’s Wharf Carpark to see the old Eastern Electricity Building, which is hand-painted with the entire novel of Utopia by Sir Thomas More.
Walk back up to St Benedicts, and follow it to St Andrews. In the gap before NUA’s East Gallery, you’ll see a tiny-sliced house: this is the last remaining bay of a 15th century Tudor house, once the carriage entrance to the Sheriff of Norwich’s home. Keep walking, and head up Princes St. When you reach the corner of Princes St and Elm Hill, directly in front of the church, look down. You’ll see an interesting object embedded in the concrete: a computer keyboard! Many myths have sprung up about this keyboard – a nod to Norwich’s UNESCO City of Literature status, maybe – however the true origin story is that a NUA student in the 90s spied a wet bit of concrete and took her chance to make her final year art project a part of the city.
From there, amble down Elm Hill. It’s easy to imagine you’re in another time as you walk down this medieval street – it’s no wonder it’s such a popular filming location! Finally, walk down to the bridge and admire the view across the quayside, before looping back to the Cathedral. All those sights – and in just under a mile distance!